I have been a working musician since I was sixteen. By some gift of birth, a lot of help from a lot of people, and a goodly amount of grace, I am still earning my living doing what I love - playing, writing, arranging, performing, recording, producing and teaching music. I have had the good fortune over my career to have worked with many talented artists in the role of side man, studio musician and musical director. But these last few years I have been drawn back to my first love - writing songs and performing live.
It has been said that when we co-create with the muse we have an obligation to send the results of that co-creation into the world. What the universe does with it is hers to decide.
Still, it is my hope, and my prayer, that the work may find a wide variety of places to rest, and in doing so enliven the spirit, question the status quo, nurture romance, and encourage dancing.
Because in a world often jagged and sharp, ready to lump creatures into categories and over look what is precious for what is shiny and new, we need to question what is, and re-imagine what might yet be.
And strange as it may seem, romance and dancing can help us do that.
I have gathered some of my songs into three collections. The first, a soul, rock and blues compilation, was released in 2014, with a second collection of country, roots, and folk tunes ready for release early this year. (It took way longer in the final stages than I imagined it would.) The third collection consists of instrumental and light lyrical jazz. It is still in the recording studio and mixing process.
You can hear the complete Collection One here. I have uploaded some samples from the next two.
Have a listen.
Although I venture out as a lyricist on my own from time to time, it is usually my wife Candice who creates the stories that accompany the music.
What I find interesting about Candice's writing is that there are so many layers to her thought. A producer, director, writer and theologian by training, a scholar by education, and the truest of artists by natural disposition, a lyric may have its birth in an Emily Dickinson poem, an 11th century mystic's daydream, the shadow that passes over a stranger's face, or the flicker that causes her own heart to falter. And too, she has the uncanny ability to channel my own thoughts in such a way that the music and the lyrics meld together in an alchemy at once surprising and as familiar as my own skin.
Though many of the songs are just straight forward love songs, I also like the idea that a song can be a portal to an enlarged worldview, a lens through which new horizons might beckon us to explore both common culture and ancient history, political and economical viewpoints that perplex us, and the myriad of art forms which, along with their creators, offer us opportunities for both sober reflection and joyous celebration.
This may seem to suggest that we are encouraging the expanding of the mind.
But in truth, it is the enlarging of our hearts that is the core of the matter.
Well, and of course singing and dancing - the new warriors' weapons of choice.
(If you see CJ after anything, that is Candice chatting - the J is her middle initial.)