2021 Review: Resolutions From Last Year.

Last year (like an idiot) I posted a bunch of music-related New Year resolutions. Did I do any better than the year before? Let’s find out.

A Quick Recap

Here are my musical resolutions for 2021:

  • Revisit my old music, and start creating new recordings of it.
  • Put together a song-writing process, and practice it.
  • Find my confidence as a guitarist.

Yeah, about that …

I Did Revisit My Old Music

I’ve spent a lot of the year playing my old music, that’s for sure.

I’ve been practicing my Phase 1 material on acoustic guitar. I enjoyed the challenge a lot more than I expected. For the first time in my life, I’ve been able to play the whole of Ragged Perceptions in a single go. I can’t believe that I used to try and play that one with a pick. It’s much easier played finger-style.

I’ve struggled with the finger-picking on other, easier songs for sure. The other songs were written for one-finger-one-thumb finger-picking, and I keep finding myself tripping over my other fingers now that I regularly use them too. I’ll figure it out – I just need more practice.

Problem is, I’ve also been playing a lot of my Phase 3 material too. At the end of the day, I’m an electric rhythm guitarist who loves playing crunchy amps or pedals, and while musically the Phase 3 stuff is pretty naff and simplistic, there’s a lot of gratification to be had from how easy it is to just grab my electric guitar off its stand and play that stuff.

It’s definitely distracted me from focusing on the Phase 1 material, big time.

Nothing Got Recorded Though

It’s not just that nothing got recorded. Apart from a brief flurry of activity at the start of the year and then again over the Easter break, I haven’t even switched my studio gear on this year.

Okay, I’m not ready to record the Phase 1 material (which was my aim for 2021). But I’m not even recording anything.

Sigh.

Song-Writing Is Still Sat In The Garage

To use a racing car analogy, any attempt at song-writing never made it out onto the starting grid. It’s still sat in the garage, looking abandoned and forlorn.

I’ve got nothing to add to that.

Confidence As A Guitarist? Maybe That’s Not The Real Problem

While I definitely need to improve as a guitarist, I’m starting to feel that it’s actually musical confidence that I need the most.

As well as revisiting my old Phase 1 and Phase 3 material, I’ve also been listening to my old Phase 2 material. It’s experimental, it’s got themes and ideas, there’s progression with both individual songs and the material overall – all driven by one of those old dodgy Roland guitar synths that punished you with a horrible squeal if you even thought about playing a note anything but pristinely.

I’ve never written anything like it, before or since. Why? WHY?

That question haunts me, and makes me seriously wonder what on earth I’ve been doing musically these past 24 years. I know the answer: I’ve been having fun with my crunchy amps and pedals. Back when I wrote the Phase 1 & 2 material, I was limited to clean tones and unreliable (but hella fun) Roland guitar synths. I didn’t have the crutch of overdriven guitar.

When I got my first Les Paul in 2012, Kristi said that it was time that I started taking music more seriously. As always, Kristi is right.

I Survived 2021, But No More

Last year, I ended my post with “I would like to do more than just survive 2021 though.”

As we head into a more-uncertain 2022, I’m relieved that I managed that.

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