At the Intersection of Art and Music

Magic happens to artists when we cross into other artistic fields.   I got back into painting after my divorce. The pain of divorce left me feeling as though I might not ever be able to make music again.  It was as if there was no strength left in my diaphragm, like I had been kicked in the gut.  I couldn’t even look at my guitar without feeling slightly ill.

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I was sharing my house with a professional artist friend and he had paints and extra canvasses and encouraged me to get back into it.  As soon as I picked up the brush and started working with the colors and mediums I found myself swimming in that same feeling of timelessness I get from making music.  It’s like a field of potential energy watching color fall onto its body.

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“City on a Tree” and “City Kitty”

It took me over a year to be able to pick up my guitar and close to 18 months before I could eek out a tune again. Painting helped make me whole.  It helped me feel the vibrancy and vigor of celebrating life and when I did finally find my way back to my voice, it was there as strong as ever, ready to rock and roll.

Dancing Ladies 1 & 2
Dancing Ladies 1 & 2

My paintings will be installed in Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar for the months of August and September, 1414 N Street, Sacramento.  I’ll be performing in two separate shows those months, August 22nd and September 12th.  I look forward to meeting you!

P.S.  A Shout Out to the amazing Dr. Huong Bach (UC Davis) for reminding me that the heart heals on it’s own time.

The whole collection
The whole collection

Tips for Musicians Who Work Day Jobs

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Tips for musicians who work day jobs:

1. Return to gratitude as frequently as possible.  Gratitude expands the heart and opens possibilities whereas resentment, frustration and discontent block creative flow.
2. Downplay gossip, it eats the soul and fuels discontent so avoid it at all costs.
3. Find a couple of good friend coworkers who appreciate all of your talents and your super hard working nature.  This is especially important if they make you laugh or bring out your silly side.
4. Try to catalog the funny office moments that may fuel or spark a song (Johnny with the weird gesticulations).  There’s a ton of great relating examples in the workplace.  What can be culled from those lessons and applied towards your craft?
5. Know that you’re setting a powerful example for your child (if you have children) as a responsible parent who remains dedicated to the craft.
6. Know that people in the community respect you.  Most people give up their dream along the way but you have found a way to contribute to and work with society without sacrificing your artistic integrity.
7. Find the aspects of the job you do like and try to grow those areas and minimize the annoyances if possible.
8. Return to number one.
9. Fake it til you make it.
10. Retire as soon as possible.  Focus on your plan for the future and manifesting your personal goals.

I have enormous respect for musicians who continue to do what they’ve got to do to support their families. Ultimately I’d like to see a better balance and monetary infusion for artists, in the form of generous grants.., something! Until then you’re a fierce soldier of your craft!

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Featured image used under a creative commons 2.0 license from Flickr
Photo by Paul Hudson 

This Ain’t Working Anymore…. ♪♫♪♫

I’ve hatched a new one.  This is fresh from the mental factory and there are three main components driving this song.  At Monday night’s Fox and Goose open mic in Sacramento, I heard a performer effectively use the “repeat the same line 4 times technique” and I realized that I typically avoid that technique in my writing.  I like to go somewhere with the story and resist singing the same line.  He challenged me to write a song this week using that approach… so I did!

Carey Seward played Ani Difranco’s, “Both Hands” that night and that’s one of my favorite songs of Ani’s so I wanted to capture just a touch of that element as well.  And finally, another local songwriter, Allison Hallenbeck recently wrote a song with lyrics that impressed me so much I practically fell out of my chair.  So I thought of Allison and her lyric effectiveness as I pulled this together.

Carey is a songwriter from Alaska who has recently joined the music community here in Sacramento and she’s got oodles of talent.  Allison is a ukulele goddess with a sweet soprano voice.  Both frequent several open mic’s around the Sacramento region.

The second verse came first and then came the chorus and then the last two verses and ironically the first verse was the most difficult to write, but it’s so true that it sticks with me like butter.

2 Week Update:  I’ve changed the chorus.  It was too annoying. It’s become:

This ain’t working anymore.
This ain’t working like before.
The time has come to close the door
cause this ain’t working anymore.

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Silver Video Award from Beat 100~! – Fly

There’s a girl from Kentucky, with dreams as big as the blue sky.
She was raised to stand strong and tall, she was taught that she could fly and have it all.

I spent 6 hours on Saturday morning creating this video for Fly.  It’s really amazing what you can do with stock footage clips and a video editor.

Sometimes things come together so well, it’s almost magical.  The Kentucky girls dreams carry her away, while the young man from Tennessee sees his future clearly.  Let me know what you think and don’t be afraid to Fly!

Update:  I entered this video into the Beat100 charts and have won a silver medal for creating a high quality video!  Yay!

Free

Still my favorite!

Kally O'Mally

This is my latest song baby. She was born the first weekend in May and came back from Mastering a week ago. She is definitely one of my more inspired pieces. What does that mean? It means that everything came quickly and easily from the words to the sounds to the recording. I played around awhile with the mix using different vocal effects and ended up happy with a clean version, just a touch of reverb.

The lyrics of this song haunt me. I got up Saturday morning and watched the Bruce Jenner/Diane Sawyer interview and the idea that we all just want to be “free” really stuck with me. I think the darker imagery stems from realizing that Bruce had been struggling with this issue for so many years. For me “Free” represents the deep unabating desire we have to reach self actualization and fulfillment. That’s really the American…

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The Institution

The struggle of all working artists who haven’t broken through the surface of their craft’s domain is the day job.   All those years of music education to be a secretary… and have a bed to sleep in, a pot to piss in, and maybe with enough hard work, you’ll manage to break through, but at least you won’t be sleeping on the street somewhere dreaming about the would have could haves.

Some dreams die easily.  I’m not going to be a famous dancer, doctor or a National Geographic  investigative journalist which were dreams that lit up like a firefly and burned out fast.  But I do have a particular set of skills that have grown into an ability from a teeny tiny little mustard seed and that ability continues to carry the root of who I am and what I have to offer.  That’s where this song comes from.

Flaming needles prick the darkness, hosed down halls that house the heartless, two pills in a paper cup, liquid soul, drink it up.

The Institution describes the cognitive dissonance I feel in my day job.  It doesn’t even matter what the day job, so it’s not tied to my current organization of employment.  I know I’m not the only one….

Free

This is my latest song baby. She was born the first weekend in May and came back from Mastering a week ago. She is definitely one of my more inspired pieces. What does that mean? It means that everything came quickly and easily from the words to the sounds to the recording. I played around awhile with the mix using different vocal effects and ended up happy with a clean version, just a touch of reverb.

The lyrics of this song haunt me. I got up Saturday morning and watched the Bruce Jenner/Diane Sawyer interview and the idea that we all just want to be “free” really stuck with me. I think the darker imagery stems from realizing that Bruce had been struggling with this issue for so many years. For me “Free” represents the deep unabating desire we have to reach self actualization and fulfillment. That’s really the American Dream is it not?