In my twenties, I developed an aching need to become a musician. So I did what I could to become one. Honestly, I was aching about a lot of things that time. Looking back, I realize music was part of my escape from depression. Songs poured out of my sadness, slowly wearing away the harsh edges.
Performing has also been a tool for facing the deep darkness that has plagued me. By doing something that makes me feel completely vulnerable, I am forced to discover new sources of power.
Music and performing have transformed me.
However, lately I’ve been considering ending my performing career. Putting myself in situations where I am making music for others in public is an emotional gamble.
But then I have a gig that feels good, like Mad Tea’s set at the Montford Music & Art Festival yesterday. Krekel and I rocked our songs, and kind-hearted people rocked with us.
It’s really a simple thing that I tend to complicate in my mind.
photo by caroline pond
i actually took some non-blurry photos, but i thought this one best captured the experience of listening to the improv jazz set right before i played with coconut cake last night…
it bent my brain in new ways
Yeah! Coconut Cake! 5.15.13. Apothecary. Asheville.
It was Saturday night at the Spring Shakori Hills Festival, and my girlfriends and I were tromping around, maybe on the way to something, I can’t remember. What I do remember is hearing music from the Cabaret Stage that caught my attention. “That sounds like real boogie woogie!” I exclaimed. “Let’s check it out!”
Turns out it was Ironing Board Sam and his band. Wearing an all gold suit and tearing up the keyboard, Sam was a sight to behold. At 74, his age did not lessen his energy - he had the whole dance floor jumping. His performance exuded joyful soul and playfulness. I was charmed.
The story of Ironing Board Sam’s life and 50-year music career is fascinating, and simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming. His journey inspires and humbles me.
Right now there’s a Kickstarter for a documentary about him: “TENTH is an intimate portrait of an entertainer who’s persistance is only matched by his contagious optimism. With an unstoppable soundtrack encompassing Sam’s decades long musical career, TENTH reveals the hard consequences of chasing a dream and the creative renaissance of an unheralded legend.”
I pitched in because I can’t wait to see it.
I’m trying to pay attention.
A wildflower after the rain can quiet my mind’s neurotic refrains.
It’s time for walks in the woods, writing, making room for wonder.
I’m trying to pay attention, to the silence and the thunder.