Trying To Be Free

It's the end of July and I'm sitting in a shack under the stars in Santa Fe, New Mexico, sipping whisky with friends.

This particular whisky is peach flavoured, and not very good. A friend of mine loves peaches. And loves whisky. So this seemed perfect. She, like me, comes from a religious background where drinking is taboo. There's a shiver of rebellion as we pull this bottle of oblivion from the shelves of the Saints & Sinners liquor store.

The whisky is too sweet and too fruity for most of us in the shack, but not for my Christian poet friend. She's fallen in love with peach whisky without first learning how to pour a sensible amount. The sugary, smooth whisky goes down too quickly and none of us notice.

Over the next half hour, we watch her sway from teetering to toppling over as the liquor sets in. I hold up the bottle and it’s nearly half gone.

I get worried.

We wait it out while she lies on the bench, moaning and asking if we love her. Of course we do. Beyond telling her this, we're not sure how to help her. We are half a kilometer from her dorm room, down a steep hill. There's no way we can get her there without a commotion and some bruises.

We stall for time. And then the miracle begins.

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5 Ways to Wander Aim-fully

Over The Rhine's Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist put it this way in their songwriting workshop; "always carry a butterfly net".

"The universe is always trying to give you good things," Linford assured us. My job and your job is to be alert and ready to snatch that goodness from the air as it flutters by.

I was lucky enough to capture several butterflies – and a few whole songs – on my trip to New Mexico. Here are some of the things I did to get ready to meet the muse.

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Angel Acoustic - Now Free for on Patreon

This is not the version you've heard, but the song as it was originally written. A different key. Different instruments. Different vibe.

As a way to say thank you to my current supporters on Patreon – and perhaps entice new people into our Patreon community – I'm releasing this track ONLY to my patrons. And unlike my major releases, even the $1 supporters get this track totally free!

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Song Story - "I Want To Be Known" Is A Song Born In The Cold And Dark

When you hear the horns on I Want To Be Known, you'd never know the darkness it came from. Horns often herald something glorious, but I wasn't writing from a place of triumph or fanfare. I wrote this song from defeat. 

The melody found me in the mountains just outside of Canmore, Alberta. 

My wife and I escaped the city for our anniversary weekend. The air was crisp but warm enough for a winter walk. Snow fell like stars and–best of all–our Air BnB had a hot tub. 

I needed this break. 

I'd just learned that yet another job I'd been hoping for fell through. I was overqualified, which, to me, reads "you're a great fit somewhere, just not here." 

I felt like a misfit. Out of place. Adrift.

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Listen Local: Travis Matthews

I saw this week's Listen Local pick play at a Soft March show. Travis Matthews was our opener. He's funny and captivating. He's got great stage banter. At one point he invited a girl up on stage who'd been dancing her way through every song. She became his improv backup dancer for the rest of the night – even through a slower, sadder song – and Travis was unshaken.

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My Big Stupid List of Goals for 2019

I'm back for another round of that most daunting battle with my inner critic.

Last year I set out some big goals for myself and missed a few I'd most hoped to reach. I'm still short a new album release.

If I let failure stop me I'd never set a goal again, and if I did that, I'm afraid the music would simply fade away. It's all too easy to retreat into the safe and comfortable.

And so it is with full knowledge of my naive optimism that I present to you my big stupid musical goals for 2019.

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How I Won, Lost and Stopped Playing the Game in 2018

Way back in January I wrote a stupid blog post. Stupid in the best way – daring and audacious and naive. I went public with my goals for the year.

Looking back, I hold "the year that was" up to the light next to my list of goals. If I angle the two just right and squint a little, they almost line up. But that's not the full truth. There were failures. There were complete surprises.

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Listen Local: Soft March

Soft March – today's Listen Local pick – have just put out a ton of music. They've been working hard this past month, and I should know because Soft March is my other musical adventure.

I joined Soft March in the spring of 2018. At that point they'd released their debut album, Farewell Party, which I had nothing to do with but had already been getting into. The songwriting is strong and Paul Jensen's vocals add a texture that keeps things interesting.

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Listen Local: 100 Mile House

Today's Listen Local pic holds a special place in my heart. 100 Mile House is the first local band I really dug into.

Long before I knew the depths of our local music scene, I was running sound at The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse during the Kaleido Festival. I'd never heard 100 Mile House before, and I was a sound-tech amatuer. They were gracious, easy to work with and sounded fantastic despite me. I could have listened to them all day, and bought a CD so that I could.

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