What I’ve always found striking about writing music on women’s issues, is that its connection to folk music is so irritatingly ironic. The irony in it is this — that male folk-writers evoke a particular image in one’s mind, its fused with their music. But what is the woman’s? A girl with a guitar. It’s all a little vanilla ice-cream for me. Here are a few things I notice writing as a woman, on women’s issues, in a man’s genre…and how speaking out flips the mindset.
Why it Happens
Folk, is performed live, based on the traditions of storytelling, and the vessels of these stories are these people themselves. Inherently The ‘girls with guitars,’ ideal runs through the folk and Americana genre. The women, are pretty, the men, are poignant. The men are observers, the women are chatty. The men are ambitious, the women are adorable, or worse yet, angry. That is the semblance of the reality in which I live, a woman, face-painted, small-in-stature, yet loud-mouthed. The label I own and distribute my music through, we named Angrygal.
What turns Women into Writers
The movement of women’s issues within my own music stem mostly from turmoil I feel individually. The connection that I have to domestic abuse is not my own personal story, however it comes up in my writing a lot. On my upcoming album, the track ‘Appalachian Rain,’ details a woman likening her partner to a life-giving force, like rain, only to end his life, to gain her own. These ideas have always plagued my writer’s mind — the idea that the case of each story is so tied to the speaker, or narrator. In my instance, a middle-class white woman, I find myself in tune with folk music, and a city upbringing that led me to become an observer.
Is it Too Much?
In my own work, autobiographical songs about women’s rights have gotten me into personal hot water. The worst however, is a story untold, that many women experience. The times of frank women are certainly upon us, but one song I’ve written, has still never made it to an official record, the song entitled, Rebecca. This particular pro-choice track remarks on the shame of abortion, understanding mental and the quietness surrounding the subject. ‘Rebecca,’ a name given to a woman’s unborn child, is a love song to a life lost, and to decision gained.
Fans as Caregivers – Healing through Music
Healing, if at all, fascinates me, and brings out a pragmatic writer. I’ve got to work through my own problems, but the ‘what if’s’ are what keep my heart dancing at night. The, ‘if they only knew,’ in introductions, never get easier. These ideas are so surrounded in the culture of abortion, that I ache when I think of women alone in their bedrooms, searching the internet for answers, I cannot help but feel so frustrated. The shame that is involved with these issues still, is brought into the lyric of my own music, and stories regarding this often hot-button topic. Do you have a support system? they ask you, yes. My fans. They offer me more understanding than many individuals I know in a personal way, fans are one of my strongest groups of supporters.
Women’s issues, in the American South, find a brutal reality, they are not spoken about, and instead, in my perspective, ignored. The truth is, the vocalization of the unspoken is a major reason I write — and it is my rearing in the south, by small-town parents, and my coming-into my own in New York City, which taught me the importance of loose –lipped songwriting. This is what turns women into writers.
SARA RACHELE, an independent songwriter from Decatur, Georgia, a hot-bed for local folk music, cut her teeth in the Atlanta scene cleaning out the cupboards at Eddie’s Attic in the early 2000s. Rachele returns to her hometown from her life in New York City to track her first solo record, a compilation of folksongs written while living in Manhattan’s East Village. 2014 brings her debut live-to-tape LP: Diamond Street, produced by Kristofer Sampson (New West Records) featuring artist J. Thomas Hall (Normaltown Records.) The record was completed in 48 hours, and thus aptly named after the studio in which it was recorded: Diamond Street Studios of Little 5 Points, Atlanta, GA. Rachele’s whispered croons and folk-guitar underpinnings have been compared to the likes of Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, and Mazzy Starr. Visit her website, Like her Facebook Page and Follow her on Twitter @SaraRachele
Photo Credit: Sara Rachele Facebook Page