I live in Bismarck, North Dakota, and I was born and raised in Connecticut. Largely influenced by the folk music that was so strong on the East Coast in the 1960s & 1970s--Melanie, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins--I try to add a touch of humor to my folk tunes so I don't thoroughly depress you. And I try to write instrumentals that reflect the world of nature all around us. At this point, I've mostly pulled my contemporary (political/satirical) folk songs from the internet. I'm enjoying going back to my roots of writing gentle instrumentals.
I had the opportunity to tour and meet new people every night; I did that for a while, and I enjoyed it. But one night I participated in an open mic "contest" in a popular Chicago coffeehouse. It was a 4 or 5 hour event! I developed friendships with musicians and bonded with a couple folks in particular. We talked about everything under the sun, laughed hard, and even shed a few tears (artists are like that). After I "won" the competition and we prepared to go our many separate ways, we hugged and vowed to keep in touch. I knew that would be hard since many of us lived in vans or traveled around--and this was before cell phones.
Two months later, I ran into one of them on the subway. She had absolutely no recollection of meeting me or the others...or of hanging out for hours on end--or of anything we'd talked about. She said, "I'm sorry; I meet so many people all the time that I forget almost right away."
A few months after that, I had the honor of sharing the stage with some well known (and downright famous) people at a concert in Chicago. I looked forward to talking to all these amazing people backstage; fine food and drink was catered, security was keeping us safe, and we had the royal treatment. When we all arrived and gathered in the backstage lounge, the biggest stars literally stood in a small circle, drinking their wine. The smaller acts stood on the outside of the circle, trying to be cool. And everyone tried to out-perform each other and mention as many influential friends and contacts as possible. But I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a woman sitting by herself reading a book. I knew exactly who she was (I'm not going to name names). Later I gathered the courage to speak to her. She said she enjoyed my part of the show, and I told her I enjoyed hers. I asked her what made her choose to stay on the fringe and read her book while the others strutted like peacocks trying to outshine everyone. She said that she knows she could be more "famous" if she played that game, but she doesn't want anything to do with that. She smiled and wished me luck.
It was at that point that I finally realized that I want to live in community with others. I enjoy traveling to gigs and meeting new people, of course; but I want to live in community. I don't want to forget your face in a couple months after we've become friends.
So I gig when I can, teach for a living, and make music all the time--whether it's in the shower, in the recording studio, or in the car. Drop me a line sometime.
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