I’m beginning to really like country music. Having a chance to see the creative songwriting process close up this past weekend only confirms how I feel.
In addition to going to see my new grandson in Nashville, I also had the opportunity to take in the “Music City” experience….walking down Broadway, where there is live music everywhere you look, to enjoying a couple of “songwriters in the round” performances.
My friend Ula invited us to one of these sessions at the Holiday Inn on the West End – I’ve played many gigs at a Holiday Inn, but none were anything like this! Four incredible songwriters, premiering some of their songs for the first time in addition to their already published music. To hear them speak of their creative process to hearing the finished work left me in complete awe. For all of the cookie-cutter pop songs that all sound the same, I could truly appreciate how these musicians strive for something unique with their music.
On Saturday, we went to The Listening Room Cafe, to see a songwriter who is friends with my stepdaughter and son-in-law. This was an experience I will never forget. The three songwriters all have had tremendous success, writing for artists such as Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire, Lonestar, and Bon Jovi, just to name a few. To hear the stories behind the songs as well as their solo interpretations was mind blowing. I listened to some of the artists’ recordings of these songs, and found the arrangements very intriguing in comparison to the songwriters’ solo guitar versions. As a musician, I had the utmost respect and undivided attention for these performances.
As I’ll be making many more trips to Nashville to see little Milo grow up, I also look forward to taking in many more musical performances. There is a definite parallel between Jazz and country music, as these are true American art forms, as they still require a tremendous amount of musicianship to be successful. I’ll be listening to more country music, with a truer appreciation of the songwriting process.
Who knows….maybe I’ll even get a pair of cowboy boots!
As I’m writing this post, I’m laying in bed listening to Otto snoring on the hardwood floor, and I’m thinking, “Holy crap! I’m a grandfather!” Although I knew this was going to happen, the feeling I have now is much more exciting than I could have ever imagined.
I was asked what I wanted to be called….Grandpa sounds like I’m on The Waltons, and Pop-Pop was my father-in-law’s name, and out of the utmost respect, that name was never an option. I decided to go with “G”, as it has that Men in Black feel to it, and as little Milo learns the alphabet, it’ll be easy for him to remember. As an added bonus, a lot of my Georgetown swag just has the letter G, so I now have another excuse to wear it regularly.
As Milo grows up, I look forward to the curiosity and wonder that he’ll experience. I hope and pray that he grows up in a world that is more peaceful and humane than our world has been. I know that he’ll always know he is loved, and that he will have family that will be there for him always.
What type of “G” should I be? The type that always has change in his pocket to give to his grandchildren? The kind who wears khakis and New Balance sneakers, or do I become the porkpie-hat-wearing-pipe-smoking-listening-to-Miles-Davis-in-his-Cadillac “G”? I guess time will tell. And of course there could be “G with the RV”….with each passing day, the things that I used to do to define myself seem far less important. Like Bleek at the end of the movie “Mo Better Blues”, music feels more like something I want to pass on to Milo and future grandchildren as they get older, and gigs seem like something that’s more and more in the rear view mirror.
What I do know is this – I’m incredibly proud to be Milo’s granddad – I hope to spoil him with love and affection, and to always be there for him. That would be the best gift of all. And as a G-Man, I’ll always have his back!
For the very first time, I started to read all of my previous blog posts starting at the beginning, nearly four years ago. I put this off for a while, as I wanted to have plenty to read, instead of looking back every couple of months, or even annually. There’s definitely a lot of growth (mentally, spiritually, and maturity) since I started blogging….there are posts that I read and cringe, and there are posts that make me truly grateful. And to think, I used to have a crippling fear of writing term papers, but yet I’ve written over 150 blog posts!
Life has thrown its share of curveballs over these past four years, and having this outlet of putting my thoughts and feelings in an organized format has been incredibly helpful and rewarding, as I don’t feel the stress that I used to carry around constantly, because I kept things complete to myself. As much as I’m an introverted extrovert, writing this blog has allowed me to be more open with people on my own terms.
A heartfelt thank you to those who have shown their support of the blog, and to those who take time out of their busy lives to give it a glance. You have no idea of how much that means to me.
The next year is going to have plenty of new experiences….being a grandfather, more travel, and life with Otto of course…I hope you’ll all continue to follow me on the journey.
For most of my life, things have felt hectic. Life has always felt like I’m doing 70 mph in a 55 mile zone. Like the hamster on the wheel, it’s been go go go, with no slowing down.
I watched an interview with Mister Rogers, and he made a point about the blank spaces and pages we see as we read books. It’s the silence that makes us pause and reflect what we’ve just read and experienced.
I’ve been thinking about my life in chapters….I know that my next major chapter will be retirement – only six more years to go! What I’ve come to realize is that I’m at the end of the chapter….
It’s not that I don’t ever want to play music again, but I’m scaling way back. If it ain’t fun, I’m not doing it. It’s not about the money or the attention. I’m happy just playing bass for my friend Octavia, or the occasional Cruise Control gig….other than that, I just love chillin at home with my dog. Simple and quiet…just like that blank space at the end of a busy chapter….
Being “in between chapters” has allowed me to think about what the next part of my life will be like….some of my friends and family know that I’m thinking about getting an RV. I wanna visit the “flyover” states and see parts of the country for which I have great curiosity. This piques my interest more than anything else right now, and I would’ve never realized this without taking the time to stop and reflect. For this I’m truly thankful for those blank spaces and blank pages that makes us slow down, with an attitude of gratitude.
Can’t you just visualize me and Otto rolling down the Highway in a tricked-out motor home?
We’re 28 days into the new year, and for the first time in years, I’ve made it more than a week without giving up my resolution. Fortunately, my resolution wasn’t to go back to the gym!
My resolution was based on a piece of advice that I heard prior to the end of last year, and it resonated with me in a BIG way – Learn from your mistakes, but don’t live in them. This is much harder than I thought it would be, but it’s more than worth the effort.
I’ve had friends reach out because I haven’t kept in touch….I don’t have any issues with them – I just don’t feel like revisiting parts of my life where there was a lot of negativity.
Some people don’t want to let go of the person I was and the mistakes I’ve made. I choose not to be stuck there with them anymore. In some cases that meant cutting ties. None of us are perfect, and we all have moments in our life that we wish we said or did things differently. I’m done replaying those moments over and over in my head, and I don’t tolerate those who purposely choose not to let those moments go, for the purpose of being self righteous and/or petty. It’s just not worth it anymore.
I still haven’t decided what I want to do musically going forward. Thank you to those who have inquired. I’m all honesty, I don’t want to do things the same way I’ve always done them. Part of me wants to go back to working with high school kids as an artist-in-residence, as it was a fun way to give back. As I’m “on the back nine”, I have no dreams of stardom or to win any awards – my job now is to pass on what I’ve learned, in hopes that it inspires at least one person. It’s another reason to look forward, not live in the past.
There’s still 11 months left in 2023, and a lot of time to try new and different things. There’s also time to figure out things that give me tremendous joy. With each day comes an opportunity – it can be to dwell and live in the past, or focus on being in the present. For 2024, I hope I’m at a place where my New Year’s resolution is to continue the positive experiences from 2023!
It’s easy to come up with a cliched resolution for starting the new year…..losing weight, reading x number of books, taking up a new hobby, etc. As 2022 (one of the toughest years of my life) comes to a close, I’m approaching 2023 with a tremendous opportunity instead of just a resolution goal. My opportunity is to grow after spending every year of my life feeling like I needed to change.
Change is something that is expected to be quick, and to meet the approval of others. There are a lot of people who are not a part of my life anymore because they expected me to be their perception of who I should be. Some people are no longer in my life because of their close affiliation to people who expected me to change. I don’t hate any of these people as they are who they are. None of them fit in my life anymore in the way I allowed them to be in my life.
Growth is constant, and it allows for us to make mistakes and learn from them on our own terms. It gives us the confidence to try new things and face our fears. It’s on our own individual timetables. As the new year begins, I’m continuing to seek out like-minded people who are supportive of my journey, not trying to make me take unnecessary detours to meet their needs.
I have other goals for the new year, but that’s all they are…..goals. Lose a few pounds, read a few books, take up a new hobby. I know that growth is an opportunity for me, because I can’t define it. It’s an each-and-every-day opportunity, and there’s no finish line….it’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint.
Here’s to 2023 – may I have the opportunity to grow and flourish while reaching my goal shrinking down a few pounds…and let’s this be the only way that I change!
As rough a year as this has been, this brings me incredible joy.
Instead of being “Grandpa” or any derivatives of that name, I’m keeping it on the cool side….just call me “G”….and yes, this means I’m gonna be a porkpie hat wearing, pipe smoking, argyle retro wearing, (Cadillac driving?), jazz listening cool-ass mofo of a grandfather!