Despite the irony of this blog being published on a website specifically designed to market myself, I have to say that I’m not a fan of the marketing and business side of music. As I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I have come to be interested only in the music itself. My concern is not with the fame of the artist, the number of “followers” on social media, how unique their stage persona, etc. All I want to experience is the Essence.
This led me to start a video series called SPEAK MUSIC.
It’s no secret that music is a language. In fact it’s probably a bit cliche to say at this point. And yet, this fact plays with my mind constantly given the career path I’ve chosen. Like a lot of musicians who have experienced the grind of “the hustle” for years, there have been moments where I question what it’s all for. Why would any logical person choose a career as a full-time musician? For fame? For money? Some would argue that you have better odds playing the lotto if that’s your end-game. So if rock-stardom is not the goal, then what? After years upon years of practicing, booking, performing, hoping, writing, doubting, recording, ups, downs, moments of bliss and despair, and everything in between, I finally figured out what it all meant (for me): Truth and Connection.
Every human on this planet has a basic need for love and connection with others. As artists—and in this case, as a musician—our duty is to connect with an audience on some level. There are as many different ways to do this as there are people on this Earth.
Scroll through social media or even just the internet, and you’ll find a lot of shit. Toxic, negative, mindless garbage being force-fed to distracted minds everywhere. SPEAK MUSIC is my attempt to counter this on some level.
Everyone is seeking Truth.
Some have clearer vision, better ears, or sharper minds; some are doing it consciously, some unconsciously. But that seems to be the name of the game. Finding Truth. I don’t claim to be an expert on Truth, nor am I apt to explain it. What is it about a word, a thought, an action that can point us towards happiness, connection, staying in the flow? Can it even be defined? Probably not. But it is always recognizable when it presents itself. And it’s always there if you can sit still enough and pay attention.
What fascinates me on a daily basis is observing how different people approach this. Music, art, poetry, exercise, parenting, breathing, learning, nursing, comedy—there are countless angles of attack. This series will focus on music.
So I invite you to pause what you’re doing. Take a breath. Allow yourself just a few minutes. Listen. Watch. Feel. Be present. Don’t worry about whether you like or dislike what you’re seeing/hearing, just take it all in (you have plenty of time to judge later). Afterwards, if you feel inspired or better in any way at all—if it speaks to you on some level—pass that experience of connection forward.
I’m not naive. I realize that the deeper conflicts of the world aren’t going to be solved simply by playing some songs for people. But at my best, I try to play as if they will. So this is my attempt at creating something beautiful simply for the sake of creating something beautiful. I hope that these videos contain an element of “that thing,” that alchemy that allows Music to inform, influence, move and inspire us.
In the meantime, I present to you with the best of intentions . . . SPEAK MUSIC.
ePIsode 1, part a: CYCLES
“Leaves just hinting that these colors aren’t forever . . .”
While the everyday patterning and cyclical nature of life is understandably boring for a lot of folks, I actually find it interesting on some weird level. The seasons change because this amazing spaceship-rock that we all live on hurls around a perpetual nuclear reaction that takes place some 93,000,000 miles away. We are born and feast upon the Earth until we die, at which point the Earth feasts upon us. Everything that exists is in a constant state of constant decay. This train of thought inspired me to compose a tune called "Cycles."
Playing solo allows me far more freedom than when I perform in any group context. "Cycles" was written in 3/4 time, but I felt like taking a different approach on this take since I didn't have a rhythm section accompanying me. As you can hear, the time here is much more elastic. I also chose to focus more on harmonic colors, as opposed to a melodic approach to the solo.
In that sense, it almost feels like playing on a beach--building sand castles, pushing dirt around, allowing the ocean to wash over and constantly meld shapes and sounds. In a musical sense it equates to allowing inspiration to take over, while the body automatically reacts and shapes it in real time, under some sense of structure.