I had a lot of self-esteem issues growing up. This song ‘Vision’ takes my experiences and hopefully provides some encouragement to anyone struggling to find their way. “Insecure but for no reason. Well loved but your heart’s a mess” that lyric was written specifically with my daughter in mind. She’s beautiful, kind, wild, funny and so smart, but her insecurities were holding her back. With this song I hoped to encourage her the most; mission accomplished!
Listen to the interview on Anchor Fm: https://anchor.fm/ava-live-radio/episodes/Marlo-Lynn-of-Old-Town-Tonic-on-song-writing-and-Vision-e1gl9k
Episode #561: A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax
Interview by Jacqueline Jax
host of A.V.A Live Radio
Band Name: Old Town Tonic
Lead Vocals: Marlo Lynn / Bass/Producer/Engineer: Jim Reeder / Guitar: Nathan McCartney /
Drums: Chris Marin / Keys: Dave White
Person Interviewing: Marlo Lynn
Song name: Vision
Music Genre: Pop / Rock
Our music is classified as Pop/Rock with a Country soul. With five members in the band, we are diverse. From Celtic Rock to Blues and Country to Pop, we bring a little of everything to the table and meld it together to create something unique. You’ll hear it in the music.
The way we perform falls in line with the way we live life together. We have a lot of fun and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. I’ve watched bands that clearly don’t share that experience and, while the music might be on point, the performance isn’t genuine. Hoping to entertain our audience in an unforgettable way, we strive to bring quality and heart to the stage every time. Whether it makes them smile, dance or cry we hope they can’t get the music out of their head. If they are bored, we have failed.
Link to play: https://open.spotify.com/track/7Ixd43FpdIq1TKBqYeNzOZ
Your current direction…
When we first released this EP it was perfect in every way. Everything was new to me. The experience of writing, recording, having an opinion on the mix and opening the box of CD’s when UPS delivered them to my front door was everything I’d ever dreamt of and more. The finished product meant we had met our first goal. That was an incredible moment. We celebrated with a release party and the community came together around it. I might as well have been playing at Madison Square Garden. It felt that big.
Listening to the EP now with the help of the band I hear where small changes in the dynamics can makes the song more interesting. More keys here, less guitar there and breaks where breaks weren’t before. It’s fun to revisit the songs and watch as they take new shape. I’ve learned that it takes a while before material is ready for the studio. The EP set the groundwork for what we want to achieve as a band. It’s the beginning of what we all want to be. I feel like I just hopped on the ride of my life, and I never want to get off of it.
A lot of input, time and thoughtful consideration are what makes a good song into a great song.
There is nothing like writing a song and seeing it through to completion. I’m fascinated with the equipment. I hate admitting it but I don’t have a clue what I’m looking at most of the time and thus I ask a lot of questions. It’s like being in the garage and watching my husband rebuild a hot rod. The end result is extraordinary and being part of the process is mind-blowing. I’m so impressed by it.
I get to watch the production process of our songs happen while our bass player, producer and engineer, Jim Reeder, works his magic. We have outgrown our original recording space and thus we are building a new place, purpose built for music creation. Once that is finished we’ll be able to take our songs from creation to completion in our own studio. It’s really exciting!
Much like our recording situation, our process of writing and collaborating has taken many forms. I think this is my favorite part of the process and also what I was most scared of in the beginning. It was hard for me to get started.
It had been about 10 years since I had tried to write lyrics. That being said, I have had an absolute blast trying out different methods. When it comes to collaborating, an open mind and confidence are the most important things. Obviously coming to a writing session with a polished song is not the goal, but looking back that is exactly what I thought I had to do. I believed this was the way to be seen as a credible songwriter.
As soon as I opened up to the possibility that there are no wrong answers, I discovered that as wonderful or horrible an idea is, it is just as idea. This simple idea opened a whole new world of creativity for me to explore.
Some of the ways I love to song write now include: FaceTime, alone with my keyboard, a long walk with a voice recorder or hearing a guitar riff and humming out a melody. I don’t let distance distract me from writing like I used to. Whether my co-writer is two hours away or 3,000 miles away, FaceTime is just as effective as being in the same room together.
I was very proud that our EP was comprised of my own lyrics, but looking forward I am excited for the possibilities of working with many other songwriters. I am excited for the future and propelled forward every day by what possibilities lay ahead.
How do you stay focused and balance creating with life…
Staying focused and balanced is always the challenge isn’t it? I’m an individual but I’m also a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a barista, a bandleader, a business owner and a community/church member. There are many responsibilities and tasks that need to be done and I could spend the whole day checking off the busywork from the list and never getting to what’s really important.
I try and filter everything through the lens of relationship and consistently. It’s not always fun to be consistent but I’m learning this is the difference between someone who is successful and someone who isn’t.
I spent the better part of my life letting what I thought were other’s expectations rule my daily decisions. This is what kept me a stagnant dream-chaser. Working off of someone else’s playlist left me standing in one place, wanting something but never putting any action to it.
My dreams feel tangible now. I plan out my week on Monday only putting things on the schedule that fit in each role that I see myself in. As an individual, I take care of my body by going to the gym six days a week and eating right everyday. Also a simple 30-minute routine first thing in the morning, helps me stay positive through daily reflection and gratitude. Everything else falls into place by thoughtful design.
The best bit of music advice you’ve had…
Be consistent. Write every day. Even if the outcome is clearly not going to make it into the studio.
I live in Anacortes, WA, on Fidalgo Island. We’re about two hours NW of Seattle. The music scene, here in Anacortes, is experiencing a revival of sorts. We are one of dozens of acts that have shown up in the past two years. We are also privileged to have an established recording studio, founded here in 2010. “the unknown” has become a destination for many bands to record their music.
The scene is also filled with folks who are closer to 40 than 30, and that’s a good thing. The drama is fairly minimal as a result and we all seem to know that what makes a good show is keeping a folks entertained.
Most bands and acts consist of people who aren’t trying to prove anything, but rather are just out to have fun making good music for an appreciative crowd.
The efforts of all those at the Anacortes Music Channel (AMC), a radio station that streams local music, have also gone a long ways towards raising awareness of the scene and getting the word, and the music out there.
Website & social media links: