Inspiration can come in many forms, through many channels or experiences. Sometimes it is so subtle that it is only after much observation that its impact on you can be seen or felt. For me this is true of Mike Garrigan, one of our team members from the "Showcase of Original Music". I have had the pleasure of working with him for most of this year as our varied group of volunteers has endeavored to create a unique and valued "place to go" and "thing to do" for the community of the creative class and the city of Greensboro. You would be hard pressed to make any assumptions or jump to any conclusions about Mike based on his outward persona. He seems to have acquired the ability to keep things "close to the vest", thus appearing shy, or detached, or even a little aloof. But, closer observations and more interactions begin to reveal a much more solid, thoughtful, almost Zen-like attitude that is remarkable in its subtlety. Over the months of meetings, e-mails, rehearsals, set-ups, tear-downs etc., Mike's even-keeled manner and his ability to remain calm, focused, enthusiastic, supportive and open to help in any way added a much needed balance to the process.
Though not a man of many words in public, he is always quick with a compliment and manages to find the good in a situation or looks at the positive side of a challenge. He presence is unassuming, but don't let that fool you. There's more. When he gets on stage, guitar in hand and begins to sing, he stands in his true power, showing not only his musical talent and skill, but finds the voice to speak the words and express the emotions he holds in much of the time. Yet even then he remains humble and genuinely grateful for the applause he always receives, obviously touched by the admiration of the audience, never one to let it go to his head.
One of the defining things about Mike's demeanor is that he is the same person on and off the stage. To me, that is a fine quality and the evidence of that is found in the fact that you would have a hard time finding anyone with anything negative to say about him. His graciousness is felt across the board by those who know him. I know, because it was through the very kind offer of the periodic use of his studio space at Two Egrets Media and Recording which allowed me to start my "Featured Artist Interview " series (see Mike's interview here). You cannot put a value on these kinds of things and so believe me when I say that his gesture has not gone unnoticed. One day I will be able to return the favor, or do some equally generous thing for him, or someone in need. "Pay it forward", so to speak.
Mike Garrigan has done quite well for himself through his own efforts. One indicator of that is the release of his most current CD "Pillar of the Sun", the latest collection from this prolific songwriter. That simplicity and consistency of character which I have come to notice and admire, have surely contributed to his longevity and success. In that light, he is an inspiration to me and I have no qualms saying I strive to emulate those qualities. So, if you're looking for some new music alternatives, give him a listen.