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Following the Muse

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

My songwriting journey began at age 12 when I penned a truly terrible song called, “Someday I’m Gonna Build Me A House” (yes, it was as bad as the title). The following year I began learning guitar more seriously, and relegated this ditty to the trash heap.

At age 30, after spending my 20’s studying, practicing, writing, playing, gigging and attempting to make a career from music - with little success - I stopped. I moved from lower Manhattan to upstate NY and spent the next 25 years concentrating on raising three kids.

But after moving to Texas and seeing my youngest off to college, that old yearning resurfaced. I started writing again, venturing out to open mics, and meeting other songwriters. One of the first people I met at the Strange Brew Sunday night open mic was Terry Klein. When Terry told me he’d given up a career as a lawyer in Boston to pursue songwriting in Austin, my first instinct was to laugh. Then I heard his songs and said, “Yes!” Some of my first gigs were with Terry, and his journey has been heartening. I didn’t feel so foolish pursuing my own success, watching him make his way - and doing well!

It’s a funny thing – when you first start out - or restart - in music, you think you’ll meet that magical someone who will open doors and give you a big break. That’s a myth. Any inroads I’ve made have been due to hours of effort, and my relationships with fellow singer-songwriters. They give feedback, they share gigs, they give tips about booking, and they offer consolation, reality checks and cheers when encountering failure and successes. My songwriter friends are my inspiration and my sustenance. Some are like Walt Wilkins – long-established, successful artists, who nevertheless find the time to listen and encourage. Many are like Terry Klein – people who decided at a certain age to follow the muse and see where it takes them.

I am profoundly grateful to know both of these fine artists, and thrilled to be opening for them.

− Claudia Gibson

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