Tylan

 

What I'm Up To in 2014!

NEW YEAR, NEW PROJECT
This year I'm taking some time off the road to write a ton of new material as part of Real Women Real Songs project, where I've committed to writing a song every week all year long. So far in 2014 I've written 11 new songs! You can see videos of them all for free at my Patreon page. This page is the best place to keep track of what I'm up to creatively in 2014. And if you'd like to support my work with the project, you can become a patron and get lots of goodies in return - kind of like Kickstarter, but for ongoing creative work rather than a big project:

http://www.patreon.com/tylanmusic

The songs I'm writing this year will lay the foundation for my next album, which will likely be a duo project with my partner Ingrid Elizabeth, the sassy bass player from Coyote Grace. Since we're both off the road right now, we've been debuting our new songs live at a series of online Stageit shows. You can follow me on Stageit, or on Facebook or Twitter to find out when the next show is coming up.

Or to keep track of everything, sign up on the email list using the signup on this page.

ONE MORE HUGE THANK YOU
Thank you again for all your support with my little solo album, "One True Thing." What an incredible privilege it was to make this record! And it was an equally amazing experience to take the songs all over the country and play them for you live. You made me feel so welcome and loved wherever I went. I hope to stay in touch with as many of you as possible as I continue on with new projects.

Love,
Ty

Sometimes Leaving Is A Joyful Sign

Though we had all discussed it, hearing Doris announce the end of Girlyman out loud and in public the other day was still kind of stunning for me. On the one hand it was helpful, as it brought closure to something that has been up in the air for all of us for a full year. On the other hand, it fell with a finality that surprised even me, and just like a marriage or a divorce, it was a gesture that immediately ushered in a new reality.

These past couple days I've felt a mix of gratitude, sadness, and love. It's been so moving to read how many of you were inspired or changed by Girlyman, how you grew up listening to us, followed us around the country, fell in love or created community with people you met at shows, or were helped along in your healing somehow by what we did. Being in the middle of it all those years and tending to the minutiae of the day-to-day (Where's the hotel? When is sound check? What's wrong with the van?) I don't think I ever fully grasped this.

I know that every night onstage, I tried to give as much of myself as possible. In writing the songs, I always dug as deep as I could - sometimes that was the Grand Canyon and sometimes it was a mud puddle. In arranging with the band, I loved the process of making the chord we were singing exactly match the feeling of the words. I know I did all of it as best I could despite insecurities, lack of sleep, fears about money, compromises in my relationships, and constant travel. I know some songs were better than others, some shows were more transcendent than others, some days I felt like a rock star and other days I felt like a ridiculous failure. Mostly I felt like I was lucky as hell to be living exactly the life I wanted to live, doing the thing I was put here to do. I was aware on some level that it couldn't go on forever, and yet kind of like youth, it felt like it would never really end.

Last night I dreamt I was at a big festival with Girlyman and Coyote Grace, and people kept asking us to play a song. No, we all said over and over, we can't. Please, everyone kept asking, just one song! But we kept saying no. And then all of a sudden *everyone* at the festival, the whole entire enormous field full of people, starting singing "Hallelujah" together - the Ma Muse song that our two bands sang onstage a cappella in 6-part harmony. "I'm gonna let myself be lifted," thousands of people sang together. I woke up with tears in my eyes.

It all does feel somewhat like a long, vivid dream now. But I'm beginning to understand that what we did in all those little moments of risk-taking, pushing through our fears and telling our truths actually landed, and has stayed with you and lifted all of us. It was all totally worth it, a million times over.

As some of you know, the last year or so of touring with Girlyman was one of the hardest times in my life. A tornado had hit all aspects of my personal life, and dynamics in the band had shifted in such a way that touring became unbearable for me. A van is a hard place to be for ten years, even with people you adore and are constantly cracking up with. Looking back now, I think that we became like animals in a cage together, with deep love and deep resentment, blaming each other for our confines. I think we all knew intuitively that when your home starts feeling like a cage, it's time to be in the wild again. Though I knew this, I resisted it because for essentially my entire adult life, Girlyman had been my whole world and my whole identity. It was a container for all my creativity, a medium for all my expression, a career, a home and a community - it was the thing that held my life together and made it all make sense. The thought of losing it was too terrifying to even contemplate.

And yet, just like a romantic relationship that has run its course, there's a way that you know something's over in your bones way before you're ready to admit it to yourself or anyone else. Looking back, I think that taking a hiatus was a way for us to avert a full-fledged existential crisis - a way to see other people, as it were. And it seems it's taken a solid year to fully accept what is really happening. We're moving on. 

And apparently, life does go on. Having my solo project to concentrate on this past year has been a godsend, and I want to thank everyone who's supported me, despite what may be conflicting feelings about also missing Girlyman. I knew in starting my solo project that some people would be excited to hear what I'd sound like alone, while others would only hear the lack of Doris and Nate singing alongside me. For me, both things happened. I discovered that I do indeed have an artistic self outside of the band. It was strange not hearing the harmonies at first, but I found that it pushed me to explore the edges of my own voice, to play differently, and to perform differently.

Plus, having a new creative outlet right away gave me a way to avert an artistic vacuum - sort of like getting a new puppy right after you lose the dog you grew up with. It's new, it's exciting, it's full of love and potential and it's a whole new being in the world. It's healing. And it will never be what came before. But that's ok, because you already had that. And even if you had it again, it wouldn't be the same, because it's a new moment.

I don't know exactly what the next chapter of my life will look like yet, but there are already some exciting things brewing musically. For the past six months I've been playing, touring, and co-writing with my partner, Ingrid, and the sound that's developing feels like it has the potential to become a whole new project. Neither of us expected that, to be honest, but it feels really good to sing harmony again and to co-write with someone who has such a different musical sensibility than mine. I've also been playing a lot more banjo (!) and I've just signed on for Real Women Real Songs 2014, which means I'll be writing a song a week and posting a video of it for a full year starting in January. If you'd like to keep up with my new musical projects, you can sign up here.

Other than that, this summer I completed training in EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), also called Tapping. EFT is a somatic therapy that uses a combination of western psychology and acupressure. I decided to take the training because of how blown away I've been by the transformations I've seen in myself and in those I've worked with. While this may seem random, being a practitioner of the healing arts doesn't feel like a stretch to me, but rather like another way to work with empathy and intuition (which is ultimately what songwriting is about for me). Over the past few months I've started working with private clients and am hoping to lead some workshops in the near future. (My EFT website is under construction but will eventually be here). Even though I'll always go back to music, it's been amazing to connect deeply with people in an entirely new way.

Before I officially sign off of Girlyman, I just want to say thank you again - for everything, all these years. You all were part and parcel of what made Girlyman so special. I feel so lucky to have been a part of so many of your lives. How amazing! I hope to keep making music for you and stay in touch with as many of you as possible moving forward.

All my love,

ty

Download tracks from One True Thing FREE on Noisetrade!

Exciting news: You can now download half a dozen tracks from One True Thing completely FREE. Noisetrade is a very cool site that allows you to legally download music for free. Yes, LEGALLY. I picked out some of my favorite tracks so you can hear a range of what's on the album. If you like what you hear, please spread the word by sharing the link to my Noisetrade page and telling your friends to download some cool music for free. And if you want, consider leaving a tip. That's it!

Why am I doing this? Simple: I want as many people as possible to hear this music. There are so many ways to get music for free these days in ways that hurt the artist. Here's a way to do it in a totally legit way that actually helps me reach more people.

Enjoy!

xo Ty

Buy the New CD!

"One True Thing" is now available at CDBaby! Go get it now here.

Here's what the reviews are saying:

"While Girlyman’s compositions were always confessional, they usually lightened things up with a silly song or two. 'One True Thing' drops the humor and ramps up the passion with a collection of love songs that deal honestly with the end of a relationship. Tylan has always been a powerful singer, but the poignant honesty that she brings to these tunes gives them an emotional intensity that’s as bracing as it is moving. She asks the unanswerable questions that plague the end of relationships, and while she doesn’t have answers, the questioning provides its own kind of solace." -Relix

“One True Thing comes fully loaded... an excellent album that perfectly showcases its star, Tylan, and gives the singer/songwriter a chance to rely on her muse for direction.” - The Alternate Root

“Tylan’s practice of extending metaphors out toward a precipice keeps an unpredictable edge to [her] songs. Most writers would stop at the easy close. Ty jumps, leaving much to imagination, to powerful effect. Ty’s expressive alto brings quiet energy to her introspective ballads, nursing a negotiation of life from pain to acceptance, if not peace.” – Americana Gazette

"A solid example of a personal journey led by a singer-songwriter with a passion for verbal expression and a subtle voice which adds power to the lyrics. Tylan is definitely one to watch for fans of contemporary American folk and lyrical singer-songwriters.” - Gaelick

Why I'm Playing Stageit Shows

I want to share something honestly with you about the Stageit shows I've been doing. Not only are they an interactive, fun way to offer my songs in a stripped-down, intimate fashion and to get to know you all better, but they are helping me to stay afloat as an independent artist, and most important, to keep writing new songs. 

Ever since I started this solo project, and have been doing almost everything myself, it has been very challenging to find the time to write. Between touring and running almost every aspect of my business myself (including trips to the post office, answering emails, stuffing envelopes - everything!), I have had precious little time to devote to the actual art of making music. Stageit shows give me a way to press pause on my hectic touring schedule and to fund my career without having to resort to a time-consuming day job. I have nothing against day jobs, but I do know from experience that they further erode my ability to keep writing and performing. 

My hope is that the Stageit shows will become a monthly modern "salon" that is exciting and dynamic and also helps to sustain me continuing to make new music for you!

For those of you who don't know, Stageit is a live online performance that artists broadcast directly to fans, often from our living rooms. You get the intimate experience of hearing your favorite songs acoustically, the way they were written. There's a chat box where you can make requests and talk to other viewers. It's pretty much the coolest thing I've seen in a long while, and I'm excited about its community-building potential on top of everything else.

So if you haven't bought your ticket yet, give it a shot! You can pay whatever you want. Every ticket sold and every tip you throw into the virtual tip jar helps me directly and powerfully to keep on doing this.

And I'm offering some pretty cool rewards for the top tippers, including a signed copy of the *original* lyrics to Young James Dean from my notebook circa 2003! You can also get a live concert in your house or via Skype! There's lots of other cool stuff too. I hope you have fun with it. 

Thanks for listening, and I hope to see you on June 18, 8:30pm EST!

With gratitude,
Ty

Find out more and get your ticket here:

http://www.stageit.com/tylanmusic

Sometimes Your Life Is a Baby Pig

Sometimes, I think your life opens up like the Grand Canyon at sunrise - all expansive hope, the soft pink and gold of a mysterious, loving, and deeply meaningful world. I recall some key moments like this in my life. At 19, when I landed in Florence, Italy, for my junior year abroad, the cab from the airport sped through narrow cobblestone streets, the magnificent Duomo rose up like Everest before me, the faces of the buildings shone gold, and the air smelled musky like olive oil and Chianti. I was profoundly moved by epic beauty at every turn, and for the first time in my life it felt like this beauty was both within me and without. I felt my own potential when I looked at the Tuscan hills and the sunlight glinting like a million diamonds off the Arno. Later that year, I took a night train to Paris. At 3 or 4 in the morning I looked out the window and the Alps were inches from my face, dark and cragged, immense as the promise of my youthful life. I remember years later standing onstage with the Indigo Girls in front of 7,000 people, singing "Finlandia" a capella in 5 part harmony, feeling a holiness like the whole room was praying for peace, and like my soul was meant to sing. 

Other times, your life is like a dark alleyway in the middle of the night. You feel alone, cold, directionless. You feel like suddenly all the meaning you were sure was coalescing in your favor has vanished. Your life is in boxes, you're grasping at the skeletal frame of some core truth that once felt fleshy and ripe and fertile as Beltane (happy Beltane, by the way!). I've had these times too, many of them in the past couple years. 

And then there are the times when your life is a baby pig. You are somewhere in between worlds. You've just been born, someone holds you up as you squint and squirm. You have just a little fur, eyes too new to open fully, cloven hooves, and a great, ridiculous burden in the middle of your face where everyone can see it - a big, awkward, wet, bizarre appendage. A snout.

 

The other day I saw this picture in my friend's news feed and felt an immediate kinship. There is something so tender about an awkward animal. Sometimes these days I feel this tenderness for myself - for my squealing little pink body, newly born into a life I barely recognize - and sometimes I feel like the world will never see beyond my snout. Sometimes I feel I've been punished for some past life transgression, cursed to be reborn as a pig. This is how new and unfamiliar and vulnerable things can feel to me these days.

Recently in interviews, a couple of people have commented on what they see as the "darkness" in my new album. Despite the album's themes, I usually respectfully agree to disagree. I've made no secret of the events that led to the making of "One True Thing" - my life essentially fell apart. I lost my partner, my job, my best friend, my community, my house...the list goes on. It all happened at once. I moved across the country and tried to believe I still existed. But it felt very important and actually felt like a matter of my own survival to take all the pieces and make them into art, to go to the darkest places and pull beauty out of the void. Because, honestly, what else do you do? I did it because I don't think I am alone in this need to have brokenness made back into love. 

When I think of all this recently, it is sometimes still hard to believe the way I did when I was 19, eating spaghetti carbonara and drinking wine in castles and heating milk on the stove for my espresso every morning. So I go back to the true thing in the album, the little tiny magical bird on the cover. That bird is inside everyone, even a baby pig with its snout on its sleeve. When every day feels like a question mark, in some ways it can even help to just say it like it is, to say to the world, "Here I am, I'm new here. Here is my heart, I have nothing to hide anymore." 

This Is the Best Part of Your Life

Three weeks ago I moved to Sonoma County, CA, and promptly got the flu. The flu turned into bronchitis turned into an existential crisis - who moves across the country and immediately gets sick? What kind of universal message is this? The fact that almost everyone else in the country has also been sick didn't make it seem any less personal. It was clear - 2013 hated me already. I wasn't able to do any actual moving, and my boxes and furniture and bikes languished in the moving pod out on the gravel driveway. After almost two weeks I went to the doctor and got some antibiotics, and a few days later my symptoms began to subside. Wow, 2013, nice to meet you too!

I guess I did that thing of bursting out of the gate with a dash too much brio, because today I woke up feeling sick again. But getting myself out of the house and seeing last night's show by my friends Red Molly was worth a relapse. To be honest, I had wondered if going to this particular venue, where Girlyman has played to large, enthusiastic crowds in the past, would make me sad about being off the road with my band - but instead I left inspired, energized and uplifted by these gals. Their overall demeanor was one of gratitude - for each other, for the audience, and for the opportunity to play music. Their harmonies were among the tightest and most inventive I've heard. But the moment that made the night for me (and I suspect many others) was their encore, an a capella version of Susan Werner's "May I Suggest:"

"May I suggest, may I suggest to you / May I suggest this is the best part of your life / May I suggest, this time is blessed for you / This time is blessed and shining almost blinding light / Just turn your head and you'll begin to see / The thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight / The reasons why, why I suggest to you / Why I suggest this is the best part of your life." 

I think that every person in the venue last night felt that these words were sung directly to them, and such is the power of great songwriting. There was a feeling as each phrase rang out that the whole room was holding its breath, a credit to RM's arrangement and delivery as well as to the punch of Susan's words. I love the audacity of the song, the way it breaks through everyone's notion that their "best" moment was or will be some other moment. The easy reference Susan makes to our ways of evading our lives in the exact now. And the gentleness she employs in reminding us of the obvious but overlooked brilliance of the life that's staring us in the face. Gosh, how hard this is to truly know. (And I've been practicing meditation for over a decade, not that that necessarily means anything!)

Certainly the idea that my best life is behind me is one that has haunted me during this time away from Girlyman. With the perspective of some months away, it's easy to look back at the years of shows, songs, and tours, as some channeled, divinely inspired epoch. The truth, though, is that while that time contained moments of enlightenment and plenty of peak experience, it also contained pockets of fear, boredom, monotony (think fourteen hour drives), bad food, hauling ass, smallness, and ego. Such is life. And how comforting and true to think that this is what makes right now the very best - that it contains all of our humanness and imperfection, our striving and missing and occasionally hitting the mark. All of our potential, distilled, in each moment - even if we're just snotting our way through another box of tissues (OK, I'll be honest - another roll of toilet paper). Hearing this last night was exactly what I needed. No one promised me anything, but the suggestion was enough. 

So thanks, Laurie, Abbie, Molly, and Susan! You made my month. Not that you had much competition, but still. And I sincerely hope that none of you gets this flu.

Everything Dies, Baby, That's a Fact

So, holiday season it is! Despite all the bells a-ringing and lights a-flashing, I always find this time of year to be the most introspective. The darkening days, the chill air (if you don't live in Atlanta), the winding down of something that's ending and preparing to exchange it for something new and unknown. Maybe that's why we seem intent on consuming so much - because it flattens and absorbs and mutes everything that's rising to the surface from the past year - regret, joy, loss, excitement, hope - feelings bubbling up like so much schmaltz rising to the top of my Bubbie's turkey broth after Thanksgiving is over. If only we could become friends with that schmaltz, learn to really experience the fatty wonder of it, it could transform us. (Or so my Bubbie claims.)

This has certainly been that kind of time for me. After many years of listing westward, I've been spending the past few weeks packing up my life and preparing to move to California. This is the culmination of a year (several years in fact) of relentless change. The things that upended this year included my most long term relationship, my housing and financial situation, my career (as my band Girlyman went on touring hiatus), and previously unquestioned lifelong friendships that seemed to suddenly just close. All of this, naturally, happened at once. Like it seems to do.

So, I've been quietly and hilariously surrendering to the simultaneous need to hunker down, meditate a lot, and write, and also to do 5 million other things that engage ebulliently with the world, like making a CD, setting up a website and a business infrastructure, and essentially starting an entirely new life. NBD!

But strangely, or not so strangely, I'm enjoying this time. I realize that these moments in life, when everything is up for grabs and anything can happen, are rare. Usually we're tied down in in one way or another, or obligated, or at least we feel that our most basic questions already have answers. When all of that is stripped away, if you don't stuff your face or shopping cart too much, I'm seeing that it's possible to glimpse who you are under the massive identity you've constructed. You could say that after many months of resisting the schmaltz, I am beginning to scrape it from the top of the chilled broth and even look forward to making matzoh balls. Mmmm...matzoh balls.

This is exciting and terrifying. I think you will hear all this in my album, and hopefully it will be that kind of schmaltz. Not the schmaltzy kind. If you know what I mean. 

Happy holidays!

love,
ty 

New website!

This appears to be my inaugural post (ahem) on my new website. So, hi! I'm Tylan. But you can call me Ty. For 11 years I've been making records and touring internationally with Girlyman, and now I'm navigating uncharted waters. That is, I'm working on my debut solo CD, "One True Thing." I started this journey back in June when I realized that I really wanted to record a bunch of songs that I've written over the years that never made it onto Girlyman albums. I also wrote some brand new songs, and compiled the ones I loved the most into this collection. It represents exactly where I am right now. Truthfully, the past couple years have been times of extreme change for me, so the themes on the album are about letting go, hanging on, loving despite difficulty, getting pissed off at said difficulty, venturing into the unknown, and trying to have faith that everything will work out. You know, just some light reading as per usual.

The CD is sounding better than I could have imagined, thanks to my producer Michael Connolly, and I'm getting really excited. We're almost done tracking and start with mixing in the next couple weeks. I've also been working with local Atlanta artist Mary Campbell on the artwork and the stuff she's shown me so far is fitting so perfectly with the music that I'm kind of beside myself. I can't wait to show you this thing.

So, if you missed out on the Kickstarter for the album, you can still pre-order here. I'll send you "One True Thing" before its official release, signed and sent with tons of gratitude. I so appreciate your support! 

And while you're here don't forget to check out the calendar page for upcoming tour dates! You can also sign up on the mailing list to be sure you'll never miss a show in your area.

Thanks, y'all!

Love,

Tylan

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