Category Archives: music

reconnecting to music through a pub and my UU church


This was a post I had originally drafted in June of 2008 but didn’t quite finish. Crazy, huh… about a year after starting my wordpress blog. After my last post where I talked a little bit about my youthful aspirations of wanting to be a musician when I grew up I thought this was appropriate to pull it from the drafts and finish up.
***************************************************************
When I was a kid I was in the band… junior high and high school. I already had some musical genes gifted to me from my parents and others but being in the band cemented the fact that I like music. And as a lot of kids did, who grew up in the 70s and 80s, I listened to bands that would become pretty influential rock bands… KISS, Rush, Yes, Zeppelin, The Who and others despite my mother’s attempt to add country music in to the mix. On our daily ride to school she made me listen to Ronnie Milsap, Charlie Pride, Tammy Wynette, Buck Owens, George Jones and Merle Haggard. Mama tried. : )

I rebelled against country music in high school and my love for it didn’t stick until much later in college. I went to a small school in east Texas so country music started slowly but in time became a staple. However, I was also exposed to a new wave of music and embraced bands like Yaz, The Pixies, The Smiths, R.E.M. and Depeche Mode.

When I think about it, I really liked all kinds of music and knew different types quite well… everything from rock to country, Motown, jazz, classical. Hell even disco. (please don’t hate me for that) But I had never really heard or paid much attention to the lowly singer/songwriter.

So fast forward about 17 years… it was about 2002 when I heard my first “guy and his guitar”. By chance I stumbled upon a little pub on my way back from dropping off my daughter after having her for the weekend. The sign on the front said BREW PUB.  With my affection towards good beer, I thought I’d see what they had on tap. Coincidentally it just so happened to be Open Mic Night. Most people might think this would be the worst way possible to be exposed to singer/songwriters. Turns out what I thought would only be a half-hour-long detour wound up keeping me there for more like five hours.

My visits to the Brew Pub started off a little intermittent but after several months I eventually was going every other weekend as I came back from dropping off my daughter on the other end of town. What I loved about the open mic at this pub is almost all the performers were doing original music… or at least their own take on a published song.

Of course not everyone was good. In fact most were quite bad but many, if not all of the patrons on a Sunday night are musicians/open mic-ers and are very encouraging as well as very forgiving. And the host ALWAYS makes each open-micer feel like he or she is THE headlining act of the night. It’s pretty damn cool to be honest.

So after a couple of years of sitting as a spectator I bought my first guitar thinking i might try to teach myself how to play and start making music again. (sixteen years earlier I had left the music department in college thinking I was completely done with music).  So I would sit at the very front of the little stage and tried desperately to remember the shapes their hands and fingers made as they played their guitars and I would race home and attempt them on mine at home. Evidently I was trying to learn guitar a la the Phoebe Buffay school of guitar learning. : )

That isn’t exactly the best way of learning. Plus I would put the guitar down for weeks at a time and it took about a year before I really decided to give it an honest go of trying to learn. I’m proud to report I have since gotten better, which isn’t saying much because I was REALLY crappy when I first started. And wouldn’t you know it… I got my nerve up and did my first open mic about a year and half after really buckling down and consistently practicing and trying. I remember the date: Jan 23, 2005. I know because it was my birthday.

And about two years after that, some friends and I formed a band. We even play at the ol’ UU church now and again. That’s how we all met was through our UU church.
So thankful for that little pub, my friends from church and oh how I love making music again.

can i get a AMEN!


I’ve written here on more than a couple of occasions that I am not a Christian.  Pretty easy to tell from the title of my blog…

Deist. Not a Christian.  I also have Buddhist tendencies and go to a UU Church.

However, [comma... pause]

I loves me some gospel music!  I love it.  I don’t know what it is.  Maybe the blues feel of most gospel music.  Just how loud it is.  Or maybe it’s the feeling it evokes.

I was talking with a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago about favorite music and he felt the same way.  He loves gospel music.  And he too said, it’s the feeling that he gets from listening to it.  And although he isn’t a Christian either and hardly agrees with any of the lyrics, he can get behind the feeling that this kind of music brings to the soul.

So last night Emmie was showing me the video of a very young and very talented Rhema Marvanne.  And hearing this little seven year old girl belt out “Amazing Grace” reminded me of something I ran across last year called “How Sweet the Sound”, which is a gospel choir competition.  So I looked up the website and it turns out last night the competition had three hours of voting left.  I looked at a few of the choirs who were in it this year.

In a word…

Amazing.

The gospel choirs that are participating which come from all over the nation are simply amazing.

And it could be easy as an outsider to make snarky remarks… throw juvenile statements about the faces they make when singing but you know what… the music and the joy and the praise they are displaying simply trumps all that.

So I thought I’d share a video of the winners of last year’s competition(which by the way was not easy. Had to sift through HTML code on their site and locate the embed files).  The videos of the choirs competing this year have been pulled down. I guess since voting is over.  But in a little more than a month, there will be performances all over the country of the choirs who advance to finalist rounds.

You can find out at their website if they’ll be at a city near you:  http://howsweetthesound.com/

Damn those Pentecostal girls can SANG!

venturing into the city for music


I meant to post this a couple of months ago when I actually caught this show that included Abra Moore, who is extremely talented and a pretty cool person to talk to. But I actually went to see the opener, one of my favorite singer/songwriters Peter Bradley Adams. He was in town at a really cool little pub called the Mucky Duck and so I ventured out of the burbs and into the big city to go see him.

What a treat. Not only did I get to see an extremely talented performer do what he does so well, but I also got a signed CD (click to see bigger view), I sat at the bar and had a beer with him and was able to get a little insight into his view of the music industry.

If you ever the get the chance to see him, I highly recommend going. You can check out some of his songs on his website to get a feel for what he sounds like.

Here is Pete and his friend Claire Small performing a song they wrote together called, “i will come”. This was its debut…. it was a stroke of luck to be in the audience to hear them perform it for the first time and that I caught it on my little video cam.

as one dies another is born


When I was in high school i had quite a few friends, mostly because I was in the band, and that time in my life holds fond memories for me. I’m fortunate in that regard because I know a lot of people whose high school memories are ones of angst, dislike mixed with feelings of inferiority and inability to fit in.

But being a band geek, i had a tribe of accepting friends who never made me feel like the dork I really was…. perhaps “still am” is more accurate.

But there were four girls who were not in the band that I also ran around with and they accepted me into their little circle. One overweight, rather bubbly and quasi popular girl…Lisa T. One very overweight, very bubbly and not so popular girl… Dena. One very tall (six feet) lanky diamond in the rough drill team member… Lisa L. and another drill team member Phyliss, who had moderate success breaking into the popular crowd until she moved away our junior year. Continue reading

a postscript to something more formal


p.s. – On a more personal note…You and I have an unusual anniversary coming up in a couple of weeks. The length of time that we’ve been apart will exceed the time we were together. I don’t know why that is such a milestone in my mind but it has affected me and made me sad the closer it comes.

So much can happen in five years. Complete and total transformation can happen in as little as five years. Definitely transformations have happened for me and L. … spiritually, emotionally and physically.

I feel quite in touch with The Divine, more so than ever in my life. I guess it’s been a couple of years now that L. and I can talk about memories of you and the kids without either one of us having our eyes well up or full blown crying. In fact, we sometimes laugh when remembering. I guess we have healed. And she is doing well and has grown up to be a rather brilliant and beautiful girl.

I wonder…

I wonder… if you ever think of me. I wonder if the kids think of me. And I wonder what you think of the relationship we had. For you, does our time together represent just a blink… a few seconds on the clock of an entire lifetime, a faint memory or was it meaningful. I often wonder what you think of what we had.

love always, me

~~~

Continue reading

a little live music this weekend


I went and saw a wonderful duet at a favorite watering hole of mine. This husband and wife team are absolutely amazing. I thought of Amuirin and the really cool musicians she introduces us to now and again.

Thought I would reciprocate.

So fellow bloggers, wonderful blog peeps and blog stumblers, I present…. andi and i performing “love never fails”.

just like heaven


My friend Amuirin posted a vid showing off the Sara Bareilles cover of a-Ha’s famous “Take On Me” from the mid 80′s.

I loved that song when it came out.

Reminded me of another song that came out a couple years later that I really like when it was released.

This is a really, really cool version of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” by YouTuber, Amanda Loree.

enjoy.

My Grace is Gone


I met my friend Grace just as I first started blogging last summer. I felt quite connected to her after reading her words and we agreed that a kindred nature lay between us.

Her words are inspiring, thought provoking and so, so personal.

She is evolving and has recently stated she is going on what she believes will be a rather long hiatus from blogging… perhaps permanantly. In fact she says in her last post, “The season for The Wild Pomegranate is over.”

I believe her. There is a release and resignation in the tenor of the words of her post.

I’m sure many of you more seasoned bloggers have had people on your list of blog friends who have announced they are done with blogging only to come back after a couple of weeks or months. Grace has done that, too, but I think this time she is really gone. I really think she is gone.

I will miss you Grace.

The day after the party (part 3 of 3)


If you’ve just stumbled on my spot here in Blogland, this is the third installment of some quasi new year’s hopes I have for myself. The other two posts are directly below this one.

So I recently brought music back into my life after a long 16, 17… i don’t know 18 year hiatus. I’ve been playing again (for about three years) but with a different instrument and i actually attempt to sing as well. There is probably a reason I was an instrument major and NOT voice major in school though. : )

But lately it seems that what happened 20 years ago Continue reading