Album release & a Reflection Part 1

I decided that since I have not released a blog post on this blog in a life time (so to speak) today is cause for some celebration! The best full album I’ve heard in 2017, Never Go Unknown, is out today digitally as per this announcement on Adam Wendler’s Facebook page (full album credits and the beautiful album cover art is also there) I say that as my own personal opinion, realizing I’ve got the bias of having the singer-songwriter as a younger brother (but biases aside, Juno-award winning producer Siegfried Meier did decide to tackle this album with Adam.) I know that there have been many times where I have heard a song long before it is polished and unleashed to the masses.

Such was the case back in January when I had my second or third (both 2nd and 3rd happened within days of each other) bout in the hospital with infections including pneumonia. I felt absolutely horrible at the time! I did not have much of a desire for anything. And while the hospital seemed the best option that day, my lack of desire for anything included the desire to make the call about actually going to the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to get out of this position of suffering where I found myself. But to be the one to make the decision about actually going to hospital seemed silly to me when there was a plan in place to go at a specific time that I felt I agreed to, after a plan for an earlier time was not advised due to the busy nature of hospital emergency at the time. I think it was a situation where (a) there was a feeling that there was no real reason for anything, no sense of hope or a personal purpose of existence, and (b) when health is down, patience can decrease (patients aren’t necessarily patient ;)).

After over a year of being on different antibiotics, both oral and IV and some multiple times, it got to a point where from a medical perspective some were suggesting the possibility of amputating my lower left leg. In my mind, that would involve rehabilitation which would result in me having to figure out how to do things all over again while also being responsible for telling everyone helping me what to do (and keep in mind this guy who’s thoughts you’re reading is an introvert.) So you know for a guy who had done many seemingly insignificant things, maybe euthanasia would be a better idea? That was logical in my mind. But life’s not all about logic. I’m sure some readers would agree it would be best if the mind would just quiet down at times!

But anyway, it was that evening, sitting in the emergency room with my mother (and being in contact with my brother (via technology, which is significant because he’s not the most keen to sit there and text or chat when he could be playing his guitar instead. But who can blame him, listen to the album (links toward end of the post) to find x in the following equation: talent + drive & determination + the right connections = x ) For whatever reason, “Until You Came Around” was going through my head in the way that songs do, one part of it on repeat. The lines “It takes an honest man to go, but a better man to stay” were just jumping out at me. So powerful, yet so simple. Sometimes it just feels like there’s no hope, the blinders are on and darkness is what is visible. Love can be present but not observed or felt in that place. It depends how deep you are there and what your beliefs and convictions are just how much you can go in the spiral. But if you can tough it out, who knows what good will come when you see the love and support that was always there. I recently read a couple of good blog posts written by someone I know from my days attending summer camps that are related to allowing love from others and loving people well which I found particularly insightful. So feel free to check them out here and here.

The following quote I’ve heard many times (being a Michael Jackson fan), but it finally seems to have more meaning to me, given the above story:

“I am an instrument of nature. Love is my message.” – Michael Jackson

I feel as though “nature’s” voice was coming through to me in the song.

Amazing album that has the potential to reach so many people, and give so many more the opportunity to simply get their groove on.

You can listen to the album at these links for now (other online platforms to come):

More posts to come!

Meaning & Music

I’ll never be a huge rap or hip hop fan. It all just depends on the individual song, the sound and perhaps if it has a message behind it.  However, I tend to find I have respect for a variety of people who have shown they’ve been through things in life and come out of it on their own two feet (or four wheels, whatever the case might be) managing fine or even excelling in the world doing good. Over the last while I’ve been kind of curious who Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were. I’d heard covers of Can’t Hold Us on youtube, seen the names in the comments or titles of the videos. But I never really knew them by any means.

I’d heard the song Same Love, but never paid any more attention to it than other mainstream songs. Lately I don’t really know overly much about what is “hip” or what’s flopped. I occasionally check out the radio and I’m on the internet a reasonable amount to enable me to come across the latest Miley Cyrus or Eminem track on YouTube. That’s not to say they’re the only artists, just a couple that are around in today’s music scene. The names came to me at random.

I tend to take more interest these days in the concept of independent artists, those on the one end of the spectrum who are trying to get their name out there and be known. When I compare this to the other end of the spectrum, where you can’t go anywhere without hearing the artist’s name mentioned on some level at some point, it intrigues me. I would probably want to be in between the two extremes if I had a choice. But alas, through following your dreams and/or passions, you can achieve that middle ground or the extreme level of fame—but at the expense of hours of hard work and effort. The best things can be the hardest things to achieve.

It was interesting to hear that Macklemore got to where he has in an independent fashion, rather than through a record label, when giving his acceptance speech at the 2014 Grammy awards. I had never thought of that kind of thing happening, though I like to think I’m rather open minded and that I believe anything is possible. It’s just that you don’t know for sure what is possible until it’s been done. Often once it’s done, it becomes done again, and again, and again. I suppose independent artists have had success before with the advent of YouTube in recent years, any artist can throw a song/video online and watch the views grow.  This is one of Macklemore’s videos, Same Love, which I happen to think has a good message to it and with the piano and parts sung by Mary Lambert also has a pleasing sound to my ears:

I came across a video of him speaking about this song in the video below:

It got me thinking about what I’d like to do in life. I’d like to be able to inspire others, help them grow in their own lives and create better relationships with others. I’d enjoy having people be able to come and tell me that something I said or did had some sort of positive effect on their lives. Whether I affect a person directly, or affect people around a person to effect positive change doesn’t matter. There are cases where there is injustice, and there are cases where people are unjust to the mortal coil which they have been given.

Another influence on where I want to go in life happens to be the Fermented Oranges. I enjoy listening to try and figure out meaning in the lyrics, or just for the general sound. But with a lot of music when I listen, I try to understand what the artist is singing about or what their lyrics are trying to suggest. Their sound is a sound I can listen to for hours and hours easily, whereas I’m less likely to sit and listen that long to hip hop or rap music.  If I’m sitting and listening to music for awhile I start to pay attention to the lyrics, as I said.  The following is an example, it seems to suggests the fragility and impermanence of things, perhaps relationships or otherwise. It might also be suggesting that we should spend more time loving each other for who we are in the moment, because when the moment is gone we won’t have it anymore. If we’re not careful, we can lose anything and everything that matters to us. You can give the song, Harm’s Way, a listen below:

Varied, though the music these two bands/artists represent are, they’re just two that I’ve come across whom have had an influence on me. There are lots of things I could focus on in life. I could amass dozens of PhD’s and become the world’s most educated person, along with the world’s most educated person with a physical disability. I could sit around grumbling about why everything is horrible. I’ve progressed in both of these potential goals within my nearly 3 decades here. But I’m not sure that either is ideal. Nothing is perfect, but nothing lasts forever either. Regardless of degrees, it’s easy to keep learning every day through communicating with others and through reading or watching television and movies or videos. It doesn’t have to be a race to be bigger and better. But doing so is probably more productive than the grumbling option. But in the end, might as well make the most of what is, supporting each other as one and learning as we go.