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Jenn Butterworth Interview

Jenn Butterworth playing on stage at the Arran Folk Festival in 2014

Jenn Butterworth played at the Arran Folk Festival back in the mists of time (2014). I’d never heard her playing before and I was blown away. She played a set with Laura-Beth Salter on mandolin, and boy, what a treat that was to hear.

Fast forward to 2019. Jenn’s back at the festival with LB!

Podcast Episode with Jenn Butterworth

I found the courage to ask her if she’d be up for an interview for my guitar podcast Acoustic Guitar IO and she very kindly agreed.

Jenn Butterworth behind an Ear Trumpet Labs louise mic in Cams's house on Arran

So we sat down, had a cup of tea and recorded a bit of a blether. The episode we recorded is here.

It was really fun to talk to Jenn Butterworth and kind of her to agree to give up some time to talk with me.


Kinnaris Quintet

Check out one of the bands she plays with Kinnaris Quintet. I almost went to see them at Celtic Connections, but the first quarter of 2020 has been absolutely horrendous for ferry crossings between Brodick and Ardrossan. I have been listening to their album a lot though, and it’s an absolute stoater!

Musician of the Year – Scots Trad Awards

Jenn Butterworth won Musician of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2019. Not only that, Kinnaris Quintet won The Belhaven Bursary for Innovation in Scottish Music. It’s was a good year for young Jenn and her musical pals!

Support Jenn Butterworth

COVID-19 is here at the time of writing (March 2020) and artists all over the world are struggling. Well, not just artists, pretty much most people, but this is when we need music more than ever. If you’d like to support Jenn Butterworth as I have, get yourselves over to her Patreon Page. She’s set up three tiers right now, £3, £5 and £10 on a monthly ongoing basis. Go and show her some love if you can afford to. It doesn’t have to be forever; you can cancel anytime. As a Patreon user myself, I *know* just how much this can help!


More Guitar Stuff

I’ve been writing about guitars for a while. If you like what you’re reading, there’s loads more here!

Creativity and Homeschooling

Is it a cop-out to copy? I’ve been thinking about this for a while. This time I’m thinking about it in the context of guitar playing, which is the context in which I think about this more often than any other.

I just heard Hymn 11, by Pierre Bensusan, used as part of a video photo montage showcasing the Soviet invasion of Prague in 1968.

[Link to YouTube]

Learning

Isn’t copying the best way to learn? Sure it is. But I’m now at the stage in my guitar playing that I am competent enough to create, rather than copy.

If you look through the magazines, you’ll find the pages filled with tablature of popular songs. Look in a music section of a book store and you’ll see books upon books of chord and tab books.

But is that not the case with classical sheet music as well? And don’t symphony orchestras make a lifetime out of performing classical music?

Interpretation

Where symphony orchestras are concerned, it is the conductor who plays the most important role. So, although the musicians are playing the music as it was composed by the composer, there is infinite room for movement, for interpretation.

And with popular songs, some cover versions are preferred over the originals, i.e. Hurt, originally written and recorded by Trent Reznor and then recorded by Johnny Cash. The JC version is invariably the one that people have heard, and, indeed, the one that I play. Incidentally, I was into Nine Inch Nails long before I stared listening to Johnny Cash!

[Me playing Hurt]

Chops

I got my chops from learning songs that I liked. I guess that’s the route to learning any instrument: get inspired enough to want to learn to do what your favourite artists do. But where does that end? When does one stop copying and start creating? Or are copying and creating inextricably intertwined?

Teaching

I often feel so incredibly inspired that I sit down and attempt to create. I’ve done this countless times. I’ve come up with some interesting tunes, but whenever I try to put words to it, they fall apart into embarrassments. I don’t know what it is that prevents me from writing lyrics that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to share.

My autistic 6-year-old son is heavily into a computer game called [Everybody Edits]:(5). He gets excited and shouts me through to hear his ‘new songs’. What he’s done is create music using some sort of building blocks based on well-known classical tunes. At least as far as I can gather. He was raised on the Baby Einstein classical music videos and recognises a lot of it now. It’s his favourite kind of music to listen to as well.

We’re home-schooling him now and it is my plan to teach him Garage Band on the iPad to see what kind of things he can come up with. I want to encourage his creativity before it gets stifled. I don’t think he’ll have the patience for much else. He much prefers doing something, so having him listen to music and explain to him won’t be possible right now.

I’m sure this will be and interesting a project to me as it is to him.

50 things: Shawn Blanc

Robert wrote on [Gridwriter](http://gridwriter.com/) about Shawn Blanc’s post on five years of being a writer and I’d also like to share it.

[50 Things I’ve Learned about Publishing a Weblog](http://shawnblanc.net/2012/07/50-things/)

I loved this:

> As your talent as a writer grows your own perception of your writing will likely stay the same.

I would say the same goes for musicians. I remember thinking I could quit happy once I had learned to play Black Water Side. And now that I can play it, my thoughts on my playing talent haven’t really changed.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last week or so about writing. I used to write every day in my diary, for years and years. I’ve kept those diaries and they are now amongst my most treasured possessions. In fact, I wish I had never quit.

Since starting my first web journal on the now defunct Vox platform, I’ve written quite a bit, but without any real purpose. In fact, my very first website was meant to be nothing more than a means of sharing my wedding photos. This was back before Flickr and social media, when I was happy to have an ISDN line because I could combine the channels and get 128k!

Anyway, I’m going through a bit of a change right now where I’m thinking about creation, both in terms of writing and music. Part of that has come about after taking the decision to home-school our 5-year-old son; I’ve been thinking of things I could teach, the obvious things being technology and music.

So, watch this space!