Posts Tagged ‘appreciation’

Singing Out

January 3, 2016 Leave a comment

MetkfcRoslindale3On January 1st a friend of our insisted I bring my trombone to her brunch, so I did.  I played several standards and some of my own stuff.  I have been called upon to perform solo a few times in my life.  It is a tough gig for a melody instrument, and, I feel, much better suited for piano, guitar or accordion.  But I did my best and was blessed with a 96-year-old former instrumental music teacher as an audience for the first several songs.  She was appreciative and at the end gave me a piece of invaluable advice.

“You have a sweet sound when you play softly,” she said.

Of course I thanked her, and I will remember this advice in my endeavors to come.

On January 12, 2016, I will sing three or more of my original songs at the Boston Singers Showcase open mic at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  If you live in the area and would like to go, here is a link to more information:

This “fifteen minutes of fame” will be my most ambitious vocal performance to date.   My stuff is a little different, I think, than the tunes people usually sing there.  I am thinking this will be an advantage.  I may get a video out of the deal; if I do I’ll surely let you know.

Prior to that I will be recording my new song, “Fancy Hat” at Little Dog Studio in Malden.   I am picking up the pieces here from my defunct studio date that was supposed to have taken place in December but was torpedoed by the drummer’s defection three days before.   I have not found a replacement for my former drummer at this time, so will be working with a cajon player.  I like him and his sound, and it will have the advantage of sounding a little different.  “A little different.”  I’m sensing a them here.  🙂

I will be taking the name, “Fancy Hat”, for my 2016 project, The Fancy Hat Concert.  I am currently seeking a venue and funding.  I’ll keep you posted as to how I do.   I produced my first concert at The Lilypad in Cambridge on a shoestring but I am looking to accomplish something grander this time around.



Winter Quiet

January 12, 2015 Leave a comment


In the United States, whether you celebrate them or not, the cultural winter holidays tend to be a bit disruptive, yet the craziness of these holidays is juxtaposed with the deep and solemn quiet of winter as it exists in nature.   The cacophony of birdsong gives way to the quiet chirping of chickadees as most species fly south to warmer climes.  Snow blankets the land, muffling all sound.  Walking in the northern forest in the winter, one’s breath seems loud.

Like the migrating birds, many of the musicians with whom I make music become scarce this time of year because they travel or are otherwise busy.   Therefore it is a good opportunity for me to look simultaneously into the depths of my creative soul and my computer’s hard drive for creations put aside for just such a time as this.  Even as some of my usual creative outlets are suppressed I am having fun revisiting old ideas and discovering new ones.

One of the new ones is a tune called “Shorty” in honor of Trombone Shorty.

At Eye On Life meanwhile we continue to be blessed with a steady stream of new poetry, for example, we recently welcomed poet Robert Demaree into the ranks of our contributing poets;  in addition, we are looking forward to publishing more of Donal Mahoney’s work tomorrow, and sometime this week Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois will be returning to The Poetry Locksmith as well.   We are so fortunate to have so many remarkable poetic voices enrich our pages.



The Conspiring Universe

winter_fruit_treesRecently it has been a time when the swirling influences have gelled in marvelous kaleidoscopic momentary formations.   At other times it has seemed as if I were wearing a trench in the Earth with the sameness of my days, and while there remains an element of that, doors have opened and I have opportunities to pass through them into new and exciting spaces.  So it has passed that my companions, Desire and Despair, have at times been at odds, but as through time I have come to know them well I can greet each with equanimity and detachment for the most part; and being aware of those times that I succumb, I can afford to be amused at my inner stories rather than tortured by them.  As I have said before, I am a very lucky man.

From the vantage of detachment I can look upon the boiling pot of influences and be grateful for all of its patterns – both those I would have chosen for myself and those that I would not.  I can see, also, both the effects of my careful stirring of the pot and of my leaving it be.   I have found (and am advised) that leaving it be is usually best.

So it seems that in my immediate future I will record my own music with fine musicians and have multiple opportunities to play R & B, Klezmer and jazz; in my intermediate future I will perhaps have an opportunity to perform my music in public, and I will be traveling to a distant land with my lovely wife;  and in my later future I have no doubt that many delightful surprises await.  There is some other stuff going on, but I think I have touched on the highlights.  Now we’ll see how it all unfolds.

At Eye On Life the Poetry Contest is off to a slow start with only two poets so far competing for the over $150 in prizes.  If this keeps up one of them will have to win two of the prizes.  That won’t do.  Be sure to enter right away so you don’t have to worry about the March 31 deadline.   At The Poetry Locksmith, Donal Mahoney has continued to bless us with his prolific work and Samuel Vargo has returned with more of his eclectic and thought-provoking verse.

I wrote a couple of articles for newbies to door hardware – “Door Handing for Hardware Dummies” and “How to Order Hardware for Small Commercial Projects” – and a poem.  Also I am working on a how-to article about what to do when your lock explodes, video included.  It should be fun.  I did the video already.   I’ll let you know when it’s up 😉

Waiting Is

February 13, 2014 Leave a comment

wet_snow_treeA little quote from the Stranger.  I can relate.  This is indeed a strange land.

I trust in the Creative.  Forces are converging and I am instructed to observe and accept, and to tread lightly with compassion, equanimity, grace and modesty.  So I quietly invite success.

My cloud of sound may sport new tracks soon.  Actually I have at least one new track on there now called “Rescue.”  That piece is part of a sonata that I hope to perform someday.  I’ll try to get the entire sonata up on online sometime.

I have an opportunity coming up to record a few of my pieces with some very good players that I am bringing together for the purpose.  I have played with all of them in different venues and capacities, but some of them have never played together.  I am eager to see the result.   I expect my work will be transformed to some extent and I am looking forward to how their influences unfold the music.

Although I have been concentrating on my music I have also been writing a bit.  I wrote a piece for facilities and property managers about how to order door hardware for small commercial projects if you know absolutely nothing about door hardware, and otherwise I have been bouncing ideas around.  It seems I have so little time now to write at the moment, but as this existence is structured, as they say, ‘this, too, shall pass.’

Over at Eye On Life, Donal Mahoney’s prolific streak continues with only minor breaks.  Recently we had a lovely bouquet of haiku from Diane Webster and more eclectic work from Erren Geraud Kelly.   So stop by and make time to enjoy the poetry for a few minutes.  It can only do you good.

Also the Eye On Life Annual Poetry Contest is open for submissions through March, 2014.

Former Trees

October 4, 2013 Leave a comment

skidderChange is life; life is change.  Embrace life.

Sometimes this is a philosophy of peace and sometimes it is a philosophy of conflict because some change just feels wrong.

Former Trees

Comes to an end one day
As I see instead of trees
Empty air

A few branches strewn
On torn earth

There the machine
Parked on the gravel
Tree cutter, skidder, stump puller
All in one
Invention of a human
Thinking only
Of efficiency

But no judgement
Only acceptance
Embrace change
Remember the tearing
Of your heart
Lets the Eternal in

Yet today
What can I say
As this beautiful pair
Who captured my imagination last year
Lay there

I can say only
Now the door to my heart
Is torn open
So more of the Eternal
Can come inside

And that
I owe a debt
To these
Former trees



Hardware Rising

September 8, 2013 1 comment

pawtuckaway82013_006It is interesting to watch life unfold.  I found door hardware to be surprisingly rewarding this week.  For part of that I thank my employers and their customers, and for another part I thank the Door Hardware Institute for publishing my article “Multi-Function Doorways” in the September, 2013 issue of their magazine, Doors and Hardware. 

In other news I wrote a rhythm and blues piece called “Love Is No Fool” and an article about the basic principals of the key machine.  “Love Is No Fool” came out pretty well considering my rudimentary equipment, and despite the rather twisted lyrics is an uncharacteristically conventional kind of tune.  Hmm.

Unclaimed Freight has a huge gig coming up October 3rd in downtown Boston.  More info as that unfolds.  🙂

In other words, I have a LOT going on.  It’s nice.

Silence and Poetry

August 18, 2013 Leave a comment

pin003_8152013Poetry is really the opposite of silence.  Poetry is the voice of the open heart, and even when you read the most inaccessible free verse you can hear with your mind’s ear the voice of the poet’s innermost self, if you listen.

I wrote a piece of music called Silence, but I could not stand to listen to myself sing it, so I published an instrumental version.  The words go like this:

Another song … why?  Sing it to the empty sky, the deaf and blind:  another song. 
Sometimes I open my mouth and sing loud and clear, but though people are near no one hears. 
When I sing, it seems that only I can hear, but if you listen you can hear me in the silence.

No one may notice, someday I’ll have gone on my way where nothing matters but energy. 
There may remain a melody and if you listen, maybe you will hear me in the silence.

In other news, Donal Mahoney has been exceedingly prolific this week, gracing Eye On Life with four – count ’em – four poems.  Impressive.  Stop by and enjoy.  Also I published an updated article about delayed egress hardware over on HubPages.

Looking forward to rehearsal this week with Unclaimed Freight and our family vacation at the end of August.  I hope everyone is enjoying a fine summer.