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  • Connect

    The other night I played a solo show.  I hadn't done a solo show in a long time, and so I decided to venture far beyond just "solo".  I literally had a practice run of unfinished songs with an audience staring directly at me.  

    Call me unprepared, lazy or even unprofessional, but I actually did do this on purpose.  The show was to raise money for suicide prevention and, given that I had just heard of a suicide close to the family, I decided it was a good show to practice getting outside of the box.  I thought about what suicide really is and what it takes to get there.  Is it loneliness, lack of worth, despair?  All of the above and a slew of other challenges?  Maybe, but whatever it is, I think more real connectedness is a good place to start to help and heal, for those who are strugglig.  I thought I should play a show that forced me to be vulnerable.  Unpolished, and totally ok with just talking to the crowd like we were sitting in my living room and I wanted to share some tunes.  Hoping someday my good friends could learn them and we could sing them together.  I'm glad I did it this way.  I want to do this all the time.  How?

    I don't know.  But I want to connect more.  Not through social media, necessarily.  In fact the more I research this social media connectivity, the more I realize it is too impaired, too fanciful, too impersonal and too removed from physical proximity to actually achieve what it promises for the majority of the time we are using it.  Yes, we can encourge each other, message each other blessings, etc.  But is that what we spend most of our time doing while scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat?  

    Serioiusly, read this and then logout.  I mean it.  Call a friend, make a coffee date with someone you havent seen in a while.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen.  Take some muffins to your neighbors.  

    Or go play with your band, like the very off the cuff video posted here.  This is just a generally random moment during band practice, but this is what we do.  We get together and play songs we write and songs we just like.  We talk, we create, we engage.  We fail to make up words when we've forgotten Dolly Parton's perfect lyrics.  And it's good and real and sometimes exactly what we need.

    Engage.  Connect.  This is the perfect weekend to do something out of your box!

  • Constructive or Destructive: Politics in America

    A few months ago we posted our song, Proof of Life.  We are working so hard on organizing the rest of our music for our upcoming album, that we kind of let this song pass with a little push here and post there.   But truly not enough discussion and nothing of consequence.  

    I had to come back to it.  In the last weeks I'm sure most Americans have heard a litany of opinions on everything from Beyonce's Super Bowl half time performance to the insanity of debating with Donald Trump.  The most recent in a flurry of arguing and vile rhetoric, the apparent joy of many liberals over the death of one of our Supreme Court Justices, Antonin Scalia.  Such discussion makes me wonder about the "Compassionate Liberal" and the "Pro-Life Republican".  Neither side exhibiting in reality what they so carefully phrase in their speeches and talking points.  

    While this sort of two-faced behavior has pervaded most politics in one form or another, the recent years have made all but the most even-tempered American citizen a sudden and emotional critic.  Everyone is involved in the fray.  Everyone is ready for the fight.  

    Are these screeching dialogues proof of life?  These social media rants and twitter flurries that leave both parties lacking trust in the moral and intellectual competence of the other?  If two opposing sides leave with only insults instead of results, name calling instead of solutions, problem finding instead of problem solving, then no, this is not proof of life.  This is death and destruction.  Have we destroyed our ability to debate and then debrief with a beer and a laugh at a local pub?

    Recent discussions in Dearling have left me to believe that we Americans are actually made for wild and challenging debates of ideas, while keeping our friendship and respect in tact.  No, on average, I don't believe we want to live in hatred of our fellow man based on his ideas about the world.  While many are incapable of allowing an opposing viewpoint without calling it a nasty name and dismissing it as either, "evil" or "stupid", I have seen great moments of understanding and respect for people with oppositional views.  It can be done.  

    This great challenge we each face, of realizing our own beliefs on a deeper level and learning other's beliefs in order to sharpen and refine our own, is still present.  It is still needed.  But we must take it up.  In this, we can create something better and bigger together.  Life can come from such discussions, and character tests.  This song, Proof of Life, is about a relationship where you look into it and see proof of life.  Building up, not tearing down, refining and restoring, not abandoning.   Fearless caretaking with no ego or agenda.  Truth and sacrifice and love and learning.  This is not just for the relationship with family, but it is for the relationship with the rest of your neighbors and country and world.  

    The time has come where we as a community have to actually face the underbelly.  We have to look in and see what is there.  That "something" is an ever changing environment and if we looked now, I fear we would see destruction and choas.  As we move forward in 2016, I'm going to believe that we can make that environment a life giving one.  That at the end of this year we can look in and find proof of life.  

  • Passion and Perseverance

    Today Dave and I represented the work of musicians at a career fair held at a Colorado Junior High School.  As kids came up and asked us questions, we were reminded about the passion of the young.  Eyes wide, hearts full, potential bursting, many asked us question after question about what we do everyday, how much musicians earn, what is the best and worst part of our work, on and on.  While some of the students were just looking to fulfill the requirements of the career fair (welcome junior high school attitude at it's finest!), so many were really truly excited about their futures and the possibility of music in them.  I listened and I spoke and I evaluated and I am grateful.  Today I was given a wonderful gift.  A picture perfect reminder that passion and perseverance are an essential marriage in this business that I love so much. 

    Every job requires some push through, some self-motivation, some drive.  But this one in particular requires a certain level of crazy passion and crazy perseverance.  After years of work in crafting and learning to write songs, I'm still looking forward to that moment when my songs are on the radio on a daily basis, when I get to play Red Rocks, when I'll head to an international location to share my heart through music.  I still believe I'll get to.  Call it crazy, but it's my passion.  The fact that I'm still trying is my perseverance.  I'm willing, I'm ready.  Not afraid to work hard, forfeit vacations, spend all extra money on kids with nothing left over for a haircut, let alone a new car.  Some say, "Is that really living?"  It is when you love it.  I want to show my kids how to pursue a dream and pursue it with dignity.  Pursue it properly.  Never give up on the ones you love and never give up on the dream.  

    I'm thankful for these precious kids who are thinking long down the road about a career in music and what that would mean.  They do it because music means something to them.  I'm so thankful it still means something to me.  This weekend, DREAM...  Act on your passions with perseverance.  And never regret it.