Here is an article published in the Bridge Newsletter featuring our own Priscilla Roggenkamp:
Member Profile: Priscilla Roggenkamp
| || |
As an associate professor of Art at Ashland University, Priscilla Roggenkamp works in two and three dimensions across various disciplines from painting to fiber and sculpture. As a member of Rock Salt and Nails she plays bass, sings harmony and creates lyrics that blend with the original music and cover songs the band presents on stages throughout the area. Recently, The Bridge sat down with this fascinating woman to talk about her craft and her involvement with Songwriter Summit.
The Bridge: What keeps you coming back to Songwriter Summit on a regular basis?
Priscilla: Songs are crafted just like any other art form. You put in the work to create something. You edit, you worry, you love it, you hate it. You wonder; is this as good as I think it is? Does this suck as much as I think it does? Your creation means something to you. It’s a very personal experience; it’s your baby. And yet songs need to be shared, to live outside of you. Where to begin? Songwriter Summit is a place to try things out, to put your song out there in an encouraging but truthful environment. It’s an opportunity to share with folks who listen, give suggestions, hear something you missed and help you with the crafting of your work. It’s a musical incubator giving support to fledgling songs. That support keeps me coming back.
And of course you get to be that support and critical ear for others. I believe that I have gained as much from hearing others’ songs as I have from sharing mine. How does someone else structure a song? What kinds of tales do they tell? What do I like or not like about it and why? I learn and grow from every part of the process of Songwriter Summit meetings. The fact that everyone can participate is an aspect of the group that keeps me coming back. Plus, in my experience, creative folks are good folks to hang out with and I have enjoyed meeting and sharing with fellow songwriters.
The Bridge: What drives your writing?
Priscilla: I have always written to understand what I am thinking. I write notes and travel journals and lists to help me make decisions. As a visual artist I often write as much as I draw in my sketchbooks. This writing is for me alone, but song writing…that’s public and a really different way of extending myself into the world. My ideas come from various places; the politics of the day, past lives and loves, present concerns, stories I want to share, things I’d tell my children, and other passing thoughts that arise. They are a message, a prayer, a complaint, or a wish made manifest. They might begin as a bit a melody or a line of lyric, or sometimes just a rhythm I want to play with.
I know that my song writing also comes in part from my family life growing up. My father is a minister. I spent years listening to well-crafted sermons where I could sense carefully chosen wordings and hear messages in the metaphors. I could see how important just the right word was and how
beautiful it could be. I also grew up in a musical family. Everyone played an instrument or three, and sang. I wasn’t taught music as much as I absorbed it from my surroundings. It has always been a part of me. So though I am fairly new to writing songs, the songs arrive as if they were just biding their time, waiting for me to pay attention.
The Bridge: How would you describe the music you create?
Priscilla: For me songwriting is story telling. I try to get from here to there, saying something along the way. I value simplicity and clarity in my work. I have become more interested in rhythm and beat as I continue to write. I have a rather narrow vocal range so that shapes the melodies I create. Though I’m not a category person, my songs might best fit into the contemporary folk genre.
The Bridge: What advice would you share with other songwriters?
Priscilla: I would advise other songwriters to find a healthy balance between listening to others (their music, their advice, their thoughts on "the proper" way to create a good song) and listening to what’s inside of you. Don’t use formulas, don’t follow what others do, don’t worry about being unique. You are unique. Be honest about what you have to say and what you want to hear and you will find a voice that is truly your own. Find your strengths. Mine is probably word-smithing over creating great melodies. Try not to be intimidated by your limitations. Creating, whether it’s an extraordinary creation or just a sweet personal one, is extremely important. When you write a song, you are participating in an act that spans all ages and all peoples. When you sing your song, you have joined the chorus of humankind at its best.
The Bridge: What are your thoughts about working with a co-writer?
Priscilla: I have written several songs with my good friend, Jim Dutter. Believe me, I couldn’t do that with just anyone. I trust Jim and he trusts me. He has strengths I don’t have and I think he would say the same of me. He is always supportive but he’s also honest with me.
I would say we are very serious about what we do, but we don’t take our selves seriously. We have created some wonderful songs…and some that just don’t work no matter how hard we hammer at them. Sometimes we work on something, then put it away and wait for it to call to us again. And sometimes a song gets the better of us (Plow the Fields, Jim). When we co-write, we also want to know what the other wants from their contribution. If Jim comes up with a melody, before I add lyrics, I always want to know what he envisions for it, something sad, or soft or sweet or whatever. He often has an idea and I help flesh it out. The same is true for me when I bring Jim something to add his magic to.
That said we mostly create separately from each other and then share. The process of working is a singular one for each of us. We rarely sit in the same room and work a song together when we’re writing. It’s a process that seems to work for us.
The Bridge: What is the difference between the best song you've ever written and the worst?
Priscilla: The best songs come easily as if they were there all along and I’m just uncovering them. The worst songs I can beat the heck out of them and they still laugh at me. But sometimes, if I’m fortunate and crafty enough (and attend Songwriter Summit) even those surrender to my nagging hard work.
July 27th 2018 Jupiter Studios Alliance, Ohio was a fun night for us as we performed for an enthusiastic crowd at Jupiter Studios. The highlight was getting to see Ginny and Phil who were visiting and planned their trip around our performance date.
July 14, 2018 was a beautiful Ohio morning. RSN played for the Canton Farmers Market. By 11am it was getting pretty warm but had to make the trek north to the annual folk music festival at Hale Farm where we enjoyed playing with lots of talented musicians. When the day was done we were all hot, tired and sore fingered! What fun it was. Looking forward to our bi-monthly appearance at Alliance's Jupiter Studios. Hope to see you there.
July 7, 2018 was a very busy weekend for RSN. Friday 7/6 we played at Sonnets for Wadsworth's First Friday.We made lots of new fans playing to an enthusiastic crowd
Saturday 7/7 we at the Louisville Farmers Market. Arts n Stark sponsored the event and put us on the coolest retractable stage we've ever seen. Thanks to all who came out on this absolutely beautiful day.
Since we last talked we have had our second recording session, played at the Sandy Springs Brewery in beautiful downtown Minerva and played for a Veterans ward dinner at the Alliance Senior Center. It's been a busy year so far and we have 4 scheduled gigs in July. We will be at Sonnets in downtown Wadsworth for their First Friday celebration on the 6th. We will be on stage at the Louisville Farmers Market the next morning sponsored by Arts n Stark. On the 14th we will be at the Canton Farmers Market and the 27th will bring us back to our home away from home Jupiter Studios for our bi-monthly performance.
May 26,2018- Great fun last night at Jupiter Studios for their traditional folk night. It was a pleasure to share the stage with Goslee Reed and Kerry Kean. It made the night very special with their set of original and cover songs.
We will be at Rodman Library Alliance,Ohio for an afternoon free concert. Then June 4th we are back in studio with David Mayfield to record more songs for CD #4
May 9,2018 RSN began the process for CD#4. We hope to have a 12 song CD by summers end. We chose engineer David Mayfield to produce this CD. David is well known nationally as a performer. He specializes in acoustic sound. The first night we got four tracks down for him to mix and master. We can't wait for the projects completion.
Look for us at Jupiter Studios Friday May 25. Keith will unfortunately miss this one as he and the family will be traveling. We have invited Kerry Kean from Kent. Kerry is a terrific guitar and fiddle player. Hope to see you there.
Great time at the Sandy Springs Brewery in Minerva last night, Saturday 4/28 . Really nice crowd and great hospitality. We will be back in June! Next up Canton's First Friday at the Art Museum for the Ceramic Guild's Empty Bowl benefit.
Friday April 6,2018. Great fun last night at Sonnets in Wadsworth for their FIRST Friday! I 'm not sure why but every time we play their it seems to snow. Even in April! Thanks to Mike for going home to get his fiddle and playing along some. Also for playing during our break. Thanks to Sonnets for the great hospitality.
Rock Salt and Nails will be playing the 10x3 at Jillys in Akron Wednesday March 21st. Our time slot is 10:00. Ten artists, three songs each. We heard some wonderful musicians last time we went.
We'll be playing at Jupiter Studios on Friday March 23 at 7:30 or there abouts.
We're trying out some new tunes and dusting off some older ones. Cover $5. Excellent drink and food!
April 6th. First Friday in Wadsworth at Sonnets. 7-9
April 13th. The Art Spot Gallery in Minerva 5-9.
April 21st. The Domestic Violence Fund Raiser in Alliance
April 28. Sandy Spring Brewery in Minerva. 5-8
May 4th. Canton Museum of Art, Ceramics Exhibition and Sale.
Thanks for your support. Hope to see you Friday at Jupiter!
We played at the 10x3 this past Wednesday 2/7 at Jilly's in Akron. What a cool event. Brent Kirby, a really cool singer songwriter from Cleveland, hosted this event. There were some really talented performers there. It was great to be a part of it. We hope to do it again.
January 27, 2018 Thanks to all who came out to catch our performance at Jupiter Studios last night. We sure appreciate all of you! We had a blast and met some new folks in the crowd which continues to grow!
See you down the pike!
Keith, Priscilla and Jim
As we approach 2018 RSN will begin its 10th year. Wow!!! time goes by fast. Plans for 2018 include expanding our music catalog with more new RSN songs as well as learning more cover tunes to keep us fresh. Happy New Year to all our friends.
January 2018 we will be playing at the Louisville Eagles Friday the 19th from 7-10pm and Jupiter Studios Friday the 26th for folk night.
We will be at Minerva's Art Spot Friday December 8th from 5-9pm. This is always a nice place to visit and browse the wonderful art that is on display, enjoy some refreshments and of course great music.
On December 2nd we once again played to the Louisville YMCA Snowflake Auction. What a great crowd who showed up for a great cause.
See you down the road.
RSN played our annual Thanksgiving show on Black Friday at Jupiter Studios. What a nice crowd. Special thanks to the Swope's and Roggenkamp's who were here from coast to coast. It was also great to see John Reed back in the audience. Thanks again to all that came out.
Keith, Priscilla and Jim