Eileen Hemphill-Haley ~ Folksinger-Geologist
In case we haven't met before ...
When it comes to songwriting, my focus is clearly on people. I’m fascinated by human nature, how lives cross, personalities interact, what motivates the characters in my imagination, and how the world feels to them. My songs sometimes consist of stories will full-blown plot lines, or may simply be impressions or first-person observations, but in all cases are based on characters with something to say.
I was born in 1959, the fourth of five sisters, in the hallway of a hospital in North Carolina (my mother claims that this was my first impatient act, that I would not wait until she made it to the delivery room). I lived in various southern states until age 15, and am grateful for that experience, but in my heart I am a westerner and have resided the greater part of my life in Oregon and northern California.
When I was a kid, the consciousness of America was in a state of rapid change, with the rise of civil rights, women’s rights, the environmental movement, and unprecedented civil disobedience and anti-war activism during the Viet Nam years. I grew up in a military family, and for me those were intense years indeed. I spent a fair amount of time in my youth listening to songwriters from the 70s and 80s, which flavors my own writing to this day, although my musical influences are truly eclectic. I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 10, so have a few licks under my belt, and write mainly in alternate tunings. I have years of experience as a performing artist, but songwriting is my true love, and I consider myself a writer first and foremost.
Issues like the bonds of love and friendship, parenthood, work, maintaining one’s identity, and surviving the best you can in a god-awful busy world -- these are the kinds of recurrent themes that pepper my writing. As a wife and mother, family issues are very important to me. Also, I like to rock out, which my family fully supports (it’s good for you, after all). I hope you will enjoy my work. I certainly put a lot of care into my craft, and try my best to keep the b.s. out and the honesty in. I thank you for listening.