Last week, Farideh, Alexis and I went to Herschel SK. Herschel is a tiny town, off the beat and path, nestled by the beautiful Eagle Creek valley, somewhere between Rosetown and Biggar. The retreat house we stayed in is made of %100 recycled materials. It’s main feature is beautiful repurposed wood that used to be part of an old grain elevator. Grooves have been formed in the the wood from the grain rubbing and falling against it. The home also featured a very large gorgeous sunroom which we made into our workspace, and of course, the prerequisite, a hot tub!
Upon our arrival we discussed our goals for the weekend. Allyson was sick that weekend and couldn’t join us unfortunately. Our goals were to maybe share 3 songs and try to massage the lyrics, structure, and melodies, and end up with a rough sketch of each. This form of songwriting was new to us as a group. In the past we have each brought a complete song to the group, and then gave it a “Riveters” flare. Now we had a very clear intention of creating songs that fit into a certain style and had some sort of uplifting subject. We intend to use these songs on our next album.
We soon realized the goal we had set was way below our potential! in the first evening we finished 3 great songs, and started a 4th! The next day we split up to work individually on more ideas. We took a break in the afternoon to go on a tour of the local Ancient Echoes Interpretive Center where we saw some beautiful artwork and ancient fossils. We then went on a walk to see some ancient petroglyphs, and circular rock formations (one was in the shape of a turtle!). Our guide was most excellent, explaining the history of the area and the aboriginal people, and the herds of buffalo that once roamed there. He even sang us a song at the end of the tour! The beautiful landscape was scattered with springs first wildflowers, the prairie crocus.
Later that evening we came together again as a group to share more songs. Over the next 2 days we worked out another 7 songs, and came out with a whooping total of 10! The process of working together was surprisingly smooth, given that the 3 of us are very different in our writing methods. Alexis loves proper grammar, perfect rhymes, and sensical lyrics. Farideh literally opens her hands to the sky and asks to be given the words and melodies! I like imperfections and unexpected twists and turns.
We are getting very excited for our new album! We have more songwriting retreats scheduled throughout the summer. Keep your ears open for glimpses of our new songs!
Bye for now,
p.s. The Riveters would like to thank the Saskatchewan Arts Board for helping to make this creating retreat possible!