I have been a songwriter all my life.

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I grew up learning violin with the Suzuki method, playing medieval recorder and harpsichord with my dad, and played the clarinet in the school band, but what I really wanted all along was a guitar. I formed my first band in Wicker Park, in Chicago, in the mid 90s. That place and time was wide open and wild. Phyllis’s Musical Inn, The Rainbo, Double Door,  and The Bop Shop (where I was a cocktail waitress on Saturday nights) were all along a concrete stretch with potholes so large car bumpers would fall off and stay in them. I played my first gig ever at the Subterranean, standing on a strip of wood behind the bar that made up a stage, shaky knees, playing my homemade songs while the El, Chicago’s antique elevated train, rattled across overhead every 5 minutes. It was a rough and unpolished neighborhood, but vibrant. Women were entering the rock and americana scene with enough regularity we probably didn’t notice how unbalanced our presence was in event lineups. I produced regular Grrrls Rock evening at the Beat Kitchen, and fronted two bands, Sweet Bridget and Kite Club.

When I moved to a small village on the Seine River just south of Paris, France in 2005, I thought my rock life was behind me. I had sold all of our furniture and most of my equipment before leaving Chicago, though I brought a telecaster and an acoustic takamine, and two Fender amps to France. One day in our little stone house, I picked up my guitar and began all over again, writing songs. Because the music scene is so different in France, with influences and hierarchies new to me, I felt free to do whatever I wanted. I wrote songs with quirky characters, engaged in conversation, love, betrayal, politics. I wrote about America, about my life with a new perspective of seeing how it unfolded from a far. I have written hundreds of songs, and recorded 4 records. The songwriters who influence me share a sense of purpose, are daring, and true to their own work. Liz Phair, Leonard Cohen, Aimee Mann, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lucinda Williams and Alanis Morissette have all taught me about songwriting. In 2017 I toured the USA west coast from San Diego to Seattle, met producer JL Espada and wrote a set of new songs. In 2018 Espada recorded my collection called “Becoming.” I love working and living between France and the U.S.

I grew up on the coast of Maine in a town made up of three islands and a peninsula. Every direction ends up at the sea, and all trips required crossing at least one bridge. My childhood was far away from everything, remote, and lonely enough to develop a lifesaving imagination. I read books, made art, played a variety of instruments. I got a lot of my information about the world beyond my own from television. I remember seeing David Bowie, who I had never heard of, on Saturday Night Live, and thinking, “Thank God. There are my people.” I have lived in the UK, Italy, France, Austria, Germany and Spain, before moving to Chicago for graduate school at The School of the Art Institute. There I painted, worked in the foundry, and studied sound. I also started my first band ‘Salt Lick’ while I was a student.

I work in education as a professor and eLearning developer. I have always had a double life, professional and musical, and to keep all the balls in the air, I am very organized. Besides performing in Paris and long weekend tours around Europe, I have co-founded MUSEfest, to amplify the work of excellent women in music and film. I am raising two smart children, each one so different from the other. My kids and husband are proud of what I do, and support my musical journey, though I am sure they wish I had more time for them. I keep my eye on what is important, and I cut out things that don’t serve me. I am extremely goal oriented, but I never rest on my laurels. I am always reaching for the next new experience.  

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Murmurs

Last night I dreamt someone came in and sat on the edge of my bed, all good, very loving. It seemed so real it took a while before I realized I was asleep and dreaming. Today I received unexpectedly in the mail some photographs of my dad. Time has nothing to do with who we are, how it unfolds, or when you feel it. Our lives are expansive, murmuring beyond imposed borders.

GGBRidge

Stinging nettle soup

earth

Opposite sides of anything are sometimes the least interesting part of it. Its easy to identify extremes, but the poem lies at the point where the two poles begin to become one another. A thorn (in your side) makes stinging nettle soup (for healing). Where your ceiling becomes the floor. Loss making way for gain. I’m writing a song now about this idea now; working title #thorn.
#dailymuse #singersongwriter #guitar

Americana / folk

Hannah Judson and Thomas Heyman. Original Americana/folk songs with a twist,

on Thursday night (8/10) at Berkeley Back Room. 8pm

 
Berkeley Back Room
1984 Bonita Ave, Berkeley, CA
All-ages, BYOB. No additional corkage fee.
 
Hannahjudson.com
twitter.com/HannahJudson
instagram.com/hannahj_muse
facebook.com/hannahjudsonmusic
tomheymanmusic.net
Tickets $15 now / $18 at the door.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hannah-judson-tom-heyman-tickets-35393072633

#livelooping #americana #folk #country #songs #singersongwriter