Listen!!!

What is it?

Saturday, November 19, 2022

 Time for new beginnings!

Rick has been fully retired now for a while, but I am just starting this journey. Afraid of returning to poverty, I am still working half-time as a medical person, but I am identifying more and more with RETIRED. 

It is strange to have time... I can rearrange my files, my rooms, my life. I have time to actually THINK instead of just MOVE (yep, it IS harder to get my 10K steps every day!). 

I tend to spend a lot of time 'getting ready' to do things. Like, I know I want to spend significant time practicing and improving my vocals, guitar playing, and songwriting. So what do I tend to do? I read ABOUT practice, vocalizing, writing. I realize that is an excuse to not DO those things, while FEELING like I am advancing my knowledge, lol.  Something I struggle with... the DOING as opposed to the PLANNING. 

You may know that there are books about procrastination. LOTS of them. I have procrastinated some time away by reading some of those books. The ones that are specifically about the creative process talk about procrastination being actually RESISTANCE. That is a concept that does help me move forward because it gets my back up. You know, I am gonna stand up to anything that gets in the way of my doing what I want to do, so I resist RESISTANCE.

And that is why I am making this blog entry. It is something that has been on my To Do List now for months. So, I decided to blog (again) about not blogging. Yep.

Another thing I tend to procrastinate on is booking shows. Well, that backfires when I have no shows to look forward to doing. I LOVE playing for you, face to face, in person. Covid still makes it a little scary to be inside singing, but Rick and Marilyn will be contacting your favorite places to see acoustic music and try to line some stuff up. Watch the calendar!!!

We are also going to start Live Streaming, Brunch with Rick and Marilyn on November 20, 2022 (tomorrow), barring any technical difficulties!

Otherwise, my plan is to get some more songs, both covers, and new originals. I think I have already written enough for the next record, but Rick and I have to learn them and work on them before settling down to record. I will do this one completely differently from my last two records and make them more artistically MINE. I got the time now. But I also have lots of pieces of lyrics and melodies and guitar parts that need to be worked into standing pieces of MUSIC.  And once in a while, a whole song wants to have some life!

So those are my plans for the upcoming winter months, now that I have an 'extra' 20 hours a week to work on MUSIC!!!  I hope that you all also have a reason to get up every morning that makes your life interesting, fun, and meaningful!

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Practice

Some of you may be having a similar issue, around what? Exercise? Diet? So, here it is:

I should be practicing.

No, I really should be.  I made a commitment to myself to practice every day. I used to practice every day, and I used to enjoy it. I did not understand how other folks went days, weeks, or months without touching their instrument. It is an original reason that I don't have 'background' music in my house... it discourages me from making it myself. 

I think I first stopped practicing so much when I started gigging a LOT. Seemed no need for it. I would write and I would learn new songs, but review? Why, when I was playing those same songs two or three times a week or more gigging? 

Seems, as I look back, I was starting to realize that I wasn't practicing a whole lot even in the winter, when the gigs dried up (yeah, I still mostly play the farmers- market- plus circuit.). 

And then COVID. Yeah. MUSIC dried up. And I don't know if I practiced in the early days... I don't think so. Day work doing medicine was hard, there was a lot to DO that you didn't have to do before, and I bet I did not even think of it... Until the gigs started disappearing (we had SO MUCH booked at the time of the shutdown!). So I suspect that is when I really stopped practicing.  Sorta because, all the gigs were gone, why?  (Yes, I know now that a lot of my depression during that time would have been alleviated if I had spent more time with music, but depression breeds inaction, right?)

I started doing the live streams pretty early on, although that was surely an uphill battle, technically. But I got to learn it and I think many times we sounded pretty good. And I did practice the songs I would play on the Brunch with (Rick and) Marilyn. 

But that is the kind of practice that reminds you of the song. So you don't have a fake start, or wrong rhythm or whatever when you do the song in front of folks. And guess what? The older you get, the harder it is to remember it all, and PRACTICE helps!

So. Now. I have decided that not only do I want to remember the songs I already have in my repertoire, and add an occasional new one, but I want to get BETTER. More skilled. I want to regain the vocal high notes that are now eluding me and gain more vocal character. I want to be a better rhythm guitar player, to give Rick a little more interesting backdrop to his wonderful solos. I want to add covers, there are so many great songs! I want to write more and better. That is SOME EXTENSIVE LIST.

There is only one way to accomplish any of those.

Practice.

Practice each of those items in some way, for a little while, every day. Without giving up all the other things... the journal, the ten thousand steps!!!  Maybe giving up some online time? (Yeah... )

So, instead of practicing, I am writing ABOUT practicing. Now THAT is a procrastination. Almost a humorous one. 

So, They say the first thing to do when you have a problem is admit it. So I am. And I am going to recommit to this idea of daily practice. If you are reading this, you are welcome to hold me accountable to myself!!! But now... Goodnight. 

I will start the practice of Practicing tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Music!

I am back now from Seattle for a couple weeks. It felt so good to get away and see friends that I have not seen in a LOOOOOONG time. Friends that are music people... players, listeners... as well as just FUN folk. 

We went to a show. I have been to a few shows over the past couple of years, but I have always been SO worried about COVID, I found myself distracted mightily from the music. But not this time. I guess I figured I have been in airports, planes, buses and hotels enough that a show is not REALLY gonna be the place I get COVID, if I get it on this trip (I did not, btw).

The artist was Jason Isbell. He is a powerful writer, singer, musician, and performer. Yep, he has it ALL. The music flowed from the stage and washed over us like a warm shower of sound. I spent a while looking at the audience. I was not the only one there enthralled. People moving, hands in the air, eyes closed, just DIGGING the sounds. And Jason and his band were having SUCH a great time! Making music, watching us moving and grooving in ecstasy over the sounds coming from the stage and filling our hearts and minds and drilling deep into the soul. It felt like the whole beautiful theater was elevating! The energy coming at us, into us, and then back to the band. Wow.

Music still WORKS. It still connects people, strangers, all listening and loving the experience. It was lovely. The whole trip was wonderful, but going to show, and sharing the experience in person with hundreds of other souls all connected in our love for MUSIC- that is a memory I will hold close.

That and the following Saturday, when I got to actually share sounds with my friends as we celebrated just being alive and with each other on a cool spring night around a campfire. It was SO SPECIAL, this trip. Partly because of the things I did, but ALL because of the music and the people.

If you are still putting off going OUT, find a way. Do something you love, with people you love, safely (outside, vaccinated, tested). It is so good for your HUMANITY to do that, to be human and with other humans.

Here is a video I found on Youtube of the show:




Monday, March 21, 2022

What is it?


 

This is from our live stream, Brunch with Rick and Marilyn (1 pm est sunday).  'What is it?'  Well, an original. LOL. I love the guitar work on this song from Rick. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Coming Home

 Whew. I think I shook something OFF. It worried me a great deal. And then, sometimes I couldn't care.

I was going most of the week without touching a guitar. Or singing. Or even listening. All during 2020, I did a weekly live stream, and that was pretty much it. And a songwriting group. A sporadic outside gig came my way. But I felt there wasn't really a reason to play. I certainly couldn't play WITH anyone. The usual time I spent doing music??? There were a lot of other things to do. Zoom meetings. Learning to use sanitizer on everything all the time. Shopping in brief spurts. Actually cooking at home (!!!!!). 

Things with covid started to loosen up some with the vaccine, and Rick, my partner, could come around and practice with me. The gigs started up. It seemed hard getting back into the swing of things, but I sort of expected that. 

Then one very hot day I mowed in the sun, didn't drink or eat adequately, and nearly passed out at the beginning of the gig. Went home ill. And embarrassed. SOOOOO ashamed. You know, the show must go on... but I could not. 

That is when I actually started wondering if I really enjoy this. I had no interest in picking up the guitar and singing during the week, and I realized that I spent a lot of energy on the WORK-- lugging equipment, walking into a place you have never been before, worry about ALL SORTS of things (if you gig, you get it)-- and was not actually ENJOYING it, at all. And then, I f&^*g get sick in front of an audience of folk who came to support me!!! Sigh.

I said to Rick, I think I am going to quit this.

Looking straight at me, he said something to the effect of, "You know that is not possible for you".

His words kinda hit me in the face. Like when my friend Jennifer from Seattle, where I was planning to move, visited me. One day we were in Hudson and she said, "This place is in you. You belong here, you know." At first, I rebelled, but later realized she was RIGHT. So, at first, my gut reaction to Rick's comment was WRONG (I have no memory of what I said back at the time) but as I mulled it over, I realized...Yeah. It is not possible. I could see there was a big gaping hole right now inside of me where the music used to live. A big dark hole. 

I have read a variety of books on habit building and motivation and creativity. And overall, they all say the same thing. Don't wait for the motivation. Start the BEHAVIOR and the motivation will come. 

Sigh. 

So every day I write in my journal that I intend to make music and if I did the day before. That means I HAVE to do it. Pick up the guitar and sing every day. Just like I had for YEARS, up until last year. 

I don't have a goal on time or songs or anything like that. In those same books, you can read that really, just TRIGGERING a behavior usually means you will continue. It was really hard work for quite a while. Rick and I were gigging, and we want to be ON, so that was the PUSH. 

I also spent time purposefully looking for the JOY. The sound that grabs you. The lyric that tickles your mind. And I concentrated more on THOSE than the lugging and worry. And the joy grew. And in turn, the time WITH the music grew outside of the rehearsals and gigging. And it felt like less work and more JOY. 

It did not happen overnight, but I can say now that I am again at the point where a day is not complete unless I spend time with my guitar and voice. I am reviewing and making demos of the songs I wrote during the covid shut down, realizing how very very dark they are and wondering how, when I felt so barren, they arrived. But they did, I guess from a deep dark place somewhere in the hole that was music in me. 

Seems like maybe Rick could still see it there. I am glad.