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What is it?

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. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Music!

 Rick and Marilyn have been out there! Traveling locally as well as not so local to make music. At first, it was pleasant but strange to sing to people actually WATCHING you back. Talking to you instead of typing on a screen. Walking away as their life takes them elsewhere. 


A little fear about getting too close. LOTS of fear about allowing the use of your personal microphone. I even had to calm down about riding with Rick and no mask to the gigs! 


Ah, but then there is the JOY. We played this past Friday at Morton Library in Rhinecliff. A smallish room, and lots of folks... but never too close and always respectful. VERY happy to be listening to and making music. The host literally JUMPED UP AND DOWN in joy a few times, while telling us how happy he was (originally, he was thinking of dumping this monthly gathering), how good it was to see people. One of our songs was designed to be a sing-along because I firmly believe in the power of music to heal, and it gets into your soul best when you MAKE it! And they SANG. A room full of folks, singing, 'The answer my friend is blowing in the wind'. Wow. That moment helped me make it through the rest of the lonely, rainy weekend (my houseparty got rained out), to today, where we will be making some music in Craryville for the lunch/brunch crowd today, singing on the porch because of the rain. 


We are also looking forward to leading an Open Mic at the Hudson Brewing Company tasting room on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month. That is in the corner of the old L and B building, which looks like a giant warehouse, back behind Basilica near the solar panels. Come on down if you are in the area! 


Check out the 'SHOWS' tab for where we will be playing. I hope we will play near you! As a matter of fact... let us know of places near you that are booking music and we will look into it. Several of you already do that, and I have to say we are SO grateful. Remember us if you come across anything!


And stay safe. And get vaccinated.


And lets love each other.