Song Writer Sunday

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Well hello!

It's been kind of quiet in the blog world for me lately... BUT...! there is something noteworthy going on these days.

Those of you who know me and follow my journey know that I enjoy promoting and helping showcase those who write and perform their own music, especially ones who are still trying to build a following, get some attention and present their music to new audiences. That was what The Collabative was all about.

Late last year, I had a discussion with Natalie Wurz, owner-proprietor at Stonefield Cellars in Stokesdale, NC. We bantered around the idea of holding a "Song Writers In The Round" event at her winery. It was a lively and enthusiastic chat which led to an agreement to put on the first one in March 12th of this year.  Thus was born "Song Writer Sunday".

On that Sunday afternoon Abigail Dowd, David Cecil, Bobbi Needham and Benjy Johnson shared their tunes with an almost full house. It was a wonderful blend of personalities and songwriting styles which thoroughly pleased and entertained folks. The beauty of the event is that while they were singing and playing, you could hear a pin drop in the rest of the room. There a few truly "listening" rooms, but the keg room at the winery has such an ambience and vibe that it makes for a perfect setting for this type of performance.  Needless to say Natalie and I were pleased and encouraged by the way it came together and immediately started looking forward to the next one.

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The second one took place June 25th and featured Bradford Reaves, Carrie Pazdziora, Jack Gorham and Sarah Sophia. It was such a good mix of artists that, after the show, Natalie invited these four to come back to do a longer, more concert like presentation, which will happen November 4th. I can't wait for that one!

In the meantime, there is another group of song writers ready to strut their stuff on September 17th. They are. Wes Collins, Lyn Koonce, Barry Gray and Casey Noel. It is always fun to get to meet and hear these talented people, while getting them in front of some new faces that hopefully... turn into fans! Please come support local original music and check out Stonefield Cellars too!

Time For Some Originals

I am pleased to tell you that I have a date coming up where I will be doing nothing but my own songs. Well, I might throw in a cover or two; who knows?  On Sunday January 15th, from 3:00-5:00 pm I will be at Stonefield Cellars doing my original music. It will be a laid back atmosphere and you can sample - and buy - the fine wines they have there at the vineyard. There will be a $5.00 cover charge ( I am worth five bucks I think!). It will also be to kick off what will be a quarterly event known as "Song Writer Sunday", which will go through 2017. So, I hope you can make it out. Below is a bit more about me and the song writing process and my experience with it,  if you care to read on.

I have spent all of my music career learning and performing other people's music to stay employed and that has served me well over some 44 years now...yes 44. There have been times during that history that I have had the opportunity to explore song writing and been part of two different bands that played many of my songs. Those times are long passed and unfortunately, most of those songs got lost along the way. As time progressed, I just let staying busy and keeping the bills paid overrule the somewhat self indulgent process of song writing. But, while staying alive consumes most of my energy, songs still find their way to me and so there has been some writing going on when the muse hits me.

My song writing is autobiographical and much like what many of you would do if keeping a journal. In that regard, it becomes a challenge for me to choose which songs I will present, for some are quite personal-too personal perhaps- and speak too directly to my life in ways that I would only want to share anonymously, so for me playing my original music becomes some what of a dilemma. Many song writers chomp at the bit to get people to hear their stuff. Me....I'd rather sell my songs to someone else and let them record or perform them, thus distancing myself from the connection to the lyrics. And you thought it was easy.....

So, I hope you will join me to hear what I select to share with you! I would be honored by your presence...

Catching Up

Time ticks by as we scribble out our lives...

Well...2016 is only days from going into the history books. It has been an uneventful year on the surface, but far from that underneath it all. Life is, for me, seemingly constant course changes and this past year has been no different. Personal hopes for a stable and lasting relationship-finally-turned out to be more a lesson in self deception, trying to make something out of very little or nothing. The sting is slowly going away and I can now begin to think about moving on, though the confidence I once felt about the future in terms of "romance" has taken a decisive blow and I am not sure if it will find its way back. We'll see.

As you can tell, if you still stop by here, I have been far from diligent about "minding the store", so to speak. I know keeping in touch is important in this age of technology but there are times when I either don't have much to say, or am not sure quite how to say what might be going on. Still, every now and then, I feel a little pang of neglect or laziness for not doing a better job of connecting. If blogging is like an online journal, then that is what mine is for I realize again as I am writing this how personal my blogs tend to be, maybe even more than most of you would care to know. But...take it or leave it for that is just who / how I am...for now anyways.

On the music front, I am starting to move toward recording a new CD. The last one was "Private Passion" released in 2008 which means far too much time has passed without another effort, so I will keep you posted on that as it unfolds. Along with that renewed intention, I have begun booking gigs at the coast of North Carolina...Oak Island (at The Lazy Turtle )to be exact and soon Southport (at The Yacht Basin Eatery). This brings things back to the "course changes" I mentioned earlier. My goal is to live at the coast, perhaps as soon as by this time next year with any luck and concerted effort. I was born near the water and spent most of my childhood into high school near the ocean. It is in my blood and is the place where I feel most at home. I have been too far away for too damn long. With my child now in college, I can start to look at the future for myself and I see my feet in the sand. You'll be the first to know how this all works out as well.

So...Happy New Year! I am throwing away the compass and trusting the winds of change to carry me to the people, places, gigs and adventures that will satisfy my soul. Maybe you will do the same? As the now late George Michael said in his song..."You gotta have faith, faith,faith"

The Creative Center of Greensboro - being an advocate

Some of the goals for The Creative CenterWhen I was approached by Susan Sassmann, who was at the time, the executive director of The Creative Center in Greensboro, NC. back in 2011, I thought I was just helping to get an open mic going at the center. What I discovered along the way was that I was unleashing a deeper passion than even I had realized was within me. I have always loved performing and have been grateful over and over for being able to do it for 40 some years now. Little did I know that it would be almost over-shadowed by a soulful desire to promote original music and the people who write and perform it locally and beyond.

Crystal Bright performs at The ShowcaseThe Showcase of Original Music proved that to me and set me on a path I would never have predicted. As situations and circumstances changed, there came a point at which I knew I must move in my own direction. Never in my life had I ever been so bold as to say "This is what I am going to do no matter what anyone thinks or how it turns out." Even as I put my beliefs into action by incorporating (Coinspirate LLC - pronounced CO - IN - SPI - RATE = collaborate/inspire/create), I spent many a day worrying and wondering if I had been fool hardy and impulsive at a time when caution and clear-headed thinking should have prevailed. Though I still have those moments, they are slowly becoming fewer and farther between.

These days things have almost come full circle for I am back at The Creative Center doing shows, but more importantly - and the reason for this blog -  I will be getting much more directly involved in things there. I have agreed to come on as an advocate and do whatever I am capable of to help revitalize the center. I passionately believe it is a place of untapped potential and full of possibilities that could benefit the Greensboro area nurturing spirituality, art, music, entrepreneurial enterprise and more. I see it as an incubator for creative and meaningful collaborations and community building. I hope I am right. If not, I will at least have the satisfaction of knowing I tried when it counted. The only failure in life is not making any effort... well,  that is my philosophy.

Save the date!I hope you will visit The Creative Center if you are a resident of, or visiting the Greensboro area. If you know people looking for a place to worship, be artistic, perform, build a business and enhance the community, tell them about the center. And... if you like to see great original music, think about attending a Collabative (yeah another one of those crazy words) event there. Now back to the vision quest!