Greetings from Nashville!

  After a two day delay due to my kids being sick, I finally arrived in Music City!!  My dear friend and long time co-creator Damhnait (Dav) Doyle picked me up and we went straight to buy red wine to stock the house.  She lives in Toronto and had also been dealing with sick kids, and so the fact that we were both there was a miracle.  Thank goodness for amazing, supportive partners.

  She and I like to cheer each other on. She is a phenomenal songwriter, and is on a similar trajectory as I am. We made records, solo and with a band, and we toured and made videos, but now we are mamas and our priorities have shifted enormously.  Now we want to write more than anything and watch other artists take our songs and give them wings.  So armed with some Spanish and California red, we head for our home for the week, a sweet East Nashville cottage rental, complete with a cat, a vinyl collection and a vibe that made us feel immediately at home.

 Each songwriting sessions was like a revelation.  Delving into what matters to the artists I was collaborating with, we wrote real songs about real things.  We made medicine.  There were tears, silent moment searching for the right words, and a lot of laughter.  I loved every moment.  I would walk the streets after the sessions with my guitar on my back, looking for a cafe where I could sit alone and feel what had just happened.  I remember doing that after giving birth, just trying to capture the feeling and imprinting it into my heart.  Writing a song to me is a mystical experience.  One moment there is no song, and the next it exists, out of nothing. Alchemy. And the magnolia trees…indescribable beauty, even for a poet.

  Nashville is like a giant river full of fish.  You just step in and put out your fishing pole and you catch something right away.  It might be small, it might be big, you never know.  But just knowing you are where it’s flowing, and that everyone here is not only fishing, too, but are happy to go fishing with you?  How fun is that? You make fast, close friends.  

  I wrote 3 country songs and one pop song and already they are finding their way to artists.  So with a counter of empty bottles, not a stitch of laundry washed or a dish done, we head back to our homes, our babies, our husbands refreshed and excited to be mamas, and with our secret reservoirs filled to the brim, because we know we are still filled with songs, and that is an endless source of medicine that we have for the rest of our lives.  

 Thank you, Nashville. For your friendliness, your encouragement and your fast flowing river of music.  I’ll be back soon!

love, Tara

Zandra Stratford

Abstract Artist + Recovering Art Director