Music is life.
Music is the basis for my personal spirituality. To me, life is music. Everything that happens has a natural pattern, a natural rhythm. Like fractals and the Fibonacci sequence, events that appear as random notes of life, are usually part of a group of events that are linked like a musical phrase. Groups of events over time naturally form small patterns or melodic rhythms. Stepping back to see the big picture, these smaller patterns also link together forming the rhythms of our lives. Micro to macro there are rhythms created by every event of our lives.
My job in life is the same as everyone else's ... stay on the beat. We all have a rhythm we call our own, though most folks may adopt one of the most popular communal rhythms. Many folks are more creative and have their own interesting version of the popular rhythm. Some use the popular rhythm as a guideline to repel from, a starting point with which to gauge the invention of their own rhythm and set themselves apart from the rest. Very few are truly unique, inspired by new patterns of thought instead of repelling the old guidelines.
Over time these rhythms gradually change as our lives change. We play around with them occasionally, with minor improvisation like course corrections on a long journey, but generally they are a marathon pace and stride … very even in the short term. Most days I spend trying to find ways to keep my beat in a familiar way … my daily routine, my comfort zone. Sometimes I get sick and miss a beat. Sometimes I take a personal day or two, maybe even a week or two, and intentionally leave the beat and the entire rhythmic structure. A break that frees me to more deeply explore things I may be completely unfamiliar with, or maybe have never been exposed to before ... analogous to a Miles Davis style free form jazz exploration or a Grateful Dead space jam. A break that allows me time to give full attention to the search for new things that speak to my soul and inspire my love for the rhythm of life.
Occasionally a normal day takes a surprising turn. I am on the beat … my own familiar beat and rhythm in my comfort zone … and then it hits me. I hear something new, a pattern that I’ve never heard before that could fit on top of the familiar beat but is syncopated somehow. An idea or event that could change my life permanently. Change the way I hear my own personal rhythm, which will in turn effect the way I play it from here on out. As I listen to the new pattern in my head I know that to reach for it, to try to play it, will push me out of my comfort zone, which could end up magical … or disastrous. If I don’t try, I’ll never know it’s full potential. I’ll never make it a reality. It will only be a memory of a fleeting idea … which will eventually be forgotten. A missed opportunity that will not call again. To reach for it will change the rhythm that rides my beat, which could throw me off and cause what we musicians often call a "train wreck”. If I’m going to step forward, I have to do it as if I know exactly what I’m doing, which is technically impossible since I’ve never done it before. It has to be a leap of faith. Faith in the meter. Faith in myself. Faith that the new rhythm will flow as I am hearing it in my head. If I hesitate, I could jump the track and cause the train wreck, in turn breeding new fear for future attempts. Success depends solely on me and the confidence I have in myself, and in turn breeds new confidence for future events.
Music is life. I constantly think of life in metaphors of music and rhythm. Growth and change happen whether we succeed or fail. “The beat goes on” and one way or another we get “back on the train” and find our rhythm again. “The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down. You can’t let go and you can’t hold on. You can’t go back and you can’t stand still. And every time that wheel turns round, we’re bound to cover just a little more ground.” Life is music. Music is life.
This year is shaping up to be a great one. They're calling 2014 the year of change and I can safely say there are some big ones happening for me this year. Many new band projects are coming as I have the urge to play with other musicians after doing the solo loop thing for so long. I'll never stop playing solo, but playing with others inspires me greatly and I have decided to seek that inspiration more often than I have in the past. Here I come y'all!!
2013 is shaping up already to be a very busy year! 11 shows in January and working on finding some weekly shows to boost those shows-per-month numbers! Husky Pants will continue to play despite our drummer moving to Pittsburgh, Think Tank Trio has now branched out into regional status, and I've got a cigar-box group in the works ... stay tuned for updates!! I'd love to break my own personal record for most shows played in a year!!!
I'm down to 2 shows left for the year, both at new venues. I'm looking forward to them and to what's coming next year ... bring it on 2013! look for another record breaking year ;)
As we enjoy the last few weeks of 2012 and await the conclusion of the Mayan calendar, there are a lot of fun shows happening so check my schedule! 2013 is looking to be best year yet and I can't to play some of the shows I already have lined up. Stay tuned for updates and added dates!
Well, my 1st ever "blog" is probably long past overdue here. It's been a great year, 78 shows so far in 6 different musical projects, almost 30 festival sets, 20 new venues ... and the year's not over! Thanks for the support y'all!