Set #12: Jude Gonzalez

Today is Wednesday, and for what seems like the millionth time in my life, I attempt to explain what music does to me. I try to articulate the emotions that flood from me the moment I hear sound and rhythm. The feelings that rise and fall, the goose bumps that emerge on my arms. I choke on words and stumble around what I am actually trying to say. So much of what I want to convey is ineffable – it’s a sensation, a reaction to a comprehensive cause and effect process that oozes from each note, trickles through my body through an expression of voice. Sometimes it’s a tickle and tease, other times it’s a soul-wrenching warmth of affection or as Jude put it, “The ultimate soul-clothing, for any occasion – take it wear it any season. I think one reason I may always be disappointed in love is that I want to find someone as awesome as music.” That sentiment resonates with me, and I begin to reflect on the periods of depression and sudden change in my life – would I have survived without music as an emotional guide? Yes, undeniably yes, but I am confident in the fact that my misery would have been amplified ten-fold. Music therapy is as real to me as the leaves on a tree or the blue sky above. Jude speaks of the healing power of music she’s experienced working first-hand as a volunteer with Musicians on Call down at Children’s Medical Center, watching faces brighten during the darkest moments of a hospital room.

That moment – that singular point in time – is what Jude tells me she attempts to seize in her music. “When you start breaking up the song and the players and the moments – you lose something, and I think that’s why I’m such a big fan of recording things instantly. Even if they are not perfect in my original idea of what perfect would be because the sincerity is the perfection. That’s what you’re trying to capture.” A majority of the songs Jude recorded for the 100 Days of Songwriting are in alternate tunings, anywhere from one to five steps down from the original key. Her voice floats through the notes effortlessly. The idea came about around the time a friend of hers had begun a project doing 100 days of yoga – a different pose for every day – and in an effort to reinvigorate her writing, she challenged herself to write 100 songs in 100 days. After releasing the reigns of self-restriction, the freedom to follow the creative impulse, to write and play music, becomes a much easier undertaking. In the vein of that ability to constantly create and be in motion, Jude tells me, “I just like the concept that life is change. If we’re not growing or evolving we’re stuck, and we’re not only stuck, but we’re actually going backward. I think the name [Reinventing Jude] gives me a lot of freedom to do what ever I want.”

- Brittany Griffiths