The Mix plays two nights at the Hooter this weekend.
Come out ya’ll!
The Mix plays two nights at the Hooter this weekend.
Come out ya’ll!
Thank you for the music. I sometimes think to myself that I’m lucky to have music in my life, as a way to express things inside. In actuality I have the hardest time telling people how I feel, particularly if how I feel includes anger or confusion or resentment. Pain. Its easy as one-two-three for me to listen. But to share myself honestly all the time? It can be a difficult thing to do, and perhaps especially for those of us who are very sensitive people to begin with.
That’s why I love coming home and picking up my guitar, weather I’m just fiddling around or seriously working on songs. I write from a very personal place but I also love story-telling. It helps me to focus on melodies or create them along with the words inside that get otherwise very scrambled up in my head whenever I’m faced with opportunities to actually say them in life. There are many times I go through writers block, which gets irritating when you might have a slew of thoughts inside that are all cluttered up but you’re incapable of speaking. Even just humming along with my guitar gives me an anchor and an appreciated feeling of comfort. I’m also very excited about a batch of songs I’m working on; and I’m proud to say I have some very special people in my life who I’ve been collaborating with more, as a way to share and make some hopefully stellar music in the collective process. I think there are going to be some special things ahead.
Special thanks to my Dad for buying me this guitar last Christmas and to my sister Ebony for helping him with the big surprise. I’ll always cherish this guitar.
“Sometimes you gotta honk your own horn, ‘cause if ya don’t know ones ever gonna know your coming!” – Dolly Parton.
Much like my idol Dolly Parton, I consider myself a story-teller first and foremost. I love song-writing and whether I’m good at it or not, it’s the purest way I can express myself. I live to produce refrains and as I get older, try embracing that urge to grow as well. Like a tree wants to reach toward the sunny sky I try to grasp musical aspirations.
Half of me agrees with what Dolly affirms about honking your own horn. While I may have my ‘9 to 5’ job in the healthcare profession (no pun intended) my truest joy comes from my love of making music and performing. Music represents that ‘authentic’ part of myself and I’m compelled to share it, driven to connect to the larger society; as music is so universal it seems any persons melodious skills are gifts worth sharing. This part that strives to adhere and grow also understands there’s times in our life where we seize opportunities; make them, and times we’ll miss or waste them. I look to that quote to assert that if my mission is to connect – I gotta get heard as much as I have to listen. Who’s gonna hear me unless they know I’m coming? As an artist it seems imperative that you do things to promote art.
I could take all the songs I’ve written, let them sit and collect on my computer drive or in journals. Avoid getting on stage for fear of failure or rejection. Alternatively I could have faith; conquer fear. Connect. Is being heard something we all want? Maybe, perhaps not. I’ve often grappled with what putting yourself ‘out there’ looks like in action. Self-promotion, branding yourself – performing live and even interacting with audiences while on stage; these are all ways one could ‘honk their own horn’ so to speak.
On the other hand I don’t know how comfortable I am with the notion of ‘honking your own horn’; there is a fine line between self-promotion and even the idea of branding yourself and being narcissistic. Some artists and music lovers alike believe that to sell yourself (or your art/brand etc) is the equivalent of selling your soul. I’m no expert on selling my art or my soul but I do value humility. I believe art speaks for itself yet there’s some conflict; there’s occasional uncertainty of how to stay balanced. I love creating music – I do not love ‘the hustle’; and can’t say I’ve ever been comfortable with networking or managing that aspect of things.
Ultimately I’m still learning just as I am about singing/songwriting/performing; finding that elusive equilibrium. Like the song goes: ‘to everything turn, turn, turn’; I suppose as an artist I believe there’s a time to honk your horn and get people listening to what you want them to hear, and a time to be still and let the creative undertaking be the ultimate objective. A time to let the music speak for itself, even if but only a few ears ever get to hear it. I’ll trust in this process and just enjoy.
What do other artists think?
Back in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s, I poured over Rolling Stone Magazine. Didn’t a lot of music lovers? The articles and interviews were pure escapism, but I especially loved the cover photography; often capturing many of my musical idols in their glory. It seemed there were a lot of great entertainers; and in my mind, to really make the ‘Rock and Roll dream’ come true, as I naively perceived it, you had to land ‘on the cover of the Rolling Stone’. I enjoyed that misperception.
My impression then was, to even have the chance of getting on Rolling Stone one had to come equipped with an exceptional talent; for not everyone in music got exposure. Thousands of prolific songwriters, musicians and vocalists never received that prestigious distinction. You had to have that edge, that ‘thing’, if you were to realize the dream. I still remember discovering the 1974 issue with Tanya Tucker, which headlined: “Hi I’m Tanya Tucker. I’m Fifteen. You’re Gonna Hear from Me.” It was like “Whoa!” My mind was blown that someone so young could go there based on their vocal talent… It inspired. The years gave amazing covers, featuring The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young – the list goes on and on and on. Annie Leibovitz in particular, shot a lot of my favourites; with assignments like the John and Yoko cover, or Bette Midler or Steve Martin…. Various images became a youthful ideal for what rock and roll was; to me it incorporated the ability to write and perform entertainment (music, acting, comedy) in such a way that the ‘high-ups’ at Rolling Stone even deemed you ‘worthy’. Ha!
Back then of course, we did not have the internet; so I’d wait patiently for bi-weekly issues; combing through each one from front cover to back. If the cover art appealed to my ideal, I’d keep it tucked away on my bookshelf along with any others. Still have a lot of them today. Why I keep them still? Nostalgia.
I loved singing and writing, and because I was a loner who spent a majority of time doing these very things (including much daydreaming); I too, fantasized of what it might be like to live life creating music. Being on the road. I wondered how I might one day get that cover shot on Rolling Stone. By the Annie Liebovitz. What would that look, sound and feel like? Maybe this dream was the same fantasy of thousands of kids across the world?
As time went on though, I became less and less dedicated to following the musical and political publication; I think primarily because I also began to a) grow up and chase life instead of dream about it and b) lose interest in whatever was going on in ‘mainstream’ pop culture as I cultivated my own pathway. They say in life you have to stay true to yourself, whatever that means to each of us. There is no offence to the artistry out there today per se, but even now I can’t appreciate the featured artists or the cover photography itself, not as I did back then. Who was it recently used the word ‘reductive’? Along with that loss of appreciation of the art of Rolling Stone – I have also long since put away those daydreams. Too busy writing – trying!
In the late 90′s I used to work at a Winnipeg Blockbuster Video (an experience in itself) – I’d see the issues coming in over time, more and more featuring Brittany Spears and X-tina, or Backstreet Boys. Less and less did things hold my interest; girls and boys of all sorts just standing purposefully naked with breasts and bums tooched out so unnaturally. I mean, I suppose it was ‘sexy’; and sex sells, which I really could appreciate, from an aesthetic and horny perspecitive . However it registered that you didn’t really have to be all that prolific; you didn’t even have to have anything interesting to say about your music. It appeared however, have to turn people on. Make money. ‘Edge’ as I was familiar, was replaced with sex appeal, in my mind; which is absolutely fine. I just no longer subscribed to it, pun intended.
Why do I choose to write about this today? The old dream re-occurred to me recently – that reverie of my Liebovitz cover shot and the accompanying story of my aspirations and schemes of artistry and success. I had to smile; the youthful self and my previous conceptions verses my own current views on entertainment, media and Rolling Stone Magazine itself. Fame.
In the end I think that Rolling Stone Magazine is forging on as it should; representing what is trending in music, as it likely did since its birth in 1967. I don’t know exactly what has changed or what is even important to the mass public. Perception has evolved. Oh, I still dream and I still desire recognition if I’m being totally honest. I remain a dreamer! Maybe the difference is – I’m grateful enough today; just knowing that I can sing and write and perform. That I’ve experienced it and continue to. Music is my first love. The recognition and the ‘Rolling Stone Cover’ aspiration itself, no longer holds weight; nor does my attraction to ‘fame’, as I understood it to be. I don’t need Rolling Stone or stardom to write and sing or do whatever it is I do. I want to say what’s real to me weather its sexy or appealing to the mass public or not. Regardless I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.
The nostalgic in me will still keep those old issues though. :-) Props to the past!
Last night I went out with my step-dad Hugo and Alain to catch Manitoba’s very own The Crooked Brothers. I’d never heard them prior to last night but I was certainly hearing great things leading up to their performance.
What a treat – the four gents delivered what I’d call is my kind of music: old-timey country mixed with train-yard blues, all blended with quite beautiful harmonies and just a very relaxed stage presence that I quite admired as a performer myself.
I love boys who love to play and sing and the Crooked Brothers do just that – thanks guys for coming to town and sharing your music with us. My step-dad Hugo loved it, as did Alain and I and the entire hall.
YOUR MUSIC INSPIRES.
Coming up next week I, along with fellow musicians Brent and Susan Lethbridge, and Mark Kolt – will be part of THE “Surprise Performances” as teased on this promotional poster for the event.
I’m really looking forward being a part of this already SOLD OUT event; primarily because we have been working on some very sweet sounding tunes for which we’ll present that night. I gotta say I just love playing with these folks.
Stay tuned for more!
The Carter Family is a huge inspiration to me; in fact today I’ve had their album of greatest hits (chalk full of like, 60 great tunes) on for hours as I cook, clean – take care of my home. Its a beautiful day – full of light, a strange mournfulness and life – I just love it.
I sat down and played this tune Worried Man Blues in a rather careless manner; I haven’t practiced it a lot nor have I ever sang it with anyone before but the mood hit me where I felt inspired to try singing it. In my own imagination I dreamed an angel band of sorts, was accompanying me – a choir of voices and instruments coming in with me…
Enjoy – for yourselves. :-)
Friday June 27th I’ll be a part of the Hanson Sisters show at Flin Flon Community Hall – & Saturday June 28th I’ll be just down the street with another cluster of talented musicians: Mark Kolt, Rugged Hyndman, Dave Gunn & Stacey Hyndman – & we are calling ourselves The Mix. Its going to be a lot of fun – & the tunes we’ve been rehearsing for this night have all been incredibly fun, as well as challenging.
The Legion is having an event for the Trout Festival Weekend called The Legion Pig Roast & Beer Garden.
Dinner starts @ 6
Dance/ The Mix @ 8-1
For more information contact the Legion @ 204-687-4561
(Below image is one I snuck of the group rehearsing! )