Living Room Midnight Songs by Juellez – my NaSoAlMo experience & live album

November was National Solo Album Month (NaSoAlMo). Inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) the challenge is to write and record a solo album at least 29:09 in length and with only one cover. 

Even though I waited until Dec 2nd to record my solo album, I’m counting it. I spent the majority of my November traveling, first for a week in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica with my friend to do aerial and yoga in the jungle. Then, for a long week in San Francisco/San Pancho, Mexico for roughly 8 hours of acro training x 7 days. When I wasn’t napping or making new friends, I was doing my best to work on songs. I brought my guitar, which landed me an invite to a local Open Mic, in which I performed (a fun story for another time.  Most of musical month was spent working with scraps of songs, words and melodies I’d started in October (see my previous post about the 5 songs x 5 days challenge), September in Santa Cruz and spring in Denmark.

Reflecting on it now, I appreciate my determination to essentially write and record the album “fireside” style in my living room, given that each song had been born in a different place. What a fun way to weave places together: my brother’s couch in Kansas City, an empty and hard bed along the beach in Mexico, a friend’s cozy apartment in Denmark, a surprisingly desolate and rocky beach in Santa Cruz … When Nov 30 rolled around and I was too exhausted from a weekend of Thanksgivings, Friendsgivings, errands, housework, cleaning and crafting, I nearly resigned myself to failing the challenge.

And then I listened to Laura Vanderkam’s “Before Breakfast” podcast yesterday (“Should You Raise Your Goal’s episode). I decided to try slacking some goals to build momentum, practice repeatability and continue my never-ending pursuit of consistency. And I reminded myself of the FedEx model we love to emulate in software: Just Ship It. Otherwise, the philosophy tornado of “done” vs “Done” vs “Done Done” will entangle you forever, dust will bury your ideas, and your voice…locked in a tiny box in the bottom of the ocean, not unlike Aerial’s, and forgotten.

In that vein and to avoid having to be rescued by a prince, my first solo album, recorded live in one short, albeit late, sitting. Just like cranking through detailed documents, some things are best left to the quietest hours of midnight-1. I hope you enjoy and welcome your feedback. While the album is done, I’ve come to realize that songs live on.

See my previous post on writing a song a day for lyrics to one of the songs included on this album, Amber.