Category Archives: Life… Plain and Not So Simple

When The Blues Falls In Love – Unconditional By Jack Wargo

I’m baaaccckkk! Sorry for the long absence my friends… Chalk it up to life.

Unconditional – Jack Wargo

Jack Wargo is a true Bluesman. He has played and toured with Billy Preston and Solomon Burke. He has recorded with Ray Charles and The Jacksons. And he also lead the house band at BB King’s Blues Club at Universal CityWalk. Man, I miss that place.

I have seen Jack play live countless times, including the recent record release party for this great EP. And yes, I have even jammed with him… and I love the way he shoots me that look if I am overplaying and stepping on his solo. It’s a free music lesson for me, just live and on stage.

The guy is the shit… an amazing and gifted musician who just makes it look waaayyy too easy. And we all know it’s not. Years of learning and practicing and being out on the road is what makes those chops. That’s the way it used to be done! Jack is a true journeyman.I will admit that the title of this album put me off a bit. Unconditional. And that’s just because of where I was in life… I was dumped from an almost two year relationship, and the word “unconditional” came into sharp focus. Clearly I was not being loved unconditionally and this is the key to any good relationship. Unconditional says it all. Unconditional is what will make it last. So did I really want to hear what was probably going to be a love album?

I had just weened myself off the playlist I made called “Songs For A Breakup.” I was moving into my new playlist called “Songs Of Freedom.” So where would a love album fit into all of this?? I was also coming off my first Doheny Blues Festival, so the blues were in my ears. There were 12 bars in my heart and soul and veins. It was the blues that fit where I was… It was the blues that was getting me through. I wanted to hear a Blues record, darn it!

And then I put on “Unconditional”… jazz flute… soothing… Oh shit… dude’s in love… AND I know WHO he is in love with… another friend of mine. This record is for her.

“About The Love” is an instrumental that reminds me of this amazing Ric Flauding track called “Leslie” that… well… yes… I have made love to. This song will go on that special playlist. No words are needed. You can hear the love in each and every note.

“Be With You” brings Jack’s smooth and easy vocals into play. My ice is starting to melt. And so is the pain from my broken relationship. Darn you, Jack. I want to feel like this, too!

The horns of “Part Of Me” reminds me of some of Burt Bacharach’s best tunes. I love the sentiment, I love the vocal and backing vocals and I love the horn. This is my favorite track.

“Running Home To You” expresses a longing that many musicians probably feel on the road. You gotta call… you gotta keep that connection… and as soon as you can, you run home to home.

“True Love” is now battling for my favorite spot… I am hearing some smooth Doobie Brothers and Michael McDonald on this one. Such a great track. And I love Jack’s guitar on this song. Yup, it’s official… this closing track is my favorite now.

This is a damn fine record, made for love and from love. It may be just what we need right now. Heck, it may be what I need right now. I’m not in love anymore, but this album makes me want to go out and find my person… find my one… find the woman who will love me unconditionally… I mean, I loved her unconditionally… and I want that again. It is a powerful and potent thing. And I know when I do, when I find my next real, true, forever love “In Your Eyes” will be playing in the background… and so will this record. You can count on that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Album Review, Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

Hearing A Song With New Ears

Have you ever had that moment in life when you suddenly start seeing patterns or when similar or maybe even identical things start happening, seemingly all of a sudden and out of nowhere?

Yes, this is awareness, or self-awareness, or being more present, but if something doesn’t have meaning for us, we are not going to notice it, even if we are highly conscious of what is around us.
(Denis Cherim)

Case in point: I made a conscious decision a few years back to diligently follow the English Premiere League, and picked Tottenham Hotspurs as my team (thanks, Eric and Julian). Up until then I had never heard of Tottenham and soccer was a passing interest. I would be obsessed during the World Cup and then lose interest. I played when I was a kid, though if you ask my parents, all I did was stand on the field and play with my cup. Those things were NOT comfortable! Apparently I spent the entire game as a defender, looking at the crowd and the sky… and… adjusting myself! And then only showing interest and going into action when the ball came to me. Doh.

I am so NOT an athlete.

Anyway… the moment I was fully on board with Spurs, amazing connections started happening.  I was in Davids Tea in The Village and when I heard the London accent of the woman behind the counter, I asked her which team she supports… Yes, I was starting to be hip to the soccer lingo. She, of course, said Tottenham and was FROM Tottenham!

A day or so later I am on the FREEWAY… so thousands of cars, literally… and I see a jeep with a (you got it) TOTTENHAM bumper sticker. Then I’m at a party, and the bartender has a London accent. So I ask the same question… He says, without a beat or shock from me, “Spurs!”

Now… were those things always there and I just was not paying attention to them? Yes, of course. It did not mean anything in those previous moments. But as soon as I did become aware… BOOM! There they all were. Their motto is also an important one for me, so there is that!This is known as the “Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, otherwise known as frequency illusion or recency illusion. This phenomenon occurs when the thing you’ve just noticed, experienced or been told about suddenly crops up constantly. It gives you the feeling that out of nowhere, pretty much everyone and their cousin are talking about the subject — or that it is swiftly surrounding you. And you’re not crazy; you are totally seeing it more. But the thing is, of course, that’s because you’re noticing it more.”

“A couple of things happen when the Baader-Meinhof (pronounced badder mainhoff) phenomenon kicks in. One, your brain seems to be excited by the fact that you’ve learned something new, and selective attention occurs.”
(Kate Kershner on Sceince.HowStuffWorks.com)

Awareness is an amazing thing. We all THINK we are aware, but how much of the time are we just moving through life, living in our own head and missing so much that is in front of us?

The Buddhist’s call it “Satori,”which means sudden enlightenment. Others may call it an “epiphany” or “awareness” or “self-awareness.” The hip term is “Mindfulness,”which of course has been around forever. The pointis that we need to be open to all possibilities, to take the lessons that are almost always presented to us, and may have actually been sitting in front of us this whole time, and actually see them and learn from them.

For me, it is the realization that there are no coincidences… that things come to us precisely when we need them to. And forgive the long path that it took to get to this point, but this absolutely has to do with music and songs.Venice, a band I know and love has an amazing tune called “Bad Timing Song.”  I have heard it many times, but it came on random play yesterday and literally stopped me in my tracks… the lyrics hit me in a way they had never had before.

YES, I was going through a breakup… and YES, clearly I need to hear this message… but wow… just wow!!! I really… and I mean REALLY heard the lyrics, as if for the first time.

They have always been there… I have sung along to them… but clearly, given what I am going through and where I am at, they took on a new, personal and POWERFUL meaning.

“How many times have I dreamt of this scene
You coming back and you’re crying for me
Saying my name and wondering what went wrong

But I’m different now
And whatever I felt is gone
No love or revenge
Just another bad timing song.”

What is perhaps even CRAZIER is that they JUST DROPPED a new album… and there is a song on there that is even closer to where I am at in life. I was floored. You MUST check out Jacaranda Street!!! I know I guffaw, but I cannot tell you how good these guys are and how much I love this band… and these two connections have made that love even stronger!!!

“Stepping On That Bridge”

Again… the guys went in my brain and heart… knew what I was thinking and feeling… and then wrote a song about me! LOL.

And you think we are not ALL CONNECTED???!!!

The whole song is me… but here are some of the highlighted lyrics…

Verse 1:
“I don’t do well with change
I don’t do well without change as well
I’m on the branch, I’m on the limb
Time for me to sink or swim.”

Verse 2:
“I don’t do well with her
I don’t do well without her as well
I’m on the lam, I’m on the brink
Time for me to swim or sink
Time for me to swim or sink.”

Chorus:
“Whoa though it goes against my nature
Whoa gotta take a leap of faith
Whoa though I don’t know where it leads me
I’m stepping on that bridge anyway.”

So here is the lesson… be open to everything. Literally tell yourself, “I am open to the opportunity of __________.” (Thanks, Wally!!!)

Walk through the world with all of your senses wide open, and everything you need, will come to you… because everything you need is already there… and everything you need is ALREADY INSIDE OF YOU!!!

Be open to it ALL. Return to yourself, my friends. Be open to change. Take that leap of faith. Step on that bridge. Magical and meaningful and significant and powerful new tunes will come to you… and you will hear “old songs” with new ears.

 

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A Song A Day – Week One Recap

Day 1 – A Song A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
First Day of A Song A Day Keeps The Doctor Away!

Come on, did you expect something OTHER than Bruce?

“Growin’ Up” – Bruce Springsteen

Favorite lyric: “When they said sit down I stood up.”

On its face, a history of youth and childhood, but it goes much deeper and is, of course, an anthem of rebelliousness and exploration. Not just one of my favorite Bruce songs, but one of my favorite songs of all time.

Here are two versions:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMyQjl59wkw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xY3q45EBt8 Day 2 – Two For Tuesday

“Rosalita” by Bruce Springsteen

No, this will not be a year of Bruce songs… And I did say more Bruce is coming… But this one is a celebration of joy, pure and simple… on the value of this song alone, but also every time I see it played live.

“It is proof of life,” to quote Bruce.

This is always in my Top 3 Bruce songs, though it may shift in placement depending on my mood and what I need. You’ll get my last of the three later on down the line, and a nice story to go along with it, which gives the song even more relevance. In the meantime, turn this one up and let Rock n’ Roll soothe your weary soul.

Favorite lyric:

“And your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money
Oh, your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money
Oh, so your daddy says he knows that I don’t have any money
Well, tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because a record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYHGh6lmSbo

“Don’t Stop Me Now” – By Queen

This one goes out to my cousin, Lori. Always one of my favorite Queen songs and it’s gotten a lot of recent attention from Bohemian Rhapsodyand some commercial. But I love the way it is used in Shaun Of The Dead, one of my favorite movies! I miss Freddie.

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

Favorite lyrics:
I’m a shooting star, leaping through the sky
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car, passing by like Lady Godiva
I’m gonna go, go, go
There’s no stopping me

I’m burnin’ through the sky, yeah
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m traveling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you

Day 3 – “This Gift” by Glen Hansard

Today I am going with this powerful and stunning song that has gotten me through many things with its amazing message of hope. This song has made me cry and has made me strong.

This is one of those perfect songs, and every word and lyric has powerful resonance, but if I had to pick my favorite part, it is:

“Don’t hang your head in sorrow
Don’t give up just before you win
Don’t wait around for tomorrow
Open up your arms and let it in.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpL6qq9ElwA

While the video quality on this second one is not as great, this version with his niece is also amazing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgQXuU8U8Vk

Day 4 – “Ghost Of A Chance” – By Rush

I will admit I am trying to plan a few days ahead to keep myself sane. But then something happens… like a song keeps coming up when my phone is in Shuffle mode. I mean that must be a sign, right? So I’m calling an audible… literally.

Neil Peartis one of my all-time favorite lyricists, and these are slightly skeptical, almost pessimistic, yet there is a small glimmer of hope… which pretty much describes where I am at right now in life. I think there is nothing wrong going through life with HEALTHY skepticism, as long as there is a stronger optimism to offset it. We all need hope. We don’t want to be pessimists, we want to be optimists, but we do need to look at things in a real and practical way. This song does that.

“I don’t believe in the stars or the planets
Or angels watching from above

(Actually, I do usually believe that, or used to… but not right now…)But I believe there’s a ghost of a chance
We can find someone to love
And make it last.”

Album Version:

Amazing Live Version:

Day 5 – “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin” by Colin Hay (and Thom Mooney)

Men At Workwas a pivotal band for me. One of my fondest memories was blasting the album Business As Usualin the cafeteria at Glen Rock High School as we prepared for a Nights Of Drama performance. They were one of our go to bands to pump us up and get us ready for the show. I will never forget the utter joy we all felt singing at the top of our lungs and dancing with reckless abandon… and if you have ever seen me dance, you know reckless abandon is one of my best moves.

So yes, I will be paying some MAW… but in the meantime, Colin Hay as a solo artist is astounding. The man can stand on stage with nothing but his voice and a guitar and absolutely mesmerize. His solo singer/songwriter renditions of Men At Work tunes are stunning… and songs like this are profound and beautiful.

I am a victim, as are many artists, of putting life on hold for an elusive dream. But real life is lived in the here and now. We must not kill the dream, but we must fully live real life now.

“And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvukKx68_yMDay 6 – “Follow The Light” By Travis

I know… I know… these songs are supposed to inspire… but sometimes sitting with a little sadness will bring us joy and light… and yes, INSPIRE!!! And I can only be where I am in the here and now…

But speaking of light! LOL… This one does a bit of both.

This amazing song by the stunning Scottish band Travis says it all and says so much… and yes, it also came on in my Shuffle mode… Granted, I am hitting hard a 139-song playlist I created whose name I will keep private for now… though it may become obvious to some…

The good news for all of you is that I also created another playlist as my remedy to this one, and it is filled with shiny, happy people songs… Why yes, that song WILL be on the list.

I’m not sure how Travis went into my brain, grabbed these lyrics and went back in time to record this in 1999, but wow!

“Me I’m on the longest road
Where everything’s overload
But I’ve got my heart and soul
So don’t throw me overboard
Cause it’s alright
Just follow the light
And don’t be afraid of the dark.”

And yes, there will be a certain song (or two) of theirs from 1999 that will be played soon. Can you guess which one it is?

Enjoy your weekend my friends.

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

Day 7 – “Directions” by Nahko And Medicine For The People

Seems like a perfect Sunday song! An example of how something simple can be so unbelievably powerful. And seeing this live is even more the case.

The song, and the band for that matter, is a tribute to tradition, a tribute to family and the realization that our ancestors were not only wise, but will guide us if we ask for it… pray for it. When they are here, and sadly, even when they are not.

30 words repeated… and that is it! POWERFUL.

And the exclamation of “Hoka!” which I believe means TO FLY! Wow.

And so as I look out in every direction, I also pray and ask for guidance. From G-d and also from my family who came before me…

“Grandfather I’m calling on you
Need your guidance now
Grandmother I’m calling on you
Need your guidance now.”

“HOKA!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLIgI3vBHwA

 

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A Song A Day Keeps The Doctor Away – Day 1

One year ago today I embarked on an adventure of sorts. In an attempt to stop the vitriol on Facebook, including that which came about because of my own political posts and rants, I decided I would present the positive in the form of one uplifting and inspiring quote a day. Of course, honoring the classic rock radio format of Two For Tuesday, I provided TWO quotes on Tuesdays.

The response was overwhelming, and while publicly people expressed their connections to the quotes, privately people reached out to me to tell me how much the quotes meant in much deeper terms. I was blown away… sometimes brought to tears with people’s amazingly open and powerful revelations.

Words… words… words…The right words can save a soul and save a life.

The right words can start (or end) a romance.

Choose your words carefully, for they are truly mightier than the sword.

They say (yes the famous and ubiquitous “they”): “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

I say: “A word is worth a million pictures.”All I need to do is mention the word “dog”and our brains go to our own beloved pets, an amazing time and place, or perhaps a bad experience we had. Either way, each and every one of us suddenly has a slide show or movie playing on our minds… a different film for each of us, all because of ONE WORD!

Power.

I often question my own self-value and worth and whether or not the sharing of words has any significance, whether they are my own or someone else’s. They do. Words have immense power. Which is why, not to get political here, we cannot and must not ever dismiss them.

We are taught that there are three expressions of ideas… thoughts, words and actions. They all matter greatly. None must be taken lightly. We will all have good and bad thoughts, but the key is how we speak them and put them into action… or not. Sometimes we must push thoughts aside, for our own safety and comfort, as well as for the norms of society and behavior. But to realize how connected we are to not only words and ideas, but to each other is a powerful thing.

We ARE all the same in the simplest terms. We want to love and be loved. We want to be safe and know that expressing our truth will be respected and not punished.

Sometimes we don’t realize the power in a simple act, but when it is done with good intentions it can be felt across the globe. This is why we must ALWAYS act with kindness and do the right thing. It may seem like nothing, but that is only because we might not be able to see the positive impacts with our own eyes. When we act with KINDNESS and ALWAYS DO THE RIGHT THING, the universe will literally change.
A song has that power. What is amazing about a piece of music, is that it changes with us. A song that once lifted and inspired us, can suddenly become one of heartbreak and loss, a bitter reminder of a time that was. And a song that once was the soundtrack to a breakup, can just as suddenly become a song of celebration and freedom.

People hear different things in the same song, and yet we are bonded by a singular tune. It may not mean the same to me as it does to the person next to me, but there we are, dancing in a darkened room together while our favorite band is on stage. And then again, the song may mean almost exactly the same.

Music brings us together. And a song… or songs… create the very soundtrack to our lives.

As I deal with a breakup, I created a 138-song playlist to get me through. I just need to be careful that is not keeping me in sadness, though we all need that period of time to mourn, and sometimes sitting with sadness is a good thing, as long as we truly learn the lessons we need to learn in order to get stronger and move on. Though I have vowed to turn to happy songs after my period of mourning.

I’ll try not to throw out too many of them as we begin this journey, but if I am posting a heartbreak tune, you’ll know why. I will be posting a song every day on FB and for my own sanity, I will do a weekly recap here… Maybe every Monday I’ll post that day’s tune and then what was played over the past week.So with all of that said… Welcome to the year of…

A Song A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Come on, did you expect something OTHER than Bruce?

“Growin’ Up” – Bruce Springsteen

Favorite lyric: “When they said sit down I stood up.” 

On its face, a history of youth and childhood, but it goes much deeper and is, of course, an anthem of rebelliousness and exploration. Not just one of my favorite Bruce songs, but one of my favorite songs of all time.

Here are two versions: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMyQjl59wkw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xY3q45EBt8

 

Come back every Monday to get a recap of the songs from the previous week! And may your life be filled with music!

 

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When The Music Stops

Last night I pulled an all-nighter.

As a kid that meant I stayed up all night studying…

As a teen that meant I stayed up all night partying…

Oh, how I miss those days… that innocence and naiveté.

Last night, that meant I stayed up all night watching a horror unfold.

How the world has changed.When I was a kid the worst thing I had to worry about was getting beaten up after school… and I did a few times. But now I seem to be leaving a world for my daughter where the worst thing she has to worry about is being gunned down or driven over or stabbed.

The Borderline is ten minutes from my house… It is a bar I have been in. I saw my friend Becca sing there. I saw my cousin Jordan play there. Every time I have been there, it was filled with music. And yes, I will admit, I was a bit judgey on the whole line dancing thing… probably because I can’t dance, but still… the place was filled with music… and now the music has stopped…

That seems like so long ago… All that joy and innocence lost… destroyed.

Where I have been is now a hell.

Where I have shopped is now a staging area… and last night was a triage area. The insane irony that the parking lot of a CVS and Vitamin Shoppe… a place we go to get better and healthy… is now a place to bring victims to…

I am not numb, I am broken.
What have we become?I can’t say I woke up to the news… I never slept. My head is still pounding and swimming.  I am shocked I still have tears left to cry. Between the interview last night with a father who was inside and crying because he did not think he did enough, to a father who talked about how his daughter did what she was “trained to do,” and then to a father who just found out he lost his son.  I will never, ever forget any of it. I am so lost.

We should be “training” our kids to run and play, not hide and shelter in place. This should not be our reality… this should not be their reality. They should be learning literature and math, and doing drills in gym class, not active shooter drills.I am heartbroken, devastated…  I feel lost and nothing but a heaving mass of tears. To admit this is often looked down upon as being weak. I know I am an extra sensitive person. Technically, I have been diagnosed as an ESP. I take things personally and am deeply affected by the outside world. I cry while watching the news. I am crying now as the procession for Sgt. Ron Helus moves down the 101… the freeway I am on almost every single day.I cry thinking that the Thousand Oaks Teen Center is now a “Reunification” Center… another bitter irony. Teens should be going there for fun and escape, not for this… not for this…

But this is my truth. This is who I am. This is the essence of my soul. And through this post I share that, I communicate that, without fear, but with need.  We all need to be heard… we all need to listen.

With Pittsburgh it was my community, my Jewish community, but it felt so far away. And sadly, we have become a bit numb to the hate and the violence. We cannot tolerate and accept the bad behavior, the hate and the rhetoric, the destruction of values and norms. We need to get back to loving kindness. We need to return to who we are… souls in bodies… souls…

Look at what “one” hate can do… what “one” gun can do… But then turn it around… look at what “one” love can do… “one” light can do…

The issue is muddy, but clear.
We live in a world where stress and anger and hate are real. There is too much of it.
Stop the hate.

We live in a world where mental health issues are real. There is too much of it.
Stop the pain and suffering

We live in a world where people do not know how to stop their anger, and so instead stop others. There is too much of it. Stop the violence.

And yes, there are also too many guns, too easily gotten.

And yes, even with stricter laws, people will find work arounds, but still… can’t we at least try? Can’t we at least sit down and talk and bring both sides together?

There has to be a calm, rational way to figure this all out. There has to be a solution or at the very least an improvement. This cannot be normalized.

And yes, if a person cannot get a gun, they will find other ways to carry out their anger and hate… with a knife, a car or even a kite. I get it, I do.

So what do we do?
We cannot ignore or stigmatize these mental health issues. We need to deal with them head on. They are real and deep and clearly can wreak physical havoc, on ourselves and on others.If you are suffering, speak out and ask for help. Speak up, speak up, speak up…
If you feel lost and afraid, speak up… to a Rabbi or Priest… to a doctor or friend.
And when someone opens up to you, do not shame them, embrace them. Do not condemn them. Fear keeps too many silent. Society judges us too harshly for being open and honest, broken and weak.

But do not stay silent. If you are seeing dangerous behavior, speak up. Speak up, speak up, speak up…

People are not disposable. We cannot allow men and women to serve our country and then not serve them back. We owe them our literal lives, so when they are out of the service, they are not “out of service. “Their value does not and must not diminish.

We cannot allow young men to play a sport, and then ignore them when their bodies fail and their brains are injured. We cannot toss them aside, when their “value” is gone.

I say this because we seem to live in a disposable society, where it is always “what can you do for me,” and not “what can I do for others?” The value of a human being is in who we are and what we give to the world. That is best measured in our relationships and in love, not in money or stature. It should be based on how much we give of ourselves and for others.

Human beings can be kind and compassionate, loving and supportive. Let us never lose this. Let us never forget. In a darkened haze of bullets and smoke, people placed their bodies in front of others. Broke windows and stayed behind until others had escaped. In a darkened night, people rushed to the scene with whatever light they could shed.

Last night the music stopped. And from time to time, we need to be quiet… to pause and ponder… to look into ourselves and our souls, and sit with the quiet.

We are taught that a funeral, at a Shiva call, it is best to say little… to allow those in mourning to approach us… to speak only if they want to.

We can simply say, “I am sorry.” “May their memory always be a blessing.”

And for a while, hopefully a short while, there will be quiet… there will be silence… and later, the music will return.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel says it so clearly: “There are three ascending levels of mourning: with tears — that is the lowest. With silence — that is higher. And with a song — that is the highest.”

Thoughts and prayers are essential… Do not ever diminish the power of thoughts and prayers… it is a part of who we are as human beings and souls, even for those who are not religious, it is part of being human… We feel, we express, we connect… We express condolences and love, support and kindness.

But then there needs to be something else… there needs to be speech and action, or else the lives lost will have been in vain. Allow those who are suffering to have their space. Allow them to have their tears and their silence… and then let us speak, let us all speak, for in order for us to sing again, we have to open our mouths.

Fix the mental health issues.
Fix the levels of stress and anger.
Let people know that help is out there… and GIVE THEM HELP… DO NOT SHUN THEM OR TURN THEM AWAY!!!
And then fix the gun issue… and it is an issue.

Nothing will get done until we start. Nothing will get done without respect and compromise. Nothing will get done if we do not approach this holistically.

Last night, yet again, the music stopped. Let us make sure it is only for a short while. The world needs music and light, now more than ever. Let us come together, stand shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, heart to heart, soul to soul… for something other than this. Let the band play, let the chorus sing, not mourn.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Music Matters

I have always understood that part of the importance of art is to bring order to chaos. Whatever the canvas may be, whether it is a literal piece of cloth stretched over a frame or a sheet of music, an artist can take the noise and cacophony that is going on around us and make it clearer and more musical. Perhaps even more harmonious.

We live in a chaotic world right now. We are more divided, more stressed and more confused. Conversations have given way to cat calls. Consent has given way to conflict. People do not listen to each other any more. They do not hear anything other than their own position. And hearing… listening is essential. 

Music, Sweet Music
We need to listen to and really hear music. It will set us free. We need to find chords in discord, notes in the no and the not… a melody in the mayhem. Music literally soothes the soul, takes us to a different place, moves us. It puts our issues into perspective.

When people connect to a song or a specific piece of music, it can literally change the world. I think about the songs “We Are The World,” “Imagine,” though religious believers would take an issue with a few of the lyrics… and “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen. It is powerful to note how many parents and kids wait backstage after each performance, not for a photo or autograph, but to share their stories of being lost. These people LITERALLY find themselves in the music and musical… they find themselves in the song.

It starts with:
“Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
Like you could fall, and no one would hear?”

And then it moves us to this:
“Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
And when you’re broken on the ground
You will be found

So let the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
Lift your head and look around
You will be found, You will be found, You will be found, You will be found, You will be found.”

We need to be found… we all need to be found… and most importantly, we need to heard and we need to listen. This is what music means…. this is why music matters.

“Let the trumpet herald in the night
Let the band pick up the fight
Let the conductor guide the way
Let the music play.

Let the chorus sing as one
Let us all sing songs unsung
Let the melody light our way
Let the music play.”
– MG“Without music, life would be a mistake”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
― Plato

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
― Aldous Huxley

“Where words fail, music speaks.” 
― Hans Christian Andersen

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
― Victor Hugo

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
― Aldous Huxley

 

 

Think about how a piece of music can bring you to tears, how it can take you back to a specific time in your life. or how it can help you escape…

Ponder the song that gets you through a tough workout or tough time in your life, or inspires you to kick ass and take the world by storm. You may not love Eminem, but if you Lose Yourself in his anthem, it is hard to not feel inspired.

The scenes of our lives are so often played to music… We all have a unique soundtrack that is our lives… And while there will always be songs, albums and concerts we share, that bond us and keep us together… like the song  a married couple dances to for the first time… a tune that a graduating high school class sings in unison and in harmony… Each of us has their own song. We may be in a band, but each song means something different and specific to us.

We are all an individual and specific piece of music, a concert, or a series of songs. It is part of our DNA, part of our genetic makeup. Have you ever been doing something and a song (seemingly randomly) pops into your head? Or you almost unconsciously start singing a tune you have not heard in years?

Music gets into our blood and our bones… It enters our brains, our hearts and our souls.

Keith Richards says: “Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.”

So live your life truly and openly. Celebrate exactly who you are… celebrate all that makes you different… for this is your truth and what makes you so special and unique. You were created for a very specific reason. You were created to sing.

Jack Kerouac said: “The only truth is music.” 

This is why music matters and more than you can know… So dance, compose and sing, always sing… be loud and fearless, blissful and joyous… sing… sing… sing!

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Losing Face And Faith On Facebook

This not a music post… but I think it is an important post…

Facebook is a losing proposition…If you post anything “political,” you place yourself in a landmine hidden in quicksand. There is no longer this AND that, but this OR that…  and if you try to balance yourself on the thin, high wire of reason, both sides throw stones, trying to knock you down. Though on my last attempt at being a Walenda, the rocks came from only one side.

Hell, in this world you can post a flower or even a cat video and the rhetoric flies, with people throwing grenades at you, hidden in balls of yarn. All in an attempt to blow you up and figure out what you “really meant by that.”

There is no room for subtlety and nuance, as words on a screen betray tone and intention. And even though there is nothing to “hear,” people respond with their positions and not to what you actually said… or tried to say.

My real friends know me, and my positions, and what kind of person I am. My “Facebook Friends” do not. So what is real? Certainly not this artifice that tracks your posts and shopping trends, and suggests things for you to buy based on your online behavior.

The online world, be it dating or job applications, has taken away humanity and true connection. It is about the ease in which you can be ignored. There is, as a friend says, little to no cost of transition, so you are ghosted and tossed aside because people believe they can always do better. And ignoring someone online is easy and anonymous, yet still cowardly and callous.

In person you are an individual, online you are a screen name, an avatar, an emoji and an IP address. In person you are a name, a soul, a face and a body. Online you are an algorithm.We need to be measured in deeds and acts of kindness, and not “likes.” And as advanced as virtual reality is, I’ll take actual reality every time.

100 FB friends do not equal one real world friend, who will lie on a railroad track for you, always have your back, and be there no matter what kind of mood you are in. Heck, 10,000 FB friends and followers cannot hold a candle to that one, true real world friend.

If you post vacation pics or happy events, you are regarded as a braggart.

If you are too joyous on Facebook, people believe you are hiding something dark, though there are times when people feel that they have to put on pretense and make-believe, and show that everything “looks fine,” when the truth is actually something sad and broken. There is very little real online. EVERYTHING on Facebook looks perfect. And so Facebook is the place to go when you want to feel bad about your own life.

If you express sadness and frustration, you are a leper to be avoided. And while some of this still happens in the “real world” it usually does not happen amongst “real” friends.

I have friends who were much smarter than I have been, and did this a long time ago, and I should have followed suit…  but as of now, I am done.

You have not silenced me. There is no chance of that. I am simply going “live.” I am taking the show off the screen and onto the stage, or living room, or bar… and over a drink or meal and in person. I am going to where I am not limited by characters and to a place where nuance is appreciated, honest debate is rewarded, and intention is honored and understood.

I will post my quote a day, with the hopes I can inspire and connect.

I will promote my blog and things that need promoting.

I will post about sports and music.

I will wish my friends a Happy Birthday, Anniversary or congrats.

I will use FB as a way to connect and plan and RSVP for an event.

For everything else, it won’t be there.

I do think FB has great value when it comes to friends needing prayers for themselves or loved ones, as I fully believe that energy really works and can make a major difference. The power of prayer is a remarkable thing.

And yet, I pray for all of us. We are living in dangerous times, my friends. We are bitterly divided and seemingly incapable of coming together. Instead of drawing lines in the sand, we would be much better served drawing circles and hearts on the beach… making a campfire and sharing S’mores. That doesn’t mean we bring everything and everyone in. There is real evil, there are real criminals and those who would hurt us.

But there are also things we can learn from others, even those whose opinions we don’t agree with. We need to talk WITH each other and not at each other. We need to listen with our ears and not our positions. We need to have respect for one another and realize that intention is key.  From my point of view, this can no longer happen online and especially not on Facebook.

So to my real friends, I’ll see you out in the real world.

 

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