Man do I love my imagination:) Close my eyes and I get to travel anywhere I want, conjure up whoever I want, create any world I’d like to experience at a moments notice. How cool is that??
I feel really blessed to have such a tool available. My 8 year old daughter often asks me why I’m smiling for no reason; there is a reason though:)
Lately I’ve been trying to bring more of the power of love into my music and my life in general. I see this as a way to be stay spiritually connected; a way to feel good about who I am and what I’m really doing here.
Trying to “come from unconditional love” in my everyday dealings whenever I can seems like the right place to be at this point in my life:) How do I do this best? I suppose through some mix of tolerance and awareness.
It’s also not a namby-pamby thing for me- it’s more a focused dynamic knowing and presence that doesn’t get shaken so easily by the normal ups and downs of interacting with others etc.
Just letting you know my new album A Morning Full of Mood is now available. It contains 13 solo piano pieces, most of which were conceived and recorded all in the same one morning! Apparently I was full of unusual energy and inspiration; lucky for me! I’ve never really done things this way before. I hope you enjoy the fresh feel to the songs..
Here is a free complimentary track download called April Rain. You can listen to samples of the rest of the tracks etc. by clicking here if you’d like. It’s also available on CD Baby and should be on Itunes and Amazon now, or very soon..
Thanks again to each of you who have listened over the years. I’m very fortunate to be able to continue doing this:)
I have a new solo piano album I’m planning on releasing in July. Will keep you posted and have a sample or two here soon..
For those who like music and video together; check out this cool olive oil web ad from Spain with my song “Rise” in it here.
I can’t decide if I like writing really poignant ballads, or sparkling upbeat pieces best; I’m just glad no one’s making me choose only one forever!
Writing new music is a big way of keeping in touch with the flow for me. It’s how I stay open to that warm river inside that keeps my life fresh and interesting.
Sometimes life’s joys are very simple. I’ve always loved listening to various birds singing their little hearts out every Spring. I hear it as music! My birthday’s in April; I suppose I originally showed up for the Spring party:)
Lately I’ve been finishing up a piece for an upcoming local modern dance concert. It’s enjoyable to work with movement/dancers etc., and to see what I come up with creatively to make it all flow together.
It’s been raining a lot in Northern CA lately, but today it cleared up finally! I have to say I’m mostly a sun fan..Here’s some fresh pics from the deck.
Hi and thanks for checking this post out. We are experimenting with including/sharing some of the inspirations for my songs for you on the site under the Stories link.
I wondered if you found any of the stories behind the songs interesting, entertaining, or valuable? Should we keep them?
The great thing about the piano is that there is always more to learning how to use it to express yourself. It’s got a great range of notes from low to high, and also wonderful dynamics of loud and soft to work with.
It’s also fun to play an instrument that has been around for centuries as one of the more popular, easily identifiable,Â and beloved musical “sounds.”
Very few people would say that they really don’t like the sound of a piano. That’s fortunate for me I suppose, as I appeared to have made a wise choice as a kid!
More Music Coming
On that note we are working on getting the sheet music out to more of my songs before too much longer, in case you have written in asking about that.
I guess this evening I will work on writing more song ideas to include in the audition group for my next album. Song ideas have to pass the audition I’ve set up for them before they can have a place on an album, and many do have to go bye-bye I’m afraid!
So I wonder what’s next for me on the music creation agenda? What am I feeling strongly about? What am I concerned with? What melody is waiting to be born soon? Which keys will I press down to try and express myself?
What will come out of my inner musical flow this time that always takes me somewhere a bit different? Will it be previously explored territory, or the unknown? Who knows?
Whatever it is, I want it to be something that touches you somehow in a way that brings a deeper meaning to your life; I want it to be something you remember long after you first heard it..that would be my wish, as I get ready to sit down again.
Even though I don’t go on many heavy duty hikes, or mountain climb, or even camp much these daysÂ I still consider myself a Nature Guy for the most part.
Maybe because I got a ton of it (nature) as a kid, it has simply stuck with me on the inside, so to speak, and I am able to carry it with me regardless.
Simply put, I do like to have living things all around me, beautiful scenery, and an abundance of fresh air to breathe. That way when it comes time to burrow away in the recording studio for hours and hours on end, at least when I come up for air it’s in a relaxing setting!
I love the Spring. Apparently so does my 5 year old pal Leila- who drew this for me the other day.
I was born in April, and have always felt a burst of creativity each Spring.
I’m hoping to focus that on finishing the present CD I’m working on.
Happy Spring to all of you reading this!
I’m happy to say the new music I mentioned I’ve been working on is coming along very well!
I’m really focusing this new album on strong melodies; that seems to be one of the things my fans have really connected with over the course of my career.
I’m very grateful that the music still comes forth to me when I need it to!
Will keep you posted when it’s becomes available sometime late May or early June.
There is a difference in listening to a CD and a live concert. I suppose it’s because you can actually feel the energy/vibrations in the air coming from the artist;Â maybe it’s like some kind of human broadcasting tower or something?
The goal of course when creating a CD is to capture that same personalized “artist” energy within the recording, and allow it to be experienced by the listener in a satisfying way through headphones or speakers etc.
Is there a difference for you personally? Which do you prefer? Blog or email me if you’d like at email@example.com
I’ve been thinking a lot about melody of late.
My greatest question is: What exactly is it?
Why, and how does a certain melody draw us into the music so easily and not let us go?
What gives it it’s magic?
What is the secret to a great melody?
Why is a great melody so memorable?
My own completely honest answer is: I’m not really sure, although I’ll keep trying to have this “presence” come through my songs somehow..
I have a friend who suggests there is a best way to complete any worthwhileÂ creative project: Keep on polishing “until it sings.”
When does it “sing?” You’ll know, because you can feel the difference!
Sometimes this can be quite frustrating when you want to be done, or think you are done, though you’re really not yet, because of your new commitment to yourself.
I’ve been going through this alot lately with my new unreleased music, but I know the end result will be better for you, and whoever else ends up bringing it into their lives.
So doing something with love and care until it sings is my new motto, however the road twists and turns..
Here is a bit of video of me taking a short break from working…nice weather..
Thanks to the folks who were at the Fresno concert last weekend; it was great to see you again! I’ll probably post some songs from the show soon..
Most of the time when I perform I leave a space in the show for an unprepared several minutes of music that I attempt to totally make up on the spot; thought you might enjoy this footage from awhile back, that turned out not too bad..
Here’s another bit of footage from Spain…This is a live version of the very first song of mine I ever recorded: “Blue Racer” from the Tender Ritual album. I loved playing for the Spanish fans; definitely some of the best out there!
This is the cover to my new album that will be released very soon. I pulled a collection of tracks that fit very nicely together, and rolled them into one for this project. Will keep you posted on the actual availability date!
I’ve recently decided to make the most out of this life in every way. Somewhere close behind the scenes Unconditional Love seems to be the theme of all themes; that especially goes for the snake-like bug in my house I decided not to squash the other day.
Here again with my little girl Leila; babysitting as usual:)
This keeps coming back to me over and over: Quality relationships with other people are what it’s all about..it’s what allows my world to turn, and my dreams to keep growing. It just takes guys a bit longer to get it!
I just realized I’m turning into a very big magnet for my heart’s major desire to show up; everything’s changing on the outside now because I completely changed everything first on the inside..very exciting stuff! I just wish my desk wasn’t still such a constant visual catastrophe. Guess I’ll have to work on that later..
Early last evening I noticed a fox right there on my deck staring at me for several minutes. We apparently were fascinated with each other..I really wanted to play him a tune, but he went off on other business.
It’s been an interesting weekend of re-writing/recording music I thought was definitely already done! (I guess it’s a good habit to be so picky and extra conscious of what you’re sharing with others.)
It reminds me of when you’re celebrating because you finally took care of all of the dirty dishes etc., and then you walk into another room as your heart sinks because you’ve found that stray one staring at you/waiting to be dealt with!
Just re-recorded my song “David” as a solo piano piece. It really turned out great..I’m so glad I went for it! Sometimes extra effort brings the magic in…I’ll be putting it on an upcoming CD this summer.
Staying in touch with all of the important people in my life, including fans, has never been easier with the technology in place these days!
I can send also music around the world with the click of a mouse that I just created moments before! Wow…
With all of the problems out there it’s still a fascinating time to be living..
I’ve learned I need to travel from time to time to keep my perspective on life fresh and alive. This is an important part of the creative process for me..I’m surely not alone on this one I would bet:)
Playing live vs playing in the recording studio; both great for their own reasons!
I see it as connecting with people face to face compared to sending them great photos/video of what you’ve been up to etc.
Just a different way of communicating what you’re about at that moment.
I wanted to mention that I’ve always had many different moods flow through me that I draw from to create my songs. I know I could stick more with one general theme, but I realize because of who I am there is more I’d like to express with this music..
So hopefully you’ll want to explore the myriad emotions that the pieces bring up also:)
Thanks again for listening!
In the middle of coming up with a title I like for my new CD I’ll be releasing later this summer; it’s sometimes not as easy as I would like:)
It also takes much more time with certain albums than others, but once it’s out there it’s too late to change your mind. So.. I’ll just keep trying out things until it all falls into place! ..best to you..
I went through a considerable period of time not playing live much..but of late have been wanting to get back out there again with people for reconnection.
Even though I’m a loner by nature, too much introversion isn’t all that great!
Because of my current schedule and desire to regularly share some of my music, I’m working on being comfortable with composing a piece, and then posting it on the internet within the same day.
It definitely takes some guts though, because sometimes I don’t know if I really like it until several days have passed..hmmm..we’ll see how it goes!
I’m really fortunate to have some kind of musical “well” or “fountain” inside me that I can go to for my inspirations to come forth.
As far as I can tell there is still much more music wanting to come out and be heard…so again I’m grateful for the opportunity to keep it all going! Thanks much for your listening:)
In case you play piano also: Due to more and more requests I’m planning on having most of my pieces available as sheet music for download before too much longer.
It’s quite a project to get it all together, but will let you know when it’s all up and running:)
Recently I’ve chosen to focus mostly on composing and recording solo piano as opposed to adding in other instruments etc. There’s a certain purity of expression that I like with this way of doing things.
I do love other sounds and voices, to be sure, although I have gotten a lot of feedback on how much people still like my solo work best.
Feel free to let me know if you have any opinion on the subject:)
I have always been intrigued by certain evocative pieces of instrumental music…(Chopin Preludes come to mind)
Sometimes the feelings being conveyed are almost too difficult to speak about, or too complex. Sometimes they’re just very complete in and of themselves, and don’t need words.
In either case people anywhere in the world can understand whatâ€™s being said..usually immediately.
I think there is a definite place for humor in music. When I stop to think about it, quite a few of my songs have a bit of that thrown in .
Not so much the evoking of big-time laughter for sure, but hopefully a welcome easiness and a smile..maybe on a gray day when it’s really needed.
I do very much miss meeting you folks in person when I don’t perform for awhile.
My plan is to get out and about again more before much longer..will keep you posted.
(I’ve been hanging out a lot around the homestead with my only child for the last several years!)
It’s always an exciting and curious thing to release a new CD out into the world!
You never really know what to expect, and it feels good to keep it all flowing outwards..they always find a special place in someone’s heart, maybe even yours:)
In a few weeks I’ll be sending another another sailing ship out into the world’s music sea..
I’ve been told one of the reasons “Gone” is my most popular song, is that though it’s pensive and deep, it actually ends in a lighter, more uplifting place; it moves from sadness into hope and new beginnings!
Sequencing an album is putting the songs in the order they will be listened to when someone plops the disk on.
It’s an important task because the music needs to flow in the best way possible emotionally and rhythmically from track to track etc.
Needless to say, it usually takes time, and a lot of trying things here and there before it all falls into place in a enjoyable way!
I think it’s wonderful I am able to meet and connect backstage after the show with those of you who had an especially impactful experience while listening to the music live; thanks much for taking the time to share with me.
These heartfelt moments are one of the main reasons I feel so privileged to do what I do!
Hanging out in the zone at a recent performance.
Being in that space where I can let the music flow out easily is one of my favorite things to do.
I recently met someone who came to one of my shows who mostly likes jazz pianists with lots of “chops,” so to speak; those players who are very flamboyant and great at executing demanding musical lines etc. Needless to say he was a little leery of what I could do for him when he arrived..
Though I play well enough to express my material I certainly am not the hard core virtuoso type of musician.
He came up to me almost with tears in his eyes after the show. I was pleased to find out that the music touched this individual’s heart in a way he hadn’t expected. So that’s really what it’s all about for me anyway:)
Checking through my tunes as far as the notes on the actual page go.
The overall plan is to get most of my material into sheet music form for downloads before too much longer!
What is it about composer/artists such as myself, that think there is always a better, even more meaningful, song to write somehow/someday?
It’s a good feeling to look at things this way, I suppose. It keeps one’s life fresh:)
Talking to fans at my recent show near Detroit and enjoying connecting.
This is really a nice balance to all of the cooped-up time I spend in the recording studio etc!
I wanted to share this from a fan of mine. How wonderful to be able to be a part of something like this:
â€¦..it was a warm and breezy day in Lahaina. I had a yearning in my heart to drive to the other side of Maui. In my possession I had a new cd entitled , Tender Ritual â€¦.by a pianist
named Jim Chappell. While I got into my car to make the long drive to Hana I thought that once I hit the coast I would pop this cd into the player. Before that I was rocking out to the sounds of Eddie Moneyâ€¦â€¦.singing lyric to lyric to , â€ Two Tickets to Paradise,â€ . While driving down the lonely but very beautiful Mauiâ€™s highway to heavenâ€¦..the road to Hanaâ€¦.
I slipped in the cdâ€¦â€¦â€¦.and never looked back. It was an epiphany in my music . As a rock musican I had never heard such musicâ€¦.the piano was weaving a wonderful mosaic of melodiesâ€¦.I started crying in my carâ€¦â€¦Blue Racer really touched my soulâ€¦.the melody
and sound matching every beautiful sight along that rural way. I had to pull over along side a
waterfall to listen to the rest of the cd. I arrived in Hana about 3 hours later smiling ear to ear. My Maui friend Don asked me , â€ Hey Bruddaâ€¦..you look like Heavenâ€™s touched your heart. I quickly replied, â€œYes and you gotta hear dis , â€ !!!
Aloha and Mahalo Jim
Sometimes playing is like praying for me.
The word is CDs are definitely on their way out as the downloading continues to take over.
Being able to buy single songs is a cool option though for many people..plus you can get the music immediately- that’s enjoyable also:)
Songs that you love can act as magical doorways that open into other whole worlds within yourself; they actually do “take” you somewhere.
The right music has the power to mesmerize you, ignite your imagination, and carry you away; sometimes as if poised on an eagle’s wings.
The right song provides an instant vacation. That’s something I’ve always loved about music since I was a kid.
So these days during my listening adventures, I simply close my eyes, and go where I need to go! I love the built in freedom of it all. As far as I know we all have it:)
I think when someone gets involved with an album, or a specific track it’s because they are drawn to the energy emanating from it. In a way we are just buying some “certain” energy we are wanting when we get an album, or song.
I know I do it that way..how I’m wanting to feel at that moment is why I’ll listen to something- many times over and over again!
Funny as it may sound, really listening to music is sort of like “eating” with your ears; nourishing yourself with that particular energy! (Kind of woo-woo I know..sorry:)
So it comes down to what does the music do for me? Does it inspire me, does it relax me, or do I want it to excite me? Or does it make me want to release, (tears) or let go of some hurt I’ve been holding? Where exactly do I want it to take me??
So next time you are looking for something music-wise, what will it be on the emotional menu for you??
I read something recently about “changing your state.” Even though it had to do with a rental car I thought it was applicable:)
It’s great to have the power to change your mental/emotional state at a moments notice if need be to something better; music is definitely one of the quickest and most potent ways to pull that off, in my opinion.
For me, getting into the right song etc. is like tuning myself to more, or less, of something I’m needing to feel at the time in order to balance myself in some way.
The more powerful the music, the quicker I change my state.
I am very happy to say we are putting the very last bit of details together and will finally have my new release “Rise” available real soon.
This album has an underlying joyful and festive feeling to it, sprinkled with a few deeper, emotional ballads thrown in.
Apparently I was in a great mood much of the time I was writing for this one:)
If you’re on my Newsletter list you’ll be sure to get an announcement when “Rise” hits the available bin!
From time to time I enjoy immersing myself in darker colors when it comes to my music interests; they wrap around me in a certain way that lets me lean into them for a sense of comfort.
A ballad full of rich tones with a poignant melody touches me somewhere deep inside; I suppose it always has, and usually just when I need that familiar feeling to wash over me once again…
If I lose my sunny attitude I usually get it back soon when I’m around my daughter:)
She brings a wonderful light into my life that definitely comes through my music from time to time!
I realize these days many more people not only listen to music, theyuse music for supporting a variety of activities.
Examples would be to help stay relaxed while working on the computer, to “drive to” when commuting, for support cleaning the house:), to meditate to when trying to decompress, to help a romantic mood to blossom etc.
I personally enjoy instrumental songs for a lot of my music using. It makes a great companion though, whatever type music you choose.
I’m sure there are some things I missed that you use your music for? Maybe helping your pet turtle to dance??
What I find amazing is how much color and emotion can come out of black and white piano keys:)
It’s truly a communication that literally doesn’t have much to do with “black and white” at all!
Something definitely happens when you’re connected to a lot of people who love and resonate with what you’re doing.
It steps up the amount of energy flowing through you and out towards them.
No matter which end you’re on, I think it’s what most everybody loves and wants more of!
It’s really all about the Flow isn’t it??
For me the melody of a song is like the main actor in a film; it’s the most important character in the mix. So I do my best to make sure it’s a strong enough presence to carry things along.
The melody is also “the voice” that most listeners will remember long after that initial exposure to the song- if we composers can be so lucky!
When it’s right, people can make it a part of themselves, and hum or whistle our gift to them for years to come…
It’s taken me awhile to figure out it’s usually best to let some time go by before sharing new music with people!
Sometimes I’m all jazzed about some song I just finished, and a few weeks later I don’t like it anymore at all!
So now a bit of patience seems the better choice:)
We keep learning don’t we? (hopefully anyway!)
This is a piece I wrote/recorded for my daughter Leila. She truly IS a miracle!
There’s something creative in the air living here in California. Not sure what it is, but I enjoy the general vibe; it seems to help me stay inspired and able to keep sharing with all of you:)
I’ve always loved the “Indian Summer” thing, and that’s been happening for the last several days too..
I began to wonder today just how music actually inspires someone? And I realized I really don’t know!
My closest guess is when anything inspires me personally, it makes me want to create; to go for my dreams even more passionately; to express something “stirring” inside me that still longs to come out, but hasn’t yet..
So when one of you writes and tells me how inspiring my music is for you, I am certainly humbled and very pleased at the same time:)
Thanks everyone for the recent nice comments..much appreciated.
I wonder what would happen if I tried to write a song about the emotions of the current “health care” debate? It probably wouldn’t fit in with the rest of my stuff! I guess I’ll hold off:)
This is a little story about the pet mouse “Kasey,” in our household..
She became very sick and the vet ordered us to give her medication twice a day in the hopes she would recover. Things weren’t getting any better; she looked terrible, and I was convinced she was ready to say goodbye for good one evening.
I decided to pick her up and hold her for awhile before she “passed on,” with my little daughter watching us both. I told her how sorry we were, and that I loved her, and just sent out as much love as I could to the little critter.
All of a sudden after a few minutes of the love pouring out to her, she perked up, began walking and sniffing around like normal, and has been fine ever since!
Love works..I’ll have to try it more on my human friends:)
Greetings:) I thought you might enjoy the story behind one of my songs on the new “Rise” album:
My six-year-old daughter is a bundle of pure, unbridled energy, to say the least. Sheâ€™s full of â€œsomethingâ€ most of the time, in the form of an elusive natural energy elixir, and borders on constantly â€œhyper,â€ though thatâ€™s probably too strong a word for it.
So she has this other little friend from school named Catherine, who is also very â€œactive,â€ to say the least! When they get together it all gets pretty crazy energy-wise quickly. Itâ€™s like 1 + 1 = more than 2, if you get my point.
So one sunny day I was driving my daughter, Leila, over to spend a few hours with Catherine. My kid was so excited and jazzed about seeing her friend that she was bursting at the seams jumping up and down, hooting and hollering, giggling non-stop and basically climbing out of her seat way before we ever arrived at Catherineâ€™s house. I kept yelling, â€œSettle down!â€ but of course that was a total joke and shouldnâ€™t have even entertained that.
Then I thought, â€œWow!â€ If I could bottle this up and sell it, Iâ€™d be a millionaire within a week! However, as close as I could get to that was to try to capture my daughterâ€™s disposition that day in a song. Thus Play Date was born.
Here is a live version of a very special song for me from my new album “Rise.”
I love the freedom of instrumental music, because when it’s right you’reÂ able to communicate with almost anyone, almost anywhere; because they just “get it.”
Have you ever been caught up that feeling that makes you want to create and just keep on flowing? I love getting deeply inspired somehow; it’s a rush I really try to hang on to.
The creative urge to bring something positive into the world that wasn’t around minutes before is a cool thing in my opinion; it certainly doesn’t matter whether it’s music or not!
P.S. As long as I remember to eat and visit the “you know what” from time to time I’m good:) Otherwise it’s just a bit too compulsive for me these days..
The sheet music download for my solo piano hit “Gone” is finally available!
I’ve been getting requests about this for several years now, so I really appreciate those who waited patiently:)
In case you didn’t know, “Gone” is my most popular piece to date. There is quite an array of versions of it done by others (maybe even you!) on Youtube etc. that have made their way out into the world. Just google “Jim Chappell Gone” and see what I mean.
This particular arrangement is very close to the way it was originally recorded..hopefully we’ll have many more songs available also within the year. Here is the link
Wanting to finish a track today in my studio that I had to let breathe for a couple of days; patience can bring out the best!
I’m learning that “forcing things” creatively usually leaves something missing in the communication. Trusting when it’s ready to flow more effortlessly for me is proving to be a better plan:)
I suppose letting go of any fear that the music won’t “come” to me the way I want it to, is a big part of the process. It’s like trusting and knowing it will be great when IT decides it wants to come through:) So we are honoring the larger force at work here.
Plus- composing is supposed to be fun; that’s why I got into it in the first place!
I feel extremely fortunate that emotional freedom is such a big part of my job and workplace; I honestly do get to be myself.
The various employment scenarios I experienced earlier in my life, before my recordings became popular, proved to be pretty miserable for me, as I just didn’t quite fit in!
However they now serve as a great reminder ofÂ why I have so much gratitude these days:)
There’s a larger “presence” inside great music; something’s definitely breathing with a heartbeat in there.
I’ve always been fascinated as to what that special thing is. All I really know is I can tell when it’s around, and when it’s not.
Closing my eyes and getting swept away while listening to some favorite music; always able to go deeper that way..
I have always loved entering into my own inner world(s) like this..There’s something great about just tuning into the sound for me- I travel with it I guess you could say:)
I often spent countless hours around lakes, streams, and the ocean as a kid; can definitely hear how it’s influenced my recordings..
What is it about the water that’s attracts us anyway?? I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be growing up..
Music is something that can really “get” to you in both a good, or bad way; it’s kind of the one man’s food, another man’s poison thing:)
It actually is a lot like food: what tastes delicious and sits well with one person could also make another repulsed and nauseous! However the great thing isÂ there are certainly plenty of flavors etc. to choose from:)
I suppose because music really does have the power to influence our vibrations; almost immediately changing our vibe or our disposition, it really can affect our mood and usually quite easily have it’s way with us.
Certain music uplifts, inspires, energizes, or relaxes me; while other music seems like a form of torture; pushing me to feel everything from uncomfortable, edgy, or mildly irritated to angry and overly aggressive!
Bottom line is that music can be a very powerful force, is a very subjective experience for each person, and is very important to most all of us it seems..
I have to say I still love how much emotion can come out of the piano. There’s just something about it!
You get to explore the whole range of feelings from delicate and sweet, to fiery and brash. You get to play the melody, harmony, and bass. You get to create plenty of rhythm, or plenty of rich space..
IÂ look back and see I made a good choice. I was just some little kid wanting to express something I felt growing inside that was getting stronger day by day; something that I needed to be heard and felt by others.
Good choice…maybe I’ll switch to kazoo if I run out of passion and inspiration for the keyboard.Â Not all that likely at this point though:)
When a large problem comes up for me I usually trust my creativity to come through and shine a light on the best thing to do.
If I’m really stuck I just have to realize that the answer will come to me when it’s ready to; that would be the art of letting go temporarily, without letting go permanently!
Forcing things doesn’t ever seem to turn out all that well for me. This brings up the attitude of patience, sometimes that translates into “Divine Patience” I might add:)
I’ve decided to give a solo piano song away as a download every week for awhile:) I know I tried that before, but got sidetracked..sorry:)
However- the powers that be say it’s a great idea for getting my name out and about the internet more, so I listened and obeyed:)
So stay posted; if you like my stuff my home page should be worth checking out soon..
Have a good one:)
I’m always trying to make whatever new piano music I write better than whatever I’ve done in the past. I suppose that’s just the way I’m wired..
On that note: I’ve been cleaning up some more karma again; in this case with my ex. (You know; karma usually is the junk we haul around regarding other folks in our lives that don’t meet our expectations etc.)
I think it’s definitely a good thing to heal things over with those in my life that I have issues with whenever possible. That way I can flow better and have less everyday tension that I carry around, whether I know it’s there or not!
Makes for better music writing also. A certain amount of tension is good for keeping a song interesting, but too much makes the music draining to listen to..
So onwards and upwards I keep wanting to move regarding everything holding me down that may be unnecessary..so far so good:)
I thought you might enjoy the story behind the song We’re Okay from my new album “Rise”:
I like this song a lot because it feels like I definitely made it through a close personal relationship full of daily trials and tests!
Funny, I was just sitting here in my easy chair as I started to write this out, when I got aÂ pleasant phone call from my ex; kind of one of those water under the bridge things where both parties would rather act differently and let the sun in again.
And so the theme for Weâ€™re Okay came up again today as I write this. Itâ€™s about finally mending fences with someone youâ€™ve had a challenging history with; itâ€™s about forgiveness and choosing to let the love back in. Itâ€™s about moving on in a healthy way. Itâ€™s about how a better tomorrow can eventually come shining through, if thatâ€™s our intention.
In my case Iâ€™m light-hearted about the fact I can finally say â€œWeâ€™re Okayâ€ now.
* By the way: We’re Okay is the FREE “Download of the Week” 10/26/09 on my Home page:) Here it tis: song
My girlfriend decided we wanted to get a kitten and raise it. The next day we went over to the local SPCA to look through the orphaned animals and see if maybe we could rescue one.
They let us go into the large kennel area where all of the cats were kept, and immediately this small, all white kitten bounded happily over to say hi to us. “What a jolly little soul,” we thought..
This particular cat was so much more full of energy than the others who just listlessly stared out at us. So we decided this little guy was the one and filled out the papers so we could take him home.
Lenny, as we decided to call him, turned out to be quite the little bundle of energy! He absolutely loved to play constantly by hopping around on the furniture, playing some odd type of Hide-and-Seek, and whatever else he could get into mischief-wise to keep entertained. Overall he was a great source of joy though and we were glad he had come to live with us.
As time went on I noticed that Lenny didn’t seem to be getting much bigger, if at all. Though he was so cute, I couldn’t help but think he should be getting taller at least. So I took him into the vet for a check up just to see how he was doing in general.
Come to find out, Lenny had a very rare blood disease that the vet explained was hard to treat successfully. He gave us some pills that were very important to stay regular with and told us we’d just have to see if Lenny responds.
During the next month, however, he began getting tired and sleeping a lot more than normal. Soon after that he started to get weak and began walking really slowly and not ever running around like our old Lenny used to do.
The vet saw him again and said this was the only treatment for this type of leukemia and that it simply isn’t working out very well. He then decided to tell us “I hate to say this, but you’ll probably lose him at some point in the next month or so. I wish we had other options here, but this is a very serious threat and there’s been a lot of research on it.”
“Is he in much pain?” I asked.
“Unfortunately, yes it’s very painful for him right now,” he said with genuine sadness.
And so our little Lenny kept sleeping more and getting weaker over the next several days back at home. He was even having a lot of trouble walking, period, before long.
One evening he stumbled three times trying to get to his food bowl just a few feet away, and I realized this was too much for all of us to bear! I announced that we need to take him and have him put to sleep now.
My girlfriend couldn’t bear the idea and cried and fought me on it, until I reassured her there was no good reason to put him or us through this any longer and that we were just putting off the inevitable. It’s heartbreaking and sad and everything else, I told her, but I’m calling the vet.
Of course we were both in tears when I dialed the phone. He said he would meet us at the clinic in an hour. He also asked if I could help out some since he would be alone this time of night. I agreed and we drove off with my girlfriend holding him as he slept in the little blanket we wrapped him in.
I held Lenny in my arms so the doctor could administer the shot. Right at the moment he was going to take care of it Lenny snapped awake out of his stupor and looked directly and deeply into my eyes. It went right through me; there was a powerful love there, a soul-to-soul communication. I felt him thanking me for rescuing him from the kennel, for the new life we gave him, and for ending his misery now. All of that came from him in that one extended moment. It gave me chills as my love for him also poured out one last time.
Then it was over. My girlfriend sobbed as we left with the same little blanket that we came with and Lenny in it. I thanked the doctor and he assured me we did the right thing.
We took Lenny home and I dug a grave for him out in the yard where we placed him in his blanket and covered him. I remember looking up at the stars and being so grateful he had come into our lives even if only for a short time.
I wrote the song Gone a few days later.
Loving immersing myself in the recording studio working on the new album; whatever side of the brain that is it’s definitely my favorite side to hang out in.
I use the piano a lot to say things that are too difficult to put into words; but somehow people usually get what I’m talking about.
It’s great to be able to communicate emotions this way, because some of the deeper ones still find their way out and get understood..
Writing a good song is just the beginning; I’ve learned that I need to keep on until I get a great version of it in the studio..it’s all about the heart, the vibe, and the emotion!
It’s really interesting to compare “takes” of a good song. Some versions just don’t do anything! Then all of a sudden the magic is present when while listening back through another pass at the song, and everyone feels it.
It really is more than just a good song that touches others, and gives them goosebumps, or causes their heart to open up; simply put it’s that undefinable ingredient that is so great when it gets captured in the music:)
It’s something you don’t really have any control over. You just do your best at trying to express it, and it either comes through , or it doesn’t!
Being able to put together a “great” song becomes a true cause for celebration and humble gratitude.
Here is the Story Behind the Song Diamonds In Her Eyes from my new “Rise” album. I thought you might enjoy it:
It was in my early twenties when I found myself driving down the California coast with a buddy of mine. We were having the greatest of times exploring, hiking, camping, and just seeing what weâ€™d run into each day of our week long journey.
We happened to get hungry and needed gas while passing through a little known town, or should I say â€œvillageâ€ right along the edge of the Pacific. We got our of our van and wandered into a local restaurant and got a bite to eat..
On the way out I got a nudge to walk across the street and check out one of the gift shops. As soon as I entered, this beautiful, glowing young woman walked straight up to me, looked deeply into my eyes and in a very soothing, soft-spoken way said â€œHi; where are you from, and where are you going?â€
What amazed me about her was how calm she was, and how glistening and bright her eyes were! Iâ€™d actually never seen anything like it before. She looked right into my eyes for ten minutes as we talked comfortably, and actually ended up holding each others hands, face to face, by the time I remembered I should probably let my buddy know where I had gone. So I excused myself and said â€œHey I better run; my buddyâ€™s going to think I disappeared on him! Iâ€™ll certainly remember you. Thanks for hanging out like this and everything!â€
It was a uniquely exciting experience for the young lad I was at the time, because it was all so innocent and spontaneous; a fond memory Iâ€™ve kept tucked away.
I made my way back to the van, where he was impatiently waiting, and as we pulled out onto the road again I told my friend exactly what had happened back there. â€œWow! What was her name?!â€ he adventurously chimed. I said â€œI donâ€™t know, but she sure had diamonds in her eyes!â€ â€œCool! How come stuff like that never happens to me?â€
Check out the Diamonds In Her Eyes free song download (this week only) on my home page:)
I began playing music way backÂ in first grade because I thought it would be fun; I’m happy to say it didn’t let me down.
Music is lot’s of things to me, but it’s also still fun:) It just feels good to do!
Lucky me am I to be able to do something fun with my life. It’s certainly very hard work at times, but I plan on always keeping it enjoyable too.
Maybe I’m still just a kid in first grade who doesn’t know he’s supposed to grow up yet? Hope so..
The first time I ever flew in an airplane it was a stormy, gloomy day. As the plane climbed up into the gray I was full of wonder and anticipation as to what would happen.. I was pleasantly surprised and excited when I burst through into the radiant sunlight and clear blue expanse.
That was the magical day I learned no matter what’s going on “down there” in my daily life, the sun is always shining somewhere. That made me really happy for some deeper reason.
Getting ready to create a bunch of new song ideas this evening; hopefully a few gems will poke through all the sand:)
That’s the way it goes for me; write/record a multitude of spontaneous music snippets, and listen later to see where/if the gems show up.
That way I only work hard on things that feel right and exciting after having some distance from them. Then I get the clarity that objectivity provides.
In other words getting caught up in inspiration when the content might not be there is kind of a wasteful use of precious time in my book:)
Have you ever worked and worked on something creative only later to find you don’t really like it now anyway, and no one else really does either? Well I have! So I do it differently now:)
That being said, sometimes something seems so perfect I’ll finish it right then and there..oops..
For me music is a direct doorway into a different reality.Â When I love a song if I shut my eyes and truly listen I definitely go somewhere, usually to a place I love hanging out in:)
That’s mostly what it’s all about re me and music I suppose..the way it affords me the ability to travel with it.
So there you have it: “Music is Transporting” in my humble opinion. Where will I go next?
I thought you might enjoy this story behind the song:
My father had a best friend in college named Bernie. Bernie and my dad were very tight; they both had an incredible sense of humor and often loved to joke around. They also both loved to travel and hitch-hiked all the way from Michigan to California one summer.
My father used to call Bernie from time to time at the local department store in town where Bernie worked. One day when my dad got him on the phone he asked, â€œWhoâ€™s answering the phones there today, anyway?â€
â€œThatâ€™s probably Mary Lou, why?â€ Bernie asked.
â€œWhat a voice she has! Wow is she single?â€ my dad chimed.
â€œIâ€™ll look into it and get back to you,â€ Bernie reassured him.
A few days later Bernie had good news to share; he had set up a double-date with his girlfriend and Mary Lou, and my dad was to fill out the foursome.
And as for how the story goes: Mary Lou saw my father on that date for the first time and according to her, immediately knew he was the man she would someday marry! Needless to say my dad was very taken with her also. And so it was true they married and I was the first of five kids between them to follow!
I Knew Iâ€™d Love You centers around the story of my motherâ€™s powerful first date with my father.
I wonder if you ever hear/imagine any of my songs with vocals in your head??
I may be putting something together as a side project..will keep you posted:)
Children have a way of showing you if and where you have trouble being able to love.
My own child has loosened me up pretty good so far; whether I’ve liked it at the time or not:)
What a gift; what an inspiration!
Lucky are we for children and all they embody..
Rolling up my sleeves to go back in the recording studio for most of the day; if I’m not back by midnight call 911:) Sometimes I disappear for too long in there!
Today I got really still inside and just looked around for a few minutes; from there everything seemed incredibl… less than 5 seconds agoToday I got really still inside and just looked around for a few minutes; from there everything seemed incredible.
I was able to see what I seldom do: the underlying beauty and perfection of it all.
Still loving writing and recording music; one reason being it probably keeps me out of trouble:)
I’m loving that I can post a newly recorded track and someone in Indonesia etc. can hear it within seconds…how cool is that? The world keeps getting more and more intertwined and accessible for communicating; in my case with fans.
It’s a great thing. It certainly beats writing music on paper by candlelight etc. like we composers had to do 200 years ago, and someone only able to hear it if they are in the room while you play your instrument.
Yes; things have changed:)
Celebrating mastering some new music software; finally!! I still do far better just playing notes..what a grind for a non-tech mind!
I love keeping up with things, but I’m afraid my poor little brain just wants to create music:)
Oh well..I suppose I’d enjoy people following me around fanning me with large feathers and massaging my shoulders all day too..
This is a little story about how great simple joys can be that I put music to..
One of the major highlights of my childhood was our annual family summer vacations. They were always a cause for excitement, as we all loved travel and adventure. (All meaning: two parents and five kids which equals a car full of seven people!)
So there we were on our actual departure date one July morning; piling into the station wagon and rolling down our dirt road to the main highway intersection. We were heading to a cabin on a lake in northern Michigan for two weeks.
When we arrived at the highway my father clicked his right turn signal on, instead of the left one we knew as the way to get â€œup north.â€ Being the oldest, I thought something was definitely amiss here and wanted more info.
â€œHey Dad; arenâ€™t you supposed to be turning left?â€
â€œNope!â€ he said with a big grin.
â€œWhat do you mean!?â€ I asked again. By then the rest of the family had their ears perked up and were listening intently.
â€œWell, where are we going then?â€ I said now a bit concerned.
â€œTo the ocean in Florida!â€ my father beamed.
At that point the whole car erupted into a joyous chorus of â€œyays!â€ We absolutely loved going to the ocean to play; it was the best place we could ever imagine in our young lives. It was also a trip we could only very rarely afford with a lot of saving etc. involved.
So my father surprised us big time and gave us Something To Smile About that magical summer day.
Check out the music here.
Meeting with some close friends today who always give me honest feedback on my music and artistic direction; very valuable, very grateful:)
It’s important to have someone who can be objective you trust to reflect things back to you when you’re in this business.
It’s a strange combination of being true to yourself, by not compromising at times, and listening intently to other honest opinions that you can learn and grow from.
And so the journey continues…
Bouncing some new music off of select fans to see what’s happening and what’s not; should be enlightening:) I’ve decided how great would it be to get even more opinions on my new material before I commit to releasing it? Of course it’s about what songs I love, but when you really strip it down it’s not so much about me as it is about you. Without you I would only be playing for the birds and trees etc!
Iâ€™ll be the first to admit Iâ€™m not the poster boy for the perfect long-lasting relationship! Thatâ€™s a tall order for anyone these days of course, but some of us fare better than others when it comes to hanging in there through the emotional tests life brings our way.
And so here I am a single father these days. Iâ€™m a happy one, though, because I love my daughter dearly and wouldnâ€™t trade having her around for anything. Her mother and I have separated and are doing a great job of being good parents, and treating each other with respect, dignity, and goodwill. Though we arenâ€™t â€œtogetherâ€ now as a couple, I realize there has been a lot of love, passion, and strong connection that brought us together into each otherâ€™s lives in the first place. Life takes itâ€™s own turns it would seem..
And so it goes; the complexity of learning unconditional love amidst the fire of unfulfilled expectations and deep change. My ex has taught me so much about myself; much of which has been uncomfortable at times to see and embrace, but nevertheless so very valuable!
And so Iâ€™ll sum up by saying this:
â€œOverall I am grateful and simply shrug my head with wonder at the circumstances life has given me through my connection with you. At this point it is what it is. Though the challenges still continue from time to time, you have given me more and made me a deeper, richer, more loving human being as a result of the time I have spent With Youâ€¦ Listen Here
I’m intent on doing what brings me joy re the music biz world; otherwise composing and recording are no fun. I realize the reason I even started all of this music stuff as a kid in the first place was because of how much I truly loved it..
Sometimes it’s easy to get too serious about what to do next, what to do better etc. in this music business. So I’ve decided if I’m still having fun all is well, and that will serve as my main compass:)
Greetings..hope you’re December is unfolding in a good way..
I’ve been wondering a lot about the concept of free music these days and it’s potential to keep everyone happy; meaning fan/listener and artist/creator..
If you have any thoughts feel free to share on this one:)
As long as I can remember I’ve always liked telling stories..not sure why..
Here I am again in this photo doing it at one of my shows:)
Once I have some new song ideas that I am inspired to work with I usually have to roll up my sleeves do “the arrangement.”
For me that means:
- How can I best present the song?
- How can it have the most feeling in it?
- How can it tell it’s story in the most engaging way?
- Is it long enough?
- Is it too long?
- Do I like the intro?
- Do I like the ending?
Sometimes this part of putting together an album is the most difficult in my opinion. However, besides being very necessary, it can make a huge difference in what you get out of the song as a fan/listener! So it’s a must:)
Here is a piece from my Comfort Songs album that turned out nicely:
I’m really enjoying getting focused these days. For me it’s all about doing what I do best and flowing with that..it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s okay!
I’m not trying to be anything musically that I don’t consider my forte:) I really believe everyone has a forte of some sort! (Sometimes I wish keeping my desk more organized was one of mine too..)
I’m setting aside time today for connecting with fans who listen regularly to my stuff..It’s always interesting and enjoyable for me to do this. Of course it’s fantastic to have the tools available we have today!
What would I do without my internet connections I wonder; especially when we’re talking about a world-wide fan base? So if you try to get a hold of me via the web, or email, or here, chances are good I will get back to you before too long. Thanks again for listening:)
Wearing a lot of hats these days; even though I’m being pulled in many different directions I’m wanting to do more live shows this year:)
Concerts certainly are fun, and being able to meet you folks personally is always a blessing..
Maybe I’ll try and clone myself!
The holidays have historically been a good time to write new music for me; we’ll see what the “Piano Santa” brings forth this year:)
If it’s something I think you will like you’ll certainly find it out there at some point..
Miracle is about the feeling that came up for me when I got overtaken with awe and humility at being able to help bring another life into the world. In this case, Iâ€™ve had the joy of being a father to my one and only little girl, Leila, who I still see every day as truly â€œa miracleâ€ from a higher power. I feel blessed a thousand times over!
So far she is healthy, happy, very smart, talented, and all of those things that parents like to advertise about their kid to others when they feel lucky and blessed. My daughter is all I could have ever wanted in the way of a child.
Itâ€™s funny, but before my daughter showed up me being the freedom loving, sometimes wild, non-commitment oriented music guy I was, I couldnâ€™t understand those kinds of people who talked about their kid(s) all the time. I would just nod, smile and think, â€œGet a life for yourself, why donâ€™t you?!â€ before tuning out most of what they had to say about Junior. But now Iâ€™m one of THEMâ€¦oh-noâ€¦
So bear with me and this piece of music that overflows with the feeling I carry for my kid. I suppose this spell, or whatever it is, has finally happened to me too!
One thing comes up that is nice; I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll ever get tired of her saying, â€œDaddy youâ€™re the best in the world; I love you so much!â€ Not a bad thing to have to live with I suppose; though weâ€™ll seriously have to see if that actually continues when she hits her teens:)
Anyway- this parenting stuff is certainly a life-changing event; eventually you get used to getting emotionally beat up a bit and a new somewhat scary kind of responsibility. Though all in all it’s like a friend of mine said just before I became a father about the little girl soon to come into my life, â€œThey fill up a huge empty space in your heart you never even knew you had.â€
Leila is truly my perfect Miracle.
My father was an interesting man. He was the guy, of course, who helped me shape the way I relate to the rest of life. One of the things he taught me was the importance of being kind to others.
He seemed to able to set people at ease and was often out of the way friendly toward my playmates when I was a kid. It was mentioned to me more than once, â€œI wish your dad was my dad!â€ because he treated them with respect and always seemed to have a minute or two to say hi and ask them how they were: better yet, heâ€™d actually listen to them in a genuine way when they answered him.
One of the things Iâ€™m glad he passed on to me was his love of nature. He was very fond of the members of the animal world and would always point out when we had a visitor in the area whether it was a rabbit, squirrel, skunk, bluebird, etc. Weâ€™d even go for regular drives out hoping to catch a glimpse of a deer or two.
We became very close to each other the last half of my dadâ€™s life. We were able to discuss all kinds of things that I wouldnâ€™t have felt comfortable with early on while still under his roof. I guess you could say he became my best friend. I took him on several concert tours with me; he had always been so proud of me and had a great time meeting the other folks who loved my music.
One of his greatest qualities was his childlike sense that came out pretty regularly as he got older. He was very innocent in some respects. One of the last times I saw him in good health was memorable enough to really stick with me.
I happened to be visiting him in his Florida winter home from out of town and I heard him in the other room say something heâ€™d said so many times before when I was a kid, â€œHey, Jim! Come here, quick!â€ He was standing by the screen door looking up and smiling with that sweet innocent twinkle in his eyes, â€œLook over there in that tree, itâ€™s a mockingbird! Listen to that! Wow, he sure can sing, canâ€™t he!?â€
And so I wrote Mockingbird Days soon after my father passed away in memory of him. I tried my best to capture his childlike quality and also how I imagined his spirit soaring free as he left this world far behind. Itâ€™s a very special song to me and always will be.
A song is really just a vehicle for something else; that “something else” is really what’s communicating so deeply with us at times. Music connects us up to that flow, that power that feels so good to be a part of. I see it as a very important form of nourishment, but then again I may be a bit partial:)
I am constantly hearing music in my head..I bet you do too..It’s nice to be able to just enjoy it. What happens with me though, is I decide I have to do something with it:) And it will keep tapping me on the shoulder until I actually do.
The challenge for me is to get it out in a form that is enjoyable to listen to, and also something I can play. So I drop everything and coop up in my studio till it’s recognizable:) Then after that..who knows? Maybe it will end up out in the world maybe not..wish I could know that beforehand, but it doesn’t seem to work that way!
Sometimes finding the right music to compose and record feels like I’m looking through layers of interesting material until I find something that really stands out; it’s usually quite a challenge:)
I was talking recently to a friend about the “white space” in certain songs. We both agreed that it’s something that feels good..
Personally I consider any silent space in the music an important part of a song; it adds another dimension. I believe it’s something that allows the piece to breathe. It’s like those natural pauses when someone is talking (hopefully:) that help make points about what they are wanting to communicate.
Even though you may not notice it all that often it’s something that’s sort of fun to look for in an artist’s repertoire.
I had recently moved to Los Angeles to study at a special music school there. It was a new and exciting world for me, but also one filled with more traffic than I was used to. It also seemed like I was always waiting in a big line wherever I went; the bank, grocery store, post office etc. And not to mention the air wasnâ€™t all that great during that time period.
But to be honest about it I was cheerfully into being there and the new knowledge my schooling was bringing me. My goal was to record my first album of piano originals after I got through the program there, though I wasnâ€™t really sure on how to go about the business aspect of my dream.
As time wore on I was getting antsy to get out of school and pursue my creative thing out in the world. I decided I would leave LA and find a place better suited to my disposition and temperament, having grown up in a much more suburban, leaning toward a country-like, environment.
It just so happened I was on the phone one evening with a long time friend of mine, Judy, who was living in Carmel, CA. I told her what was up with me and she immediately said,
â€œCome on up here! The air is fresh and clean and I live five minutes from the ocean. Itâ€™s beautiful; you should definitely check it out. You can also stay at my place if youâ€™d like until you figure things out.â€
Sounded great to me and after I finished school I packed up my stuff and headed north. It was all in all a great decision, and I was really ready for the peace and harmony I assumed I would find thereâ€¦
One evening a few days after I arrived I was talking with Judy and mentioned to her that I really hoped some record company would want to sign me. I had been sending all of these demos out, but no interest so farâ€¦
She seemed very interested in what I was saying,
â€œHmmmâ€¦â€ she said as she pondered. â€œWhat are you going to do if nobody responds favorably?â€
â€œIâ€™m not sure,â€ I mumbled. â€œThat would be a really big bummer I suppose,â€ I added dejectedly.
â€œWell?â€ she queried me again.
â€œIâ€™ll figure something out,â€ I answered, not wanting to think about that possibility.
â€œYou know, I think your music is absolutely beautiful and that you shouldnâ€™t let anything get in the way of making sure it gets out there for other people to hear!â€ she continued, â€œSo what I propose is that you record and release it yourself. Heck with whoever isnâ€™t interested. Save up some money and do it yourself! Why not? Whatâ€™s stopping you?â€
I sat quietly for a moment taking in what she had just said and then stood up tall and announced, â€œYouâ€™re right! I never looked at it that way, but youâ€™re right on, thanks Judy!â€ as we both hugged and celebrated the moment like two little kids.
And so I found a higher end dining establishment to play â€œstandardsâ€ in five nights a week while I secretly saved all the money I could for my originals and the recording studio. I was constantly at home during the day working on the material that would eventually become Tender Ritual, my first album. It did very well in the art galleries and bookstores of Northern California that I personally set up accounts with and went on from thereâ€¦
To this day I consider my rendezvous with Judy one of the most fortunate things that has happened to me; truly a Four Leaf Clover.
I find myself from time to time wondering exactly why people, probably just like you, enjoy listening to instrumental music as opposed to a song with lyrics etc.? Or why you do at least some of the time..
I know for me I enjoy having the music take me to a special place I go to of my own making; no words necessary to get there:)
But I’m still really curious what your reasoning might be? Feel free to let me know if you’d like..
I’m finally really enjoying being a smaller “Niche-Guy” in the music business. It’s relaxing to just do what I do best and leave it at that:)
It’s always been tempting to try and be “Bigger” or “More Happening” or “More Trendy” but just being me really seems like the way to go.
Staying open for some more inspiring piano music to come through for sharing; so far so good..
What does that mean? For me it means being emotionally, mentally, and spiritually available for the grand music flow, or whatever you choose to call it to visit me and leave a gift:) A gift as in a rush of true inspiration that I can easily work with a bit, create a great recording of, and eventually share with anyone interested:)
I’m smart enough at this point to realize this isn’t a me only deal:) I’d be nowhere without that beautiful Flow I get to dip into from time to time that has graced my life some reason. The word gratitude certainly applies here!
My opinion is there is a fine line in relationships between hearing the â€œtruthâ€ from your partner, and being subjected to un-necessary hurt at every juncture of the challenge of being close and intimate.
And so many years ago while living just north of San Francisco I found myself several months into a dating relationship where the criticism and my partners habit of needing to share knowingly uncomfortable info with me was starting to sting a bit too much. She seemed to enjoy seeing me be uncomfortableâ€¦
I realized I was caught up in a situation where I had given my heart and was attached, but I clearly needed to see what was wrong with the picture! I finally woke up and saw I wasnâ€™t really being treated with the love and respect I knew I deserved and was also already giving my partner.
I did my best for awhile to try and explain what was up for me and we tried to work things out through some counseling. Unfortunately things didnâ€™t change much if at all. The bottom line again became I was giving her a certain type of love and respect and needed the same in return.
We eventually separated and went our own ways. While it was ending I remember one of our last conversations. She was asking exactly why I was leaving.
At that point all I could say was, â€œIâ€™ve just really spent some time thinking about everything you said that hurt, even though I explained how it affected me many times to you. I suppose you thought Iâ€™d never leave, but I am.â€
Check out the free download for this week:
Lately I’m choosing mellow over manic when things get a bit crazy as they do in life. There’s an art to keeping your sense of humor and inner relaxation when it seems like the hardest thing to do at the time! And have you noticed: we always seem to get the chance to try out new behavior:)
What’s the upside to this? You get more comfortable in your own skin and come off as a more mature character that folks tend to enjoy being around..
In my case it also keeps me able to create the type of music I do. I suppose that’s why my songs in general come across as more nourishing than upsetting to listen to:)
There’s something about being creative that’s addicting; it is it’s own high I guess you could say! It’s like a special heightened awareness place where nothing seems mundane in the least.
I’m fortunate and very grateful to be able to have hanging out in that zone a part of everyday life for me. I also try to share as much of it as I can in my work:)
I’m looking forward to sharing/auditioning some of my new unreleased songs with a special group of friends I filter my music through. It seems to really help me keep putting my best foot forward.
Sometimes in the past when I’ve rushed into an album project and put whatever I want out there without first bouncing it off others certain pieces came back to haunt me! Ouch:)
I’ve always loved having a sense of humor. It’s been a survival skill for me throughout my life. When I can truly relax and laugh at something then all seems to go well..
Today I had a great time reading one of my six year old’s first attempts at a To Do list. It was lying on the table as I passed after she had gone to school.
She had several entries, but the first one on there really caught my eye. It was titled “Wake Up” and had a check mark next to it.
I agreed that was probably important.
Here’s one of my favorites that’s a free download for this week. It’s a jovial little tune that has to do with spotting a baby on the loose one day..luckily the parents weren’t too far behind:)
Taking some rough versions of new original piano songs and trying to hone them into diamonds; we’ll see before long…
Sometimes there is something powerful and engaging there that simply needs to be sculpted, refined, and practiced until it just flows from my fingers when it’s time to record.
It’s always fun to bring something in from the invisible and give it a life here:)
Sometimes smiling, or laughing for no particular reason really brightens the day; I just tried it. I realized I really don’t need a reason to feel great; it’s simply a choice! And good things will come from that place in my opinion:) So I’ll probably do it more often…
I’m starting a new album project this week, which is always exciting and daunting at the same time. It’s very enjoyable and rush-like to have all of the creativity flowing, but the amount of hours and care that go into it look like a huge mountain in front of you at the beginning!
So it ends up being a step by step by step thing etc. until it’s all in order. Time to roll up the sleeves now:)
Just finished mixing the first song of my new album..Really enjoying the process, although it can be quite tedious.
Whenever there is more than one instrument involved it gets more demanding to have everything sounding balanced, clean and smoothly interacting.
The end result is what matters though; I think commitment and diligence end up being a very important part of the scenario:)
I love seeing what other musical sounds blend well with the piano; kind of like trying on clothes, only sonically. The idea is to add some color and diversity without taking away from the main event:)
Choosing to feel grateful for something always makes my day go better; like noticing my fingers can still play the music I want them to:) That’s a good thing right there.
There is a simple beauty I keep being reminded of that touches the more elevated parts of who I am.
Examples would be: I’ve always been fond of sunlight reflecting on the water, of songbirds singing their little hearts out every spring, of the sound of crickets chirping on a warm summer’s evening, of the glorious shapes that billowing clouds take on from time to time…
I’m sure these types of moments contribute constantly to my inspiration to create more music. There’s a lot of free love around when one takes the time to notice it:)
This story behind the song is about a painting that hung on the wall of our living room for most of my childhood. It was one that caught my father’s eye, from I’m not sure where, but before long he was happily whistling some tune (as he often used to do) and measuring the wall to put it up.
I remember sitting and staring fondly at that painting often as I grew up; there was something absolutely magical about it for me. It was peaceful and relaxing, but also exciting and full of life at the same time. Sometimes I used to get so caught up in the mesmerizing imagery I felt like I was actually in the painting myself! There was also a particular innocence to what the painter was trying to say that I must have adored.
I’m not sure who the artist was, but I’ll describe the setting portrayed as best I can: It was centered on a farm yard of some sort with a beautiful, lazy pond in the center of it. In the pond were a small family of ducks; a mother, father, and two babies swishing along close behind. A little boy and his sister were happily chasing each other several feet away; playing what appeared to be a game of “tag.” Next was a puppy attempting to wade into the pond without getting wet to retrieve a stick someone may have casually tossed there?
As a big part of the backdrop there was a brilliant, large recently washed down red barn off to the side. A soft green grassy knoll spread around the water with a butterfly dipping around the puppy’s head to celebrate something or other it was feeling I suppose. Off to the side of all of this was the father with a brown and black handsome smoking pipe resting out of the side of his mouth as he sawed on a piece of wood for some project he had going.
Last but not least were the two bluebirds in the full, bushy green tree on the far side of the yard apparently commenting on the goings on by serenading anyone who cared to listen…
All in all for me this work of art was a simple, fascinating, joyous little slice of life where everything was good, pure, and those involved were rich with what they had and full of contentment.
I’ve used Sweet Country to try and capture the essence of this painting for you.
I’m convinced the little boy who loved to ride his tricycle everywhere around the neighborhood still lives on somewhere inside of me…
I grew up in a beautiful little middle class neighborhood an hour or so out of Detroit. I had a lake across the street, woods to explore nearby, and a host of interesting friends scattered throughout the five streets that made up our “subdivision.”
I loved riding my bike. I was a serious little traveler from early on. My first big memory of that was when I was five years old and I’d hop onto my brilliant red and white three-wheel tricycle, pedal a few streets over in the hopes of seeing my “girlfriend.” She lived in a pleasant yellow house with clean white slatted shutters around the windows.
School days were hard to maneuver, but I decided that I needed to see her every Saturday and Sunday at least! So off I’d go down the street feeling the early morning breeze across my face and through my hair, all the while smiling at the sun in my eyes that made me squint. Life was good, but I had business to take care of with my “girlfriend!”
So I’d pull in around seven a.m. in the morning right up under her bedroom window and start yelling as loud as I could,
“Tootey, Tootey, Tootey!” (Tootey was short for Elaine, of course. I’m not sure where I came up with that.)
I’d keep yelling her name repeatedly barely taking a breath while hoping to see her peer through the window to smile at me. To my dismay it almost always ended up being her mother instead with an astonished look on her face saying,
“Jimmy, shush! Elaine’s not even awake yet! Please go home and come back later!”
I’d dejectedly mumble, “Okay…” and pedal off on my little red three wheeler with the determined attitude that I’d definitely be back again because a guy has to see his girlfriend, you know..
All in all as long as I could keep having some kind of adventure here or there I was okay with my life as a kid. Painting May is about the carefree little character I was as a child.
Music is a great tool for choosing your mood and these days there’s easy access to whatever emotional state you’re looking for!
It’s pretty amazing how you can find so much at your fingertips to help shift, or exaggerate, any feeling you want. Especially with the internet, Ipods, wireless etc. around and flourishing.
That’s what I do when reaching for the right music for the moment; I’m either wanting to enhance something I’m feeling to make it more intense, or wanting to change something I’m feeling and move myself into a better place:)
Music really is fantastic mood food; for the ears of course..
A buddy and I decided we were going to go camping up in the Sierra Mountains in California for several days. He was a modern dance instructor at one of the larger colleges in the state, and I was the music guy who played live improvised pieces for the dancers to move to. We worked together in a unique and creative way, became friends, and enjoyed each other’s company a lot.
My buddy was from New York City, and he was really looking forward to getting out into nature, doing some hiking, and just enjoying the expansiveness of it all. So off we went in my black van not quite sure where we’d end up, though the national parks were on the list for sure.
A few days into the trip we were sitting around our campfire one night as a couple of girls stopped by and said hi. We ended up talking for a few hours and having a great time as “travelers meeting other travelers.” As they were leaving they asked if we were going to get up early to watch the hang gliders in the morning and explained which mountain top they would be taking off from around 5 a.m. or so. They convinced us it would be worth the drive so we decided to show up and see what all of the excitement was about.
My buddy and I got ourselves up early and drove another several thousand feet higher on a windy precarious road until it emptied into a parking lot. We got out and walked down a short path and then there they were: about 15 people with a bright carnival colored array of body suits in a line getting their hang gliders ready for take off! It was quite the sight as the sun was just peering over a nearby mountain and the golden rays lit up the scene in a mesmerizing way.
We made our way carefully and off to the side of “glider clan” to get a look at the cliff they were getting ready to leap from; “Whoa!” was all my friend and I could say simultaneously. What a drop, and definitely not for me, but I couldn’t wait to see these folks go for it!
And then they started taking off, one by one, with sufficient time and distance in between to keep them from being too close to each other. All you could hear in the stillness was their accelerating footsteps and the gear rustling and breaking the silence. Then poof; they were soaring!! It was breathtaking and exhilarating even just to watch. “What would it feel like to actually do that?!” I thought.
We found out the ones talking flight would have a ride of close to 45 minutes if all went well and then would hopefully land safely in a grassy meadow several miles away.
It was a beautiful clear day well worth capturing, celebrating, and remembering. I’m glad I was a small part of the freedom and joy in the air that impressionable morning…Honey Wind…
Spring is in the air starting to visit already around here..always a creative time in my world:) Maybe it’s because I was born in April or something, but I’ve always loved the sounds and feel of new life emerging again..
It’s good timing that I’m in the middle of working on a new album..
I love teaching composing; you keep learning more when you share what you know:) I suppose there is always more insight that pertains to the topic, that’s why it’s fun to be a part of.
Time to start final tracking another song for the new album today; looking forward to capturing the right feel..
It’s more involved than just playing well and getting the notes right. There has to be that hidden ingredient that touches something deeper.
It’s a vibe thing that either works or it doesn’t; so you have to keep on going until it does..
I’m wanting to get out and do more shows..that’s one of my New Year’s resolutions:) It’s more my nature to stay with the composing and recording and sort of insulate myself from the rest of it, but I do have a lot of fun once I’m out and about!
So check back as hopefully there will be some regular concert dates to be aware of if you’re interested..
I was lucky enough as a kid to have some unspoiled nature around to explore. We lived right across the street from an undeveloped woodland area. I used to sneak off regularly so I could visit what was known as “the creek.”
The “creek” was actually more of an elaborate marshy pond of some sort that flowed via a small stream into the nearby lake. It was full of wildlife: mallard ducks, frogs, large fish, minnows, brilliant orange-colored dragonflies, crayfish, muskrats, tadpoles, little bugs that could run along on top of the water, and various colorful birds that loved frequenting the setting.
I spent many hours there at the water’s edge just taking it all in. It was fascinating and calming for me at the same time. The creek actually became my sanctuary over time. I went regularly to comfort myself, listen, and watch. It was like entering another world for me.
I remember going there one warm summer’s night during a full moon; it was a serene, beautiful, and far more mystical place than in the daytime. My favorite place had changed itself into something even more peaceful and intriguing. It was as if there was a completely different group of creatures playing in the silver hush. And those were the different array of water fairies called sprites, nymphs, selkies, sirens, alvins and whatever else they have been named over time!
Water Spirits will hopefully take you on a little moonlit journey to this very special world I was able to be a part of…
Getting the itch to do more live shows this year; that should be fun:) Maybe not a lot at first, but I’m assuming that will build over time. (I took a break after having a baby- well sort of you could say:)
I’m in the middle of creating a workshop on musical improvisation; will be sharing it soon:) It’s fun getting all of the info together based on my experiences; the challenge is to have it be practical, understandable, and easy to use..
I enjoy creating, working with arrangements, expressing, and listening to music because I get a chance to travel with it. It always takes me away to a place that is other worldly in a sense, but actually very real for me. That’s the draw I suppose; the freedom my work allows me to experience.
My younger brother Tom and his wife finally made it out to visit me in California one summer. I had been living in Marin County just north of San Francisco for several years, and wanted them to see what a different world it was there from my home state Michigan.
I had a few activities planned that I wanted to share. One involved a “nature hike” that I thought would really be memorable that I wanted to do with my brother. I decided it would be great for Tom and I to head out alone for the morning; it had been too many years since we had been able to do anything like that together!
So I drove over to where he was staying and picked him up and said we were going somewhere really cool, but didn’t say exactly where we were going. Off we headed in my car towards Muir Woods, which is a dramatic setting of ancient redwood trees with hiking paths strewn all throughout the forest there.
Depending on the time of year it could be foggy and a bit cold and damp there; which is the way it was as when we arrived to start our hike. We knew the “big trees” were there, but it was a bit frustrating not being able to look up and see just how big they actually were.
About forty five minutes into our walk things began to shift; the fog was starting to lift some and new silhouettes were gradually appearing above us. Then all of a sudden golden-white shafts of sunlight began to burst through from above. The beautiful rays were eventually shooting through the enormous tree branches all around us; it was absolutely mesmerizing!
We were standing there heads tilted upward in total awe like two little kids seeing magic being performed as we took it all in. “What fantastic timing!” I thought, as we smiled at each other..
The rest of the hike was full of sweet natural light showering us with unique, inspiring, visual surprises; like a Sunbeam Serenade.
“Wow…” is all we could both say repeatedly as we drove off from our incredible forest experience; “now that was something!”
Getting ready to leave soon for my mini 4 show tour. Looking forward to saying hi to some new fans and more enjoyable musical moments.
Sometimes I like getting totally away from my music endeavors. A few days off allows me to come back into it with renewed excitement and fresh creativity.
I suppose the closest way to describe the personal side of what happens when writing a song and recording it is you are attempting to turn yourself inside out. That’s what it feels like anyway:)
I think it’s an important thing for artists, such as myself in this case, to regularly be in touch with folks by doing live performances. It’s easy to want to just hang out and create in my own little world for long spells of time, but that’s a bit too introverted I’ve finally decided:)
So hopefully you’ll be able to see more of me if you so choose before too much longer here! Thanks again for your interest in what I do..
I love getting organized..it’s the only way I’m able to get anything much done:) I suppose it’s another right brain/left brain thing that needs to be mastered in my life..
Oh..by the way I have a solo concert in the Sacramento, CA area on Saturday, April 10th in case you’re near there etc. Call (916) 560-0100 for more info..
Each year I find myself still thrilled with spring. Springtime is a time of new beginnings for me, a time for fresh life to flow through me, and a time of creation and celebration. Maybe it’s because I was born in April!
I grew up in a place where the winters could be a bit too long, drawn out, and overly gray. When it came time for the Robins to return and the snow to give way to the patches of light green sprinkled on the newly-exposed rich, wet, brown earth, I always got excited. Life became a friendlier time with smiles, nods, and person-to-person recognition that all is not solemn and hidden away.
My brother, sister, and I used to lay a blanket out on our cement porch on those sunny early March days when the temperature headed all the way up into the high 40s. For us kids, basking in that sun felt warm and cozy after all we’d been through!
Of course there’s something bigger going on with all of this. It’s about life’s sense of rejuvenation- life offering another chance to become more alive and to live with a renewed belief in our dreams.
As I write this from my Northern California home, there are new flocks of songbirds appearing for their annual concerts, fascinating wildflowers blooming here and there, as well as beautiful flowering trees showing off their brilliant yellows and hot pinks again.
Rise is about the celebration and anticipation of still better days to come somehow, some way in this world of ours. It’s about how new growth can also bring new experiences.
Here I am again in the middle of writing string parts for my supposed next “Solo” piano album. It’s hard to lay off the sweets I guess.. even though it’s a lot more work at least it’s fun also:)
Even though butterflies appear to be drunk pilots most of the time I love them anyway. I almost got hit by one the other day, but wasn’t too worried about it…
Tags: jim chappell blog
Sequencing songs for the new album; quite the puzzle to assemble re how pieces flow and interact with each other. It’s an interesting exercise in how to hopefully blend emotions in both an appealing, and engaging way.
I’m getting my ducks all in a row again so to speak. Doing a couple of live events this coming weekend and also trying to finish out the new album so it can be released. It’s one of those organizing time frames that helps everything go smoothly when it’s time to launch:)
An Evening of Soothing, Inspiring Piano
with composer/recording artist Jim Chappell
Saturday, May 29th, 7:00pm, Unitarian Universalist Church, 490 Aguajito Rd. Carmel, CA 93923
Admission $10.00 at door
Putting the final touches on my new album. Should have the cover and everything ready for manufacturing in a few days or so..yay:)
I love recording music- it gives me a wonderful when it goes down well! It’s a sacred space where good things can happen, that later can be shared with many, many people no matter what the distance etc.
However there’s something very magical about being to interact with fans/listeners physically in the same space. It’s an amazing sharing of energy and goodwill. It’s a big high for me and there’s really nothing like it!
I have a 2 hour live online interview coming up later this month. I believe you can call in with questions also:) It’s September 23rd 4:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. Eastern time USA hosted by the wonderful Andrea Garrison. Here is the link with more info etc. JC Interview
Best to you all…
Thnaks to you folks from the July 7th concert. It was great seeing you and meeting several of you! Seems like we all enjoyed it:)
Leave your idea for a song title for the improvisation from the show you attended if you like:)
Thanks again for coming. Nice meeting some of you I’ve never met before!
Thanks to you folks from Detroit, Cleveland, and Indianapolis for coming out to see me perform live recently. It was very enjoyable:) I always seem to learn something new from each show and each group of fans!
Though I live in a beautiful area I enjoy going to other places and meeting new faces. Getting away always provides me with an objective viewpoint on who I am and what I’m doing with my life..
It’s based on the inspirations for each song on my new Panorama album. Feedback is great so far:) You can take a look at it here.
There are a lot of activities connected with overseeing getting one’s music out in the world these days! Lots of indie artists are doing much of it themselves..
Here’s a few in case you’re curious: Writing/composing the tracks, creating/setting the arrangements for them, recording the material, mixing, sequencing the song order for the album, mastering, packaging, shipping, promoting etc.
The list goes on and on..But it’s great to be involved with something you can’t seem to live without:)
Here is one of my recent live in concert “spontaneous improvisations” based on three randomly chosen piano notes by an audience member.
I ask a volunteer to hit any 3 notes they’d like, and then I try to weave them into a melody right there on the spot. This keeps me on my toes for sure!
If you were there you should remember it:) I named it “Violet Night” (Copyright 2010 Unspeakable Freedom Music)
I’m enjoying the fact that I’ve been getting new fans from places like Russia, Korea, and Japan.
Thanks folks- I’m glad you enjoy what I do!
It’s interesting having a recording study so handy because I can’t seem to stop writing music; I just get called back in time after time almost every day:) I suppose that’s a good problem to have..
Composing music is really an enjoyable “task” for me. It’s my source of genuine joy.
Writing and recording music is actually what I would do whether or not I ever received a cent for it, which is a comforting thought I suppose:)
Keeping that creative river opening out into the world seems like a good thing for me…so on and on I go…
Thanks again to all who have listened over the years…nice to know you’re out there:)
Enjoying doing more composing for video situations…I find the music takes me into some very interesting places; kind of like an actor that really enjoys playing various roles, because he gets to explore many different parts of himself.
Enjoying more composing/recording. Tonight I was entirely lost in it until my 7 year old daughter started yelling for me from the other part of the house. I suppose that keeps me from drifting into never never land forever:)