I am not aware of any particular writer influencing my writing, although many obviously have. We are all influenced by everything we ever hear. I am aware of a vocal style that sometimes reveals who I used to listen to a lot (Ian Anderson, Van Morrison, Gordon Lightfoot, Springsteen), but I don't think their music has influenced my songwriting in any particular way. I am influenced by what I've been listening to lately, and as that changes, so do the songs that come out. "Like dreams!" as Ralph McTell would say.
And lately what I listen to most is World
Music. This has been a wonderful change in my musical life for which I am
eternally grateful to WOMAD.
It has brought an amazing array of musical worlds hitherto unknown to me and
many westerners. Nusrat
Fateh Ali Khan (Pakistan), Terem
from Russia, JustinVali
from Madagascar, The Sardininian Tenors - to name a few - have broken the
grip that rock and folk had on me. There is a problem here - how do you incorporate
these influences into what you play? Other languages, other instruments, and
other cultures - it's like learning music all over again.
WHY I WRITE/PERFORM
Have to! Got to! No choice! It just happens and I start to feel really strung out if I don't. It's therapeutic. It's been part of my life for too long to stop now. It's a creative outlet. Why did I ever start doing it? Egotism! I just started writing songs when I was about 20 and still significant events in my life express themselves in song. I sometimes make a conscious decision to write a song about something, but more often the song and its subject will suggest itself to me. But this writing process happens more often if I know I can perform the songs somewhere. SCALA has been invaluable for that. Other people also enjoy it. I guess writing and singing are like gifts like that. I love doing it, and if other people like hearing it....pleasure all round!