Letters from the Muse Room #41 (September 2023)

The “Muse Room” is the room in my house where I make music and my wife makes visual art. Published the first Friday of every other month, each issue of Letters from the Muse Room includes news and updates about my music, as well as something that has inspired me creatively over the past two months.

Dear friends,

Welcome to fall! (I know it doesn’t officially start until September 23, but, kids are back in school, PSLs are back at Starbucks, leaves are starting to blow off the trees… c’mon, it’s basically fall.)

I have two announcements in this Letter, one about concert music and one about pop music.

In the concert-music realm, I’ve recently joined Scorefolio, an online service that creates score videos, and I’ve done two so far. The first was a short piano prelude called “To The Nines” (because it’s based around ninth chords). The second one is my flute duet A Long Weight of Silence, a reflection and meditation on the pandemic through the lens of the six stages of grief. If you’re interested, you can watch the score videos on Scorefolio here or on YouTube here.

[A screenshot of score videos on YouTube.]

In the pop-music realm, I wrote last time about how seeing Matchbox 20 in concert had inspired me to do some pop music songwriting again. I’m happy to report that I’ve done just that. I’m planning a five-song EP, and I have four of the five songs written (and have started on the fifth). One of the songs I performed once (MAYBE twice), in California, 10 or more years ago; the other four songs are brand new and never-before-heard. I’m excited to share more with you soon.

[A pencil with some lyrics for “Who I Am Part 2.”]

The first song is called “Who I Am Part 2.”

But in the meantime, I’m very excited to announce something I haven’t been able to announce in years: If you’re in Kansas City in October, YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO COME AND HEAR ME PLAY MY POP MUSIC LIVE, FOR FREE. That’s right, I’ll be performing at PorchFestKC this year.

This is an awesome local festival that takes place in the Valentine/Roanoke midtown area; homeowners volunteer to host musicians on their porches, and people can come to see a particular artist or just stroll down the street and stop at whatever porch sounds like their kind of jam. I did this back in 2016 (wow, that was a long time ago) and it was super fun.

[AJ performing at PorchFestKC in 2016, with his three-year-old daughter next to him.]

A cute blonde came and crashed the party. :)

The festival is Saturday, October 14, and I’ll be performing on a porch near 39th and Broadway at noon. I’ll be debuting the new songs as well as playing others from Songs From My Shelf and maybe a cover or two. I’ll send more information and reminders as we get closer. I would love to see you there!

[The official graphic for PorchFestKC 2023.]


I’ve recently been inspired by a book with a provocative title: Real Artists Don’t Starve, by Jeff Goins.

[The cover of Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins.]

As often happens with me, I bought this book a while ago but never got around to reading it until now. And it’s had a lot of really good things to say. Its goal is to expose the “starving artist” archetype as a myth and show creatives how they can instead be “thriving artists” who make money from their art, connect with their audience and have a real impact.

If you’re an artist, a creative of any stripe or even an entrepreneur, I’d highly recommend it. Jeff Goins also has a Substack you can subscribe to where he writes about writing, life, creativity and the lessons he’s learned from them all.

Thanks for reading. If you’ve made it this far, I want to let you know that I really appreciate it, and I truly hope that these newsletters bring a little spark of joy and inspiration to you. Until next time, I hope you find some small (or some big) ways to thrive.

AJ Harbison

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