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. 


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


 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.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

 Marilyn writes:

This past weekend, I went to Levons Barn, down in Woodstock. A magical place. Here is some of the thoughts I had after:

Being at Levon's is like being at church... a church I BELIEVE in. I believe in the music. I believe in people who make music. I believe in the power of song to lift people higher, make them FEEL, bring them together. I believe in MUSIC!  And being at Levon's place there in Woodstock, with all the musical history, is like worship. Has there ever been a time that music was as universally revered as when my heroes, like Levon and the rest of the band, were beginning to write and play??

Music is a healing force. We know that as a fact. It heals, it cures, it brings good feeling and explains the bad. It is part of the human soul to make music, right along with the birds that sing and the bugs that chirp. Music is a force of the world and I love it.



Be safe folks!

Sunday, April 11, 2021


 I am sitting on my porch, Screendale, watching a bright Gold Finch at the feeder, realizing that yesterday, there was no green on the neighbor's tree although there is now, and waiting for some April shower, which is sure to bring May flowers, right? I already have FLOWERS, the spring flowers which last such a tiny tiny time. And peepers, which were late this year. The birds are singing and it sounds more like dusk than 4pm by the loudness of it all. I just LOVE the way that life slowly then suddenly POPS out in the spring and everything is green or yellow or blue! 

We just finished Brunch with Rick and Marilyn, our live stream that happens every Sunday at 1pm EST. We have a solid group of folks who come most weeks, but there is always room for more! And unlike a live show, everyone loves it when you sing and 'chat' online. There are two ways of joining us:  Facebook and YouTube. Come check us out! Here is an example of what we do:

Monday, February 1, 2021

Stripes and Stars

January 6, 2021.  Armed insurrectionists stormed the Capitol in Washington D.C.

We watched it on the internet or on TV, just like 9/11.  It seemed unreal, just like 9/11. 

We saw the confederate flag waving in the capital of our nation, alongside Old Glory.  A previously defeated flag, which stands for beliefs that are counter to the ideal of our nation regarding liberty and justice for ALL. That disturbed me, and I hope it disturbed you. 

So, I have a copy of the Constitution of the United States, and I actually READ it. I had been aware of comments about the idea that our Founding Fathers were slave owners and that parts of the Constitution were based on the idea that liberty and justice for ALL meant just white men.  But that is NOT what I read. Granted, it took some years to include people of color and women, but they are there and presented as equal. Ideas that are progressive and that we can be proud of, are THERE. 

And I started thinking that the red, white, and blue flag stands for that. Yeah, it gets flown a lot around war activities, too. But right now, I am just thinking about that flag as a symbol of the ideas of democracy, freedom, and justice that our republic is built on. No, we are not THERE yet, but this nation is rooted in these ideas, and still moving forward. We have to and can realize them more fully.

So, I wrote a song about it. And here it is, performed by Rick and Marilyn....