24 November 2010

Well, there seem to be two states of mind, One is visionary, the other blind, And the best that we can hope to find, Is to meet somewhere in between

You’ll forgive my silence these last many months I hope. You see, after writing about Ross I felt I really had not much more to add to this crowded world of blogs and ramblings. Some of it is because his music and his story touched me so deeply that I have been at a loss as to how to follow up. Some of it is that I’ve just been really busy working, resting from work, traveling, recording my own music – and lots of time running (or as some would say ‘jogging’, my drug, my sanity keeper). These activities have been keeping me busy. But - the Holidays are now upon us and the year has gone by quickly so it seemed like a good time to check in and say hello again.

This being Thanksgiving I thought I would chime in and share some of the thoughts and ideas I’m grateful for. If you know me personally than you know there have been some really dark years – if you’re reading this blog for the first time – let me just say the fact that I’m alive to write this blog and didn’t do anything stupid is a feat of – well – angels? Persistence? Upbringing? I think maybe that’s a big part of it. The lessons taught to me by my departed family members ultimately may have saved my life. I would also like to add that there are many living people who, along the way, saved me as well. I needed saving. I know it’s ‘weak’ to say that you ‘need’ something – but it’s downright true. We can’t do it alone – sometimes there are things bigger than us and fighting our demons many times requires the love and support of others.

I think the ‘funny’ thing about all of this – if there is a ‘funny’ thing – is that the love seems to go on. I know it might sound crazy but there are moments when I feel my mother’s presence – when I hear her voice in my head or can feel her last hug on me. I’ll never forget that last hug. I know what day it was – I know where we were standing and I know where the sun was sitting in the sky. I also know she looks over me all these years later. It was her voice that stopped me from taking things to too far and past the point of no return. It was her teachings and beliefs that she shared with me in the years before her passing that helped me get through her sudden departure - and the ones that followed in the next year and a half. So I do believe as that cheesy song says that ‘love goes on’. (Or was it my heart? Either way, if you have to ask what that song is you’re reading the wrong blog and should move on to the next one, lol).

As for another not – so - cheesy song featured in the most awesome film, Love Actually, love is, ‘all around us’ (really Hugh Grant says this in a voice-over but the song that’s playing whilst he’s saying it…well...). How do I know? I feel it. I feel I’ve come out of a tunnel since my departure from Los Angeles. I am feeling the love of those that came before me and those I’ve met along the way.

You see, when you emerge from a tunnel – whether you’re driving, you’re the passenger or you’ve been asleep, no matter what, it takes time to adjust your vision. I mean that quite literally and figuratively. It’s dark, the lights are on, but vision is limited. You see the light, you move closer, ever so slowly your eyes adjust. You reach the end of the tunnel – it’s a BIG light – but still your eyes need time, as does your mind. Time to take stock - figure out what’s going on – and though it’s blinding at first you find your way. You find the road – the line – the path you are meant to be driving. You feel the warmth of the sun and you put your foot on the gas….you are free.

Free? For what? Free to move on? Free to be you and me? Maybe it’s just feeling free to feel. Maybe it’s freedom to listen to your heart when your mind is bossing you around. Maybe when you’ve survived a tunnel you learn to appreciate the people in your life who make you smile, dance in the kitchen when a song comes on that you never knew you both liked, or maybe it’s as simple as making you feel loved. Maybe it’s not about ‘making’ you feel loved. Maybe it’s you allowing yourself to feel it.

I can say I do. I haven’t always but I do. I feel the love of the people in my life and those that maybe aren’t around. Maybe you stopped in for a spell, maybe you stayed awhile. But either way I think that love does carry on long after the person has left our side. It transcends miles, universes, and the hereafter. Love is, all around us. For that I am grateful. Grateful to be able to know that it is and grateful that it simply IS.

This posting is for all those people throughout the years who have made me feel loved and continue to do so. I wish you all (readers too) a Happy Thanksgiving…may your bellies be full and your hearts fuller. And may your mind take a rest...

Thanks for tuning in….Until next time…Cheers!

21 March 2010

“I understand wasn’t part of the plan and I think we can agree that it’s hell when we’re apart…there’s Nobody Better than me….”

I’ll never understand why this song from Ross Clark makes me cry – but it has ever since the first time his friend from High School played it for me. In fact, “Nobody Better” was the first song I ever heard from this very talented singer-songwriter, and gifted musician. From his self-made CD entitled Delayed Dreams, this and so many other songs are from a musical soul that is of a rare breed. Sensitive, yet edgy, uniquely voiced (he’s a tenor – a rarity in Rock/Bluegrass) and for so many reasons you should pay attention to him. If I were a music producer I would have signed him the moment I finished listening to this beautiful, sweet tune of love. Or the first time I heard “Feeding Dreams” – yet another delicate, melodic lilting song of love and tenderness. Oh that I were even remotely well-connected enough to make his dreams come true – Delayed or otherwise.

Last night over 200 people attended Ross’ memorial service in Upstate New York. When I first wrote about him in my last posting right before the Holidays unbeknownst to me he had already passed away (19 Dec 2009). He fought a lifetime of health issues and bravely one day said ‘enough is enough’ – three days later he was gone. He was only 35. But this blog isn’t meant to be about his death – it’s meant to be about his life and the musical legacy he left behind.

I never met Ross, but I’ve been a fan for several years. I had always hoped to play music with him when, or if, our paths crossed. The closest I’ve come is seeing video of him – he had a strong presence and a very sweet touch on the guitar. He could play soft, he could rock out – he seemed to have no boundaries – no fear – zero inhibition. His sweet voice that bordered on the feminine gave no hint as to the pain he felt in his body on a daily basis. Maybe that’s what made him so open? This hopeless, yet realistic romantic gave his every breath to the notes and feelings inside of him. He shared his gift with his family and friends and honestly the real tragedy is not of a life cut far too short – it’s that too many in this world have yet to discover his talents.

Maybe it’s his voice that makes me cry – maybe it’s the undiscovered talent I can relate to – the struggle of being an artist and needing to survive. Crappy jobs just to get by and too many packets of ramen noodles. Maybe it’s that I weep for a kindred spirit. Maybe it’s songs like “Crickets (Ode To Bree)” that reach my softer/melodic side. More than likely it’s because this guy was freaking talented. Oh that I could just let it all hang out like he did….oh that I could play a Blues song and make it sound as real…or give Dan Tyminski from Union Station a run for his money. You name it – he played it. Ross had a gift. A true gift.

“Am I strong enough, to be weak for you? Do I have enough to give all I have to you?....” Weak For You Blues. I was in the car yesterday on my way to go hiking. I have over 2000 songs on my iphone and of all the days – this song came on. I gave a nod upwards – a big smile crossed my face and then a tear came to my eye – not because I lost someone – because the world lost a talented musician. Somehow I felt that at that moment he was reaching out to me and saying ‘Hey – I’m with you…’. As long as people hear his music he will always be around. His family asked not for flowers or donations but asked that we – those who have already had the pleasure of ‘knowing’ Ross – share his music and hopefully learn from his passion. That is what this blog is about. Sharing Ross and all that he left behind. To his family I say – thank you for allowing me to know his music and for allowing me to write about him here in this forum. My condolences are with you all as well as my deep regret that I never met him. Though because of his openness in his writing – I feel as though I know him. I hope you will too! Please visit him on itunes or find him on his blog:

Thank you for tuning in….until next time….CHEERS!! and RIP Ross…you deserve it!