Snow in Summer: Dissonance & Grace

The longer this COVID season drags on, the more people tell me that they feel tired. Tired of adapting, tired of the steady diet of fear served through the media, and tired of the impatience of others. They often go on to state that they are concerned that their character is shifting; that they have a reduced capacity to engage life; that they are afraid that they will say or do something out of their present condition that will have undesirable and long lasting consequence.

Snow in Summer

I’m not the man I want to be – I’ve got no chance ‘til eternity
15-over but always short – Easy to hurt but hard at war
It’s like snow in summer – Like snow in summer

When I was writing the song Snow in Summer, I had the message down and the melody written, but I was still looking for the chorus/hook. It was as frustrating to find the right words as it was to be a better man – to live out of a fullness of altruistic character — and then, at just the right moment, I looked out the window. It was snowing. In summer. The window scene matched my current mood perfectly. The imposition of an undesirable event  in what should have been a more pleasant season: dissonance. Please Continue Reading …

What’s the difference; why bother; why be vulnerable?

“What difference does it make?” This was the question on my mind when I quit music ten years ago. There was more to it than this, (I’ll spare you the political blah, blah, blah) but the loss of felt impact was an essential element in my leaving music behind. Restarting again has meant coming to grips with the emotions of felt rejection – and I’m not alone in this; many artists wrestle with the vulnerability of placing their creation before others. Some deal with it well – I did not.

A good friend of mine captured the issue well when he said to me, “What makes us think we have anything that needs to be said, or that anyone should care to listen?” Please Continue Reading …

Open Water: In search of the freedom to be

I enjoy sailing. I’m not an adrenaline junkie; I don’t need to be clipping across the waves in a catamaran with 1/2 of the boat in the air and my body leaning back away from it as ballast – I’m more of a “tiller in one hand, glass of wine in the other” kinda guy.

There are as many forms of recreation as there are personalities on the planet, and there are many ways to be on the water: kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle board, rowboat, cruise ship, runabout, pontoon, houseboat, wakeboat, fishing boats, dingies and more, but I have come to enjoy sailing the most.

OPEN WATER

Well I’m lookin’, lookin’ for open water
I’m lookin’ – lookin’ for open water
The air is just too crowded
It’s got no empty space
Tryin’ to find some grace

When I sail, I’m not really interested in racing. Some are competitive and can’t resist pulling up alongside my boat to see if they can provoke a race, but I’m not interested; I will deliberately let the sails go slack in response. The way I figure it, if I can’t relax sailing, then I’m going to stay at the campfire and watch from a distance. Please Continue Reading …

My Ride to Remember Story: Resilience in the Making

My Ride to Remember experience has become a living example as to how the keys of resilience work: growing self-mastery through supportive relationships within the process of cycling.

The Ride to Remember began as our way to honour our heroes, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their community and to ensure the magnitude of their sacrifice is never forgotten. On September 24, 1998, the Government of Canada officially proclaimed the last Sunday of September of every year as the Police and Peace Officers’ National Memorial Day.On September 27, 1998, the Solicitor General of Canada stated that “A formal, national Memorial Day gives Canadians an opportunity each year to formally express appreciation for the dedication of police and peace officers who make the ultimate, tragic sacrifice to keep communities safe.”

 

My R2R Story

My story begins much earlier than the five years I have been riding with the R2R; it begins with a 15-year friendship. While hiking the backcountry with a good friend (a Staff Sargent with the Saskatoon Police Service), my knees were giving me serious grief — my self-mastery was challenged!  Please Continue Reading …

Transcendence: The Soul within the Clay

I’m sure you’ve noticed as much as I have, that it is proving to be  difficult to know who you can talk to about what topics these days. Polarization of topical opinion seems to be at an all-time high – at least within my life experience.

Maybe you read the posts of friends and find them to be inline with your thinking, and/or you’re surprised when they are not. You fingers hover over the keyboard, and you wonder if you should wade in and express your opinion. This time you choose to remain silent, because you’re still trying to process the abuse you received from the last round. No, it wasn’t from your friend directly; you’re relationship is still (mostly) okay, but the thread opened up to many you’ve never even met, and they didn’t hold back their wrath, offence and indignation. Please Continue Reading …

Hope Rides on the Horizon

Have you ever found yourself pondering who you are? There are many roles you play in life – you may be father/mother, husband/wife, sibling, friend, worker, leader, etc, etc…but who are you?

You can sense it in the mornin’ – as you turn the coffee on
It comes without a warning – when all you feel is numb
And you’re lookin’ for the meaning in all you’ve done
Hope rides on the horizon…”

You may not be aware of the pervasiveness of this question in the whirlwinds of busyness.  The noise and clutter of the world around us overwhelms the capacity for our reflective thought and awareness. But every once in a while – in moments of quiet throughout the average day, a still, small, voice can be heard. Please Continue Reading …

It’s READY – buy your copy of OPEN WATER today!

SIDE A

1. OPEN WATER

2. I Hold On

3. Snow in Summer

4. I Ain’t Ready for a Fight

5. Hope Rides on the Horizon

SIDE B

1.  Ride to Remember

2. Someone Paid the Piper

3. Breathing Again

4. Stupid

5. Two Left Feet

 

BONUS TRACK: Let it Rain – A message for today – in 70’s psychedelic

 

MUSIC VIDEO: Ride to Remember

Like what you hear? Get your copy HERE!

….and please share! 🙂

 

Discovering the Extra-In-Ordinary

As a culture, we tend to honour the pursuit of the extraordinary. The paparazzi serve to supply us with images of the elite, and we all want to be known as knowing someone extraordinary – we even post signs about our local talent that made it to the big league – as if to suggest that we are extraordinary by association. This is curious (and highly subjective), but it can also rob us of contentment, peace and freedom to be.

I have disproportionately strong hands. They are tough hands, able to sustain injury and even bleed without me noticing. They have several scars on each and are rarely if ever manicured. Some of my friends like to joke that they can’t tell if they are looking at my hands or if I am “holding a bunch of bananas”. I get a kick out of taking my rings off and passing them on to others to try on – as they usually end up on thumbs or toes.

I have often said that it is an odd connection to have a musician’s heart with a concrete-worker’s hands.

So, maybe it is a miracle that I can play guitar at all – but I find the hand an amazing piece of design work. There are 29 joints, 27 bones, 123 named ligaments, no muscles – all of which are controlled by the forearms, and the mind. As I type this post I am aware that my mind is sending messages through neuro-electric impulse, in rapid fire sequence to select the various keys on the keyboard – and I can’t even begin to fathom how it works. A communication system extraordinaire!

But music requires more than the hand and mind to produce. It also requires  Please Continue Reading …

Power in Creation: Pneuma

If you have been following this blog, you will know about how I relinquished the title of my album, “Breathing Again”. If not, you can read about that here. I am satisfied with the new title, and I am delighted with the interaction that brought the new title, Open Water, forward; grace in action! One additional benefit to this happening was that my son introduced me to a new word: Pneuma.

I have known of pneumatics, as the word pertains to air-based systems, but I have never thought of the root word, or its definition: “the vital spirit, soul, or creative force of a person”. The word, and its meaning, have captured me; captures my experience of returning to music to write, produce and record this album in a profound way – even better than the title, Breathing Again. To say I am “breathing again” is to highlight the return to something I had done in the past (it did feel as though I held my breath for the past ten (10) years), and this is accurate – four previous albums, here comes a fifth — but this is incomplete.

 Please Continue Reading …

Surprised by Grace

The english language is full of interesting challenges to understanding the definitions and context of words and expressions — but never more than today it would seem. Its difficult to have a conversation about some topics today – things turn so volatile, so quickly. Two friends can be enjoying a chat over coffee, and then, BOOM. Someone asked a question, or inferred that they have an alternate opinion to others. Blood pressures start to rise, and defensiveness sets in – you start to feel like you have no appetite for the dialogue, but you are also aware that the subject is important and so you feel the need to stay engaged – no matter your perspective.

I have been strongly encouraged to change the title of the album “Breathing Again” to something else. It has been suggested that the expression may not be well received by some people following the passing of George Floyd. I had chosen this title to describe how it felt to come back to writing and performing music again after a difficult 10-year hiatus, and all of the encumbrances to peace that I had experienced over that time. The album is a musical expression of my resilience journey, and if the title causes people to draw inaccurate conclusions and miss the message, that would seem to be tragically self-defeating.

It is a good title, and I did not want to surrender it – but, I began to feel that I may be foolish to ignore the advice I received.

So, I decided to run a crowd-sourcing post for a new title to the album.  Please Continue Reading …