When it comes to the arts, I consider myself a writer first and foremost. I’m best as a writer, but I’m also an acceptable musician. I can sing pretty well and every now and then someone says I have a nice voice. I’ve composed over one-hundred songs, some of which have held up over the years. I tried at one point to get a record contract in Nashville, but I gave that up with some bitterness and headed in a much less artsy direction, eventually to a career in insurance claims. It wasn’t me, but I felt I was doing what I had to do. In this post, I want to share what has happened in my music life lately without much effort on my part.
You have probably heard the term, “Go with the flow.” Its popularity was at its height decades ago, but it endures as a saying for those who realize it would be better to accept the momentum and direction of certain activities or general forces rather than resisting. It’s a philosophy about life with which I resonate. In my novel Boundless Trust, I draw on this philosophy a great deal. The main characters start trusting this natural flow that life follows and they explore where it takes them. Going with the flow isn’t necessarily easy, leading sometimes to its own set of problems, but I believe eventually order is restored for the greater good.
It was two or three years ago when I began a little musical journey that has almost taken on a life of its own. A friend of mine bought a house across town from me and he created a music studio in his living room. He invited me, along with a number of his friends, to start playing music with him there on Tuesday afternoons. I accepted the invitation with a measure of hesitation, not really wanting to commit to a regular jam. I figured I should let it into my life. It was music, after all. Around the same time, my wife and I joined our church choir. It wasn’t long after that when we made an agreement to start having dinner with another couple every Friday evening, playing music afterward. This goes on for a couple hours on the average. All of these have continued to the present. I had already been playing at an open mic event with friends monthly for years. I play with a few of those folks on the side semi-regularly as well. I have recorded some of my songs with the group across town and another good friend I met at another church.
I didn’t really want to get this busy with music, but something within kept telling me not to impede the flow of music in my life. I sensed that if I just allowed whatever musical activities coming my way to happen, it could lead to something interesting or even wonderful. I recently realized that I now play or sing with seven separate groups or individuals. Each has its own charm and style. They all contribute something to my life and I contribute to theirs.
The group across town has really developed. From chaotic to organized. Even with as many as twelve of us playing simultaneously, we make some good music, downright magical at times. It’s turned into something very special. Also, over a year ago I invited another music friend to come play with this group on Tuesdays. He began attending, along with one of his band mates from their group Kindred Spirits. They area trio and make beautiful, original inspirational music that may fit into the category of folk rock, though I find genre categories inadequate in this and many cases.
Because one member of Kindred Spirits travels a lot, they had a need for a replacement for him when he couldn’t make one of their gigs. I was asked to be that replacement as needed. I am honored to be playing with them now and some of my original material is being incorporated into the sets. Last weekend, we provided the music for Artists of the Southwest. Their art show went two days and we played for four hours each day. The venue was outside and we played facing the Catalina Mountains in clear, cool weather. The sound system was tremendous. The artists and the kind people attending were appreciative. It was perhaps the best time I’ve ever had making music. It would never have happened if I hadn’t said yes to music, over and over, opening myself to what may come. I will continue to do so and the future may hold even better moments.
Go with the flow. Say yes to what is offered you, within the framework of your ethics and integrity. Adventures await.