The tale of the travelling guitar: Calgary musicians tackle songwriting challenge
Published Saturday, September 7, 2019 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 7, 2019 10:12PM EDT
Five Alberta musicians will share one guitar over the coming weeks as they take part in a unique songwriting challenge.
The Acoustic Guitar Project, started by New York musician David Adams in 2012, is governed by a simple concept.
First, a city is chosen, along with five local musicians. Then, a single guitar is sent to them. Each musician has one week with the guitar to write a song, before passing it onto the next musician.
Calgary musician Joni Delaurier is the latest to receive the Calgary guitar, speckled with the signatures of those who used it before her.
She’s already written the chorus, which she likes, but says is “so sad.” After she finishes her song, she will add her signature to the mosaic.
“Just knowing that so many people have picked it up and come up with completely different things -- to me that's really cool," Delaurier told CTV News. Among the many songs she’s written, Delaurier was one of the co-writers of the CCMA-nominated 2007 country hit Pickup Truck.
The website for the project states that the mission is “to inspire creativity by simplifying its process to the bare essentials” of one guitar and seven days, and “to encourage a deeper connection between the artist and their art.”
Hundreds of musicians have composed songs for the project across the world, including artists from Tokyo and Miami.
Delaurier said she’s in awe of the scope when she thinks about “how many songs that never would have come into the world minus this project.”
Each participating city has a curator to organize a concert at the end of the songwriting process. Jackie Bourgaize, one of the curators for Calgary’s upcoming concert, said that “if people really appreciate where a song comes from, where the germ of the idea comes from, they would appreciate coming to the Acoustic Guitar Project (concert).”
In the concert, the five musicians will play the song they wrote, and tell the story behind the songwriting process. This year’s quintet is completed by Nick Titus, Matt Blais, Kendall Rodney Bilan and Gerry Madigan.
Bourgaize said the appeal is “hearing those songs in their infancy and seeing them come out in an unaffected manner, straight from the artist's heart.”
Delaurier is excited to be part of the project, saying it’s “really cool to me … that there's a kind of global movement to say that songwriting is part of a community and a network, and that we pass it on.”
The concert at the end of the project will be held on Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. at Gallery House Concerts Society.