Songwriting is about risk-taking. One simply needs a safe, open space to say or do anything in order to see/hear what wants to stick to the page. In a collaborative effort, all must be open to trial and experimentation. Without complete freedom of expression, a song will lack the necessary truth required to give it life. Without truth, a song is just a song. It may be clever, or sound pretty, but it may not fly as high. In order to create a great song, one must be willing to trade in clever for truth, especially when the truth doesn’t feel safe to share. It’s playing by these standards that songwriting becomes an adventure for the courageous.
Meet Raining Jane: a female-foursome of risk-taking road veterans who have toured extensively on their original music for more than a decade. They are also the co-founders of The Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls, Los Angeles, an intensive program that empowers young women to rock in all aspects of their lives.
I first met Raining Jane, in September of 2006 at the University of Redlands. We were on the same schoolyard festival bill. With thoughtful lyrics, brilliant harmonies, diverse instrumentation, a high energy percussionista, and good looks, they were a tough act to follow. I played alone, nervously hammering through my set while begging forgiveness. After the gig I bowed to them, suggesting we collaborate. A few months later, we gathered at my home studio for the first of what has now become a long tradition of annual writing retreats known as ladies’ weekend.
Within the first few writing sessions, Raining Jane and I unearthed a few songs that would transform all of our lives. Songs like Silent Love Song, which we donated to San Diego’s Fire Relief Project in 2007; Collapsible Plans which won best original song in the Hollywood Film Festival for the amazing documentary The Big Fix; And Beautiful Mess, which has gone on to become a concert classic.
It didn’t take long for The Janes and I to realize we shared the same core values and shared a passion for truthful, healing songwriting. Our shared vision is to use our creative gifts to improve the world, not belittle it. Whenever we make time to write together, it’s always magical, and as you can imagine, the songs have started piling up.
For the next two weeks, The Janes and I are exploring what it would sound like if we were to record an album together. Stay tuned for updates, leaks and previews as this surprising new story unfolds. In the meantime, enjoy this clip of The Janes and I performing together for Feeding The Soul back in 2010.