A writer of personal essays and memoir, I have created performance pieces with them, reading the stories aloud and “illustrating” them not with pictures, but with songs.
The songs are chosen to illuminate the emotions in the narrative. I’ve sung everything from American standards to contemporary pop music, and am usually accompanied by electric guitar, sometimes piano. The songs keep the listener inside the narrative, and the music drives the story forward. The arrangements are stripped down and very spare. The music feels like an extension of the text, not something with a life apart from it.
"The music, by Master Michael Quinn and Jeff Allyn Szwast, was the perfect mix of moody and sultry–if you ever get a chance to see this duo perform, seize it with both hands. They will simultaneously break your heart and make you feel redeemed."