Eye contact

I’ve got some of my own funny little opinions about some things.   I detest singers who wear sunglasses when they sing; I want to look in their eyes.   I want to know if they really feel what they sing and the eyes can’t lie.

I probably don’t have to mention that the blind get a pass on this, the Stevie Wonders, Ray Charles, Raul Midon etc. and maybe the super famous -I’m not going to be the one to tell Bono to take his glasses off while he’s rocking the O2 arena.

For everyone else?  I want to see them.

That’s one reason I seldom enjoyed performing in the bright sun, because I would have to wear them in order to see, well, anything and I never want them on while I’m singing.

 

#5

The shot

Desert

#4

Just

Waiting for the dawn
And it always
takes too long
It can be so bright
But when the sun rises I won’t take
my eyes away from the sky

Just
Living on a dream
It ain’t always
easy to see
The road ahead
When you only know the one behind

Forgiveness is an open hand
Always showing me what I don’t understand
In this dream I had
I saw myself walking
in a new land
And you were there

A little funk before the snow

Just say no to pop music

“I love you, you broke my heart, fuck off forever, please come back.”

When the eternal message of pop music wears off with the young puberty inspired brainwash, will there be somewhere else to go?  Something else to listen to?

Oh yes, in fact, much more than you think.

More mixes for a Saturday night

Playing with mixes

Visions of a Dancer

At night I dreamed of a dancer
Inside her music I found answers
To truth I was looking for

How we start and how we end it
This vision we keep of ourselves
Even when pretending to be somebody else

Vision of a dancer
She opened my eyes in time
I had this idea
I could sing to you tonight

Open my eyes
I won’t stop dancing tonight

There’s no forgetting the first time
The first wish the first kiss and the first place
You met yourself on the road

Vision of a dancer
She opened my eyes in time
I had this idea
I could sing to you tonight

Sing to you tonight
Sing to you tonight

You keep moving

More than likely because I never did like talking about myself.  Awards, accolades, praise, comments, ahh the parade around the art that I was always somewhat defiant about.  My dream was born in a basement.  Not a furnished rehabbed basement with a plasma screen TV and an Xbox, but a cold drippy under-lit dungeon of sorts where one builds on a foundation of isolation and practicing, maybe to someday move “upstairs.”  

These were the days of “Rocky” cinema, where the idea was that accepting the harshness of enduring long hours of training was the way to win the match (choose your metaphorical path).   And remember, Luke learned the ways of the force in swamp, and not in a formalized school.  You endure, right?

The entertainment world had it’s pollution of over-promised talent (fictitious marketing), false starts and quick endings to bright careers.  I never wanted any of it.  I wanted (and still do) to make art.  Music that made peoples lives better.  

And so began a quest that included the guitar, the voice, and the song.  Write a better one.  Then play and sing it better.  Despite the shaky self managing and the constant disappointments of learning by failing, saying the wrong the thing at the wrong time, trying out the already failed strategy, I learned to consistently pick myself up over and over again.   Perhaps the real thrill of the music world for people like me is: packing all your gear into your car at 2:30am at a roadhouse bar where the patrons seem to only care about you playing “freebird” and can’t be bothered from their dart games to hear a song that you wrote, and after being paid $50 you set out on your 2 hour car ride home.  Of course you then you blow $10 of it on 3 day old gas station food because your stomach won’t leave you alone. 

You endure.  You press on.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget why.  And you keep practicing.  You keep writing.  You keep moving.   

Bring back the wind

On a train
Staring out the window
The fields go by so fast like time
I hear your voice in my ear again
Reminding me of the time when
I was so young
All I knew was what the wind carried to me

Bring back the wind
So I hear the words again
Bring back the wind

Back from the globe
After so much time
Stuck in some dirty places
In the lost airports no one wants to see
Will they find the journal I left behind
Will they read it or will they be blind to me?

Bring back the wind
So I hear the words again
Bring back the wind

I arrived just in time
Only to find this journal in an airport
Why are these words so much like mine
Who wrote this about me
I arrived to find I was just in time
to catch the wind

Look for the Secret Mixes

Can you simultaneously be “disappointed” and “happy for” someone or something?

I was asked to “fill in” for both the singer and guitar player in an original band. This was particularly challenging because I’d have to do all the singing and all the guitar soloing.

There were a lot of lyrics to memorize. I could have used an iPad but that’s not my way. If you don’t have the words “in you” then they won’t sound very good coming “from you.”

So, there was that. And then there were all the changes in the music. And the intros. And the endings. And the guitar solos. All for just 2 festival gigs.

After learning all 40 songs, and yes it took me awhile, there was one larger more critical component which was playing with, and in this case, leading the band, despite zero rehearsals.

I lost a word here and there and screwed up a melody line somewhere but for the most part I nailed it (that was the language of the band and how they described it to me…”you nailed it”).
I was proud of the work I put in and I’m not telling you this to brag.

Minutes after the 1st show, backstage, the bandleader chastised me on the 2 or 3 little things without mentioning the 95 things that went well (musicians reading this will know that these were things the audience didn’t even hear, alas, still important).

I nodded along with him and amended to get the last 3% of “commanding it” together. The band…actually grew pissed at him and it turned out that I had to defend him to them.
The reason the band is tight is because someone needs to shoot for that unattainable excellence that we never get to right? I felt bad for him but sometimes someone has to be the bad guy. The boss. The headmaster. Whatever. Shoot for perfection all you want.

I was simultaneously disappointed that he was so callous about it and happy to simply shrug it off while feeling bad for him that he couldn’t just be happy with the unjustifiable amount of time that I had put into the material.

So, my answer is yes. It is possible to paradoxically feel both and decided to swim in one direction.

Whiskey in Tokyo

At a whiskey joint in Tokyo it was made known to the strangers at the bar that I was a musician from the U.S. (not hard to guess where I was from being in that part of the world, but the musician part….well).

The bartender who was also the owner stopped the record player (yes he was playing records) and swapped over to Spotify (just cause he’s got records don’t mean he’s not carrying everything else).
He scrolled to my version of “Peg” and the speakers lit up with Greg Toros bass playing.

Lots of smiles, lots of great sounds coming from the whisky clientele. In short they approved, and after managing to remain there for a few hours the bar tab was picked up for us -It was an expensive and sought after place and the price of the 40 year old aged scotch and whiskeys reflected that in the bill.

My Spotify check last month was for less the 2 dollars but having my music instantly interviewed in a setting like that on the other side of the world was priceless.

While it’s true technology has blown a hole in the financials concerned with copyright, mainly nonexistent unit sales, it’s also true that in the end it doesn’t have to be for the worse: The opportunities lay in the unexpected circumstances that you may not have even dreamed of yet.

“Air”

My response to the state of war in the world right now

Percussion overload

Derek Hayden on percussion, David Moore on drums, Greg Toro on bass and Bobby Bryan on keys.