Right Brain Reacquaintance

A Hard Days Work …

My G2 and MacMy Dad was a jazz guitarist, and a pretty good one too. When I came along though, he did what he must have thought was the honourable thing and took up a trade to support his new family. As a carpenter, he found new ways to express himself and became one of the most sought-after and trust-worthy contractors in our neighbourhood. It also gave me the opportunity to learn the value of hard work, being safe in dangerous environments, and how to make something from nothing … good times with the old man indeed.

 

Best Of Both Worlds

Once a musician, always a musician, and even though our family construction company kept us busy, you’d occasionally hear the magical sounds of jazz riffing tempting us from the basement on a Friday or Saturday night. A long week’s labour would give way to some tantalizing musical interludes as Mom made incredible meals and cleared away the aftermath of the endless coming and going of friends and family … I remember wondering, isn’t it like this for everyone?

 

Serious Fun

Living in the musical shadow of my Dad’s raw talent, I sounded out my own niche as a blues singer playing the biker bars and seedy east-end clubs of Montreal throughout my youth. The constant reminder in my ear from a cautious father, kept me saddled firmly on the fence between a musician’s life and the corporate¬†world of computers, middle-management and business politics. My 20s and 30s were spent, like most, taking very little too seriously and burning several candles at both ends … because we’re all invincible for a little while ūüėČ

 

Taking Responsibility

My wife Liz and I were some of the last few hold-outs on the bar scene; old kids who never succumbed to the dark side but also managed to skip setting down roots. We found each other and quickly began the process of propping and pulling each other out of the crappy world that was clinging to us after too many years alone; giving birth to our own new selves, and also to a couple beautiful baby girls. Our universes were transformed and made anew; not without some swift-kicking growing pains to get us on track, but all for the very best, and certainly long overdue.

 

Old New Songs

So many old riffs, half-jotted-down ideas and beer-soaked melodies, scrabbled together in various forms; all of them finally collected into a clear snapshot of my musical life. Decades gone by since I wrote the first one, and already 5 years since I last left the stage resonating with the hum of¬†a hundred¬†tired cover songs. I finally revisited my old originals repertoire tonight, a Thursday night, one of my favourite nights of the week. Everything to look forward to after many years¬†of problems solved, and only the best yet to come in the ones ahead. I realize, I really love my songs, my life, my kids, my wife … what a feeling, all in a day’s work. It feels really nice to use the right side again.

The Best Gift Of All

Things …

434px-MerryOldSantaEverybody likes getting stuff, even little things can make people smile on Christmas morning … a box of chocolates, some new socks, it doesn’t take much. It’s easier than ever before to get stuff too; online shopping is a no-brainer, there are gift cards every where you shop … these days, just¬†laying a finger aside of your nose, presto, you’re Santa!

 

Ideas

Something that has not gotten any easier over time however is coming up with thoughtful gifts, these still require insight and understanding of our fellow giftee. Not only that, but the truly thoughtful gift can go further than showing one`s appreciation, it can also make a statement that inspires the receiver as well. To me, sharing ideas is the real challenge in life, and finding ways to turn material gifts into vehicles of expression is really tough.

 

The Message

Even though retail has flourished as the true motivator behind the current popular form of Christmas, there is an interesting return to that whole Miracle on 34th Street message; you can see and feel it in smartly produced campaigns by folks at Ikea and Sainsbury¬†… R.H. Macy would no doubt have been impressed. What makes me smile is that the message seems to be important again, it feels old-fashioned and brand new all at the same time.

 

The Method

Just like a truly thoughtful gift, a truly thoughtful song can make a difference in someone’s life. The overwhelming supply of mediocre fare that is instantly available to us … on store shelves, as well as on the radio, makes it hard to remember that the truly important message is one that is conveyed profoundly. Mediocre stuff is fine, but drumming up some real emotions once in a while is worth all the casual trinkets in anyone’s collection.

Pass It On

I’m very fortunate to be in good health, surrounded by a beautiful family, great friends, and live in a country where we can live free and do as we please. It makes me want to write great music, or at least try very hard to do so, and put into that effort as much genuine emotion as I can spare. By doing so, it makes me feel confident that I’ve done my best to share an important message, whether it’s whimsical, melancholy or just plain catchy, at least I’m being true to myself … and with any luck, that genuine message will be received, remembered, and passed on.