Tell Me Your Truest Story
Music as Medicine - Episode Five: Kelley Hunt
Kelley Hunt is a quadruple threat – an exquisite songwriter, virtuoso pianist and guitar player, astonishing singer, and also an amazing arranger of her music, whether for solo concerts or an 8-piece band and several vocalists creating entwined and soaring harmonies and magic together. She’s also a vocal, songwriting, and music coach and educator, and she’s my co-conspirator for Brave Voice: Writing & Singing for Your Life, an annual retreat we’ve been rocking forth since 2006.
Kelley often uses the word soulful because that’s what she embodies in her music, writing, and simply the way she moves through this life. I’ve always been drawn to her music for its innate healing qualities, whether I’m listening at home or sitting in one of the coveted seats at her concerts or just buddying up to her at the piano while we write another song. Yes, one of the greatest gifts in my life is getting to co-write songs with Kelley.
One of her albums and songs is called “Inspiration,” and that she is. Throughout the worst of the pandemic, Kelley, with her manager (and husband) Al Berman, put out weekly Connection Concerts, free for anyone to attend via Facebook Live, to let us know we weren’t alone in our distance.
The songs we talked about today included: “Freedom Day,” “Music Was the Thread,” “The Beautiful Bones,” “Miracle,” “Love,” “That’s What Makes You Strong” (by Jesse Winchester), "Mercy,” “Stand Up" (which you can download for free on her home page), “Bright Lights" (not yet recorded), and "Love Heals" (not recorded). Please support this artist by buying some music, sheet music, or other merch at her website (where you can also find out when she's performing live or over the interwebs).
Please support my podcast by becoming a patron (for as little as $3/month), plus you'll get weekly care packages for a creative life, cool perks, a writing guide, and more. More here.
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About Tell Me Your Truest Story
This podcast comes out of my calling to grapple with the stories that define or limit, free up or shut down, and otherwise come between us and our life callings as well as the callings of our time and this beautiful earth.
As a kid, my favorite word, besides "dessert," was "why?" So much didn’t make sense to me except losing myself in the making of something -- art, music, writing -- which also became a pretty nifty survival mechanism.
Poetry gave me a way to circle around meaning. In Judaism and other religions, there are hundreds of names for God or the sacred, each one a way to encircle what can't be named directly. Not to say that my early poetry was all that holy or profound, but I was circling the fire, trying to find the warmth and light, sources of sustenance, as I wrote about the trees and wind.
I ended up going to journalism school but was drawn more to listening to what was truest for the people I interviewed. No wonder I ended up studying labor history, because I figured that the stories we tell ourselves about work are so pervasive that it was worth figuring out how to revise some of those stories. But then there were the trees and the wind, still calling me to the page; over time, I realized that the real ground was home. When I stumbled across bioregionalism – a movement on learning how to live through where we lived, I found a story that made sense for my life.
Way led to way, writing led to teaching, teaching led to facilitating people writing their truths and witnessing each other, and over time, I was led to found Transformative Language Arts, which encourages people to use writing, storytelling, theater, music, and other arts for healing and health, community-building and keeping, social change and ecological awakening. Riding sidecar is Right Livelihood, work, art, or service that shares our gifts, challenges our edges, and betters the world. I’ve also written a whole lot of books, poems, essays, songs, and other things because putting things into words is a way of knowing as well as unlearning what no longer serves me. What feeds my writing and work is the power of deep listening.
I’m living a story I couldn’t have imagined as a baby poet teenaging my way through the mid-1970s in Springsteen land. Almost all of our work – whether leading a workshop for people living with serious illness or planning a Brave Voice retreat with Kelley Hunt or writing on my front porch – circles around the holy fire of what we create and change through our stories.
What do I want to know? Your truest story, and for us all to witness what’s truest for us and this world, our home communities and the bioregions where we live. I invite you to listen to what resonates with you, then write or speak or otherwise wander through your stories to find where to step next and how to bring greater presence and soul to this ailing and healing world.
How to Listen
This podcast focuses on exploring, unearthing, and at times revising the stories we tell ourselves and are told to find greater freedom, justice, wisdom, and homecoming. Explore with us ways to better align our narratives with our callings and the callings of our time and the living earth.
Please support this podcast by becoming a Patreon supporter. For as little as $3/month, you can help me create new work (such as each episode), plus you'll receive a weekly "Care Package for a Creative Life" post, a writing guide just for you, and cool perks. More here.
Here's past episodes:
- One: "The World Is Made of Story" With Stephanie Mills and David Abram
- Two: "If You Don't Tell Your Story, Someone Else Will" With Joseph Bruchac and Lyn Ford
- Three: "Changing Our Story of Anger" With Harriet Lerner
- Four: "Telling Buried Stories in Film and Life" With Kevin Willmott
- Five: "Music as Medicine" with Kelley Hunt
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Please subscribe at carynmirriamgoldberg.podbean.com. You can also find “Tell Me Your Truest Story” on Instagram and Facebook.