Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haiti Relief: CD Baby Will Donate $1 from CD Sales

For three years now, it's been my pleasure to handle online sales of CDs and song downloads through CD Baby. They are great folks who have worked to help independent musicians.

Now they're also working to help with relief efforts in Haiti. For the next two weeks, CD Baby will donate $1 from every CD sale through their web site to the American Red Cross and to Mercy Corps, a Portland-based (CD Baby is also based in Portland) relief agency. They will also donate $1 from every download sale over $8.99. (Read about it at cdbaby.com.)

Of course, I'd love it if you purchase or download my recordings, but you might also discover some other great music, like Patchwork or Chris Wolf. This would also be a great time to get your copy of Give a Girl a Chance.

You certainly don't have to shop to help. Please consider making a donation to relief efforts in Haiti through the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, or join me in supporting relief efforts through Week of Compassion, the relief agency of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), my tribe of Christians.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Back to the Living Room

Last week was busy with a lot of time spent away from home. Two days were spent with my ministry colleagues and the officers for our region at a retreat center near Beanblossom, Indiana. We had a lot to talk about, and they were important conversations.
A board meeting for our region two months earlier had not gone as expected, and more than a few would say it had not gone well. The result left all of us confused, and nobody knew what to say or to whom to say it.
We could have attempted those conversations in a conference room, but we chose a living room setting instead. It may just be me, but I don't think we could have had a conversation as deep or as successful in the conference room. Something about the relaxed nature of the living room made those conversations possible.
The same relaxed atmosphere makes music a different experience in the living room than it is in the studio or on stage. In the studio, musicians, engineers and producers try to capture an experience that's as close to perfect execution as possible. Performers get to attack the same piece or portion over again until it comes out just the way they want it captured. The communication of the music is remote.  The recorded project will be stored and distributed for folks that have no connection to or knowledge of the studio, months or years removed from the notes played and sung.
On stage, sharing the musical experience is direct and real-time but one-way.  Everybody sharing the experience is there, but the experience primarily flows from performers to audience. The experience is generally well-staged and well-rehearsed on the part of the performers.
In the living room, though, the atmosphere is casual and the experience is spontaneous. Everyone in the room, whether they sing, play, listen, clap hands or tap toes, is directly involved in the experience. Words are forgotten; chords are missed to be sure. At the same time, magical moments happen, exhilarating passages and phrases experienced and left behind to be fondly recalled some later time, but never recreated.
The living room creates the environment for those magical moments and those precious memories. The stage, the studio and the conference room have their place and serve their function well. To truly help people connect, though, in music or in conversation, it's hard to beat the living room.
Update on the Fire at Sound Investment
My last post mentioned the fire that destroyed Sound Investment Recording earlier this month. There is now a web site up that shares more information about Steve Creech, the Sound Investment studio, and the fire that devastated both. Please visit the website for Sound Investment to learn about the studio and the fire. Also on the site you will find a link to donate to a fund set up to help Steve begin to recover.
This Old House and Give Us a Song are both products of Steve's talent, hard work, and desire to push artists to do the best work they can. That describes my relationship with Steve. Many of you who read this blog have enjoyed those recordings. If you would like to help me help Steve, purchase one or both of these recordings either through my web site or CD Baby. I will be donating the proceeds from those sales.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Tragic Loss

Last night a fire on the eastside of Indianapolis destroyed three businesses. I am sad to report that one of those business was Sound Investment Recordings, the studio owned by Steve Creech where I recorded both This Old House and Give Us a Song.

Steve and I had been planning to remix and remaster some of the songs from my first CD, Going Over Home.  The original recordings were already at the studio, so they are lost.  However, those are just tapes.  I lost some masters.  Steve lost his livelihood.

Please keep my friend Steve in your prayers.  I can't begin to imagine what this is like for him.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

A Blessed Way to Start the Year

Happy New Year!

Yesterday, we brought in 2010 in the best way I could imagine. My friend Doc Possom--the same fellow who said of me, "Although he's a Reverend, he's not very churchy"--and his lovely wife opened their home for a benefit brunch. NESCO (Near East Side Community Organization) was raising money and supplies for the Duvall Center, a work-release center in the neighborhood.

From where I stood, it looked like the benefit was a success.  Lots of folks participated, bringing cash, stamps and supplies for the men at Duvall. We met a man who introduced himself as a graduate of Duvall. The company was upbeat, and the food was delicious.

But the best part for me was the living room. You hear Emmylou Harris talk about the living room on the second edition of Will the Circle Be Unbroken. The best musical moments happen in the living room, and the same was true for me yesterday.

My friends Holly and Rick of Patchwork were there, and the musical fun we have steps up to a whole new level in a living room. The Duvall graduate had a beautiful tenor voice, and he, Rick and I knew a lot of the same selections from the hymn book. The group's rendition of Amazing Grace was memorable, as were Holly's impromptu fiddle lessons.

Then Eli Beth and daughter Sarah arrived. When Eli and I play together, something wonderful always happens. Sarah's singing of the Judds' song, Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days), got me choked up to where I couldn't get the harmony out on one chorus.

Talk about your good days. I got to play with so many of my favorite people to bring in a new year, in a warm and welcoming home with friends old and new gathered around. For me, that's the fundamental of music. It's about community and shared experience. Music helps us realize that, in spite of it all, there's still a lot of good in the world, and a lot of that good lies in the connections we share. Music lifts that up.

Yes, it was a blessed way for me to start 2010, and I wish for you a new year filled with blessings of peace, joy and wonderful surprise.  With appreciation for your support, I remain

Sincerely yours,

February 6 and 7
Monticello Christian Church
1002 S. Airport Rd.
Monticello, Ind.
On Saturday evening, the church is hosting a coffee house in the fellowship hall. I'll play from 7:00 until 8:00.  Then on Sunday, I get to sing during each of the three worship services at the church, 8:00, 9:00 and 10:30. Google Maps puts the church on Airport Road. The church web site shows a Gordon Street address.  The church is on the corner.