A Hard Sort of Confession

Why, oh why, can't a person just be satisfied in who they are?  Why can't I be pleased with the person I'm designed to be - with all my faults, my imperfections, the good parts and even the really good parts (I'm only saying that I have really good parts because I sort of feel like, as Christians, we have to say that there are really good parts - that being Jesus; but, honestly, some days that's hard to get a grasp of).   

The Songwriter's Journey: Vox Underway, Song Previews and Album Title!

The piano tracks were finished in the two weeks after the (incredible) band completed the bed tracks. I was all set to begin recording vocals and contracted whatever virus had plagued Trever and the boys. Dealt with fever and stuffed sinuses for a couple days; and sore throat and cough for a week..  Finally, last Friday, it was time to sing! 

The Songwriter's Journey: What's in a Name?

he countdown to the studio has begun!  One week from today, I get to be a part of creating my very own, first ever, EP - yet to be titled.  I'm not sure how to prepare myself, though I'm sure I will be a complete gomer as I interact with the fabulous musicians who will be playing on the album.  Would anyone expect anything less? 

I had a great conversation with my publisher "advisor" last week (not sure what to call him at this point....the one who gave me the nudge to jump in head first on this whole thing.)  had handed over the scratch tracks for him to listen to and I was anxious to hear his feedback.  He gave a "thumbs up" to the bones of the songs and was interested in hearing what my artistic vision for the album was.  I started explaining where I was at (basically what I had written in my previous post)...four corporate worship tunes (that could be Nashville-ey CCM, but we don't really want them to be), four songs based on events in my life (with more of an indie-pop/folk/rock feel) and then a Christmas tune released later in the year.  Then came the advise (paraphrased, of course).  

"Wouldn't it create a sense of confusion to your listeners if you created two different types of styles - no matter what you called the album?  How is it that YOU want these to sound?  Are you trying to record these songs for someone "out there" when you could be focusing on what you want to do with them "in here?"   Don't all of these songs come out of your life?  Why would you wish to create a split personality the first time around?   You're job as the artist is to find the connecting piece between all of these songs.  Dig into them.  Reach into them and bring out who you are and how you interact with them.  Don't be afraid to make them yours.  Even if someday Artist X wants to do one of them - they would do it there way anyway." 

Wow.  That made me stop and think.  After thinking about it, I realized he's is absolutely right.  hat's the piece of all of this that just hasn't felt right.  I've been focused on what these songs "could be" or "should be" rather than what they are for me.  It brought me back to advise I received from songwriter Sally Barris when we sat down for a songwriting session.  She had reminded me that this is my voice, my story, my song.  If I start writing for someone else then it will fall flat and I'll cheat myself of my own potential (or the song's potential).  I think I could extrapolate that out to the recording process.  If I go into it worried about, or even thinking about, what someone else might think, or how they will perceive it, or if it'll be "good enough" then I've already lost before I start. 

This seems pretty simple, or at least obvious, right?  Why do I (or maybe you too?) over complicate things?  Why do I think so hard...that I miss the point? 

The good part is that I'm totally psyched to go into this with that mindset.   t makes sense and feels right.  Its my story and delivery matters, so here I go! I've gotta tell it like I think it should be told.  I know Matt will be a fantastic partner in this process.  He's so creative and bright.  Yay!  Have I mentioned how excited I am?

So, back to what to call this thing.  I want to give it a name before next week 'cause I know that will give me a grounding, a starting point, a bit of purpose, but I also have to give it the space to change if necessary. 

I took the publishers advice and I took a good look at these songs.  I got to "Hold On" which has the line..."Some days I wonder how, such a mix of ups and downs creates such a beautiful life" and something clicked.  That's it!  That line put everything together for me.  Each one of these songs has significance in telling the story of my life.  It has plenty of ups, it has plenty of downs and plenty of ways I deal with it all - the central theme of it all is faith.  It fits.  It works.   It gives me a sense of direction and focus. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't think this album is some ego boost for me - that I think I'm anything special (believe me, there are WAY cooler and awesome hipster types out there than me) - it simply tells my story in the hopes that someone else might take a step closer to the One who has all the answers they need ('cause I certainly don't).  Maybe they will hear something that resonates with them - that draws a picture of how life intersects faith. 

Here's some possibilities:
"My Crazy, Messy, Beautiful Life"
"Crazy, Messy, Beautiful Life"
"(not so) Beautiful Life"
"Life, in Pieces"
And my favorite - "Beautiful Life"
My only fear in this title is that people will assume that I'm calling it this because I think my life is all perfect and beautiful and what not.  Far from the truth.  Do you think you'd get that impression from that title? 

Which is your favorite?  Feedback much appreciated!  Leave a comment here or message me on facebook!

hanks, everyone!

My talented sister, Katie, will be designing the artwork. Here's a little preview!

The Songwriter's Journey: The Evolution Of An Album or Help!

The more things change the less they stay the same...or wait...I don't think that's the way it goes, but in the case of this album that might just be the way things work. 

When this whole thing started last fall, I had to name this project "something."  I couldn't just record some songs and plop them on a CD and try to sell them without calling them "something."  "Out in the Open" was the title I chose as I thought it best described my point in the journey.  I was taking a leap of faith and putting myself "Out in the Open."  The song with said name came after the title. 

But then things evolved and the project has taken on many new dimensions.  With the addition of new songs and the guidance/direction of producer, Matt Patrick I've been in sort of a quandary as how to market this project.  The name "Out in the Open" does not seem to best describe the direction this thing has taken.  Nor does it let me adequately market this album to potential presenters or churches. 

Half of the album (4 songs) are songs I've written for corporate (community) worship.  The other half (4 songs) are songs I've written about my life.  Then there is one Christmas tune which we will release closer to Christmas 2013.  Total of 9 songs.  Not a full-length album (LP), so it still fits into the category of EP. 

The quandary has also made me think more deeply about what type of artist I might be labeled.  I hate labels, but I think they are necessary in this sort of thing since people do need some type of help in understanding what they might be getting themselves into - when they are thinking about attending a concert or buying the CD or booking a house concert, etc.  Will I be labeled a "Christian" artist or an idie "whatever label I'm given" artist that also does Christian tunes...?

Ultimately, I've come to the conclusion that the title "Out in the Open" is out.  It has served its purpose in getting me to this point - especially for the Kickstarter campaign - but the album has outgrown its title. 

So, what now?  That's where I need some HELP!!!

I've thought about producing a dual-CD EP release - one CD would be the worship songs, the other would be the songs about my life - all packaged in one.  This doubles the expense of CD manufacturing and is sort of confusing for the listener.  t also feels schizophrenic in that I'd sort of have two personalities.  One for "church" and one for "the rest of the week."  This is completely opposite of how I live my life, so it feels fake.  Matt and I talked about a concept that might bring the two together, despite have two seperate CDs, but that still hasn't felt right. 

Where I have landed at this point is ith a slightly different concept that works to connect the two parts.  At NewDay, we do this "shake hands and greet one another" thing which can go on and on and on and on.  It makes introverts & shy folks uncomfortable, but each week it continues and as we've let it just, sort of, happen.  We call it "Life Together" which isn't exactly  a new or original term, but I think we do it well.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a book on Christian community with the same title.  Maybe that's where we get the term?  Anyway, I really like thinking of Christian community in that sense - life lived together in service, in worship, in caring, in sharing, in joy and sorrows.  It is the kind of community that helps one another, admonishes one another and encourages growth in faith and deed.  Just what I envision for the kind of community of which I'd like to a be a part. 

"Life and Life Together" -  What do you think? 

I think this will help fix many of the issues with trying to produce an album that blends worship music and indie "whatever label I will get."  I think it best describes what I'm trying to do and what type of music I write.  Music for life and life together.  ne CD with the tracks lumped together based on whether they are "life" or "life together."

I'm coming to my friends for feedback!  Let me know what you think - pros or cons.  Either comment here on the blog or message me on facebook!  hank you!!!

Yesterday Was Easter

Its a good kind of tired.  The sort of tired that lets me sit on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket, while I watch TV, read or take a nap (or write a blog post). All without a spec of guilt.  But its also the kind of tired that makes me cranky with my kids.  Like I just want to be left alone with time and space to decompress.  Its the day after that's always challenging.  Its done, but I feel like I'm still doing, like I'm still engaged though my mind, body and emotions are shot.  

Yesterday was Easter, and a couple of days before that was Good Friday.  For a worship leader its the most intense weekend of the year.  Heck, for a worshiper its the most intense weekend of the year.  How could it not be?  We commemorate the darkest time in history followed by the most joyful, life-giving moment in history. 

For our young, little church, it was the first Good Friday service together at the Y.  Then, we gathered for the first time in the North Gym at the Y for Easter Sunday.  Both required more planning and effort than in the past. 

Good Friday we went through four parts of the Easter story before gathering for Communion:

The magnitude of God's love is unsettling.  It doesn't move us to despair, but to life - it leads us back to God.  That is the mystery of Good Friday.   

My emotions were raw as we entered into the sorrow of Christ's passion.  It was the first time I've been so overwhelmed leading worship that I have been unable to sing or find words to say.  The people gathered took over and sang as I played through blurred vision.  Their voices were beautiful and the harmony rich.  God's love is deep and incomprehensible.  Oh, how He loves us all. 

Easter was so, so fun!  The joy of the resurrection is palatable even these 2,000+ years later.   Experiencing this in community is even better. 

Before Sunday morning, we had staging to put together, the backdrop, the sound system, media projectors & screens, carpet squares, chairs, foam on the walls, cross, welcome table, signs and instruments.  (That's not including all the work others did on the potluck and Easter egg hunt).  Then we took it all back down.  Part of me asks myself if we really need all that, but then I think the preparation, planning and work is all a part of worship.  Preparing the physical space becomes an outward exercise of an inward spiritual practice, as we prepare for worship.  Its a chance to get together and work for something greater than ourselves.  A chance to serve those in our Body by getting the space ready.  I think its part of what makes us who we are, as NewDay.  We depend on each other - the work is done by the people - not only by the staff or by leadership, but everyone can and is involved.  I have to admit, though, that I was a little jealous of churches with their own buildings for about two seconds on Sunday morning. We had set up Saturday night (3 hours worth) and it was really nice to just be able to show up on Sunday morning, plug-in and go.  I still like doing it the way we do every week, though I do realize some folks get weary of the weekly set-up/tear-down.  BUT - We have great folks at NewDay who love to get things done!

You'll notice an electronic drum kit on the platform.  Its our "new to us" Roland V drums!  I had been going back and forth on what to do about drums and asked some other worship leaders for advice.  One of them lead me to this kit which arrived on my doorstep on Good Friday.  Our drummer put it together and we gave it a try on Saturday night.  I think it sounded fantastic and especially for a gym. 

Yesterday was Easter.  I wonder what the disciples did the day after that first Easter morning?  I bet they were tired.  I bet Jesus was tired.  I bet the disciples couldn't get enough of Jesus.  I wonder if they couldn't take their eyes off of him, or maybe they kept touching him just to be sure he was alive.  Life didn't just settle in after Jesus came back to them.  He gave the disciples a new vision - to begin a new work.  That's what we continue to this day though we pause to commemorate what Christ has done for us.  When we remember to not take our eyes off of him and revel and rest in his presence - the day after Easter too.  

FUNDING SUCCESS!!!! Thank you!

Kickstarter Notification Icon

Kickstarter Notification Icon

Saturday was an exciting day.  A really fun type of exciting.  Every time I checked my phone, a tad too obsessively I might add, I waited to see that little notification from Kickstarter which would tell me "You have a new backer!" Oh, what a nice surprise to see that notification so many times on Saturday.  Then on Saturday evening we reached the $10,000 goal and then some!!!  Thank you! 

There's a part of me that felt there was a promise when this all started.  That the funding would happen.  Not because I'm anything special, but because I'm surrounded by such fantastically caring and generous people.  The analogy is a bit unbalanced, since I don't equate my little promise to the promise given to my Biblical namesake, but it kind of felt a little like the promise given to Sarah.   When she heard (or overheard) about her promise she laughed.   I sort of laughed when I felt my little promise and thought, well, who cares if I'm crazy.  Then it came about.  Crazy.  

A couple of years ago, my brother gave Trever and I a flat screen TV for our basement.  He said it didn't work, but for a couple hundred bucks we could get it fixed and it would still be less expensive than the same thing new.  Sure, why not? We loaded it up and drove the hour and a half home.  When we got there we plugged it in, pushed a few buttons and voila!  It worked.  Ever since then we've been waiting for it to die, or not work right or something, but its never failed us yet.  The only problem is the screen display has been too big for the TV screen itself, so words and images have always been cut off the sides. A problem with Dish Network more than the TV and for the past couple of weeks we've been trying to figure out how to adjust it.  Seems like it should be pretty easy, but nothing logical had done the trick. 

Why am I telling you this?  Well, on Saturday I was upstairs checking my phone while the boys were downstairs hanging out.  When I saw we were funded I ran straight downstairs and declared, "We're funded!  We're funded! We reached $10,000" and almost before I could get the words out Trever declared, "I fixed the TV!!!!" 

Really? 

I think my face must have said it all because the excitement quickly left Trever's face.  His expression changed to one of, "Oh crap.  I just screwed up didn't I?" 

I'm not sure what we said, but we fumbled through and eventually ended up congratulating each other on our accomplishments.  This is how Trever and I work - miscommunication and eventually figuring it out.  Not sure why it has to be that way, though I'm not sure we would have it any other way.  Well, maybe. 

Later that night, when the kids were in bed, Trever and I were able to go through and appreciate all the people who pledged and relish what this all means - together - that this dream is moving forward.  That he and I, and our little family, are in this thing for the long haul.  He admitted that he thought we might raise $5,000, but not the full amount.  I think he's just as tickled as I. 

So, from Trever, Gabe, Isaiah and myself - THANK YOU!  You all are the greatest blessings. 

Next comes a little more pre-production and then recording!  We're slated to begin April 1st. 

I've finished the final song for the album (assuming Matt Patrick gives the thumbs up) and I've added a second verse to "Beauty From Ashes."  Matt added an instrumental bridge to that one as well.  We'll use the new version in worship at NewDay on Easter Sunday. 

Its snowy here in Minnesota - stay warm and cozy, everybody, while you suppress you're desire for Spring.

Funding A Dream and the Beautiful Reality of Risk (plus some pics & a video)

Why should people help someone else fund a dream?  Why are things like Kickstarter so popular?  As someone asked me a couple weeks ago, "So, are you done begging for money yet?"  Ouch. 

I recently heard a news story on NPR about a Kickstarter project that was having ridiculous success.  Something like a goal of $30,000, but they had pledges nearing $1,000,000.  What could garner such support?  I was immediately jealous and curious.  These crazy people had developed a 3-D pen.  It is absolutely, insanely fascinating.   A regular joe-schmo can take this pen and draw something in 3-D.  Its done by a thin piece of plastic that instantly hardens.  After hearing about it - I WANT ONE!  I want to build drawings that don't fit on paper.  I want to unleash that kind of creativity in my kids.  No wonder their project was so successful. 

That leaves people like me thinking, "Wow, I should just throw in the towel until I can come up with something that is that, sort of, magical."  But, that type of thinking is all wrong.  Creativity and art is not about "one-upping" the latest greatest creation.  Its about being real, honest and authentic in telling ones story, vision or mission.  About inspiring and sharing with others.  About putting it out there and letting it be what it is.  I can't control what people think of what I'm doing - I can only do what I feel purposed to do.  Its also about being as artistically excellent as one can be.  That's why we practice art.  That's why we practice creating.  Sometimes we get it right, sometimes not. 

I am an independent artist.  There.  I said it.  I've always had a hard time accepting what and who I am.  I entered ministry reluctantly and I'm entering this area of my life reluctantly.  Probably because there is great risk and a lot of change involved.  I also don't want all the negative associations that often accompany both labels. 

But is there anything worth anything that doesn't involve some level of risk?  Risk makes us less self-sufficient, less controlled.  It makes us rely on others in community and it makes us realize, even more, our reliance on the One who provides.  It brings us to prayer and petition.  It makes us wise (sometimes).  It makes us grow. 

I think people are inspired by others who take risk, because we see someone else overcoming the very fear that is holding us back.  What if we all just did that crazy thing that is sitting in the back of our minds?  What if we took that leap of faith and trusted that God would be all-sufficient as we join Him in His work in this world.  What if?  I think its possible, but it takes community.  That's where you all come in.  We are in this crazy thing together.  So, thank you.  

There are just 6 days remaining in the Kickstarter campaign.  62% funded!  I'm confident we'll make it.  Any amount can be pledged.  Rewards begin at $10 with a pre-release digital copy of the album. $25 earns the digital & physical copy.  Rewards also at $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1,000 levels.  Check it out and pledge at:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1767737236/help-fund-out-in-the-open

I'm sharing some pics and video from the "Sweet Journey" concert from last week.  What fun I had. 

Great crowd!

Great crowd!

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"Sweet Journey" in Review

Phew.  I made it through last Saturday's "Sweet Journey."  Hope those that were there enjoyed what they heard!

A great group of people gathered to hear me the music I've been working on.  Difficult for me in that I really haven't shared my music in a setting specifically set aside for that purpose.  I've done plenty of concerts and events, but never a concert of music I've written.  Ca-ra-zy!  Never, ever thought I would be in this place. 

Along with sharing music, I also shared a little about how the album might (or will) come together.  I began the concert with four songs that I've written specifically for worship at NewDay Covenant.  Then I concluded with three songs based on my life as a wife, mother and artist. The Christmas song was thrown in at the end...

The worship songs and the three "non-worship" songs (though, for me, there really is no such thing as a "non-worship" song) are all so very different from each other that Matt and I are having a heckuva time figuring out how to make all these into one album.  We are sort of toying with a two-EPs-in-one sort of album type concept.  One EP will be dedicated to songs for worship and the other EP will be dedicated to the songs that don't fit into that category (and hopefully will fit into some other to-be-determined category).  They would all be on one disk, but we'd use artwork and the liner notes to separate the two.  I would write a fourth "non-worship" song to balance out that side of the EP.  We'll see how the concept progresses  I'm kind of excited about this concept and it seems to make the most sense to me. 

It was great to see people I hadn't seen in a long while - such great support!  Plus, the Kickstarter campaign jumped 13% in funding since Saturday.  Wow!  Thanks to those who became backers over the weekend. 

I'm surprised at how people are catching on to this project.  A couple of people I don't know have pledged on Kickstarter.  I'm really touched that someone who doesn't know me is not only interested in what I'm doing, but supporting it financially.  I'll say it again...ca-ra-zy.  

So, what's next?  Well, apparently I'll be working on another song for the album (see above).  Then next week I'll visit Saint Marys Hospital for another "Music at the Bedside."  So fun.

There is still about $4,300 of the $10,000 goal left to raise in the Kickstarter campaign which comes to a close on March 17th at 3pm (less than 13 days!).  Here's the link if you'd like to become a backer: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1767737236/help-fund-out-in-the-open 

I am blessed, but blessings are meant to be shared not hoarded, so all I can hope and strive for is that I can BE a blessing.  Thanks, everyone!

Last Day or Friendly Advice

Yesterday marked the end of my days as concert coordinator of the Rosemary & Meredith Willson Harmony for Mayo Program & the Music at the Bedside Program.  I shared some thoughts on Facebook at the end of the work day yesterday...

"I feel as if I should have some profound feeling or something inspiring to say. I don't, really. Just this great sense of satisfaction. Satisfaction that I dedicated myself to work that produced a lot of good for many, many people over the years. Satisfaction that it will continue well without me and because of me. Satisfaction that I've made the right decision in resigning."

Transient

Bill Stains was the performer.  You might be familiar with Bill Staines without even knowing so.  Perhaps you sang the song "All God's Critters" as a kid (or as a grown-up kid).  That's Bill's song.  Its been masterfully illustrated into a children's book.  Check it out if you have little ones (or grandkids) - its great!

Bill has been writing songs, recording albums and touring since the 1960's.  He shared a story about a conversation between Pete Seeger and Peter Yarro.  Now, this isn't a conversation Bill read about.   It was more than likely a conversation in which he was involved.  He counts some pretty fascinating people as friends and colleagues.

Bill inquired how things were going with my recording and seemed genuinely interested in this project.  He offered some free advice which I was happy to take.  After 27 albums he might know a thing or two. 

First, he told me to record until I had a take I was happy with.  Then record just one more.  It'll either be worse or better.  If its worse than I'd still have the take I was happy with.  If its better, well then, its better. 

Then came the second piece....

"Know what you want even if you don't know how to get there." 

I had to pause and think about that one...then I realized he had just put into words what I had been doing all along - much to my relief.  Bill confirmed, for me, that I'm on the right track (no pun intended).  I know what I want for these songs and Matt Patrick is filling in the "how do I get there."  Plus, Matt and I share a pretty common overall vision for the album.  It all left me feeling very grateful to have Matt as producer helping to guide the way.  Thanks, Matt! 

So, we'll keep plugging away at getting towards the finished product.  I'll meet with Matt again tomorrow for more pre-production.  Great stuff to do!

Fundraising continues through Kickstarter!  Now that I'm down to just one job (and less income) I'll probably begin to sound more desperate in my fundraising attempts.  Ha! 

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1767737236/help-fund-out-in-the-open

If you are so inclined, please consider becoming a backer.  Every amount is important!

Unknown dreams

About five years ago a new music program aimed at reaching patients in the hospital setting began as a pilot project - the "Music at the Bedside" program.  I was nervous and excited to see what would happen with this program since myself and my counterpart at Mayo Clinic had developed the program and we were seeing the results of more than a couple years of planning and prep. 

It took quite a while, a few years actually, to figure out how to more effectively connect with patients directly on their units.  Things such as medical procedures, times of rest, family/visitor dynamics, location, mobility, mood and unit staff all combined to create challenges that we needed to work through.  Some things we/they are still working through, but for the most part, we have found it to be one of the most important things we could do as we have tried to live out Mayo Clinic's ideal that the needs of the patient comes first. 

Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of participating in the "Music at the Bedside" program as a musician rather than as coordinator.  I've seen other musicians interact with patients and connect with them on a level that is rarely reached in such a short amount of time otherwise.  Music has this ability, especially in times of difficulty, to break down walls that patients place around their spirits & emotions and allows that person to express some deep felt need or feeling and begin to work through them.  That's not a scientific statement of fact - just an observation if seen played out over and over again in the units I've visited. 

I found my experience this past Wednesday to be no different.  Although it was slightly different than any other Bedside as it was the first time on a locked down unit.  Many patients in the unit are court ordered to be there as they deal with depression/anxiety/bipolar/addictions, etc.  Wow, was I nervous, but it turned out to be a simply fantastic evening.  About mid-way through the experience, walls started coming down and patients began interacting with me - talking and sharing.  It was so fun!  I can't wait to go back next month. 

I left the unit thinking that so much has brought me to this place where I'm more thrilled to be performing for a room of 10 people who are on the fringes of society than if I was playing for 5,000 strangers.  This isn't change that has come about on its own - the Spirit truly does amazing things.   I also don't think I would have been able to have such a positive experience with the patients if I hadn't spent years watching others do the same.  So thankful for great musical examples to follow.  

Its as if I have found the "thing" that I've been preparing for without realizing it.   As if I had dream that I didn't know I had and its coming true.  That the music I share might just speak to someone and break down some of those walls - that would be my gauge of a successful performance.  

Kickstarter update:  We are up to 21% funded!  Thanks backers!  If you'd like to help fund the upcoming album "Out in the Open" please visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1767737236/help-fund-out-in-the-open

Home Again

Yesterday found me anxiously awaiting touchdown in Minneapolis after a week in San Diego, CA for the ECC's Midwinter Conference.   It was my first time away from husband and children for more than two days.  Time went quickly, but I'm glad to be home. 

The main goal, for me, at the conference was to participate in the Mission & Ministry class as part of the ECC's Covenant Orientation.  It was my second of four classes.  It went well and as the instructors said on a few occasions...the Covenant is "caught, not taught."  I "caught" on well this past week. 

A memorable highlight was meeting and hearing from the widow of Paul Carlson, Lois Carlson.  Dr. Carlson was martyred in 1965 in the Congo.  You can google him to find out more.  The killings were national news at the time with Dr. Carlson appearing on Time/Life magazines.  Her story is powerful.

Thursday night brought the annual open mic night.  Songwriters and musicians share songs, poems, or whatever.  There are some fantastically talented musicians in our denomination and it is certainly intimidating to present a creative work to that group.  I swallowed a big lump in my throat and offered, "Speak Redemption." 

I have to continually process and work through what it means to be an artist/musician/songwriter amidst such talent and excellence.  Immediately before and after offering up a song I think, "Why am I doing this?  Why is what I have to say any different or special compared to the wonderful music offered by others?"  But that's not the point.  These type of thoughts selfishly look inwardly as if the point of all this is to somehow make myself feel good about myself.  It also assumes that I have some type of control or that I have some type of power to influence when, in fact, once I put something "out there" I have absolutely no control over how the song speaks to anyone or if it even matters to anyone else. 

I think the key is connection.  Connection Upward, inward and outward.  Am I seeking to simply impress or am I seeking to connect with people where they are at?  Perhaps there has to be a touch of the prior in order to break the ice for the later to happen.  Either way its always a balancing act and I'm thankful for the struggle. 

I launched the Kickstarter campaign while I was in San Diego.  I'm thankful that its underway!  If you haven't done so, please visit the page and consider becoming a backer for this adventure! 

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1767737236/help-fund-out-in-the-open

I continue to write and re-work songs for the album.  Stay tuned!