Thursday, April 07, 2011
the siren call
Since my late adolescence there has been this siren call that my music has had for me. During college, it was very strong and I was very close to making music my career. I majored in music and spent a lot of weekends traveling and performing in churches and coffeehouses. Still, it felt untenable as a way to actually live and I followed the other call and headed off to seminary. Then in seminary, the call re-asserted itself and I toyed with following a path as a "Christian" musician. After two years as an intern in a local church, I worked for one year with Come Alive Ministries, doing a syndicated radio show with Cheryl and traveling and performing in churches. I had some wonderful times and some that were anything but and it became clear that actually making a living doing music in churches was more difficult than I wanted to tackle. I decided to follow the call to the pastorate and, for the most part through the years, have felt that was the right decision.
I have continued to perform in a variety of settings through the years, playing in bar bands, as a solo singer/songwriter, in duos and trios and as a sideman. I also was on the board for the Eighth Step and now book a small concert series in Goleta. The tension has always been to find a way to make music that is meaningful and fits into the space allowed by the demands of family and job. At various times that has been easier and more rewarding than others.
I'm feeling a strong call again and trying to figure out how to make it all fit. I continue to play guitar for Jamie Green, although Jamie struggles with the same issues and is spending a significant part of her musical time with another project called Soul Aviv so we don't perform all that regularly. Alexis will be staying with us for a few months while her husband does a training program in New Jersey so we'll be performing once or twice, doing some of our material from the Alexis d days (one of the most satisfying musical times for me - you can hear it in the player on the right). Still, it feels like I need something more. I'm trying to take on a few more guitar students and to find a few more opportunities as a sideman on either guitar or bass but so far there hasn't been a lot of bites for either.
A couple of pieces have pushed me to think more about the solo singer/songwriter direction - a direction that is the most difficult, the most work, and perhaps has the most opportunity for reward. This past Sunday, my friend, Bob Terry played drums for us at church and we were talking afterward. Bob essentially said, "it's all about the music, making good music that feeds your soul." He was right. Then, I read a blog from an acquaintance, Fernando Gros, who seems at times to struggle with the same kinds of questions that I wrestle with... (although he answers them better). Fernando had two recent posts - here on the music biz, and here on putting together his new studio. Together with the discussion with Bob and my internal stuff, it has all been pushing me to get my butt in gear and start making more of my music and to do the work to get that happening.
So I'm writing this post as a way of making myself more accountable... and I'm hoping that every now and then some of you out there will say, "Hey Roy, have you written any music lately?" or "How is the plan for your little studio moving along?" or "Any solo gigs coming up?" I'm still looking for a few more students and I'd love to have a few gigs as a sideman on bass or guitar but... maybe with a little push, I'll answer the siren call in a way that both fits my life and makes some good music that is truly mine.