The Grove  Podcast

My life doesn't suck!  In the summer I live aboard my little sailboat.  It's a very austere time without many amenities, but it's a beautiful thing watching the best sunsets and falling asleep at night to the sounds of a water lapping against the hull.  There is such peace on the water for me.  
But as the weather turns colder I move about 150 yards inland to a little winterized cottage and spend what time I can watching the mood of Long Island Sound from my safe perch on my sunny enclosed porch.  It's inspiring!
I have the distinct pleasure and good fortune to know and get to hang out with some amazing musical people.  Some have made, are making, their living in a musical way while others, like me, make a living at other things but come to the musical table as often as life allows.  In recent weeks I've gotten to hear and hang out with the likes of Chris Berardo and the Desberardos,  Marc Douglas Berardo (He's one of the Desberardos but also an excellent singer songwriter, Mark Mirando, my long time friend, songwriting partner, producer and band mate with some pretty darned impressive credentials, Nashville songwriter Hall of Famer Gary Burr and his amazingly talented wife, Georgia Middleman, Jim Photoglo, and my newest aquaintance, the ever so talented, funny and Grammy winning Don Henry.  

I name these not to make you think I'm anything like as talented as they all are, but to say how wonderful it is to live a life where I get to intersect with the talent that all of these people share with the world. My life is richer and I am more motivated and inspired when I see what these people have accomplished.

So with the inspiration of water views, seasons changing and so many talented people, I'll be kicking it up a notch now that I'm settled in here at the Grove, sitting at my laptop recording studio with guitar in hand and piecing together some songs for you all to hear, for me to perform and, hopefully, record and share in CD or digital form.

Enjoy the change of the seasons and the peaceful reflection that autumn can bring.  I'll be seeing you soon!!
Peace
Jim
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  1. The Grove

Lines Untied 

As the days go by, the body aches a little more each day and the hair, what's left of it, turns grayer still, I am more and more inclined to wonder just why I pursue this musical quest.  I know most of us would like the answer to be, because it's fun!!   Well, it certainly is fun, but it's also a lot of work.  I recently spent a couple days intensely studying and learning some music and realized that after 3 or 4 hours of that I was more exhausted than a full days work. (I work as a carpenter so my work is fairly physical).  
I guess the real answer would have to be, because my life fits together better and I am simply a happier person if I am able to express myself musically.
An old band mate that is now in a big time band wrote a song, Dream, which talks about keeping at it and not putting yourself, or letting others, put you out to pasture... "I'll be walking, talking, but it wont be me, the day I ever get too old to dream."  Blue Sky Riders

So I'm taking it as a challenge to put myself out there and keep living the best days of my life.  I've still got stuff to say.  I've still got music in me!!  Dr. Wayne Dyer said, "Don't die with your music still in you".  I'm going to do my best to keep getting it out there so that when my time is up, everything I've hoped to say musically is accomplished.

And not for nothing, but the best musicians I know are the older folks who have kept playing all these years.  Just listen to Steely Dan, Sting, Yes, Jackson Browne, and tell me they don't sound better now than when their music was all over the charts.  I may not be aged to perfection, but I'm not dead yet!!

So, come along for the ride if you will.  I'm getting some cool stuff together with some very talented people and there will be new music, and shows and things to enjoy as things that restrained me in younger years fall away and I become less and less tethered to my stubborn Yankee ways (my kids are shaking their heads and saying.. oh no!!! )  There's a freedom in letting go.  Fear, yes, that too.  But at this time of life what's the point of giving in to fear?!  In times of transition I find these words by David WIlcox to be inspiring...

" and what strange breezes make a sailor want to let it come to this. With lines untied, slipping through my fist"

Not Finished Yet  

If you're keeping track, it's 3 years and more since I've written a blog, released a CD, headed out to perform in venues more than 30 miles from my door or just acted like a performing songwriter in any significant way.  The reasons for this are both necessary and lame.   Since the last post I have welcomed my son home from his 3 year stay in Uganda, welcomed his new wife and my first grandson, welcomed 2 other grandchildren with yet another due any time.  I have moved in with my parents to assist in their day to day care as they each turned 94.  I have moved out and turned that ever more daunting task over to professionals as it got more complex and demanding than I was comfortable doing.  I have moved 5 times including onto and off of my little sailboat where I spend the summer months.  I am currently settled into a comfy little cottage where I can sit in a love seat on my sun heated front porch and watch as mother nature displays her various tempers on the waters of Long Island Sound.  She seems a bit upset today!!
It's not that I've been inactive musically, I have continued playing my solo acoustic gigs and I have gotten reacquainted with my good old 1975 Jazz bass by performing with a local band and sitting in and jamming with folks when the opportunity arises.  I've also done a fair amount of writing so there are plenty of songs to choose from for this next CD.
Which brings me to... this next CD!!  A few years back I was working diligently on recording the tracks for what I was announcing would be my next CD entitled "Not Finished Yet".  That title turned out to be prophetic!!  Other songs of mine seem to have proven prophetic as well so I'm writing a song now called "What I did with my Lottery Winnings" just to test this prophecy thing.
In the mean time I have gotten my recording equipment set up and am back at it.  I have set the date of April 1st 2015 for the release of my next CD (working title, "It's Done").  I'll be pestering you all with updates and snippets of songs as well as performance dates and other goodies.  Expect the work of Mark Mirando (www.markmirando.com)  and Dick Neal (www.dickneal.com) and other talented friends to grace these recordings. 
I'm also looking forward to seeing the brilliant photography work of Adam Coppola (www.coppolaphotography.com)  for the packaging artwork.
I'm excited about the challenge of making a great CD for you to listen to and, hopefully, enjoy, and I hope you'll spend a little of your time with me just  for the fun of it!
See you soon!
Peace
Jim
 

House Concerts Anyone?? 

 While thinking about how I would like to go forward into the new year ... musically speaking... it occurs to me that what I most enjoy about my performance time is engaging the people that I am asking to sit for an hour and listen to my music. I like it when they get to know a little about the real me beyond the music, and I like hearing their stories, interests, dreams... often connecting the dots easily between our two worlds. So what is the answer???

House Concerts... These tend to provide a wonderful intimate setting where people can come together and socialize and then sit quiet for 45 minutes or so  listening to me pour my heart out. After the show is when I would have my chance to sell my CD's and meet and greet those I didn't get a chance to say hi to before the show.

So I have decided to embark on a quest to find willing participants throughout New England, New York, even further down the east coast and definitely in Colorado (where I plan to spend a few months next autumn / winter), who will take on the rewarding challenge of hosting a house concert and inviting me to sing my songs and enjoy your company. I am particularly interested in reaching beyond my southern CT home into places where I might not get to otherwise.

So... if you are interested in hosting a house concert, or if you think you know of someone that has a place where this kind of event would work well, then please read on:

What does it take to host a party like this??? A few things, for sure, but mostly it's up to your imagination. Here are the essentials:
  • A home that can comfortably hold maybe 20, 30 ... more is fine... people with enough room for the performer(s) and equipment. Doesn't need to be a dance hall, most living rooms or great rooms work very well. Even outside might be good, as longs as there is provision for bad weather.
  • The ability to actually have that much activity without creating an uncomfortable or illegal situation in your community.
  • Some means of inviting / welcoming / marketing the event to people that enjoy a little folk style culture, or who are at least willing to give it a shot. Again, 20 people should be the minimum expectation.
  • An imagination as to how to pull this all off and have a blast doing it!!!
Some suggestions ...
  • pot luck, my personal favorite
  • catered, if you can afford this and want that kind of organization, or if you can command a ticket price that pays for this as well as the performance.
  • cocktail party, perhaps this is shorter, sweeter and easier..
  • benefit for a cause, another of my favorites... I've done breast cancer, Habitat for Humanity, African Orphanage, Give a Bike....
And last, but definitely not least.... paying for it. Many possibilities here. All of which I would encourage you to do what makes you most comfortable. A very comfortable "donation" type set up where somewhere between $ 10 and $ 20 / person is requested to help me pay for my expenses and put a few bucks toward the costs of the next CD. $ 300 would be a reasonable paycheck for me (depending on travel distance and room and board considerations), but I would be grateful if somehow $500 or more showed up. On top of that I would expect to be able to sell my merchandise. The way this works is always available for discussion and I would entertain any valid ideas. I do not have a minimum fee and so I would not expect you to loose money, but I would hope for a reasonable effort to bring people to the event and to encourage contributions toward my performance.

Well... what do you say, let's get started!!! If you want to discuss this further please do not hesitate to contact me by email, paradis.jim@gmail.com,  leaving a note on the home page of this website with your contact information, or, If those are not good communication tools for you, you can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1302350552 , or, contact me via text or voice message at 203-641-3950

Thanks for taking time to consider this.
Hope to see you very soon!!
Peace
Jim

Mountains... and home 

 Well, it's been quite a while since I have stopped by here to muse on the life of a sometime (wanna be) rock star.   These last few months have been fairly quiet in the musical world, at least in terms of new and original happenings.    The one glaring exception to that would be that I took a 5 day haitus to visit the Rocky Mountains for the first time, and while there, played a gig at the Laughing Goat on Pearl St in Boulder CO.   Great gig with some special attendance by my former October Moon band mate, Steve Combs, and a visit from a transplanted Hamdenite, Lynne, from the long ago.    
Let me just say here and now that the energy and feel of Boulder and nearby Nederland are not going to leave my bones very soon.   I have always wanted to go there but have not made it for so many reasons.  But finally, upon arrival at the airport and the 45 minute drive across the high plains to Boulder, watching the Rockies grow ever larger like a snow capped wall, left me gasping and gawking out of the windshield like a New York City tourist obstructing pedestrian traffic by standing in the middle of the sidewalk looking up the the sky scrapers.  I was in love!!!   
Arriving in Boulder just etched this more deeply in stone.  What a creative, funky, artsy, inspiring town.  A place where to be yourself and exhibit your own brand of lunacy, compliance, rebellion, excertion, obsession....  is actually expected and not shunned.  Ahhhh... tolerance and acceptance, not a really prominent New England trait (with some isolated exceptions)
The spark that ignited the idea for this trip was to once again hook up with my Bicycle touring daughter and her husband.  I was incredibly fortunate in that they had pretty much the whole week to kill with me.  Joy Joy!!  We wandered the streets of Boulder, hiked in El Dorado Canyon where we were sternly warned off by a rattlesnake.... and let me just say that you discover how much you are loved when this kind of threat sets off a mini stampede that pretty much tosses you into the brush as your loved ones basically run for their lives over you...  We also drove through Rocky Mountain National Park along the mountain tops, through Estes Park, Caribou open space...
But the pinnacle moment was driving up a pass through the mountains into a valley with a nice big lake... and at the other side of that lake, Nederland.   For those of you that know me well, Dan Fogelberg is by far the biggest influence on my songwriting, playing, singing and general desire of how to live my musical life.  Dan has died now, sadly, of prostate cancer (men.... get your check ups)  but he lived in Nederland for a while and wrote and recorded some of my favorite of his songs there.  His favorite watering hole was the Frontier Inn which is still sitting there like an old west saloon.  I came to pay homage, had a burger and a couple beers, talked to some locals who knew him then....  it was a pilgrimage for me, one that I won't soon forget.
So, the germ of an idea was sown that I hope to follow through on.   Once I finish up the CD I am currently working on, get that released, get a bunch of work done that is scheduled for the coming year and spend a good deal of time getting re-aquainted with my family as they all return from their long and amazing adventures... including an upcoming summer 2012 wedding, I hope to set out to live for a season in, or near, Nederland, and absorb myself in the wild and raw nature, bring my guitars and recording equipment... and write and record the next CD from there.
Pipe dream?    Maybe.  But my kids have proven to me that pipe dreams can and do come true if you put enough intention and focus on them.  Wish me luck!

In the mean time, I have come back from that life changing trip, endured a week + without power, and several weeks without internet, due to the effects of Hurricane Irene...  and moved out of my simple little bachelor pad into a really cozy, clean and modern apartment near the picturesque, quintessential New England little burrough of Stony Creek....   I have big hopes for the coming year...   hope you have some attainable dreams, and that you chase them to wonderful and unexpected experiences.
Until next time... Peace
Jim

Exotic attractions 

   It's not easy getting your music out there to be listened to by people you don't know in places you've never been to....  but it is fun to go to new places and meet a few wonderful people who seem to genuinely appreciate what you are doing.   Last weekend I took a little road trip,  mini tour, I guess you could say, to upstate New York.  My whole life living in CT - right next door - and I had never been to the western part of New York.  Having led a pretty sheltered life as a home body, content with raising my kids and hanging with very familiar family and friends, I guess that is all changed now and I have been bitten with the wander lust bug.   I truly enjoy getting in the car and driving for 6, 8, 12, 16 hours just passing time trying to pull in a local radio station, or watching farms, cities, mountains, rivers, go by in an endless and blurred parade of Americana.  I sure do wish the price of gas was not as steep as it is, but I guess that's just one of the things I have to deal with.
The cost of these trips is not all that much, but it has always been more than I earn from CD sales, tips, ticket prices or just payment by the venue.   I was actually excited last weekend because on this trip to New York I earned a little less than half of what the trip costs me in gas and hotel room.    That was cool!!    Not very sustainable, but cool none the less.
What was truly gratifying was pulling into the tiny, but adorable, town of Angelica, New York, and driving up to the Black Eyed Susan Acoustic Cafe, seeing the owner eye me as I pulled in and greeting Don with a big smile and handshake.   A warm and gracious guy that obviously loves the musical aspect of running his immaculately renovated cafe, he showed me the article the local paper had done about my performance and said he was excited to meet me and to hear me play.  Just around show time, along with a few rolls of thunder and some rain, came the audience.  They seemed to eye me with recognition.  Nice!   They had probably read the article (with Picture) and had come to here this lunatic that drives for hours to play 15 songs for tips.  But Don gave me a great intro and off I went into my little set of stories and musings on life, love and the philisophical lunacy that invades my intellect from time to time.  It was a great audience, a great venue and I am so happy to have taken the time to go see them, play for them.    I sold a few CD's, made some tips and made the rounds to greet and chat with several of the clientele.  There was a woman there who lives in Taiwan....  I think that is the farthest anyone has ever come to see me : )   I asked her to visit my website once she returned so I could brag about a fan in China.
I guess what all this is to say is that I am having fun.   I am enjoying doing what has always been in me to do.  I am having a good time meeting people, hearing their stories, hearing about the town they grew up in and live in, seeing the pride in their faces, the excitement to be meeting me and hearing my music.... I guess for the same reason I am happy to be sharing it with them....   we're foreign to each other, and therefore, in some little way, we are exotic.
I plan to continue...   and increase this craziness.   And I am looking forward to the day that I actually take home more money that it costs me to make the trip.   That will be the signal that I have moved myself up a step on the singer songwriter ladder.  When that day comes, I guess we'll see what new goal will constitute the next step up the ladder....  and the next...  
Until then, I'll be playing and singing and writing and creating ...  and doing my best to share it all with you.
Peace
Jim 

The Nashville Virgin 

 
Well... not a Nashville virgin anymore.  I got indoctrinated in a grand way!!  
I rolled into Nashville on Wed afternoon, got settled in the hotel and found a map to that evenings open mic venue.  It was only a few miles from the hotel out by the airport.  I showed up nice and early to find a dark smokey, good old boy, bar.   Cowboy boots and hats, tatoos, cheap beer, greasy food and plenty of "howdy's" and "y'all's", "darlin's" and "sweethearts" to go around.   I felt immediately at home, if not slightly out of fashion in my unbuttoned buttondown shirt and flip flops.   I talked to Warren about my time slot, he said I was early and I said that i wanted to hear what was going on.   I got an earful of good ole southern music about booze and bibles, sex and broken hearts.  As my time rolled around I did my best country immitation and sat back down.    It was great when I was asked immediately to schedule another slot, which of course I had to decline because I just have no idea when I will be back.  Billy, another performer, asked me what my time frame was like and that he thought he could scare up another gig or two for me while I was there.   At first I told him that that would be great, but later I had to decline due to other crazy doings.
Went back to the hotel feeling good, if not like an ash tray.   Stripped naked, hung my cloths up to air out and jumped in the shower.

Thursday I set out to find my way around the city proper.   It was the typical, yet obligatory, touristy thing to do.  I easliy found the Hotel Indigo where I would be playing that night, and then stumbled upon Broadway when I spied a big sign for Tootsies bar on the side of a building.   (My good friend Mark Mirando wrote a song which  includes the words, "Tootsies bar is the promised land")    I parked and took a walk up and down the street and ducked into a few bars where, at 11:30 in the morning, there were already musicians singing their heart out and patrons putting down beer aplenty.  I walked around a couple blocks... found the Ryman Auditorium, where "A Prairie Home Companion" has just performed the previous weekend with a killer line up of the Civil Wars, Sarah Watkins and, one of my all time favs, Emmylou Harris.  I was listening to that show as I began my road trip.  

I then got an invite to say hi to Gary Burr (I played in gary's band back when he was still an aspiring songwriter) and to meet the members of his new band, "Blue Sky Riders"  which included none other than Kenny Loggins.  I drove out to his house and did in fact get to see Gary, meet his girlfriend and band mate, Georgia Middleman, and as he sat on the couch with a greasy sandwich in one hand and a cell phone in another, I said hello to Kenny Loggins.  I had to skedattle pretty quick as i was interrupting their precious rehearsal time for their debut show on Saturday night.   Gary told me then that there would be a slight chance of getting me on the guestlist for that show because someone he thought was going was in fact not going.  I cautiously dared to hope!   

Back to the hotel to get myself ready to play my songwriter showcase with Keeli and RC O'Leary at the Hotel indigo.  Again, I got there very early since i wanted to hear what other songwriters in Nashville were up to.  The players at this venue were a bit more sophisticated than at the bar last night, and the drink prices were a bit more inflated as well.  I listened to some pretty darned good players do some pretty good songs...  And, as with all of these types of venues, there was a fair sampling of stuff that did nothing at all for me.  As I was waiting there I was happy to see a good friend of a good friend, Kaz Russell, come in with Jennifer Knapp.  I had hoped to be able to see them  since we had heard so much about each other but had only met briefly once before.   Turned out to be a lovely visit with lots of fun and kookiness and serious talk about the industy, what Jen is doing with her career, and life in general.   They stuck around to hear me play my set and a bit more.  I hope I get to hang with them again some time...  and I hope Jenn's career get's the kick it needs to put her back in the mainstream.... she is exceptional!!

So Friday, i had nothing scheduled but a few possibilites.  I hoped Gary would call and invite me his full band rehearsal....   he did!  So I spent the afternoon in a rehearsal studio listening to the Blue Sky Riders prepare for their show.   There was Kenny loggins, 20 feet away, singing Footloose, as well as the other tremendous songs that they had written together for this band.  It was quite a thrill just sitting and listening.   Victoria Shaw was there for an hour or so, and Jim Photoglo spent a couple hours. I also got to meet Dave Burr who I hadn't seen since he was a toddler.   He is a daddy now and he does a great job running the business of Gary's music.  During a break they were discussing the guest list and how small the venue was and how impossible it was to please everybody ... I got the clear message that i was not going to be on the guest list, and I also knew that the liklihood of me getting in by way of the cash ticket line was very slim, since this was the hottest show in Nashville for the Tin Pan South week where all the people who paid for a festival badge had first shot at entrance.   Well, at least I got to be at the rehearsal... and let me just say that I was exhausted just being there listening...  I had forgotten how draining band work was...  I guess I was working with them in my mind!!  ; )

I left the rehearsal and connected with "Ixnay", a roadie for "the Dogs" and " Serious Business" from all those years ago.   He lives in Kentucky now so he and his wife made the trip to Nashville to meet up with me after all these years.   We had a great dinner together and then wandered around Broadway again to take in the night life of downtown Nashville.   There are an amazing number of incredible players and singers behind every nightclub door.   What a show!!

On saturday I got off to a quiet start.  I felt like I had to write a song while I was on my first trip to Nashville, so I did get something going.  We'll see if it turns into anything recordable.  I also had a directive from my darling daughter to buy a new propane cylander before I reunited with them on Sunday.   She explained what I needed and sent me to Walmart to get it.  Well, I drove past that hidden Wal Mart about 3 times before I finally discovered it... and they did not have what she wanted... neither did a K-Mart I stumbled upon, nor did a Target.  Finally, on my way out to my Sat evening gig I saw yet another Wal Mart and I was successful!!  Ii played my gig at a comfy and quirky little restaurant on the North side, just outside of town... drove passed Opreyland on my way there....   I had no idea what a massive place that it!!   Jimmy (Ixnay) and his wife, Vincelea, came out to see me and I had a fine little 5 song set to open the nights festivities.

With my last gig behind me, Jimmy and I decided that we were going to try and get into Gary's show and pray for a miracle.   We dropped Vincelea off at the hotel so she could watch the UK / UCONN semi final game and we headed out to the Rutledge.  When we got in the cash line an hour and a half before they opened the doors, there were maybe 20 people in front of us and 50 people in the badge holder line.  We had a good time with others in the line joking about a variety of things and just enjoying the long wait on a beautiful southern spring evening.  We kept checking the line as it grew until the end went right out of sight, deflating our hopes to get in...   but we persevered!!!   I did see a shooting star fall right over the city and thought that might be a fairly good sign...   Whatever the case... we got in!!!  It was touch and go, but in we went and found a place to stand up behind the sound board.  I can't imagine many got in behind us because it was wall to wall people.

Just a great show!!   It was being video'd for later release and I had a good view of the monitors as well as the stage.  Their opener... "Rider" began with great 3 part harmonies and the band came crashing in on a drum cue....   and the stage was set for an exciting night of wonderful music....  from the brand new Rider, Dream and others they had written just for the band....  on to original songs by Gary, Georgia and Kenny done singer songwriter style...  to some killer renditions of oldies... "Love's been a little bit hard on me"..  "I'm In" ....  and a version of "Footloose" to take down the walls....   It was the perfect cap to an exceptional week!!

After the show they had their meet and greet and I caught Gary's eye... he seemed pleased for me that I managed to get in.  We got to say hi a little later and I had to re-introduce him to Ixnay.   I also go to meet and shake hands with Peter Asher...   he was the Peter in "Peter and Gordon"  not to mention the amazing work he has done in the music business since then.  (Think, James Taylor, George Harrison, Bonnie Rait, Linda Rondstadt, Cher... the list is endless)

Said good bye to Gary, Georgia, Ixnay and got ready for my Sunday morning ride out of town.  After a 6 hour ride in the general dierctioin of home I met up with Christy and Adam in Wise Virginia for the night in a Best Western.  We had some Italian food, Appalachia style, for dinner.   Poor Christy had yet another flat tire in the morning which they found and patched only to pinch a new bigger hole in the tube when they were putting it all back together..  : (     But they were on the road again by about 11:00 and I was on the road home shortly after.  Pulled into my driveway at 12:15 AM... about 1/2 hour ahead of the google maps time.    Home Sweet Home!

I am already planning my next trip to put into action what I learned this time.


A little late?? 

 Well... I guess it's pretty obvious that I am coming late to this game of touring, performing, singer/songwriter.  And with that, I guess, comes the trepidation that people are not going to "get" me.  That comes up whenever it feels like it and there really is no way to put it back down except to plow through and dare to suck!!!   Take yesterday morning for instance.  Upon waking up I had to get ready and out the door fairly quickly to do what I do to make sure the bills get paid.  (I heard a fellow musician at an open mic last night proclaim..."go for it.. there's HUNDREDS of dollars to made in the music business out there)  So here I am, well into my fifties, and thinking about how to get my songs heard and liked, my name known, and listeners to come hear me play and, liking what they hear, buy my Cd's.  And all of this in places I have never been to, let alone played at.

So on the way to work I am feeling helpless and focusing on how hard it is... woe is me.... who wantws to hear me... how can I possibly pay for all this???   I get through my day with my ipod on listening to people who have done, or are doing it...  and this reinforces the feeling that I am just too late to be playing this young persons game and feeling like I'd just rather watch TV than go out to the open mic I was planning to attend and play at.    But.... upon cracking open my email when I arrive back home, I have a message from a new venue in a new town that is inviting me to play.  Well that sure raises a smile...   hey, they like me!!!    And that get's me turning my thoughts from the easy choice of staying home to the better choice of realizing that I do the day thing so I can go out and play at night, listen to others, network, be musical with musical people.   

It works!!!   I get up steam and head out to an open mic at a place I will be performing next month and I sit and listen... and then it's my turn... and low and behold, whether it's an illusion I have created or reality, people start peeking in from the next room and seem really interested in what I am doing.   The 3 people that were in the room when I started grew to about 15 (most everyone that was there) and I felt more confident in giving them the best of what I had.  I came away with a feeling that I am not nuts, that I have valid music to share, and that by doing what I love and have wished for my whole life, I am generating a feeling of good will, helpfulness and interest that, i believe, is necessary if I am going to support myself and travel around the country with my guitar and voice and my hand out.

Maybe I'll be that story that inspires other people that are beginning that next phase of life.. after children...  to go find and do what you love to do.. get good at it and share it with an appreciative world.  I guess I hope so anyway.
Peace
Enjoy what you do~!

Inspirations 

 You  never now where and why inspiration will strike!   The typical places would be in the shower, where your paper and pen will get too wet... while driving which is actually worse than texting..... praying, c'mon, you're in a zone and don't want to come back to earth;    and ... sleeping, and who wants to wake up and chase a song that you hear with lyrics, strings, pianos, harmonies, all of which will be gone by the time you stumble across the bedroom into the bathroom and brush your teeth, etc..  

But I woke up nice and early yesterday with a very busy day in front of me...  and there was this song idea running through me head that I just had to chase.  You see, I've been booking a lot of original, songwriter gigs lately, in new places where I don't have an established audience.  And so I have been studying what successful songwriters do to get, and keep the attention of their shiny new audence.  You can't count someone like Richard Shindell since his music and arrangements are just mesmorizing and he hardly says a word.. nor does he have to.   Also not fair to consider someone like Amy Speace, a really talented songwriter and Singer... but add to that the fact that she is just beautiful with big green eyes....   let's just say that I can't count on that kind of attention!

In the performing songwriter circles I have been taught that when you are introduced, you get up and burst right into your first song... maybe two, before you start yapping about whatever it is you yap about.  But to me, that has always created an awkward and tense few moments in which something ought to be happening to break the ice...  I mean really, mostly the audience does not know you and here you are acting like the juke box at the next table in the diner playing music that you didn't choose.  What if they don't like it!!!  

But the other side of that is some artists, Shawn Colvin, John Gorka, launch right into a 10 minute yap fest about, god knows what..  and it usually gets to the point where you are looking at your watch wondering if they will ever play you some music.   But the key, of course, is to be engaging, funny or interesting, and to set up the song so the  audience has a vested interest in listening.  (By the way, both John and Shawn do that very well)

Well, this song that grabbed me the other morning was about just that first awkward moment standing there naked in front of all those strangers.  It's my way of saying hello, this is me, I can write music, lyrics.. I can be funny, I can sing, I can play.... "You Know Me"!!!  I doubt it will ever show up on a recording but, for now, I am going to try it out and see if it doesn't break the ice just nicely and set up a platform from which I can present my other more serious efforts at songwriting and entertainment.

So I hope you make it to one or more of my upcoming shows and give me the opportunity to play this new song for you   : )
Peace
Jim

Red Horse show at Ridgefield Playhouse, CT 

 Got a chance to watch Lucy Kaplansky, John Gorka and Eliza Gilkyson play as "Redhorse".  Very entertaining bunch with a blend of voices that just off the charts.  John is a funny guy... and it's pretty cool that when he is talking to the audience he sounds almost skittish, afraid, hesitant and his voice is kind of thin and weak... but when he opens it up to sing,   oh my... he has such a rich and expressive texture.  Lucy, as always, makes me want to just close my eyes and fall into some alternate universe where all there is is singing.   Her harmonies are legendary, and rightly so.  This was my first time listening to Eliza at any length.  A few years back i was blown away by "Requiem", a song I was told was written for the victims of the Tsunami.   She is a consummate professional and so very obviously entrenched in the life of music and all it's sharp edges and soft fringes.  I admit i am a bit jealous of the life they are afforded.  Playing and singing for a living, even a modest living, is a dream for me.....    hmmm... maybe I should make it a plan and work it from that angle for a while.