October 23, 2005

Last night we returned to one of our favorite venues; the Martini Bar in Columbia. I am extending a huge thank you to all the friends and fans that came out, the house was packed and it was such an incredibly welcoming sight. We saw many new faces, as well.

Melissa, Mark and Jeannine, three people who've followed the band and my career for a long time now, were there to congratulate me on the 'pending' offer by Sony Records. I am making this my 'official' statement that neither I, nor the talent scout who's shopping my music, can make any guarantees as to when or IF this will actually happen, but the news that my press kit has made it through executive channels (farther than I ever dreamed) is extremely good news and adds to the general excitement and momentum of everything else that's been happening. Melissa, Mark and Jeannine gave me the sweetest card congratulating me on my achievements, and also a beautiful yellow-flowering plant. (Easy to care for, as they made sure to specifiy, since it's probably self-evident that I might be forgetful about tending to things other than my career - even though I do feel my career is a living, breathing being as well!) :) The plant seemed a metaphor for new beginnings, and the need to nurture anything that has the potential to grow and blossom, which is the direction I always hope my music is taking.

I was also fortunate enough to see a group of my friends who I care for dearly, in the crowd. One of these special people was Jon Rubin. I've written of Jon before. He was severely injured in a fire this spring. To see him move from the point of near-death to the place he was in last night, happy, content, and free, with that same beautiful smile on his face, was so uplifting to me. I dedicated 'Hallelujah' to him, since he was the one who sang it to me many months ago and inspired me to cover it myself. He's taught everyone who knows him so damn much...and it's our duty by him to never forget what he went through.

It is easy to get mired when life's roller coaster takes one of its downward dips. But I am repeatedly reminded of my blessings....they are many. Last night was one such blessing. And I will say thanks to the three audience members, who, after hearing my tequila story from last weekend, bought me shots. Was I a better entertainer for y'all after that? :) Seriously though, when the audience hears the stories, responds, and involves themselves, it obliterates the separation between perfomer and audience member. And I'm a big believer in everyone knowing how thin that line is, anyway! Just as a negative comment overheard from the sideline can completely ruin your moment onstage, so can a positive comment, a requested song, a hush that falls, make the whole night worthwhile. We know you're out there, we see you, we hear you, we're not immune to your comments and feelings. Stages are an illusion, lights are window-dressing. We're people trying to communicate with you; and it's so beautiful when you let us.

October 18, 2005

Wow...another month gone by between postings. Since we sent out the October 1st fan newsletter, I've gotten offers from people in various cities ranging from Boston to Doniphan to help with my Hurricane Relief idea. I still intend to record 'Blessed' as a single, get 'sponsors' to donate a certain amount of money that would go with the CD to a charitable organization such as Habitat for Humanity, where the money would be utilized for the rebuilding process in the affected cities, and the CD (signed by the sponsor and myself) would be distributed to people who might find some comfort from the lyrics of the song, which seem poignantly applicable to the recent tragedies. I've had people who had relatives in the path of the hurricanes approach me at gigs and say 'I wish so-and-so could hear that song.' Comfort and assistance is what I hope to bring to the table through my music....

Along those same lines, (those of comfort through music) the band and I had a gig this weekend in Kansas City at a venue called Knuckleheads. I've got to say, first off, that we've been treated so well at venues this month. At the Schluckbier fest in Fayette on October 8th we had the coolest green room and tastiest shrimp and ribs ever, plus chocolate cake to die for. Everyone involved in the event was first-class, so kind and generous. I hope that festival lasts for years and years to come. This past weekend at Knuckleheads we were in extremely good company as we looked at the promotional pictures of all the famous blues musicians who've played there, hanging on the walls of the green room, which was equipped with air-conditioner, TV, radio, fully stocked fridge, and sofa. We were also well fed, and treated like gold by Frank and Steve and Radar, who gave me the coolest free tees at the end of the night. (I also gained an honorary coolness point by being allowed to get my picture taken on the Knuckleheads' Harley.) The crowd was loud and racous, but extremely appreciative and we hope to be back there soon. BUT....I said I would get to the comfort through music part; I'd better get back on track.

Our sound man, Pete, who I didn't know had heard my music at all prior to Saturday night, had an amazing request of me before we began our third set. He asked if we would play 'Find Heaven' for him. I told him we'd played it in the first set (I thought maybe he just hadn't heard it.) Turns out, he had heard it the first time, but had also been pretty involved in dialing in the sound still, and he wanted to be able to sit back and really listen to it a second time through. The day before, he'd been to a funeral for a friend's teenage son who had been killed in an accidental shooting. The story broke my heart. (Grif, a member of the band, had also suffered a loss that I had learned about just that same day). All of a sudden, the meaning of the words to that song, (which I used to have trouble even getting through since I had written it for my brother after he died) became somehow...BIGGER. As I've said before, songs grow beyond the person who wrote them, when they head out into the world to be used and interpreted by others. And suddenly, our third set became this amazing blend of sound and emotion, and everything came together perfectly. It was one of those "this is why I do this and this is enough" moments. (And I promise it wasn't the tequila Radar had given us talking.) :)

So thanks to Pete, (who in an instant made everything I do worthwhile by requesting one of my songs to bring him comfort) Radar (happy birthday again by the way - who has been one of my biggest fans since we played Davey's in KC a couple years ago and who said so many kind things and who was ready to give up his paycheck to get us to Knuckleheads, but luckily didn't have to!) Steve (thanks for taking us 'across the tracks' so to speak), Frank (who took a chance on us 'not-strictly-blues' musicians), and dozens of other people I met that night who treated us with respect. Thanks to my bandmates, who share the van, the music, and the life with me. Thanks to Kevin and Sam, people from Columbia who came to KC to be part of things, and thanks to anyone who EVER travels for one of our gigs....it's a special sort of honor to see your faces in the crowd. The list of people who have touched me in my life is longer than the distance from here to the moon, and again, that's probably just shy of not being an exaggeration. (See if you can figure that one out.)

The moments of being reminded of why we DO what we love and why we LOVE what we love, are the moments where life is most real. I've been in a humdinger of a bad mood today, and just writing this puts me nearly back in that place...