Songwriting

Take the Al Howard Coronavirus Songwriting Challenge

Al Howard
Rosemary Bystrak

San Diego music fans should be well-versed in the world of the Redwoods music family, but for the unfamiliar, it's a music collective and record label featuring several of San Diego's biggest music talents across several different bands, many of whom come together during live performance for the Redwoods Revue. The concept was started by Al Howard and Josh Rice (of The Heavy Guilt at the time) and Matt Molarius (of Transfer and Obscure Magpie Records) in 2015. The collective manages a roster that includes the Midnight Pine, Cardinal Moon, Birdy Bardot, Jake Najor & the Moment of Truth, Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact, the Heavy Guilt, and Dani Bell & The Tarantist, making them a local powerhouse.

Howard, who is responsible for many of the lyrics across the roster, has always been a wordsmith, but he's long maintained that he cannot sing. Of course, quarantine life means writers gotta write, and Howard has stepped up to the plate with a daily quarantine challenge.

“So the premise is: I write a song lyric and you mess with it however you see fit, whatever you’re hearing," Howard posted last week on his Facebook. "And then when this is over, we’ll have a nice little time capsule of beauty in the midst of a tragedy. Something to look back on.”

There has been a huge response from the local music community. It's interesting to watch and hear the diversity of music being shared back with the intertwining thread of Howard's lyrics. Songwriters like Cathryn Beeks, Zachary Goode, Heather Marie, Erik Canzona (the Heavy Guilt) and others have taken to the challenge, with varying instrumentation, rhythms and harmonies. Will this lead to new Redwoods music in the future?

“We don’t have to ever do anything with it ,” Howard shared via Facebook. "Just art for art’s sake."

Hopefully, though, we will get to hear some of these "officially: released in the future.

You can find the lyrics daily on Howard's Facebook page and join the challenge yourself.

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