Wild Bil X-ing

I’m extremely proud and pleased to announce that my friend, Wild Bil McCombe, who played bass and resonator guitar on my song, A Polite Little Madness, has been nominated for Best Blues Artist by the Ventura County Music Awards. Bil is one terrific man and about six amazing musicians (!) and he deserves to win. Let’s keep all our digits crossed!

I’m currently trying to work up the nerve to ask him to contribute his considerable talents on another song on my CD, but that may take me a little while. I just admire him so damned much and I don’t like imposing on people I admire. Yeah, I know. This is a problem and it’s held me back in my life, but I’m getting better.

Anyway, congrats, Bil. No one deserves this more than you!

Check Bil’s Facebook page (linked above) to find out when and where he’s performing next. If I still lived in Ventura County, I’d be following him and his band around like a puppy!

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Are We Angels

I’ve gone to many concerts in my life, and there are many concerts I wanted to go to but couldn’t for one reason or another, but if there ever has been one concert I really wanted to attend it was one that was held on April 1st. No, it wasn’t in an arena and it didn’t feature a world-famous artist. It was a one-hour concert held in a tiny chapel in an easily missed (if you blink whilst driving by) parish in West Sussex, England, where a local indy artist performed her songs for a few caring friends and neighbors.

As quaint as all this sounds, the cause was an important one. The 11th century stone church of St. Mary’s, Trotton with Chithurst, is in need of a new roof, a cause that local resident Tobiah took to heart. Her benefit concert, called Are We Angels, raised much needed money while providing her angelic music with help from special guest, award winning accordionist, Colette O’Leary.

Of course, I’m a bit biased where Tobiah is concerned because she’s a family friend and will hopefully make an appearance on my forthcoming CD, but even if I didn’t know her personally, I’d love this concert, which perfectly demonstrates her generous heart and gracious, enchanting spirit. Colette, whose talents are new to me, added a bit of tastefully refined fun as well.

Apart from weddings, I doubt this chapel has enjoyed this sort of joyous occasion very much through the centuries. Tobiah and her husband, with help from her friends, who include actress Sarah Miles, lovingly decorated its arches and windows with candles and flower garlands, and it’s easy for me to sense a gentle smile—perhaps even a long, contented sigh—rising from its walls.

I wanted so much to attend this concert, but, alas, time and money just wouldn’t allow it. Happily, it was recorded and has been podcast on the Paradigm’s website. I hope you’ll listen and that the concert’s magic will make you smile as well. Please click the link below to access the podcast. (Photos enlarge when clicked.)

The Are We Angels concert featuring Tobiah, with special guest Colette O’Leary

 

All photos are the property of Tobiah.

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Over the Southern Border

fortworth

A week from Monday we’ll be going to Fort Worth, Texas for a few days. For Lynette it’s a business trip, but for me it’s a chance to get out of town to write, walk around downtown, linger in coffeehouses and pubs, or just sit on my arse and look out our hotel room window at the city below. Who knows?

We’ve made plans to get together with family who live in Dallas, and I have an old Ventura County friend, drummer/songwriter Wade Johnson, who lives next door in Arlington. We met back in 1972 when we were young, irrepressible musicians looking for our place in the Hollywood – Laurel Canyon scene. We’ll be getting together for dinner as a foursome one evening and then alone one afternoon to work on a song or two. The area has a booming music scene so I’m hoping to catch some live bands. I’m still researching that.

meandwade
With Wade at Band Tree V

Texas and Oklahoma have been locked in a feud forever I’m told, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Texas at different times in my life and I’ve always enjoyed it. I almost moved to Houston after spending a month there in the early 1970s. I liked it that much. I’ve also spent some time in Austin and liked it.  I’ve never been to Fort Worth or Dallas, though, except for passing through on the interstate, so this will be a new experience. As a native Californian I’m not involved in the feud. I can’t even say I understand it, but there you go.

Anyway, my next entry could very well be from Fort Worth.

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The Journey Out

creative freedom

I wasn’t a particularly social kid. I had one or two good friends, but even they didn’t get a lot of my time. I spent “off” time in my room playing records, reading and drawing and, when in my teens, I added writing music, stories and letters to that list. I was social only on occasion and I had no trouble declining invitations to leave my private world. I never was what people call popular, either, and that was fine. When I got into my late 20s and early 30s, though, I suddenly became popular and acquired a large circle of casual friends, but I still maintained only two or three close friendships with people I’d known since childhood.

Myers-Briggs tells me I’m an Extroverted Introvert, which explains everything. I love people, but in small doses, and even at the peak of my long period of extroversion (which lasted nearly three decades) I was happiest when the party was over and I could spend the week in seclusion recharging my battery. I almost forgot that I’m actually a loner and that I need a lot of alone time. Recently, this has all come back to me and my Facebook hiatus is reuniting me with a part of myself that has been neglected for far too long. Even the thought of hosting an occasional party doesn’t excite me like it used to do. Anymore, it just means a week of preparation, a week of cleanup, and a month of Hashimoto’s-induced fatigue.

When we’re young we crave social interaction with a lot of variety, which is only natural given our biological imperative to procreate the species. We need lots of candidates to choose from and a lot of support, but now that that’s all over for me, the thought of having fewer casual friends is more a relief than anything else. Unfortunately, every single one of my lifelong friends are gone now, which leaves me no one to call when the rare moment of loneliness hits. But this is what my marriage fulfills, and is supposed to fulfill. I have a best friend in Nettl and the fact that we’ve been together for 16 years is no small consideration. I’m blessed and grateful that she fills the void in me that my old friends left. Maybe not 100%—there are just some things JP Deni supplied that no one else ever will, but then again, Deni didn’t fulfill every emotional need that Nettl does. With childhood friends it really comes down to shared memories of more innocent, carefree times, and life has a way of moving you along, especially when you’re the last living survivor.

waving-goodbye-joana-kruse
Photo by Joana Kruse

Twice now I’ve watched a circle of casual friends make a mass exodus from my life. Different people, of course, but the same phenomenon. The first group were hangers on who anticipated my impending “fame and fortune” and wanted to be along for the ride. When an important contract fell through they left en masse within a matter of days. This time it’s harder to name and harder to stomach. It’s ugly and based in lies and betrayal, a refusal to communicate, and probably a lot of misunderstanding. Good riddance to both groups. When the first group left I was elevated to the highest creative period my life has known. I’m anticipating even better things this time around because the pain is much greater. (I’m a big believer in relativity.) In both cases, the pain is a blessing in disguise and the “pony under the pile” is that I have more emotional space to do the things that are really important to me.

I’m calling it creative freedom.

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