Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

On Writing Characters

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

On Writing Characters

Article excerpt

Browse Natalia Zukerman's albums and you'll find "Howard Hughes," "Johnny Rotten," "Song for Ramblin' Jack," and other songs based on characters, real or invented. Her writing continues to steer in this storytelling direction.

One of her new songs, for instance, is about Jane Avril, the can-can dancer depicted in Toulouse-Lautrec's Moulin Rouge paintings. "I did some research about her," Zukerman says. "Actually it came from a prompt from Willy [Porter). We had a little songwriting group for a while, just the two of us, and the prompt was 'feather boa.' I had to write a song with 'feather boa' in it, and I thought of those paintings."

Several of Zukerman's other new songs are inspired by Burnin' Vernon, a volunteer firefighter in the Woodstock area who in the '90s was caught starting a series of bam fires. …

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