Let our readers know who you are, where you are from, and what style of music you create.
My name is Bowdoin and I’m a long time Floridian by way of Kansas, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Germany but my father was lucky enough to find a permanent post just outside of Tampa until he retired from the army so all of that moving ended when I was still very young allowing my roots to grow a bit that I might happily self identify as a southerner. My music is less easy to track as I don’t think it really fits any one specific genre. I would say that my music is lyrically driven singer/songwriter stylings with adult contemporary, blues, rock, country, and ballad influences.
I understand you do more than make music. How did you get into writing as a poet, author, and playwright?
I have always loved to write and first and foremost I like to consider myself a poet. Many of my songs are poems that just lent themselves to some melody or other that was floating around in my mind. I guess in that way many of my projects grow from simple things into much bigger works for which I had no intention at the outset. The play is a good example since I was planning it to be a novel however as the songs for my first album sort of fell into place I realized they were telling the same story and eventually the album Songs From the Little Green Book became the soundtrack for the play I wrote of the same name.
What influences your creativity? What drives you to create in various formats?
My influences are everything from books I’ve read to people I meet. I find myself catching stray bits of conversation that end up being poems or short stories days later. I’m an avid reader so I can’t deny the effects of Shakespeare, Thoreau, Barrie, Cooper, and many others and I blame them for my tendency to be viewed as high handed which, as I read what I’m writing here, is an accusation my words here will do little to quash, but to deny it would be quite dishonest. Musically the classics are my first love, Beethoven, Bach, and Mahler being amongst my favorites, but I also cannot neglect to mention the profound impact of the progressive rock movement, the Alan Parsons Project, the Moody Blues, Genesis and others. Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Tom Waits, Meatloaf, The Who, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, and so many others are constantly challenging my understanding and appreciation of music and I truly do love them all.
Creating in different formats just came sort of naturally to me as each mode had its own unique voice in telling a story or relating a point. Each format can be likened to a different paint color on an artist’s palate. If the novels are brown then I can write a hundred novels and no matter how vibrant and different they are from their predecessors they’re still in effect brown. Better to add poetry and song and stage production thereby creating a deeper work and engage every part of that story in need of telling.
What was the last song you listened to?
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down- The Band
What did you listen to growing up? Have your tastes changed over time?
With my father being away for a large piece of my childhood, whether it be desert storm or some other assignment, much of the music I listened to was my mother’s. She was always playing contemporary and folk music like Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant along with country groups like Sawyer Brown, Diamond Rio (which was my first concert at the Florida Strawberry festival), and Dan Seals. She overlapped with my father’s musical tastes in the folk arena with performers like Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, and James Taylor. My father had us listening mostly to Credence Clearwater Revival, the Animals, and the Box tops.
My taste in music didn’t really start to exert itself until high school where I seemed to devour the whole world of things I had never heard. Aerosmith, Metallica, Def Leopard, Matchbox Twenty, the Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead and others usurped those four years and more than a couple thereafter. Bon Jovi in particular because I have a distinct memory of them being the first band that I greedily chose for myself and I have dedicatedly followed them ever since despite them being so unlike anything in my current list of favorites. There’s nothing like being sixteen with your first paycheck to start defining yourself with music and you don’t forget it. I guess it’s true you never really get over a first love and that holds true in music as well as anything else. At that point I began to get more and more disappointed with contemporary music and instead of looking forward I began to go backwards through the years. It was then that I really found all the things that would become staples of my listening library.
Briefly gives us some insight into your songwriting process. Does it just hit you? Do you spend time developing an idea? Is it a mixture of things?
I think in most cases I can just hear the music when I begin to lay out the lyrics. I have tried several methods of writing songs, even using musical theory which is a weakness I must shamefully admit, but letting the music grow out of the poetry it surrounds seems the most natural for me. That’s also the reason that my songs do not have a proper chorus, if such a thing exists, as I seldom repeat myself lyrically. I am also quite antagonistic to the modern mechanized song format so I guess my songwriting process owes itself to the fact that I’m deep down a very contrary person, or not so deep down if you ask those who know me well.
How big of a role does the Internet/social media play in your music marketing and promotion efforts?
I am not naturally a technologically oriented person nor am I even a diligent promoter of my own work. In most cases the completion of one project sees me diving right into the next without sparing time to properly advertise the works that have just been finished. This is mostly due to the fact that marketing requires a certain skills in salesmanship and networking and I am more fit to eat the moon than succeed at either of these tasks. I do what I can through Facebook, Music Submit, and Musicxray but wholly believe that my work is far more interesting than I could ever be talking about it.
Do you play live? Any tours? Where can people see you perform?
I can play the piano and I have, I think I speak honestly, a solid singing voice. However, being a bit of a hermit by nature, I find my public playing venues limited to any room full of friends and a piano. I will usually play for anyone who asks, should that ever happen, but I don’t foresee any tours or public appearances any time soon.
Where can we find your music online? How can we connect with you?
Both of my ablums Songs From the Little Green Book, and The Drive are available through Itunes and Amazon Mp3 and my personal website with a selection of my other websites as well as links to the youtube videos can be found at www.boyofthewood.com. I can best be reached via email at Bowdoin@boyofthewood.com.
Any last thoughts? Shout outs?
Thank you very much for the opportunity to present this little piece of myself