Bishop & GrayHarr / Blog

Our Creations!

Lots of people I know and new ones I meet make the off-handed comment of , "Oh, I wish I were creative" or "Oh, I wish had some creative talent". This is how I respond. If you are part of the human race, you are creative! You can't deny it! Our Creations are not limited to "the arts" as we have so aptly labeled and filed them away in our brains. For myself, I enjoy the arts- music, painting, theater and such. But --- I look around and find myself envious of other who creating beautiful cakes! scrumptious meals! amazing landscapes! incredible architecture! intriguing books and movies and stories! cool fashion! inviting interior designs, trendy haircuts and designs! breathtaking photographs! And what about teachers who create interesting ways to learn! preachers who create sermons! business people who create business plans! public relations people who create promotional events and opportunities! factory workers create cars, medicines, and all kinds of products we need and enjoy! All service workers including cashiers, food servers, masseurs, and more- create, at the very least, an experience thru their service. Doctors, nurses and all health professional and staff create health care plans! Politicians create laws! Someone even has to crate all the forms we fill out, rules we go by! How 'bout all the art that goes into creating happy homes and happy children! All of nature is creative! Birds create nests. Trees create shade. Plants create food and medicine. Animals create food for us and one another and so then create the circle of life. The moon creates tides. The sun creates warmth. On and on and on. FACE IT! We are all creating a LIFE and that life is filled will all the little things we create. If you believe in one God and He is THE Creator, then you must accept that we are made to be creators. It's simply in our nature to create. We can't escape it. It takes work to get all the light and shadows and lines just right- but its worth it! Art is always a work in progress. However you are creating, we hope that your creation is as beautiful and interesting and meaningful and fun and amazing as you are meant to be! P.S. in between all that creating, go out and play or listen to live local music.

So We're Entertainers...

Been thinking a little lately about how every person has their chosen or assigned job to do as well as their hobbies and assorted interests. Each position, job, career, hobby has a "value" assigned to it. That value may be perceived or based in reality, but a value nonetheless. So, I understand why, say, a doctor and the work he does has a HIGH real and perceived value to it. His work is important. He invests a lot of time, energy and money in his career. His work is of vital importance to his customers. Makes sense. I understand why that those of us who write, sing and play music, aren't usually considered the upper eschelon of valuable careers (that's not considering the 1/2 percent of people who are billionaires thru music, LOL). But we do have a place, a reason, a purpose and therefore a value. I'm afraid we have allowed ourselves to become de-valued. The biggest reason is probably because we have bought into the hype that musicians are "lazy, no-accounts who need to settle down and do something with their lives". Another big reason is because we tend NOT to demand respect for our services by being so willing to bargain on our fees, or even performing for free, giving away songs, etc... Since life teaches us that lasting victories are most successfully achieved thru baby steps, I offer a couple of baby steps each of us can take. One- how often have you heard yourself say, "I have to practice" or "I have to play this weekend". Yes, its small, but if we love what we do and value what we do, we should feel happy and blessed to get to do it. So let's start changing the negative language and begin to say at least "I am going to practice" or "I am going to play this weekend" and try to work up to "I can't wait to..." After all, what is rehearsing and practicing if not TRAINING. And on the subject of changing our negative language, how many times have you found yourself saying "We're playing this weekend"? True, we're playing music, but wouldn't it be perceived with more respect if we referred to it as WORK? I mean, it may not be your full-time career, but that doesn't make it any less than work. It requires your precious time, your energy, your responsibility, your dedication, your tools, and your talents. It is your job. So, why not begin saying, "We're working this weekend." Wow, just that little sentence implies you are DOING something. I know these are two very small things, but if each of us begin to change our language, our personal perception -- we begin to see for ourselves the value in our career, job, or hobby. Think of what music does for you and know that when you write, sing or play it for others, it does that for them as well. Music has value and you, as a musician, have value. So, let's go out together with a new confidence that what we do is work and has value. Let's enjoy the training and then go about the work of music. Just some thoughts on this Sunday afternoon. Plan this week to go out and either work or support someone else's live, local music!

Studio One & Public Radio

We'd like to say how thankful we are to Mr Dave Carter of Studio One, WETS public radio, for having us on his show today! We looked forward to it for a long time and it surpassed our expectations. Dave is a knowledgeable, welcoming, professional host. Mike Strickland is a wizard at engineering and sound. But this "blog" post is really about much more than "thank yous". You see, there is soooo much more music than most people ever hear on their favorite radio station. So much talent abounds in little known nooks and crannies of this big world. Often times, it is only thru shows like Studio One and public radio stations, than listeners can hear some previously unknown, undiscovered or just overlooked gem of a songwriter, singer, picker, player, or storyteller. For us, the musician side of us, we simply do what we do- however it manifests itself- and hope by playing it live, recording it and sharing it in whatever ways we come upon, our creative work will "move some air", so to speak. With every blog post we make, we encourage everyone to get out and support live, local music and we mean it! With this blog post, we also urge you to support local and national public radio. They're your airwaves, after all. Listen to the programming and lend your monetary support when you are able. Regard the public airwaves as a national resource, a national treasure! Sermon over, lol. Have a great weekend! BTW, get out and support live, local music AND public radio!

A word about Christmas Shows/Music

After a 1 week of 3 Christmas shows at 3 different locations, we have some thoughts to share about Christmas music. First, typically bands/groups/soloists only get to play Christmas music, at most, about 4 weeks out of the year. But Christmas music, especially traditional music, is DIFFICULT compared to the songs we play during the rest of the year. Most of the old carols, and some of the older secular holiday songs, seemed to be written in "Old English" chord progressions, not just the lyrics- LOL. Second- playing Christmas music for an entire show requires some extra and different types of rehearsing. From a musicians view, it can seem like a lot of time invested for such a short playing time. However- it can also be a lot of fun and help get you into the Christmas spirit early- especially if you start rehearsing in September or October for upcoming November/December shows. Third- There are a lot of beautiful, creative, fun, meaningful, wonderful Christmas songs written by songwriters all the time- but such a small market for them. Songwriters are suffering any way with music going to digital distribution and such. I'd hate to think we might lose some amazing music, continuing a wonderful tradition of beautiful Christmas music, simply because its just not worth it financially for the songwriter. THAT SAID- we'd also like to say that Bishop & GrayHarr LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! We had a blast playing our old favorites and learning some new ones to play for our audiences. At a few shows, we enjoyed being extremely relaxed and having the audiences participate on most every song- more like a family sing-a-long. At other shows, we were honored to be part of a bigger program during which different groups performed their own music, plus backed each other on vocals and instruments- reminding us of the old radio shows. At some shows, the venues offered tree lightings and dinner in addition to entertainment. We enjoyed each and every one so far, though we never played perfect, Christmas music is one of those things that seems to bring out the best in both the musicians & the audiences. Wouldn't it be awesome if we as musicians could begin approaching many of our shows (depending on venue) much the way we approach Christmas shows. Instead of just playing music for audiences to dance to, or background music for dinner, or audience to sit and listen and judge whether they like it or not- strive to give them an "experience". Give them something they feel like getting ready for, give them something they can be part of and something that when they leave they take the feeling with them. Hey- we may be seasoned pickers & grinners, but we can still learn a thing or two here and there. For now- let us say we hope you are enjoying your preparations for holidays and remembering the intended meaning & spirit of Christmas. And here's hoping you'll still find some time to get out & support live, local music!

IMPORTANT INFO for Musicians who FLY

Found this article today and would like to share with all our musician fans who fly commercial airlines: CARRY YOUR INSTRUMENT ON THE PLANE - IT'S THE LAW 10-11-2013 I fly a lot with my guitar. It's a $2,000 Taylor. Over the years, airlines (namely US Airways and United) have told me that my guitar MUST be checked. This usually happens at the gate. However, at LAX they have their own guards checking you BEFORE you even get to security. A few months ago they tried to turn me back to the ticket counter to pay the checked baggage fee and check my guitar...

...UNTIL I whipped out the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 section 41724 LAW. Bitches.

Yes I had the new law printed out and I showed them. Obama signed this bill into law on February 14th, 2012.

What is the law? Well it's 145 pages of various airline passenger rights, but hidden on page 74 and stretching all the way to the middle of page 75 is the Musical Instruments clause. It states:

"An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, if

(A) the instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat, in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the Administrator; and

(B) there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft."

There it is. Black and white. LAW. Signed by the President.

Per point B, make sure you are able to board the plane EARLY. On Southwest, boarding order is determined by when you check in. You can check in online 24 hours in advance - set your alarm. Check the other airlines to see how you can get an early boarding group. Sometimes if the gate attendant is nice, she/he will let you board early if you ask politely (Southwest usually lets me on during family boarding).

I urge you to print this section out (and maybe the cover page) and carry it whenever you travel. Technically the airlines must comply "Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this section." So February 14th, 2014, BUT you don't need to mention that part when arguing with the gate attendant. It is the law and they should comply with it. +Booking Your Own Tour. A How-To Guide

If you have an instrument that doesn't fit in the overhead compartment (like a cello), you can buy a ticket for it. That's in the next part of the law. They cannot charge you an additional fee if it's less than 165 pounds and is in a case.

Thank the musicians union, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), for lobbying congress FOR YEARS and finally getting this pushed through. Bet you didn't know what the musicians union did. Well there you have it.


DID YOU KNOW: The first Thanksgiving Day did occur in the year 1637, but it was nothing like our Thanksgiving today. On that day the Massachusetts Colony Governor, John Winthrop, proclaimed such a "Thanksgiving" to celebrate the safe return of a band of heavily armed hunters, all colonial volunteers. They had just returned from their journey to what is now Mystic, Connecticut where they massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Seven hundred Indians - men, women and children - all murdered. AND DID YOU KNOW: Many misplaced pilgrims had no skills to grow or catch their food & even if they got lucky, they had no skills to preserve it, no planning. hence they began Days of Fasting & related it to their religion. Then when they did get lucky & have food, they called it a day of THANKSGIVING. They wrote these day down in journals and that was the first written mention of the "holiday". However, there was no turkey & fixins'- probably just fish & potatoes.

To Give or Not To Give?

Cyndee here.Looking at a baby doll from a Christmas about 40 years ago. She still looks as beautiful as she did then. Her name is Thumbelina & she has a story. One particular Christmas, I asked for a baby doll that cried, wet, ate-all the bells & whistles. No doubt it wasn't cheap. That same year, my parents purchased toys for the children we called "bus kids" at church- kids who typically came to church on an old bus without their parents & many of them were poor in more ways than one. I was sitting on the couch as my mom began parading out these toys to show me, gauging my reaction, to see if she had chosen well for these kids. She brought out a doll packaged in a plain plastic bag and my jaw dropped! What a beautiful doll! True, she didn't do anything,but her shiny blond hair, big blue eyes & perfect baby skin made here a prize in my eyes. Immediately, I said I wanted her for my own! Mom explained that this doll was for the bus kids. She reminded me that I would be getting the doll on my list &, this doll was generic, less than the one I'd asked for. I whined & convinced her this was the doll for me. She finally offered to exchange dolls- give me this doll and give the doll I'd asked for to the bus kids. Without hesitation- I took that deal! On Christmas morning, I opened my gifts from Santa & this beautiful doll I named Thumbelina. Forty years later, I'm not sure what to make of this memory. No doubt, my intent of exchanging my doll for this doll was a selfish one. I wanted this doll no matter what. I remember feeling guilty even then, but I couldn't stand the thought of a bus kid having this beautiful doll. Selfish. On the other hand, because of my selfishness, a bus kid was gifted the best, new doll. Surely my selfishness was used for a purpose. At least I hope so. I hope somewhere, another woman is able to hold her doll & remember a Christmas when she was needy and someone gave her their best. Now, one might say that this is what people mistake for charity- that especially around the holidays, people buy the generic, cheaper merchandise to donate. It makes them feel good & those receiving should be grateful for anything they get, but... I know that isn't how my parents thought when they were buying gifts for the bus kids. They were trying to make sure all the kids got something instead of giving one child all they could afford. Think of it like this- if you have a big hole to fill, you'll fill it faster with lots of $1 bills instead of just throwing in one $100 bill. Back to the doll story- So I got my beautiful doll & the memory. A bus kid got a great doll too. My parents willingly shared what they had with those who had less. What does that all mean in the grand scheme of things? In many circumstances, the intent of the heart is just as important as the action, however, in the case of To Give Or Not To Give? I'd say giving is never the wrong thing to do. Someone always benefits when we give. If we're lucky, we learn to give freely and we receive more joy from it that we could ever give. I really wish that as a child, I had been shown an inferior baby doll and begged my mom to give away the better doll because I had a giving spirit- that just wasn't the case. But I keep Thumbelina on display in my bedroom, and each time I think about her origins, I vow to be more giving, to not be concerned about what I'm getting in return. Thanks for reading my ramblings. When you're giving this Christmas don't forget the the gift of music & please take the time to support live, local music!

Can You Believe it?

Its already mid-November and that means Thanksgiving is just around the corner AND that means Christmas time's a'comin! Wow this year has flown by! As you head into this busy holiday season, don't forget the reason for the season and in that spirit- Don't forget to get your FREE download of our Christmas song- "The Willing Heart". Its our gift to you.

Something's coming, something good

What an awesome weekend! We got to get out and soak up some Christmas spirit this weekend, including local music, crafts, art & authors. We even got to meet a gentleman they tried to throw out of school saying he wouldn't amount to anything, who invented the disposable car floor mats and has sold millions! We got sign a birthday card for Billy Graham that his daughter had. WE GOT MEET SANTA CLAUS! The weather is even feeling all holiday-ish. Last night, we got home early to watch "A Country Christmas" with Dolly Parton- the movie we had the privilege to be a small part of. It premiered on Lifetime, but I'm sure it will play over and over again throughout the season. Tomorrow, will have the very distinct privilege of performing some patriotic music for a Veteran's Day celebration. Here's hoping you are beginning to feel the spirit of giving and sharing. As you begin your shopping, we encourage you to 1) add a touch of personal/thoughtfulness to every gift 2) keep in mind that your gift of service and your time can be just as important as anything you buy and 3) Don't underestimate the gift of music!! As you head into this busy time of the year, don't forget to take some time out to support live, local music.

November 2013- Week 1

Wow! November has started out with a bang! We found out our album "Being Human" is now on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, rhapsody and several more. We got the news that the movie which we were privileged to be a small part of will air this Saturday on Lifetime at 8pm- Look for it- "A Country Christmas" starring Miss Dolly Parton. Our 12 hours of filming should at least translate into 1 or 2 seconds on camera. We played at a new venue, The Harvest Table, and received great feedback. We booked another gig which we will post soon. AND we made our first sales on iTunes. How cool is that? Thanks so much for being part of our Revebnation/Facebook /twitter family!