10 weeks

Musicians should not play music, music should play musicians.

The first Sunday we met up to write a song after meeting, we didn’t know what to expect. Since inspiration struck & it was fun, we met up again the next week. 

Our Sunday night cowrite routine (Sunday night at 6) went on for 10 weeks straight, in which time we wrote 10 new songs. Our process developed pretty quickly, starting with an idea & allowing time to let the songs move us. 

Songwriting is a mysterious thing, and inspiration can strike any time… I’ve found that forcing inspiration doesn’t go as well as letting it compel me. 

Allowing time for inspiration to move helps, like a discipline. By setting time aside to write songs, our 10-week pattern inspired us to create The Tide Rose.

During that time, I posted 15-second clips of our iPhone Recordings on my Instagram account. The recordings are tagged #TTRDuo, if you’re curious to hear what our songs were like on the day they were first written.

Whether it strikes with 1 song or with 10, inspiration is where it begins.

TTR in 10 weeks - https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/ttrduo/

All We Have

After about 4 weeks of songwriting together (slash meeting), I grew curious what it would be like to put our brand-new songs “out there.” 

I saw that Ashland Coffee & Tea was holding a “Songwriter’s Showdown” for writers like us, so I asked Keilan if we could give it a try… I don’t recall the details, but I do know we signed up. 

At that point, we had written “Come Home,” “Must Be Dreaming,” “Such Things,” and “All We Have.“ We actually wrote “All We Have” that Sunday & sang it at the event, which was that Tuesday. We made it to the final 3 that night.

My experience sharing original songs was limited at the time, so I remember being nervous - butterflies & all. It was the 1st time I had ever sang with Keilan outside of our songwriting sessions, and I’d just barely known him for a month. 

The song we wrote that week, “All We Have,” was a good snapshot of things I felt at the time. In the bridge, we wrote, “Maybe someday I won’t have to turn around… and someday, I’ll be unafraid to just be here and now.” 

I have a tendency to dwell in the past, and dream so far into the future that I forget sometimes to just be present. In that moment at Ashland Coffee & Tea, I remember feeling very present… 

Singing like that woke me up.

For me, songs I’ve written with Keilan are almost like souvenirs from different moments in life that have influenced me. Music may forever be my favorite way to capture them.

Must Be Dreaming

Right about this time last year I had a riff and melody that I wanted to share with Whitney. It was originally inspired by my grandfather but I had never gotten around to finishing it, so I was excited to potentially create something out of it together.

Turned out she had a melody she wanted to share with me as well. Crazy thing is, her melody was in the same key as mine and they complimented each other super well.

What is this madness, where two people on opposites sides of town come up with two parts of the same song?

We both agreed it sounded like a lullaby so with our mutual obsession of The Civil Wars at the time, it turned into a hauntingly beautiful song about harrowing winds and ghostly dreams. Especially with the melody in the verses where we sing in octaves.

Anywho, this song is called Must Be Dreaming (and though we hardly ever perform it, it’s a pretty meaningful tune to all things TTR).

It was also recently included in The Virginia Lullaby Project put together by Stephen “Dash” Brown on his Community Service Podcast. The project collected children songs (originals and recreations) from musicians all over Virginia to help his newborn baby (and other little ones) fall asleep.


Come Home

Today is the day after Valentine’s Day, and the day “Come Home” was written. 

A year ago today, I woke up with the chorus melody and lyrics stuck in my head. It was strange to me at the time, because I hadn’t heard the song before. 

I decided to capture it, so I did a voice memo of the chorus on my iPhone. 

In an effort to be more bold about songwriting, I posted the memo on my Instagram account. I remember my heart was racing before I published it. 

Since it had been one week since my first cowrite with Keilan, we’d planned another cowrite for 6pm that night. I decided to share the melody with him.

We turned this song into a dialogue, and tried to include as many harmonies as we could. Most of them were intuitive, and it was fun to make it up as we went.

That same night, I’d had a group meeting scheduled for a grad school project, but we were still songwriting. As before, we wanted to finish & record it as a keepsake. 

Not gonna lie - I missed the meeting that night.

But we walked away from our cowriting session feeling excited. It was hard to believe how quickly the song came together, and how illustrative it was to the story I was living at the time. It was relevant, and therapeutic, to write it. 

After we’d recorded the song on an iPhone, I must have listened to it on repeat that week at least a dozen times… and shared it with friends who knew I’d been songwriting. A few friends admitted to crying to the song, and I think I did, too.

It was about this time I realized Keilan & I were onto something. And so we said “goodnight” eventually, and set aside 6pm for the following Sunday.


Such Things

One year ago today: 

It was a 70 degree Sunday in February which was weird. Also weird was the fact that I was on a stranger’s balcony and we were bearing souls together in order to write a song. (Although that shouldn’t be weird, and I wish it were more normal).

I was also sick that day (I get a terrible cold about twice a year and this was that time of year). So I remember not really wanting to go because A) I don’t know this person, 2) I’m sick, and D) I could be napping, it’s a Sunday. 

Before we began writing though, we decided we’d play a song that perhaps we were both familiar with: Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars. The song fell into place seamlessly and it felt like we had been singing together for years.

And with that, confidence was birthed to begin cowriting, which I had only done a handful of times before. We tossed around ideas and talked about recent inspirations and heartaches. Eventually we settled on a topic that resonated with both of us and wrote this song, “Such Things”.

It was refreshing to write a song so quickly and actually kinda like it, so we decided to write again the next Sunday. Little did I (we) know it would also be the next, and the next, and the next, and the…


This time, last year.

On this day 1 year ago, I met Keilan for the first time at a concert in Richmond, VA. It was a local show at The Four Hundred with 3 bands in the line-up, and he was a part of it.  

I was a graduate student at the time, and had been working with a songwriting coach based in Nashville, after spending the previous summer there. I went to the concert for fun, interested to see what Richmond’s music scene was like.

Keilan played a solo acoustic set, and invited people to say “hi” afterwards, since he didn’t have merch with him. As a new fan, I decided I would do that.  

We talked over a noisy room & I told him I’d been songwriting on my own. I was surprised I hadn’t heard his music before, and curious about his songwriting process. 

I thought it might be fun to co-write, so I mentioned it loosely, thinking he’d probably be busy or not up for it. He had no reason to say yes really, and I didn’t have much credibility as a songwriter without any songs “out there.”

Now that a year’s gone by, it’s interesting to think about how all new things begin, and how they grow. I don’t think either of us expected, one year later, we’d have a few songs on iTunes or that we’d call ourselves “The Tide Rose.” 

But like any story, ours began somewhere. 

We’ll be writing about “this time, last year” as we reflect on how we got our start, and invite you look back with us. Life often makes more sense later on.