Shapiro, a freelance photographer in Queens, N.Y., uses everything from ambient sound to toys in her music.
Shaw, a community activist in Seattle, decided to write music for the words former White House staffer Lewis Libby wrote to former New York Times reporter Judith Miller while she was in jail.
The Ramones' debut CD provides the rubric for the NaSoAlMo event.
This month, 60,000 people are attempting to write a book for National Novel Writing Month. But another type of writing contest is going on too, as Joel Rose of member station WHYY reports: National Solo Album Month. Entrants are trying to create and record their own albums, from start to finish, before the end of November.
Other than the deadline, National Solo Album Month doesn't have many rules. But organizer Douglas Wolk, a pop culture writer and critic in Portland, Ore., does insist on a few things. For one, each album has to be at least 29 minutes and 9 seconds long — that's the length of the first Ramones' album. And, following the example of said album, one cover song is allowed.
For this second annual NaSoAlMo, the entrant list remains small: 65 people. Some of the musicians involved are less experienced than others. Wolk says his wife is engineering the debut album by their 8-month-old son, who records under the name DJ I Am Cuter Than You. The debut, Wolk reveals, is heavily influenced by free jazz.