Cathy Grier & The Troublemakers released their new album, "I'm All Burn", earlier this year and today Cathy tells us about the record's title track. Here is the story:
I wrote the title track to my album I'm All Burn, inspired by a piece of artwork by artist b. Basch called I'm All Burn. In the piece, actual sections of 1940's newspaper comic strips were set in a montage, while acrylic white and black circles were painted in lines throughout. The comic frames were mostly women in what I would call misogyny is alive and well. In the frame that gave the title of the piece, a woman is sitting on a beach blanket with a sexy bikini pulling down her strap, and the caption reads I'm all burnt- but artist b.basch cut off the t. My reaction to the artwork was visceral, and since it was the time of the #metoo movement, I thought well not much has changed! I wanted to convey curiosity in the lyric "how are we teaching young boys that the age of womanizing is through," It was a simple, yet complex question, while giving the listener something to contemplate. Some people wonder why I didn't write "why are we not teaching...," more than being clunky to sing, the question isn't why aren't we, because societally it is clear at least to me, we are not. And the hook I'm All Burn, was personal to me because, the reality is that when many doors open for women like myself, they often get closed pretty quickly. Leaving us feeling well, quite burned. But I made a twist on the lyric too, giving it a double meaning I'm all burn, as in I'm fired up. I'm going to keep on holding my ground to get noticed.
The melody and composition came to me as a Motown feel with simple rhythm and blues structure and a strong melodic hook. The song was written in collaboration with Matt Spatol and Michael Mckinnon as part of a songwriting collaborative that I am a part of, called Love On Holiday where songwriters come from around the country every February to write songs inspired by artwork, at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. My two much younger than me male collaborators were very supportive of the direction I wanted us to take, and we wrote the song pretty quickly.
In recording the album, I wanted to create a production that sounded retro and loved the idea of bringing in a horn section to pop the rhythm. I played a sitar guitar as the solo instrument with the solo being almost motif like. I remember in the '70's when the sitar guitar was occasionally added to a production, and always loved that sound. The engineer and my co-producer Steve Hamilton had so many instruments in his studio, and I was trying out all sorts of ideas. We even have a version with Andrew Spadafora playing a cool tenor sax solo, but in the end, I felt it was taking the song in another musical direction genre-wise. So, in the end the sitar guitar is where we ended up.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the album here