Saturday, August 29, 2009

Siesta on Siesta

We decided to take a break from the work-a-day world this week, and headed cross-state to Siesta Key on Florida's west coast. A nice break it was -- time with family, time on the beach, time by the pool, time at the Selby Botanical Gardens, time at the auto dealer's service department when my battery went bad... More than anything else I had expected to spend time with my photo gear on the beach shooting a Gulf of Mexico sunset or two. Unfortunately Mother Nature had other ideas and every evening was either drowned in torrential tropical rains or simply clouded over. These shots are as close as I could get -- finding a bit of artistic drama in the late day storms, backlit by a setting sun that never showed us her true colors. A minor disappointment in the end...

I read a great deal ( finished Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search For Meaning", Dennis LaHane's "The Given Day", Richard Russo's collection of short stories "The Whore's Child", got a start on Jana French's "In The Woods" and revisited parts of Harriet Beecher Stowe's
"Palmetto Leaves"), and Kay and I are working on jointly composing a little waltz -- something we've not tried before. We kept mostly to the back roads and off of the dreaded Florida Interstate highways, passing through miles of undeveloped interior land that few folks even know exists (ever hear of Dallas, Florida?). What a treasure this state is! Time now to recover from our Siesta...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Learning To Relax...

Those few folks who have been regular readers of mine know that I have shifted gears several times since the start of this. I have refocused from reflective rumination to story telling to lifestyle simplification to photography technique to music to environmentalism and back again. I have veered from a free-form out of the blue approach to a pre-planned "here's what's coming next" format I've posted as many as three time per week to once every three weeks. The blog gurus would tell me I'm a complete idiot and an example of precisely what not to do. Inconsistent, untimely and unfocused blogging is not the way to attract mobs of readers and ad dollars. Well... psssst.... my little secret is that I'm not trying to attract a following. Not that I'm not thrilled to have regular readers -- I am! Maybe we can all learn something from each other along the way. The reason I do this is because I want to -- sweet and simple. It's therapeutic.

I'm learning with greater and greater clarity lately that listening to what my conscience tells me to do (or perhaps just suggests) is a really good thing. I've always been a deeply philosophical person, and for just as long have straddled the border between conformity and true independence. What I am learning now, more than half way through my sixth decade (yikes!) on this planet is that my happiness lies in being what / who I know intuitively I am, as opposed to what / who the world at large thinks I ought to be. Being able to hear that inner voice requires that one drop their expectations of what should be, and relax sufficiently enough to calm the noise and learn. Quiet, peaceful meditation gets me to that place. Be still and know. Let go and let God. Follow the Tao. Whatever you call it, however you name it -- it's all the same.

So right now, my intuition is telling me to follow a strategy of taking what life sends my way, and trusting myself to do the right thing with it -- at play and at work. And I am finding extraordinary consistency in the practice. When I trust my instincts -- the inner voice -- the correct thing happens at the correct time and place. Thus the 1,000 Doors Project... the recent return to songwriting and recording -- to a greater emphasis on my music as a way to communicate the importance of diversity -- in the environment, in our beliefs, in our solutions to our seemingly insurmountable problems... can't only be just one, must be a thousand doors... So relax, like my brother-in-law in the photo above (shot at Six Mile Creek, near Orangedale, Florida). Go with the flow. Hang out and listen for the muse to show up. She might surprise you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Next?


Too many of my musician friends have been using ReverbNation for me to ignore it any longer. Something else to occupy (hijack?) my time at the computer... Has a decent built-in player, where I've posted some different songs than those already posted at MySpace. So your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to click on the banner above, check it out, and let me know what you think... simple!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Royal Palm Folk and Acoustic Music Festival - NOT

A quick note to let you know that I'll NOT be playing with The Ashley Gang at....

We will NOT take the stage as the featured act at 8:00 Saturday evening -- hope to see some familiar faces NOT at Veteran's Park Amphitheater - Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Heck, they brought Rick Nelson back for this.. you should NOT come! --- The city of Royal Palm pulled the plug on this event at the last minute after the organizers apparently did their job of organizing TOO well. Originally expecting less than 1,000 to show up, advance ticket sales, reservations, and other clues indicated a crowd into the multiple thousands -- somewhat beyond the communities ability to manage safely. So we understand the event is to be rescheduled at a more appropriate venue. We'll see....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

1,000 Doors Project

So this old man found himself back in a recording studio putting down tracks of his own songs for the first time in a number of years. I almost need something else to consume my time these days, but I just can't help it. My manic episodes tend to last for up to years at a time, so buckle up your seat belts kids, here we go...

I am totally unsure of where this is going... a solo project, an Ashley Gang project, something in between? Who knows? For now I'm planning on using 4 or 5 songs as a "sampler" CD for promotional purposes mostly.

The most important thing to me is that I document this sudden resurgence of lyrical and musical energy. Even if nothing at all becomes of it. Funny how that happens... after literally years (at least three) without a new tune popping out of my head, the muse decides to land on my shoulder. An when the muse arrive, she is impossible to ignore. Ideas flow, words appear, chord progressions park in your driveway and melodies poke you in the ribs.

So here we go -- off to the remote sand hills of Florida and a little studio by a dried up lake. I'll work on getting a home-grown video clip or two up here for you to see and hear over the next few months and do my best to bring you along on this little indie recording venture. Welcome to the world of Florida Folk Music.

Next stop is the Royal Palm Folk and Acoustic Music Festival in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, next Saturday (August 8th) with the Ashley Gang. We're on stage at 8:00 p.m. Veteran's Park.

Thanks to Gar for snapping these pictures --