Thursday, September 3, 2015

memories

We just had our 29th Anniversary last Saturday. We took a trip to Gatlinburg and made it into a belated honeymoon of sorts.

We stayed at a one bedroom - VERY private - VERY secluded chalet UP the mountain on the edge of the National Park. We made memories as well as talking about old ones.

Here's the pic we did - a traditional honeymoon 'old time photo' thing -


Now for what prompted this post (other than I've fallen behind again on getting my blog posts regular)...

Following is a screen shot of a geocache that we did in Arkansas. That was another day for making memories! We enjoy our road trips together and we used to do a lot of 'caching - 


The page is at http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1ARRA_grandpas-challenge?guid=84935e4e-058b-4e29-9d15-6ef3b22d60d0 if you're interested. The cache has been archived, but it doesn't kill our memories. :-)

Here are the pics that we had attached - when I saw these this is what made me smile. :-)




I miss those days - but I miss the road trips and spending time together, not just the geocaching. :-)

Love you babe!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

just a little ketchup

Or catch up. :-)

Been a couple of weeks since I posted... I promised myself (and you) I would post more, and I'm sorry I have not. Been some 'personal issues' going on that have taken my attention... I will say that I have grown as a person, and as a spouse, because of it, and there's a new song coming soon... :-) Yes, Robert, it's a happy song! It's a love song and no one dies. ;-)

I've played the Farmers Market a few times, but skipped yesterday because of the heat! WHEW! Have been some GREAT crowds there and I've really enjoyed it! I'm still playing in Henderson on Saturday nights and was so VERY excited last week when Vanessa got to join me! Not only did I pass the bass off a couple of times so she and I could dance but I also got her on stage for three songs. And did the crowd ever love it! :-)

Here's a pic from last night...


The reason Vanessa has not been able to go is because she's been chasing HER dream! She's been working more and more hours in the EMS world. I know she's probably tired of hearing me say this, but I am very VERY proud of her selfless way of giving to those in need!

I started a Patreon page today for my songwriting and as a way of collecting funds for the next CD project... It's not live yet, though, as I'm still tweaking it. Vanessa is sleeping finally after working 48 hours straight, so I'm waiting to let her see it and help me make changes...

I did make the Patreon for the Car Wars PBEM live, if you'd like to check into that...

https://www.patreon.com/madhat

I won't be at the dance next week as I'll be at the Spry-Anderson Family Reunion in Paris, TN. Looking forward to defending the Rook Championship title with my partner Vanessa. :-) Yes, Rook is the family game and yes we play a tourney at the reunion each year. :-)

The next Saturday night I'll be performing in Union City at Discovery Park! I'm actually going to be there twice in August but that first Saturday night will be my first time there! Looking forward to meeting the people that come through there...

That's all for now! Take care of yourself and hug the ones you love! Tell them - nay - SHOW them you love them!


Monday, June 22, 2015

long weekend

First word that comes to mind from this weekend? Whew!

Friday was a short work day, but a busy evening! I played in Trenton at the Southern Thunder Jamboree. Great bunch of folks there! Nice people for sure, but not what I'm looking for... I'm honored they asked me to sit in with them and it was nice meeting more musicians, but I'm not going to be be a full time member.

Prior to me driving over there, though, I was sending some info to a cousin about the funeral arrangements for my aunt. My cuz calls me and tells me she's headed to Nashville as her sister had been shot by her husband! Yep, you read that right... Obviously they had to miss the funeral but of course we are fortunate that there's not yet another funeral to go too... She's in serious condition, but alive.

So it was with somber mood that I headed to Trenton... Vanessa came over for a bit but had to get back home and get some rest as she worked two 24 hour shifts back to back Saturday and Sunday.

Had a much better Saturday morning! I performed at the Farmer's Market in Dyersburg to a great crowd of folks! It was hot, but that's alright. :-) I do plan to be back again this coming Saturday. Mom didn't know I was performing and said she was going to try and make it this time...

I went home to rest up a bit then stopped to see Vanessa in Ripley on the way to Henderson. I also spoke with my cousin again and got an update on everything.

Yesterday was Father's Day and I got an early call from Kyle and then met Colton and Tiffani at Cracker Barrel where they gave me a great card and then bought my an Uncle Hershel's Breakfast. :-) Good stuff! We went back to their apartment and Colton and I partook in some Diddy Kong Racing on N64.

I left for the funeral where I was honored to have been asked to be a pall bearer. We said good bye to the last of the Anderson siblings. This was my dad's sister and that entire generation has now gone on to their eternal resting place and MY brothers and sisters and first cousins are now the 'old generation.' Whew - that's a sobering thought as well...

Afterward I went back to Colton's and we had a late lunch and watched some Netflix for a spell, then I headed to visit with Vanessa for a few minutes, then home to get some rest. Very little in the way of social media, so I didn't post anything hardly at all...

Now I'm back to a routine and was listening to a podcast on the way to work. The Secret Cabal talked about another game I popped onto Amazon and placed on my wish list - Concept. It's another party game and this time it's like Charades, only on a board...



In case someone out there is the type to bless people with things from someone's wish list... ;-)

http://amzn.com/w/4S5POM7KO56V

Yes, you'll notice Imperial Assault is on the list... We sent that to Kyle for an early birthday present and he's been sharing the stories of the games with me. :-) Can't wait to play it with him! I was telling Colton about it and he said it sounds better than Zombicide, which I have a STILL SEALED copy of! Yes, I would gladly trade it for Imperial Assault. ;-)

Till next time, Gentle Reader...


Friday, June 19, 2015

podcasts and music

Two things I forgot to mention a few days ago in my last post...

Some of you know that I don't listen to mainstream radio. Modern country is NOT appealing to me, so usually I gravitate toward podcasts. Some are of music (Freight Train Boogie is a favorite and has all Americana - usually independent artists like myself) but most are gaming related. This has changed in the past week...

I really wasn't in the mood for more podcasts on X-Wing or Star Wars Role Playing, so I thought I'd give the radio a try. When I'm with Vanessa she tends to have Sirius on Willie's Roadhouse, but of course nothing like that exists on terrestrial radio, right? Wrong!

There's a station right here in town called Eagle 97.3 - http://www.eagle973.net and they play MY style of country! I was so into it that I was hearing songs I haven't heard in a while and it was inspiring me to learn some different things for my solo show as well as with the dance band(s) that I play with.

So that's what I've been hearing in the car... George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, etc. Good stuff!





Oh - and here's an online version of an article for last week's opening day of the Farmer's Market, written by my good buddy and fellow musician Ken Jones - http://www.stategazette.com/story/2205067.html

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Music Blossoms and Games are Played

If my last post was "music season," then it must be getting close to blooming...

I know it's just been a couple of days but I didn't want to let it get past me like it can do sometimes, so just a quick post as a journal entry.

Last night was Star Wars RPG night at the store in Ripley. There were only two regulars at first so I recommended playing X-Wing instead. A third player came up so that made four of us. Before the game was over we had at least two others stop in and want to learn how to play.

I was talking to Kyle about it today and I mentioned to him that it was just a big casual game and a TON of fun! The last several times I've played it's been in a tournament setting, but this time it was just for the fun of playing, and it was a refreshing change of pace!

Today I got a text from the keyboard player on Saturday nights. He needs me to fill in on bass guitar in Halls on July 3, so of course I accepted. I don't know yet if the Friday nights in Trenton will become a regular thing, so I didn't want to turn down something in hopes of something different being there. It's no different than me missing a Saturday night in Henderson/Finger because I am booked as a solo somewhere else, like the two nights in August I'll be performing at Union City at Discovery Park.

We bought Kyle an early birthday present... He's been wanting Imperial Assault since we saw it at Gencon last year, so we ordered it and had it shipped to him from Amazon. He got it today and was very excited. :-) Can't wait to try it out with him!

Well that's all for now! I'll keep posting as new gigs come in! If you've been thinking of booking me for a house concert but don't want to interfere with something else, don't let that stop you! When it comes to the dance places that's what subs are for! :-)

Till next time, gentle reader...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Music Season

Yep, music season. I have no other words to describe it. It's like what I'm meant to do has slipped into a familiar groove and the stars have aligned and opened up my calling. :-)

Before I discuss that in detail let me say that saying 'stars' reminded me that while we were having our GREAT week in Indiana with Kyle & Devin that we pulled out a telescope one night and looked at THREE planets in the sky! Venus, of course, which is easy to find. It's still amazing when you look at it through a telescope and you can see the crescent - like a far away moon!

(note - these images are NOT mine, but they give you a visual idea of what we saw)



Then we moved the scope up to Jupiter. No, we couldn't see 'the spot' but we COULD see the four moons that you can watch on a nightly basis and track their movement...



Then we took it across the street to get a better look at Saturn. This was the first time Kyle had scene the rings other than pictures.



Again, it was a GREAT trip and we made some good memories. :-)

Once we were back in Tennessee I had three gigs to follow up on. The first one was Friday night at Gibson County Relay for Life in Dyer. This was the third Relay I had done this year and was BY FAR the most fun! I did Haywood's a few weeks ago, but they put me on early so two dear friends that were coming to see me missed it. Linda got there a few songs in and caught the last part of the set but Royce got there "on time" as I was coming off stage. Sorry about that!

Then I performed at the one in Dyersburg but was only given time for three songs. I had several people ask me later why I didn't perform more, but of course that was out of my hands. Thank you to those that did let me know you enjoyed it!

Fast forward to this past Friday... I got there early, as usual, and our friends The Joylanders were setting up the sound! It was great getting to talk to them for a while and even string a cable or two... I went on stage and my sister Tammy came along a song or two in and I got to visit with her a while after my set.

I did sell one CD to someone after my set, but of course all the proceeds went to Relay. She actually was hoping "Can I Get a Pepsi" was on the CD. I promised her I would put it on the next one. :-)

But another VERY cool thing happened as well... A gentleman came up to me and introduced himself and asked if I was currently in a band. We talked for a while about bands and "band situations" and of course I indicated I'm playing on Saturday nights with Pure Country but otherwise "Bare Basics" is not currently active. He said he has a band, Southern Thunder, that performs at a family friendly dance place on Friday nights. He said he could use a lead singer and invited me and my Takamine to sit in with them this coming Friday night so we can see how it goes.

I'm looking VERY forward to this for as you know, gentle reader, that I enjoy performing and enjoy making people happy! He said they have a lot of line dancers that come out and they have a great time, so it sounds right up my alley! He also liked the original songs I did that night and doing 'my music' is ALWAYS a plus.

Saturday morning was the opening day of the Dyersburg Farmers Market and I had promised to come share some music there starting at about 9:30. I got there early (of course) and Alan Hestor was packing up, so I went ahead and got set up and ready and started just after 9. Vanessa came up a few songs into the set and joined me for harmony and duets and did a few songs too. Later on my buddy Ken Jones (who now works for the local newspaper and wants to do an article on me) came up and had brought his harps (harmonicas) as I had asked him and he sat in and played a few songs with me too! Always fun sharing the stage with great musicians!

I played and sang till about 11:30 and we closed it out and got out of the heat. :-) I had 'that old feeling' again that I love so much! If you're a performing, especially a singer/songwriter, then you know the feeling I'm talking about... You're in front of people and baring your soul and making connections while making them smile and the world feels right!

I can't share details yet, but there was a specific connection made that morning that will potentially lead to more performing...

So riding high on the first two gigs I went to Henderson/Finger for the last one of the weekend. We didn't have a large crowd, but we had a lively crowd. :-) The ones there really enjoyed it and we did several songs we had not performed before, including "I Thought That I'd Forgotten" from my CD.

The best part of the afternoon and evening though? Getting to spend time with Vanessa! It's the first Saturday afternoon/evening that we've had together for a while and we did some shopping in Jackson and enjoyed a BLTA at Red Robin (we had had one when we went there in Indy with Kyle & Devin before seeing Mad Max again, but that's another blog post).

Hope your Friday & Saturday has been at least HALF as fun and fulfilling as mine has! Till next time...


Monday, May 25, 2015

Still here...

I've been way out of the habit of posting here and I apologize to you, gentle reader, and to my future self...

What's been going on? Not in any particular order...

Playing in a band every Saturday night for a great group of dancers and fans! Good times! Long drive home after but good times nonetheless!

Playing X-Wing miniatures game every chance I get. I've been going, when I can, to Murray, Kentucky to play with some great players in the store there, and playing in Dyersburg when they're not doing something there. 

Finishing up school. The day job "bill paying activity" known as work has been stressful and hectic with online testing, new wireless rollout and general end of year "gotta have it now" things. :-)

Regretting not being at gencon this year... :-(

Planning for our first grand baby!

GMing two groups with Star Wars RPG - online with the best group of gamers a 48 year old teenager can have! And locally at the store in Ripley. 

Planning for side gigs at two relay for life events as well as Discovery Park in Union City. 

More later...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

God Does Not Give Us Gifts He Does Not Intend for Us to Use

Got this email today and found it FASCINATING! Way too long for a simple Facebook post, so thought I'd put it here...



God Does Not Give Us Gifts He Does Not Intend for Us to Use 
by Shawn Michaels, Wrestling for My Life

Meet Shawn Michaels

Editor's Note: Shawn Michaels, aka “The Heartbreak Kid”, “The Showstopper”, “The Headliner”, “The Main Event”, “The Icon”, and “Mr. Wrestlemania” is an eleven-time winner of Pro Wrestling Illustrated and WWE’s Match of the Year Award. He has been blessed enough to be the WWE World Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, Royal Rumble winner (twice), Intercontinental Champion, World Tag Team Champion along with many other noteworthy accolades.  All of that used to be his entire identity… until he met Jesus and faith in Him changes his entire life from the inside out. We hope you enjoy this excerpt from Wrestling for My Life and share it with the wrestling fans in your life.

* * *
The Christian friends who expressed hesitancy about me returning to wrestling did so out of concern for me. I have said that WWE is not as evil as it is often made out to be, but there obviously had been plenty of pitfalls there for me to fall into my first time around.

Rebecca might have experienced a little bit of trepidation, but when I asked her opinion about me returning, she said she was at peace with it. When I went back, my old lifestyle had absolutely no appeal to me. I didn’t want to live in a way that would be detrimental to me or my family.

For the first time in my life I felt that I could clearly see the lines between right and wrong.

My salvation came with the realization that if you don’t live for something, you don’t live for much of anything. My something was Jesus, my Lord and Savior, and I no longer wanted to maintain a lifestyle that would disappoint the One who had given His life for me.

With the change that God brought to my life, there was nothing about my previous lifestyle that I wanted to revisit for old times’ sake. The assumption was that before I became a Christian, I had fallen prey to the pursuit of fame and money associated with the wrestling lifestyle. Based on that assumption, I understood why some people were concerned about my going back to WWE. But the assumption was false.

Fame and money and those pursuits were not a temptation for me. They were not a threat for me. They were not the reasons I had gotten into all the stuff I had before. I had drunk a lot, done drugs, and popped pills for two reasons: because of boredom, and because I was empty and lonely. My wife used to say that idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and that was true with me, because a lot of the destructive things I did were just a way to kill time.

Our schedules back then were so busy that all there really was time for outside of wrestling was sitting in a hotel room watching TV until you fell asleep. That, to me, was torture. Plus, I didn’t like to be alone with myself, because I didn’t like myself. I went out and drank because that was a way to be with others. I did drugs to get high and took pills to get relaxed so I could get into a mental state where I wouldn’t have to deal with who I had become.

I never had any withdrawals once I quit. I found Jesus, and I was done with the drugs and pills. Just like that. I have had surgeries since and have had no problems getting off the pain pills after I recovered. I took the pills exactly as prescribed and stopped exactly when I was supposed to.

To me, the complete life turnaround was the strongest witness I could have as a Christian.

Although there were a lot of new faces in WWE, I knew they had heard stories about me. The biggest reputation black marks against me were being difficult to work with and being a pill head. While some of the old-timers who were still around might have wondered if the change would last, I think they also hoped I had changed for good, because they remembered quite well how I had been before, when I had been hanging out in the bars, drinking, doing drugs, messing around with women, going off on people, and generally being disrespectful.

When I had left the first time, the range of how much I was liked by the other wrestlers was probably little to none, with the exception of my best friend, Hunter. I guess one of the upsides to the hell of a life I had lived was that I had set the bar so low that it would not have taken much effort to not be as bad as what I had been. Trust me, that is not something to be proud of!

I used to be one of the guys going to the strip clubs. I didn’t go to those places when I went back. Gosh, I didn’t even know if the younger guys were going to them. I didn’t know where they went. When I could, I brought my family with me. I did that so we could spend more time together, but one of the by-products was that the guys got to see me with my family and their mental images of me would be me with my family instead of in those other places. I think that simply not being seen in certain places I had previously frequented proved to be a pretty viable witness on its own.

I had only one fear associated with my return: that I would not be as good a wrestler as before. I didn’t know how much my back could withstand, but I wasn’t as worried about my body as much as I was my wrestling ability. I was thirty-seven years old when I got back into the ring at the SummerSlam pay-per-view event, working an angle in which Triple H had turned on me. My knees and back felt years older than thirty-seven, but the fans ate up the Triple H angle, and when our match went over well and I didn’t experience too much unexpected soreness afterward, I was back to wrestling.

I didn’t wrestle full-time, managing my schedule so I could spend time at home and still be available for the run-up to and during the big events.

The fans were receptive to the cleaned-up Shawn Michaels. I knew I would face the same challenges with them that I did with the guys. Namely, was this change real and would it last? I couldn’t blame the fans for being suspicious that the Christian story might be just another made-up wrestling storyline. In every personal interview I took part in, I made sure to include my faith in an effort to show that I had experienced a legitimate, real-life change.


I also started incorporating Christian words and symbols into my wardrobe. I wore overt Christian T-shirts into the ring, such as shirts that included Jesus’ name or made a declaration such as “He Is Risen.” I was excited about the shirts, and I took a bit of heat from fans for wearing them and for talking about God so openly. But I had expected that and had determined I wasn’t going to let it bother me. I was genuinely happy and was telling folks long before I knew that “I shouldn’t.”

Vince was fine with the messaged shirts, too, although he did come to me after a couple of months of me wearing them and said he wanted to ask a question about my shirts.

“Do you have a problem with them?” I asked Vince.

“I think they’re great,” he answered. “But there are some countries where we air that we have to digitally alter the overt Jesus stuff. I’m not asking you to change what you’re doing; I’m asking what we can do.”

Vince offered to have WWE create and merchandise shirts that would be able to be aired unaltered in those places while still getting out the message I wanted to send. He said it would be cheaper for WWE to make the shirts for me than to continue digitally altering them for certain locations.

I thought about it and agreed. That put the creative gurus at WWE in charge of my shirts, and they started designing me shirts with crosses on them and “HBK” (for Heartbreak Kid) inside an Ichthys, the Christian fish symbol.

Spending fifteen seconds in the ring before a match with a message on a T-shirt might not seem like having much impact until you realize that we were watched by four to five million people per week in just the United States. That was a big audience!

As for what those people were watching in the ring, I believe a strong case can be made that despite the physical issues, I was a better wrestler — and certainly a better storyteller — in the second part of my career than in the first. Not bad for a dude who not only hadn’t planned on ever wrestling again, but also had struggled with the decision as to whether he should even rejoin WWE.

I learned a valuable spiritual lesson in my return to wrestling: God does not give us gifts that He does not intend for us to use. Even in the days when my life was out of control, I considered my wrestling abilities a gift from God. I say it humbly when I say that I could wrestle really well. It always came naturally to me. There was nothing about the job of wrestling itself that I did not like or would define as work. To me, digging a six-foot ditch is work. Hard work!

But wrestling wasn’t.

Being good at wrestling was never difficult for me.

Someone once told me that God isn’t a bait-and-switch kind of God, and I don’t believe that God would have given me the gift of being a good wrestler and then not want me to wrestle.

The Lord built me to be a pro wrestler, and I did the best with what I had and tried to make the most use of my platform when I could. I would say that before my salvation, I wrestled because I had a God-given ability.

Afterward, I wrestled because God had a purpose for me.
Excerpted with permission from Wrestling for My Life by Shawn Michaels, copyright Zondervan 2015. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

heard it on a podcast

I've been a fan of Thrilling Adventure Hour for a long time now (you're welcome Devin) and a recent episode was a "crossover" with the show Wits. It was VERY enjoyable and I decided to check out Wits as it has its own podcast. I just listened to an episode this morning while driving to work that has Patton Oswalt and Ben Lee.

Patton is funny, as usual. No surprise there. Ben Lee was being introduced as an Australian musician and they were talking about some of the awards. The host, John Moe, also asked him about being on the Australian version of The Voice.

Now let me stop here and say that I do NOT like reality TV. It's just not something I care for. I watch Walking Dead, Flash, Agents of SHIELD, Star Wars Rebels (of course) - things that are as far from reality as you can get. :-) I watch them to be entertained, and watching people "perform" on a reality show showcasing the next hot young thing is not my idea of entertainment, but I digress...

Ben said he was a "coach" - not one of the "chair dudes" but someone that worked with the performers between shows. He said something VERY profound that stuck with me. (rewinding so I get this right...)

Okay - "mentor" - the "industry insider" for one of the coaches. He said he loved the opportunity to "get on a stage where people were sort of, even if just from their own minds being pressured to sort of conform and pander and play the game, and I would just get up there and say 'look, you're probably going to lose this and even if you win that is no guarantee of any type of success. We've watched enough reality shows but what you do have, 10% of Australia watches The Voice means two million people. You have two and a half minutes to stand on a stage in front of two and a half million people. What you need to do is get out of the competition, forget about that whole thing and just shine your authenticity of what you are and just radiate whatever kind of weird freaky energy you've got. Be it and it will draw events towards it. The next chapter of your life will be written by you being authentic.'"

I think that's some pretty good advice! Will it get you success as defined by others? Maybe - maybe not. Will it let you have success and feel good about yourself? That you're not a "sell out?" That you're being true to YOU? Absolutely!

Does this have anything to do with yesterday's blog? Maybe... :-)


Monday, February 9, 2015

some reflection on the PATH

I subscribe to several blogs and get the updates in my inbox. Monday I got an update from one in particular that caused me to answer the questions in my own mind. I kinda stumbled on the first one and it caused a MUCH deeper thought process. Before I got too far with it I thought I would post it as a 'thinking out loud' blog post... Following my gut here... :-)

First, here's the post that prompted this - http://manvsrow.com/2015/02/09/are-you-on-the-p-a-t-h-to-songwriting-success/

Now before you say to yourself, "self, this is about songwriting and it doesn't apply to me" remember that it can apply to ANYTHING you set out to do or be. If you have the same reaction to number one that I did then it DOES apply to everything in your life.

Okay - let's get to it. :-)

PATH is an acronym for Purpose Action Time Habit. Quoting Brent on Purpose -

"Why are you on this journey in the first place? Where do you want to go, and why do you want to go there? Without a clearly-defined purpose, without a desired destination at the end of the path, all you can do is wander. Find or define your purpose."

Now I'm a long time fan of Zig Zigler and one of the main things I remember from my days of reading and listening to him is the fact that you have to have a clearly defined goal. How can you work toward something that you don't have? How do you know when you've hit it? How do you even know when you're close? So I understand what Brent is trying to say here. Is my goal to be a "hit songwriter?" Sure - at least I thought it was...

Let's assume for a moment that is what my goal is. How do I get there? First you have to write songs. Okay - doing that. Then you have to write better songs. Okay - I think my songs and my songwriting is getting better. Muscles improve as you flex them, right? Sure! So that's a check in that box.

Next would be networking. Gotta make those connections. I'm probably not doing this as well as I could be. I could be spending more time on the road (and the phone) to Nashville, but of course I have to balance that time out with work, family, etc. Living in Nashville is not an option right now, so I can't hit the open mics every night, etc. So I guess I'm failing on this step.

Now right about here is where the whole thing started to break down for me... How you ask? I thought back to the work PURPOSE. I'm a Christian. What is my PURPOSE on this Earth? To follow Christ! Can I do that and be a hit songwriter? Sure! Does that mean I put the PATH to being a hit songwriter first? Absolutely not!

I've said for a long time that I want to do what God wants me to do. I'm a firm believer that if it's meant to be then it will be. Now that may sound like a cop out for not pushing myself as far and as hard as I can. I think I've been looking at it the wrong way though! First, if it's not in His will, even if I attain it it will not be right. If it is, in fact, in His will, then it won't happen early nor by accident. It will be due to God allowing it to happen.

Does this mean I don't work toward it? Not at all! But it does mean that I have to make sure that I am in tune with His will. I'm reminded of Matthew 6:33 - But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Now there is more to Brent's post, and I recommend you read it. But I wanted to share with you that as I read it, and reflected on it, I couldn't think about it in terms of songwriting, but in terms of living the life that He wants me to live. So far He has blessed me with the ability and the opportunity to write songs, perform them, perform cover songs, perform solo, perform with Vanessa, perform bluegrass with various people, perform in different country bands, perform gospel music with several groups over the years... And the list goes on!

I am a blessed man when it comes to music, and I don't take it for granted!

Thanks for reading.


Friday, February 6, 2015

a new year

Well, 2015 is upon us! Sadly I went over 30 days without an update, and for that I apologize... Been a busy year so far!

I would like to point out that I'm VERY very proud of Vanessa and the community work she is doing in EMS! She is an EMT-IV (that's eye vee, not four ;-) ) and is working most every weekend on an ambulance as well as continuing with the volunteer work! Again, I am VERY proud!

[EDIT: I said that wrong... She has completed her 'bridge' to EMT-A (advanced) - sorry babe!]

The boys are doing good! We get to see Colton and Tiffani often, though of course not nearly enough. They came over a couple of Sundays ago and we played several games of Settlers of Catan! The gamer in me was happy, but the dad and husband in me was even happier getting to spend time with Colton AND Vanessa doing something fun like that!

Been playing via roll20.net with Kyle every week, and that's been a blessing! It's not the same as getting to see him in person, but to see his smiling face and to game and joke (and joke and game) together is great! Having my high school gaming friends along for the ride is a little icing on the cake. :-)

The band on Saturday nights is moving right along! Stacy is back after his surgery (he played the second set last week) and it's good to have him! He's a great guy! His interim was Jeff Hale and an EXCELLENT drummer! He was able to step in and play like he'd been doing it for years! Of course it's because he HAS. :-) Also a great guy - fun to be around and always striving to be the best he can!

I've starting booking things on the solo front for 2015. I'm scheduled to play Relay for Life in May for the Dyersburg one, and I've been talking to others in West Tennessee about it as well. I support the organization 100% and want to share my talents. And of course I get to have Vanessa on stage with me as well as we are working on some duet stuff to perform as well as working more Gospel numbers in.

That leads me to something I can't share details on yet, but I'm working on something 'on the side' that includes bluegrass as well as bluegrass gospel. It will be vocal work by me, Vanessa and the two of us together as well. It will include original music, some old favorites and some meaningful "non mainstream" stuff. That's all I can say right now, but I do covet your prayers for this! Not sure where it will lead, but I'm willing to open the door and step through...

That's it for now! Oh, one more thing... In case you missed it, here's the first new song of 2015. Enjoy!

video

If you want to see it on YouTube, here's the direct link -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpTBHhTgiNA