Music to Write By!: Fires at Midnight by Blackmore’s Night

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In this series of posts, scattered over a vast period of time, I’ve been discussing the particulars of one method I use to motivate myself to write:  listening to music.  I’ve found that this is one of the very best ways for me to break through writers block.  I am, in many ways, a “visual writer,” meaning that I put onto paper pictures I see in my head.  Scenes play themselves out, like miniature movies.  Music can become the “soundtrack” for those movies, setting the stage and moving things along.  The story sometimes dictates what music I choose, and, often, the music shapes the tone of what I’m imagining.

(If you’re interested in further thoughts on this particular method, check out Stephanie’s post on the subject or my own preamble to the very first post in this series.)

After last week’s post and given my upcoming short story (Star-sisters), it seemed appropriate to mention the group that provided the soundtrack for that excursion into imagination:  Blackmore’s Night.  While there were a number of songs from different albums that I pulled together to inspire me, the title track of Fires at Midnight was the particular inspiration and so that collection is thus my focus for today.

Blackmore’s Night is a very interesting group.  Composed of Ritchie Blackmore and his wife Candice Night, it is a group that is hard to quantify.  Its Wikipedia page calls it “English-American traditional folk rock” but I’ve also seen them called “Neo-medieval rock” and think that the latter designation is perhaps more descriptive to me.  The group originated in 1995 when Blackmore, a longtime hard rock guitarist, decided to bring an updated Renaissance sound to modern audiences, with Night fronting the band.  The pair had already been romantically involved for quite some time, have married only within the past few years.

Blackmore’s Night communicates a strong, grounded feel in most of their music.  It often features a combination of an older, medieval/Renaissance sound mixed with modern instruments, particularly featuring Blackmore’s incredible ability on the guitar.  Not to be piegon-holed, their style varies greatly, even within a single album.  On Fires at Midnight, for instance, they offer everything from very traditional sounding acoustic sets (like “Praetorius”) to an Asian flavor (“Benzai-ten”) to 60s remakes (“Times They are A Changin'”) to more electric guitar (“Village on the Sand”).

The title track was the very first to catch my attention and inspire some thoughts, which I discussed last week.  Other very good tracks for fantasy writing include (but are not limited to) “Home Again,” “I Still Remember,” “Hanging Tree,” “Midwinter’s Night,” and “Benzai-ten.”

To be honest, some of the others, while still good songs, don’t do much for me as a writer.  For example, one would think that “Crowning of the King” would be right up my proverbial alley, but when I listen to it I can’t get away from the idea that it was probably written for a Renaissance Fair.  Now, I love Ren Fests, and I’m always glad to participate, but ironically their recollection doesn’t inspire me to write about fantastic worlds.  There’s just something sublimely ridiculous about adults (myself included) walking around in homemade costumes, armed with swords about as sharp as a brick that have been lashed into their scabbards with plastic ties (at least at the Atlanta edition) to prevent anyone from possibly taking them out–not that the average Ren Fest sword could menace more than butter on a warm day.*  We all then set about consuming turkey legs and funnel cakes while watching a string of anachronistic live performances, all the while pretending that those really aren’t our cars we can all see parked over there in the fields outside the main gates.  That just doesn’t put me in the mood for real adventure, however much fun it is.  😉

I would recommend Blackmore’s Nights Fires at Midnight to you.  They are a group with a significant amount of talent to spare, and a wide enough portfolio that you’re bound to find something to inspire your heroes to the next level of derring-do!

Next Week…to be honest I have no idea.  Come back to be as surprised as I’ll be!

*The kendo snob in me has to point out that a properly made katana could cut these uncured stainless steel wannabe swords in half, quite literally.

Other Posts in the Music to Write By! Series:


About Brian

I am a history professor and author living with my family in the Virginia Mountains. It's hard to improve on a life like this!

Posted on October 20, 2011, in Blackmore's Night, Brian Melton, Inspiration, Music, Writing Hints and Helps and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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