I’m not sure how, but suddenly we’re staring at 2021 coming to a close. Some of the strangest times any of us have been through…I think that’s safe to say. Speaking of safe, my bandmates and I have made it through this pandemic so far (with ongoing vigilance), getting together to play outdoors, making each other laugh over the phone, and staying as connected as possible. Which is good, because they are some of my very favorite people on the planet. We’re currently rehearsing for a couple of outdoor shows (November / December), and there are a few other interesting things percolating that it’s too soon to discuss. But there will be some recording and, I hope, plenty more shows. I’m so grateful to those that have made the effort to stay in touch and nourish our friendships, when it’s much easier to just hunker down, look out the window, and hopelessly shake our heads. I’d rather keep the faith, keep in touch, and turn the volume way up on the stereo.
We knew this time would come. PA and power strips in the backyard. Bandmates vaccinated and ready to see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices, and play together again. It’s time to knock the rust off, and remember what it feels like to be a band. As things start opening up at the beloved venues that have survived (and perhaps some new ones), we’ll be ready.
Other projects are in the works as well. In early May I’ll be recording the vocal for a beautiful song called “Wyoming Sky”, written by my friend Richard Lodwig of the band Tremolo Saints. Also, a piano-based song that I wrote following the sudden passing of my little sister is coming to fruition. I’m working on this one with my friend Jerry Becker, who produced my first album “Faith To Fall”… thrilled to have him on board for this very personal endeavor.
Finding our way back will take time, and things may look pretty different. But we can start now, with eyes on that shimmering light, out there at the end of the tunnel.
“Twisted Wind” was written in April 2020, as we were just beginning to grasp what this pandemic would mean, and the damage it could cause. With no real end in sight, we’ve added wildfires in the West and an ongoing political shitstorm to the mix.
I wrote this song hoping to capture this endless loop that life has become…trying to think logically, stay productive, and maintain some version of faith, as we’re buffeted from moment to moment by forces that twist our thinking and sap our strength.
I don’t know how this story will end, but I do know that music is a force all its own. Let’s hold onto it…and each other.
Watch, listen, download and stream below.
Like an accident unfolding in painfully slow motion, we watched as live music came to a stop. The plugging in, the tuning up, filling out the bill, should we extend the solo, who’s making the flyer, that sound guy was amazing, and which harmony do you like better… so much concentration, energy and anticipation, all just … stopped. It took a while to sink in, even as we watched it happen. While we talked about it, updated our social media, and stared in disbelief at our calendars, our gear, ourselves in the mirror. The days and nights blended into a strange collective dream.
Then very gradually, after many months of anxiety-drenched suspension, it was over. We emerged, blinking in the sunlight, like creatures coming up from underground. We stretched our fingers, shifted our muscles, and dusted ourselves – and our instruments – off. Tentatively, then with exhilaration, we affirmed the pulse that got stronger with every touch. Until finally, we found ourselves back where we belonged. With our people, in the clubs, the rehearsal spaces, the recording studios, on the stages and the barstools. We met each other’s eyes, smiled our survivor smiles, then hugged a little harder and a little longer than we used to.
2019 was year of making new musical connections. We got to play with some old friends and — this part makes me so happy — discovered some bands that are new to me and are a great fit for future bills. Our two newest songs, “Another Night” and “Lights Down Low” are getting really enthusiastic responses, and I can’t wait to record them…a priority for 2020.
2020 brings a personnel change…we’ll soon have a new drummer, and I have feeling it’s going to create an interesting new direction, for both songwriting and band dynamics. We’re on a brief booking hiatus while bringing him up to speed.
This pause also provides a chance to work on new songs, while gratefully acknowledging the talents of my band mates Nancy Lake, John Harris, and Curt Olsen – talent central.
See you out there!
I must admit that I haven’t been very good about posting updates here. Between the day job and being a bandleader, most of my introspection happens while driving, or working out – pretty far from the keyboard. But one constant theme running through recent that nights I’m out supporting live music (which, thankfully, have become more frequent) is that it really does feel like we have a true music community going. More and more, I walk into the bar (often solo) and am greeted by folks I’ve shared bills with, recorded with, or played with at one time or another, and it just. feels. good. It hasn’t always been this way. Maybe it’s just the specific scene I’m making lately…it’s hard not to notice that most of these bands are fronted by smart, interesting, talented women. Let’s face it, longevity in any music scene is tricky, and it takes pretty thick skin to keep your spirits up sometimes. Right now, mine are up … see you out there.
On July 29th we attended the annual JAM, an event for volunteers for Bread & Roses. I was proud to be given an award for 15 years of shows, which was very flattering. I certainly haven’t played every year, but apparently the years – and shows – have added up. They have one thing in common – walking into a room full of people who can’t, for various reasons, get out to see live music. You walk in, and basically say “yes, we’re total strangers, but here are some songs I brought for you”. It doesn’t matter if the room is filled with tension, anxiety, depression, or silence, music connects us during the time that we’re together. When it’s over, we’ve shared something real, and there is always a touch on the arm, a smile, a hug, questions, personal stories, and real warmth. I’ve always felt that it was time well spent, and honored to contribute. As my partner Paul put it: “These people do good work, and they do it in a dignified, low-key manner, letting the work speak for itself.”
Having a new website feels like such a clean, fresh start…my previous one went live in 2010, and became pretty cluttered over time. I hope you’ll visit here often, because I plan to use this space for all kinds of things: upcoming shows, who I’ve seen play and what I’m listening to, who I’m collaborating with, and probably some reflections on the balance between making music and making a living.
In terms of the creative process…well, that’s a topic for future posts. Inspiration lurks everywhere, and it usually hits when I least expect it (how does that work for you?). I just try to pay attention and trust something that’s, frankly, a bit of a mystery at times. I’ll wrap this up with a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert:
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels, that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.”