John Craigie is one with words.
As they jump around in his head, he patiently waits to weave together the right ones for his songs.
The result can be heard in most recent album, “Mermaid Salt.” The Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter is currently on tour and it will make a stop in Santa Fe on Wednesday, Nov. 9, and on Thursday, Nov. 10, in Albuquerque.
Craigie’s album was released in April. He began work on it immediately after finishing 2020’s “Asterisk the Universe.”
“It’s always hard to know exactly how long one works on an album. In some ways you’re always working on it, as songs come and go throughout the years,” Craigie says. “Once a record is finished then I do allow myself to fully dive into the next one. So it’s safe to say that once I (finished) recording on ‘Asterisk the Universe,’ the thoughts of ‘Mermaid Salt’ began. But lockdown and quarantine really helped form the songs and the album ideas. In that way it was different since most songs are written on the road. Backstage, hotel rooms, etc. ‘Mermaid Salt’ songs were written at home with no touring in site.”
Craigie settled for 10 songs on the album, though he was able to pick from 13 written for the project. Eleven eventually were recorded.
“One song just didn’t accomplish what I was hoping for so it got pushed to a future project,” he says. “Therefore, it was easy to know which 10 to use.”
The 42-year-old musician has been recording professionally for nearly 20 years.
Over that course, he’s progressed as a songwriter, which as also helped his editing talents get stronger.
“I think it’s really hard for a beginning artist to edit themselves since they are so attached and excited about the things they put out. But also as your relationship with your audience grows, you learn how to be more efficient with your art and with your message,” he says. “This of course is to simply use the term ‘editing’ as making a song shorter or using less words to say more. As far as concepts or ideas or themes I don’t edit those at all. I think it’s important for the songwriter to be honest and transparent in their journey. So no, there are no subjects that I want to sing about that I would edit myself from doing.”
“(It’s) very difficult actually. It’s always a bit of a struggle,” he says of putting together a setlist. “I don’t have any specific ‘hits,’ so I’m never sure what songs the crowd wants and I do love to sing things the audience is anticipating. But I also am very excited about playing new songs but there’s never enough time to do it all.”