The leaves lay thick on our garden path, soft and pliable, fresh yellow, orange and red. After tidying up a bit, we started a fire and sat in the chilly sun to read. The black and white pages did not hold my attention. I found my eyes drifting up to admire the remaining jewels on the tree limbs not quite ready to jump into the pile with their siblings. Savor this moment. The leaves will too soon grow crispy and brown.
The COVID Pandemic has been difficult. Isolating. In some ways we are like the crew on Gilligan's Island, seeking news of the outside world through Professor's radio or the rare stranded visitor. We are cast away into our own island bubbles.
That is the inspiration for our new song called.... Cast Away. Lost on an island with no place to go and dreaming of the day when we can cast away these islands.
I am missing my friend. She died too young. Her name is Deanna. She remembered everything I told her and helped me remember too. My memory has never been very good. I am continuously dumping out stories in search of the newest sparkly one. I feel like I lost not only a best friend, but most of my memories for the last 30 years. When she related the stories to me, I laughed as hard as on the day of the event. She reminded me not to be too hard on myself. She handed me the pep talk, the get over yourself talk, and the take care of yourself talk at all the right times and sometimes in the same conversation. Her song is called One Day. I am singing it for the first time on February 8, 2020. Or at least I will try. I haven't made it through without wobbling yet. Hmmm...just when I need her pep talk.
Every year, Tom and Barb present a Christmas song for the Midnight Mass Concert in their faith community. It began with renditions of cover music. Barb has written several original songs as gifts for the community. This year, Tom wrote "Rise Up Shepherds, Tell Me What Did You See." So begins the seed of an idea for a new album.
It is surprisingly difficult to write a Christmas Song. The narrative is familiar. Many have written beautiful Christmas songs. What more could be said? And why would one person need another song beyond "Silent Night?"
Stay tuned with us on our journey!
Music al fresco
July 30, 2019
Summer is made for music. Farmer markets, outdoor cafes, and street venues. It a powerful feeling having your voice drift on the wind, never knowing who might catch a lyric and take it too heart. Certainly the birds love to sing along. A pair of skateboarders skip by in beat, young joints bouncing exuberantly with the boards on their shoulders. Babies wave from carriages. A young girl twirls to music in front of us, and then shifts into gliding ballet type movements with a song and tempo change. She said "my talent is dancing." Delightful! Lips move to known songs, lyrics embedded long ago, and to original music just learned.
So we learn from the young. "Our talent is music al fresco."
Fragile release concert
July 03, 2019
Fragile, the latest CD, was released on May 17, 2019 at a special concert. Tom and Barb performed original inspiring songs backed by talented musician friends, Lon Couillard, Andy Waldoch, Ray Kinney, David Noll, Peg Kasun, Hannah Kasun, and Gregg Jancoski. Tom's collection of original art accompanied the music, projected on large screens. The art depicted portraits, landscapes, and animals in the media of water color, pen and ink, digital, charcoal, and pastels. John Webber was the sound engineer for the event. During the song, Something's Not Working Here, the OLOL choir stood in the audience to lend their voices in representation of all those in poverty who could not be there, a representative flash mob.
The concert was constructed around the concept of a labyrinth which winds in toward the center or heart. Unlike a maze, there are no misleading or dead-ends. There is one way in and one way out. The album is a collection of songs that leads one into reflection and healing, acknowledging the vulnerable places in life, and then the joy and serenity that we find on the other side of turbulence.
Fragile CD in mastering process
January 26, 2019
John Webber of Krona Studios set off on a trip to Austin TX to observe the mastering of our CD, Fragile, with Terra Nova Mastering. Tom, being from Texas himself, was overjoyed with the instant connection he felt with the team's hospitality. We are so looking forward to sharing the final product with you.
14 original songs.
Original artwork on the CD.
Same great lyrics, melodies and harmonies.
A community of local musicians to add their talent.
Coming March 9, 2019
The Coffee House
March 06, 2018
The Coffee House in Milwaukee is a local gem. It is a volunteer run organization in a borrowed room of a church. It earned it's name before the fancy coffee venues, back in the 60s. You know the time when grandma's big coffee maker was a revolutionary invention! So other coffee houses of today focus on expensive mugs with self-indulgent names. But The Coffee House has 50 years of supporting singer-songwriters, poets, artists and activists. No pretensions here. Come as you ARE. If you want a fancy mug...bring your own. In fact, bringing your own cup will earn you an impressed raised eyebrow from the volunteers because you care about saving a tree.
Tom and Barb started at an open Mic at The Coffee House long ago. We fumbled, stuttered and sweated. The audience was energetic, accepting, affirming and encouraging. We are not sure we earned the applause, but the excitement to perform in front of people was addictive. I remember the first time I sang one of my own songs. I was so frightened. Vulnerable. But the good people of The Coffee House cheered me on. I received tips from fellow performers and appreciation from listeners.
Now we perform at modern coffee houses, garden parties, and street festivals. Outside, people stroll and bop to the music, maybe stop to listen for a couple songs. Inside, we complete with the cappuccino maker which always drones loudly when a soft ballad is next up on the set list.
Thank you to those who intently listen to the words of a song. I sing just for you. I form my notes and rhythm so that each word has meaning and emotion, faithful to the songwriter. I learned this from my years at The Coffee House, where people come to hear and feel the performing art.
August 18, 2016
We spent some time in Minneapolis. John is pursuing his dream in becoming an audio engineer. Since he has been running our sound for several years now, it is only right that the parents take a road trip in support of his questions. We did the touristy things in addition to the school tours. At the last minute, Tom threw the guitar in the car "just in case" we happened across an open mic. We had a little down time on Sunday evening and hit up 2 open mics in one evening. So different than in Milwaukee, both in amount and in character. We heard 2 covers. The remaining were original songs, many of them stunning. It is good to know that the spirit of the troubadour is immortal.
Honest FARM Folk
November 04, 2015
Enjoyed our time at the Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) conference tremendously. Walking down the halls talking music, learning from experts and fellow musicians, jamming until sun-rise. We arrived just before midnight on Wednesday. Tom left his Martin guitar on the street in front of the hotel when unloading the car. We didn't notice until the next morning. The guitar was taken into the lobby and kept safe for us, until the hotel could locate the owner. Honest FARM Folk.