Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 in Review

I'm generally not one for taking stock, but as 2018 comes to an end, I thought I would take a look back at what has been a pretty eventful year. Doing so also gives me an opportunity to resurrect this somewhat dormant blog.

The year has been somewhat eventful where Christopher is concerned. He got a job, lost a job, and has begun looking for a job once again. The process itself seemed to take forever and could possibly do so again.

On the music front, we played 27 shows in 2018, not counting our participation in parties or the monthly forum of the Idaho Songwriters Association. Perhaps our biggest and best performance came at the end of June when we took part in an ISA Songwriter Showcase at the Riverside Hotel's Sandbar Lounge. The crowd is probably the largest one we have played for, and it was a blast.

We have one performance scheduled so far for 2019, though I am hopeful of perhaps doing as many as 30. As has been the case the last couple of years, farmers' markets will likely make up the bulk of those shows. Hopefully we will see you out at one of the markets. If so, stop by and say hello.

One of the biggest events for me personally was my decision to take a class in podcasting. That led to my launching Measured Voices, a podcast featuring conversation and music with area songwriters. Now 23 episodes in, I can say I enjoy doing the podcast as much as I do writing and singing my own songs. I am so thankful to everyone who has guested on the podcast and also for all of the positive feedback the podcast has received.

On the subject of music, it was a busy year on the writing front. I shared 92 original songs in 2018 on my songwriting blog, My Wordsmithing. Two of those were repeats of other songs shared in 2018, and two others were revisions of songs shared earlier in the year. In 2019, I hope to top the 300 post mark on the songwriting blog. (I have 33 posts to go.)

In 2018, I did something musically I had never done before - I played my guitar (badly) and performed one of my songs solo at a songwriting workshop. In 2019, I may try to play in front of an audience. I have a candidate or two in mind. Stay tuned.

We rounded out 2018 musically by doing some recording of acoustic guitar and vocals. The goal is to put together a new CD of original music in time for summer. It looks like we may also sign up for a subscription service so that we can sell downloads of individual songs.

This year was an eventful one on the relationship front. Teresa and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. We marked the occasion by opening our home for an anniversary party to both musician and non-musician friends and celebrated with food, drink, and, of course, music. We had such a good time, we are thinking about hosting a Second Annual 25th Anniversary party next year.

2018 saw us doing more music, less camping, and spending a lot more time with friends. Music has allowed up to connect with people and develop some meaningful friendships where we laugh and sing and share music, as well as sharing some good food and good wine and good conversation.

My 2019 wish is for more of the same for me and for you. Happy New Year!


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

#233 - Winding Down, Changes

I noticed it has been nearly three months since my last post on these pages. It isn't that I don't feel I have anything to say; in fact, I might have too much to say.

The problem is, given the current climate in this country, where to start? Also, how do I say what I feel I want to say without offending friends or jeopardizing other ventures I am involved in?

For instance, my wife and I write and perform music around town. Getting too political or taking an unpopular stance could certainly have an adverse effect on those efforts.

In addition, I have just started a music podcast, titled Measured Voices, featuring songwriters from the area in which I live. You can check out the first test episode, in which I talk about my own music, at Anchor or on iTunes. Here's an embedded player if you'd like to check it out:

 

Because of that, I will likely put this blog on hiatus for a while, at least until the climate improves and I feel better able to talk about what I think and feel. However, I will likely start a new blog here on Blogger to promote the podcast, so be looking for that.

Be well, be happy, and be looking for the new podcast blog soon.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

#232 - Another Lap Around The Sun

Well, we've made it. We've reached the end of 2017 and are about to embark on the new 365-day journey we will know as 2018.

For many of us, 2017 has been quite a year. New words and non-words have entered the public consciousness (covfefe, anyone?), familiar faces have left us, while other familiar and not-so-familiar names and faces have been in the news for unexpected reasons.

There is a lot on my mind as I write this and much I could say about 2017 (and probably would with a bit more alcohol), but there are several words that come to mind as I think back over the past 365 days.

Eventful is the first word that comes to mind. 2017 has been an eventful year in many ways. Of course, we swore in a new President who has managed to get his name and face in the news every single day since. We've also had numerous events both at home and abroad that have filled the front pages of newspapers (remember those?) and the screens of newscasts everywhere.

Another word that comes to mind and which relates to my first word is busy. 2017 has been a very busy year, at least for us, and it certainly feels as if it has been busy for a great many other people as well.

We've had friends move, other friends sending off their children to college, relatives having children. In other words, life. Somehow, though, it seems as if life itself is getting busier. That could be due to the increased presence of social media, which allows me to stay in touch more easily with family and friends and to reconnect with long-lost friends (a positive) while also allowing people to spew hate speech and angry words at people they don't know simply because they disagree (a negative).

Life could also be busier simply because there are more of us on this planet and, therefore, more people to interact with, respond to, account for, be influenced by.

For us, 2017 was busier simply because we were doing more. Our son turned 21, so there was additional work trying to help him transition into adulthood. We also did more with music, performing some 30 gigs around town. And we managed to put together a CD of original music and write a number of new songs.

I'm sure 2018 will be its own share of challenges and adventures. For one, there will be the challenge and adventure of growing another year older. (I won't make any claim to getting wiser.) There will be much, no doubt, that will play out on the national and international stage. And, of course, there will be the usual cycle of life occurrences associated with living and dying.

When I was younger, I liked to make ten resolutions, all of which I would break over the course of the new year, usually before January ended. This year, I think I'll stick to one resolution, though it has several parts.

In 2018, I resolve to continue working toward becoming more comfortable in my own skin and to becoming truer to my self and to my convictions, to determining what I truly believe and working to live up to those beliefs.

May the new year bring each of you joy and peace and music. You know what they say - a day without music is like a day without sunshine. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

#231 - My Christmas Wish

It is closing in on midnight as I write these words. Soon it will be Christmas. In many ways, Christmas this year will be much like Christmases past. In other ways, not so much.

2017 has been a momentous year in many ways, but I'll save my thoughts on that for next week as we get ready to leave one year behind and embark on yet another journey around the sun.

Instead, I'll simply say Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate Christmas, and Happy Holidays to those of you who don't. If you happen to be Jewish, I hope your Hanukkah commemoration was truly special and meaningful.

My one Christmas wish for all of you is actually three things rolled into one. May the holiday bring you much love and joy and, most importantly, peace. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

#230 - Another Trip Around The Sun

"You load sixteen tons, what do you get / Another day older and deeper in debt"
- "Sixteen Tons" - Tennessee Ernie Ford

Another year of my life has come and gone. Today is my birthday, and I am embarking on another trip around the sun. Even though I am at a stage in my life when things are supposed to slow down, in some ways I am busier than ever.

Although, my activity on this blog has slowed, this past year has been pretty busy on other fronts. In addition to this blog, I have a second blog in which I share my creative writing efforts. You can check it out here: My Wordsmithing.

In addition to that blog, my wife and I have been pretty busy performing our original music and covering music of other artists we enjoy. We probably did at least a couple dozen gigs of two-hours or more in the past year. It isn't a living, but it is a nice hobby.

As a result, I have not spent as much time on this blog as I meant to. Of course, these gaps have occurred in the past, either because I didn't have anything to say or because I had too much to say and wasn't sure where to start.

This blog was always intended to share my random thoughts and opinions on various things. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, the world itself has become seemingly more random. As a result, my random thoughts and opinions no longer feel so random to me.

Because of that, this blog, while I have no intention of abandoning it, will likely become more infrequent simply because I feel like the My Wordsmithing blog allows me to express myself in the way I do best, musically.

This blog could turn into something more political in nature, or I may experiment with using this blog as a vehicle for podcasting, time permitting.

Before I go, I want to thank my wife Teresa for spending the past 25 birthdays with me. She has definitely made them more enjoyable, more worthwhile, and more worth sticking around for. I hope each of you has or finds someone to help make your birthdays more special.