We’re thrilled to bring you American Celtic singer/songwriter/musician/character actor Diane Linn for today’s “Music Monday.” A jack-of-all-trades, this woman seriously knows how to entertain! Linn expertly works the crowd giving them a performance they’ll not soon forget. One reviewer said of her show at the Italian Renaissance Festival at Hialeah Park, “Your singing and guitar self-accompaniment are intriguing. You have a special sound and unique style that combined with your amazing way of connecting with each member of an audience with your gaze, tone and body language are most entertaining.” Be sure to check out Linn’s performance of one her original songs, “A Feline State of Mind”, at the end of the post. Welcome, Diane Linn, to M.L. Gardner’s blog!
Describe your music style to our readers.
I often describe my style as “American Celtic”. For me, the Celtic influenced songs and the songs I played growing up form a double helix, interwoven with genetic memory from each one. In other words, music transcends time. I say “A song is a song is a song but it’s how you tell the story within.” Fresh songs written by newer songwriters about mysteries also have a big influence on my new list too. I also write some of my own based on life as I know it or imagine it. On my fourth CD, “Conversations with the Moon”, four of my originals have a Texas swing fiddle player sashaying with the song while my arrangement of “Scarborough Faire” is performed to express the haunted feel of the lyrics. “Tales of the Trickster”, my fifth CD, evolves around the twists and turns of life with lighter moments, just as The Trickster in folklore would.
How and why did you become a musician? Do you play full time?
I think being a musician started when I sat next to my Grandma Linn, on the piano bench, pretending to play what she was playing. Piano is my first instrument but it’s too heavy to carry around! I studied classical piano for fourteen years. I also love ragtime and jazz. When my parents bought a used spinet when I was 9 years old, the only time they ever had to ask, “Will you practice?” was then. There were times I think they wished, late at night, that I would practice a little less. I chose the guitar in jr. high after I had played the ukelele for a year. I wanted to be Joni Mitchell or Judy Collins! Singing started in a choir at school in the first grade. I’ve sung with the Houston Symphony Chorus for a season with “Carmina Burana”. I’ve done many theatrical productions of various kinds. Yes, I am a full time entertainer and musician. I’ve toured coast-to-coast with Celtic music festivals and renaissance festivals. I picked up the Irish frame drum, the bodhran, several years ago. “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken” as my mom says.
What inspires you?
I draw my inspirations from: a great story based on character development and a meaningful plot in a book or a song or a movie. The beauty of the outdoors and the changes of the seasons The magic dance that occurs between an audience and an entertainer. The suspension of disbelief to experience something different. Haunting melodies and the lure of words intertwined with sound and meaning to express a tale. Simple pleasures or far-reaching sagas with strong-willed people. Vibrant lively moments or a cool breeze when you most need it. Dragonflies are my totem. I love animals. A long lonesome wolf’s howl from the neighboring mountain in Colorado or Alaska. Clouds and sunsets. Autumn!!! The mesas and high desert in northern New Mexico. Painting from the tailgate of my truck close to O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch. The call of the eastern screech owls in the Catskills. A long walk amongst the trees under a full moon. Great music and incredible vocals with accompaniment the dances and enhances.
Describe a typical day.
When I’m on tour, the weekend is spent performing and the week days are errands. Monday is the un-day spent most times sleeping in. In between, I develop new songs and arrangements with the guitar and the bodhran. Music is a constant companion in the truck or in my RV. I take lots of photos in hopes that they will jog my memory for paintings. Again, I paint with music all around me. Sometimes friends and I venture out to take in the sites, find second-hand shops or go out to eat. It’s an adventure. When I’m at home, I confess to spending way too much time online. DSL is a dangerous thing. I read a lot. I like staying in contact with friends on Facebook. Again, I develop new songs or practice older ones in preparation for the next gig. A lot of my time is spent sending proposals to festivals, prospecting. Then the follow up calls or letters. I pack and unpack. I spend time with James and our three cats and our dog. If the weather is under 100 degrees, then I truly enjoy walking. Every day includes a dream or two. I go to other friends’ gigs or to a festival.
What are 3 fun things we should know about you?
1. I have a wicked wit. We call it snarkalepsy. I can find the humor in most any situation. 2. My friends are just as wicked and funny. We are our own traveling party. 3. I am always up for an outdoor adventure. When I visited with a friend in Alaska several years ago, he said I was moments from going native. He was correct!
What advice would you give to new artists?
For new artists, ignore all the t.v. shows that claim you will be an instant success just by singing. Invest in an instrument that will always be your partner on stage. Do your own research and development. If you are drawn to a song, make it your own rather than a copy of someone else. That is true art. Commit to being receptive and to be entertaining with your audience. Energy travels in an elliptical orbit among you. It grows as the audience and you connect. Make sure you price yourself fairly so you can earn a decent living without undercutting those who have worked so hard before you to establish a living wage. Treat yourself with care and integrity. Treat your audience the same. Most of all, remember that you are just beginning and there are dues coming. You will make mistakes. Your ability to continue on and create outrageous lyrics and not miss a beat while performing will show you can handle it, whatever IT is.
How can our readers contact you? email, Facebook, Twitter, blog
My website is: www.dianethebard.com emails there are firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Facebook: Diane Linn I am putting together an online site for downloads. I will announce it at my Facebook profile and on my website when it’s ready.
Feel free to add anything about yourself, your music, etc. here.
I genuinely like people. I try to remember people by their names as much as possible at my shows. Names are important. If I can’t remember, I “rehearse” until I get it correct or just pick one that I think suites your energy. Great friendships have emerged and silliness like my friend who calls himself “Tim-O-Steve” because I thought he looks like a Steve. Or I keep asking until I embarrass myself into remembering. My buddy Gary says one word of advice is “Find yourself a great minion.” He is! Padraig is one of my best friends who keeps me above water. James puts up with the rest. Mom is my compass.