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Garrison Starr on Taking Back Your Narrative

Garrison Starr on Taking Back Your Narrative

The L.A.-based musician knows a thing or two about writing—and especially reclaiming—stories in song.

Mississippi-born, Los Angeles-based musician and songwriter Garrison Starr has been recording and releasing music since the early ’90s. The veteran rocker is an expert on creative expression—but also on navigating the “ballsack of an industry” that is the professional music world.

That includes the alienating experience of having to engage in a narrative—whether in song or in the press—that isn’t real or true for you, maybe even one that cheapens your personhood. “How many times have I done that to myself?” Starr wonders. These are the things the commercial music industry foists upon its would-be stars.

Along with Before Your Very Ears hosts Sean Watkins and Peter Harper, Starr hits on the key to writing great songs: Being honest creates more, and better, success. “The vulnerability is where the power is,” says Starr. Fueled by the experience of being outed in college, and then exiled from her evangelical community for being gay, Starr leads the trio on a songwriting expedition to examine the damage of having our stories ripped from us—and the potential of reclamation through song.

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Visit for a free sample lesson, or use code “Song” for a 10% discount on your first non-degree course.

On her new record with her trio, Molly Miller executes a live-feeling work of structural harmony that mirrors her busy life.

Photo by Anna Azarov

The accomplished guitarist and teacher’s new record, like her lifestyle, is taut and exciting—no more, and certainly no less, than is needed.

Molly Miller, a self-described “high-energy person,” is fully charged by the crack of dawn. When Ischeduled our interview, she opted for the very first slot available—8:30 a.m.—just before her 10 a.m. tennis match!

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On this season finale episode, the actor and musician leads a Prine-inspired songwriting session about how few tools we have in our collective toolbox.

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Featuring enhanced amp models, a built-in creative looper, AI-powered tone exploration, and smart jam features.

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Donner andThird Man Hardware’s $99, three-in-one analog distortion, phaser, and delay honors Jack White’s budget gear roots.

Compact. Light. Fun. Dirt cheap. Many cool sounds that make this pedal a viable option for traveling pros.

Phaser level control not much use below 1 o’clock. Repeats are bright for an analog delay. Greater range of low-gain sounds would be nice.


Donner X Third Man Triple Threat


A huge part of the early White Stripes mystique, sound, ethos, and identity was tied to guitars and amps that, at the time, you could luck into for cheap at a garage sale. These days, it’s harder to score a Crestwood Astral II, or Silvertone Twin Twelve with a part-time job in the ice cream shop. Back in the late ’90s, though, they were a source of raw, nasty sounds for less than a new, more generic guitar or amp.

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