The Beat Goes On (and this crazy journey called Life)

Today, I release my second album. It’s not only an event in the career of one singer/songwriter, it’s an important life event for me. This album is very different in a lot of ways to the first album.

What’s different? Well, this album has a more world-fusion and classical vibe rather than a mostly folky one (although, the folk still makes an appearance).  Also, there are some instrumental pieces (you are listening to one now) and even a drum chant! The djembe (that’s the drum) is new, too. My first album was a mix of secular and Christian. This album is…

...a collection of bits of my soul. It’s the fragments, the pieces – each song is a piece of what makes up me right now. It is very personal. At the same time, I think it will speak to many – especially my fellow one in four who suffer with depression and/or mental illness. But, really, this is an album for the everyman/woman, all of us who have known loss and understand pain and struggle on this journey we’re on. It’s for both the dreamers and the fed up. It has a distinctive meditative quality to it.  There are also a couple of love songs in there for the romantics among us, but there is nothing soppy here.  This is raw and revealing, it is both the highest hopes and the deepest despair of my heart. This is:

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Never Let Them See You Sweat?

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I tend to show, or wear, my vulnerability. Perhaps a bit too much. I don’t know if it makes me “real” or “honest” or if it just makes me weak and whiny. It’s probably some of the former but too much of the latter. But, I honestly don’t know. I do know it’s just me; it’s just really honest, weak and whiny me.

I have been working on an album. I think maybe three people, besides me, are excited about it. The thing is, if that’s all there is, has it been worth all the effort I have put into it? The blood, sweat and tears. The sacrifice of time with family, the hard graft to produce the thing myself (not only to write, sing and play the songs). I appreciate – very, very much – the three (or, perhaps five) people who might be really happy with getting my album. But, are those faithful few (precious though they are to me) enough to spend the money (that could go to food and clothes for the kids… and, don’t forget books – books are good) to get the album distributed?  I haven’t made up my mind. I tell you the truth, I’m very conflicted. I might just upload it and offer it as a free download to those faithful few.  Because…yeah, I’m sweating it. What if I upload my hours and hours of hard work and sacrifice – if I offer my pearls – and it simply gets trampled on?

Perhaps I wait. I was planning a release next month (November 2012). But, maybe not. The songs will wait. They are recorded, they are backed up… they aren’t going anywhere. And, although I was, in a sense, running out of time (because I’m not getting any younger and I won’t have my voice forever) I have these files, safely locked away. For myself, if no one else. Maybe next year?  Maybe never? Maybe to a select few? Maybe to the world and just see what happens?

I have learned a lot through the process of writing and producing this album. One, I have learned I do not want to be a producer. What a pain! Hats off to those of you who do production for a living. Two, I have learned that patience is key. And, if you have to re-record it a hundred+ times to get it right, then it is worth it when you do, finally, get it. Three, I have learned that I like my music for what it is and have come to terms with limitations as well as celebrating strengths. Four, I have become a better songwriter and am a better judge of what works and what doesn’t. Five, I may be confused over what to do with this album, but I am not in any doubt over its worth: I am proud of my accomplishment.

Music quietly fades out.