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!

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