The combination of music and spoken word can be a powerful thing, as I was reminded when listening to a poetry performance by Shane Koyczan. The ability of the music to add weight to words, to add texture and ambience and scope, allows the recital to become something bigger than just speech, and falls into the category of performance.

With musical accompaniment words seem to resonate with meaning, the melody acting almost as an instrumental highlighter, drawing our ear to the powerful key phrases and stamping the evocative images into our brains. Music stirs something in us on a visceral level that words alone can’t always accomplish. It pierces deeper than the surface intellectual appreciation of the words we’re hearing and makes us feel them.

For this post I’ve taken a previous post, Whatever Helps You Sleep, and recorded it as a performance with my guitar playing to support it. Some may say using a previous post is cheating, but I say it’s my creative brain adapting it. It’s a loophole.

Listen below:

The video that inspired my own performance can be seen underneath. It’s also well worth checking out Shane’s video titled “To This Day” which can be found here.



  1. middaypyjamas · January 10, 2014

    Your recording was incredible, thank you Jonathan

  2. Dan Donahoo · January 10, 2014

    Hey cousin.

    Spoken word to music is a fine thing. Love to share some of mine sometime. But you may like to check out inbflat.net

    See if you can find the words…


    • jonathanrobb · January 15, 2014

      Hey cousin,
      I’d love to hear some of yours, that would be great. If you ever upload any please let me know.
      And inflate is very cool, I’ve been experimenting for about an hour…still searching for the words…

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