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Trixie Whitley, daughter of late guitarist Chris Whitley who has her father’s idiosyncratic way with a forlorn folk-blues number, should be savoring the moment. After several EPs and an unreleased album for Jive Records — for whom she recorded as vocalist for Daniel Lanois’ side group Black Dub — the smoky R&B stylist finally issued her debut disc “Fourth Corner” and is on a solo tour that brings her to The Chapel this weekend. Yet she already is planning her follow-up recording.
So you’re going to the South of France to compose the next record?
Oh, yeah. I feel like the music industry is in such a flux, but there are certain kinds of old-school formulas that you’re still expected to follow, like putting out a record and then touring nonstop. I do music from a deep need to create and get stuff out, and that doesn’t always peacefully coexist with life on tour. But creation can happen in many different ways. I actually love writing stuff during soundchecks, too, when I’ll just sit with a riff. But being outside all that, away from any distractions and traveling to some place of solitude where you can be focused? That’s what I love to do.
Your favorite retreats?
I went to Morocco for a couple of weeks, and actually the song “Fourth Corner” was written there. Sometimes I’ll go to New Mexico or Mexico itself and just disappear for a while. And I’ve got a studio space in Brooklyn, by where I live. And I’ve been trying to discipline myself and almost be like “All right, I’m going to the shack, and these are the hours when I’m going to fully focus.” So I hope to never feel like I’ve found one specific formula. I want to stay inspired and look for new ways.
What new ways have you discovered lately?
Well, this might sound a little New Age-y, but quite recently, I did start meditating. And using that as a technique within the writing. I used to get really frustrated, thinking, “Oh, you just have to follow the muse when it’s there.” So just this week, I was amazed by just sitting with a chord progression or even just a word and — instead of moving away from it when I feel stuck — just meditating on it for as long as I can. I’ve been surprising myself with this technique — stuff just starts flowing, randomly. Out of nothing!
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