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2018-02-22 Steve Gardiner Writing Music and Lyrics--Greta Gardiner

Editor's Note: My three daughters have found their own niches in the world of literacy. The next three front page stories will feature them discussing their lives and their versions of literacy.

This first story is about my oldest daughter Greta from Ashland, Oregon, and how her travels and song writing have framed her life.


The second story will be about my middle daughter Romney from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and how her academic studies for her MBA degree led her to understand and track the cutting-edge world of digital advertising.


The third story will be about my youngest daughter Denby from Denver, Colorado. While she works her day job in the solar energy industry, one of her passions is attending the myriad musical shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and other venues around the city and reviewing them for 303 Magazine.


Greta Gardiner


Literacy takes many forms, and for Greta Gardiner, expressing herself comes most naturally through song writing. In fact, she just recently released a CD titled Soma which contains ten of her newest folk songs.


“When I was in high school,” she said, “I often wrote poems or lyrics. It seemed totally normal to me, but later on, I realized that not everybody does that.”


Those early writings gave her a background in putting words together. Then, during an exchange student program in Uruguay during her senior year in high school, she studied guitar with one of the best teachers in the country. She learned to play songs by Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell, and that helped her understand the structure of songs.


Graduating from high school in Montana, Greta moved to Ashland, Oregon, to attend Southern Oregon University where she graduated in 2007. She loves the Ashland area, so she has continued to live and play music there. She was a member of two bands, Lost Maven and Organik Time Machine which gave her a good background in writing music for a group.


“When I was in a band, I usually wrote songs by starting with a chord progression,” she explained. “I sometimes worked by myself and sometimes with another band member and would take the rhythm and then add lyrics to that.”


After those bands ended, she found herself enjoying the shows she played solo. She also discovered that writing songs for herself happened in a slightly different manner. “Now I say my songs come to me like a lightning bolt. It often happens when I am driving, and I have to pull over and sing the song into my phone and save it as a voice memo. I learned the hard way that if I don't save it right away, I will lose that song. I can't even wait a few minutes. I lost a lot of songs by thinking I would remember them, then I ended up forgetting them quickly.”


She saves the song ideas on her phone, then emails them to herself so she can store them on her computer. Sometimes she gets back to an idea soon, but it can also take her months to get back to some ideas, but with them saved, they are waiting for her when she is ready to work with them.


Especially with the songs she writes for her solo performances, Greta likes to use images and ideas from her own life. The songs on her new CD include references to growing up near the Rocky Mountains, phrases from Spanish and French (both languages that she speaks fluently) and Sanskrit which is a nod to her extensive yoga background.


In addition to the time in Uruguay in high school, Greta also spent two years in France during college. She loves to travel and hopes her music will soon give her a reason to go on the road. She has friends in California and is planning gigs along the West Coast. From her previous travels, she has a host of friends in Europe and South America.


While Greta thought being in a band was fun, it required a lot of commitment and working around other people's schedules. “It is really nice to be solo,” she said. “Setting up for a show is so much easier by myself.”


Greta continues to write new music and will soon have enough music for another CD which she hopes to release next year.


Her schedule of shows and a link to order a digital version of her CD can be found on her website at https://gretagardiner.com.



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