Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What to expect when you ask me to sing . . .

Lately, I've been getting an increased number of invitations to sing. That's a good thing.

First, when you call or email me, I have to check my church and personal calendars. Obviously, as a full-time senior associate pastor of a larger and growing church, I have to give priority to already scheduled events and meetings. However, sometimes things can be re-arranged.

If the calendars are open, and I can get to your venue without lengthy travel . . . it's probably something I can do.

Second, I am primarily an acoustic guitar player. I am going to arrive with either a Guild jumbo 12-string or 6-string . . . usually with both. I have a Fishman Loudbox amp and all the little accessories that make it work well. In many venues, all I use is a podium mic, as often that is all that is needed. In nursing homes or in hospitals, I do not use a mic or amp. A softer approach for these venues is more appropriate.

Third, I will tailor the program to your needs. Obviously, in hospitals and nursing homes, I am going to sing songs from my Theraputic Music Entertainment catalog. Probably in school and after-school settings as well. At parks, campgrounds, community and church events, etc., I can provide music from the 60's and 70's, classic rock, some classic country, a whole lot of folk music, gospel, campfire songs, etc.

Fourth, I can be the lead for the program, or provide music support for the main speaker.

Fifth, I come professionally dressed. Usually a black shirt with khaki pants or nice jeans. I will wear a colored shirt for the kids. My appearance will be appreciated by audiences of all ages, especially an older crowd.

Sixth, I am a professional. I repeat, I am a professional. It's not about me. It's all about entertaining those I have been invited to sing to. I come prepared, will do many of the songs from memory, others sung out of a notebook. I don't use any suggestive actions or language. But I do engage the audience, and I am very good at getting people of all ages to sing with the songs.

With me, music makes a difference!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

More music, more of the time . . .

Hoping to have something to announce after the 1st of October, concerning my being able to increase the number of times, dates and places I will be providing Theraputic Music Entertainment to children in hospitals in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area.

It's all a good thing!

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Guild's are one tough guitar . . .

Currently, my main performance guitars are a Guild F-512 (12 string) and a Guild F50R, which I just picked up today.

Although I am a first choice Martin guitar lover, I went with Guild for the guitars I play at hospitals, nursing homes and other community gigs.

Both my Guilds are jumbo's . . . as I play in a lot of acoustic only venues. I'm also 6'6" and 300 pounds . . . a jumbo doesn't exactly look small on me.

But more importantly . . . the Guild's are just plain "logs." Yes they are heavier than Martin's, but they are also, in my opinion, much tougher, and will stand up better long term in the venues I perform in. Granted my Martin DC-16 is the best sounding guitar I have ever heard . . . it is light weight, and banged against a door or a tree, it isn't going to last long.

I'm not saying that Martin's are brittle . . . not by any means . . . but a guitar with me is not exactly living in the safest world . . . as I haul them around in the back of my Saturn Vue, and carry them in with me where ever I go.

I think in the long run, the Guild's will last me longer in the course of regular professional use. Again my opinion.

Granted, a Martin J-40 or D-28 with my name on it is still out there somewhere . . . and down the road at some point we will connect. In the mean time . . . for music played the way I play it, where I play it . . . the Guilds are going to work for me just fine.

And yes . . . my two Guilds are the same models that John Denver used at one point in his career. And yes . . . that also had a little something to do with my decision to go with Guild as well. Just a little bit, mind you.

And yes . . . Jim, Paul, Larry and I all play Guild's when we perform for Hugworks. That says something about their durability, as Jim has played his F-412 for over 30 years.

A lot of good reasons, and a lot of good recommendations that led me to making a good ad "sound" professional choice. This was a no-brainer.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Monday, September 5, 2011

Should music make a difference?

Damn straight it should!!!!

I'm 54 years old . . . and truth is this . . . I would give my guitars to Sean at Grapevine Guitar Works to sell . . . and never sing another note ever . . . if I didn't think that music made some sort of a difference in people's lives.

As long as humanity struggles . . . there will be music.

As long as people need a respite from the problems they face . . . there will be music.

As long as people love each other . . . there will be music.

As long as people need answers to life's questions . . . there will be music.

As long as friends gather to celebrate, or to mourn . . . there will be music.

As long as people search for God and faith . . . there will be music.

As long as people stand up for the rights of others, and for causes that educate us about injustice, hatred and oppression . . . there will be music.

As long as I am alive and have voice, and have hands that can play a guitar, ukulele or banjo . . . there will be music.

My mission in the days, weeks, months and years I have left . . . is to sing and play in order to help change the world for the better. I do this as my way of living out Psalm 100: 1-2, by making a joyful noise wherever I am, or to cause a joyful noise to be made for God's glory, and for peace, healing and wholeness.

I don't have the time or luxury in life any more to be distracted by things, ideas, or causes that do not reflect my core values and beliefs. Music is very near the center core value of who I am. Music reflects so much about who I am, what I believe, who I worship, who I love, and who I want to help.

'Nuff said.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Another "Camp Ground Store" concert under my belt . . .

This morning I provided a two hour concert at the Vineyards Campground in Grapevine, TX, singing once again on the front porch of the Camp Ground Store.

The occasion? The store was having a clearance sale!

Aw . . . it was a hoot! About 50 people filtered through to make store purchases for need items, and many of them sang along with the songs. I sang about 5 songs to one little 4 year old girl, who wanted to sit and listen to the music. Her dad seemed to enjoy it too.

One older lady walked over as soon as I started, and stayed the entire two hours. What a trooper!

If you are into camping or RVing, you need to check out the Vineyards Campground. It has won several regional and national awards, and is very, very, very family oriented.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September 1, 2011 . . . I be "certified!"

A good day!

This morning, I sang in several of the clinics at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, and in the process, fulfilled my solo performance requirement, the final requirement for certification as a Theraputic Music Entertainer through Hugworks.org.

I passed! I did pretty well.

I should be exicted. I find that my emotions are more centered in thankfulness.

So . . . I offer my thanks and gratitude to:

-My wife and family for their unwavering support.

-To Jim Newton, Paul G. Hill and Larry Dykstra at Hugworks. Their friendship, instruction, guidance and mentoring have, are now, and will always be valued and appreciated for years to come.

-To Sean Simon and Grapevine Guitar works, for helping me get to the place where I am finally playing professional quality guitars, which has helped raised my singing and guitar playing ability dramatically. Sean has also offered great advice and counsel, in addition to his friendship, which I greatly value.

-To Joe Laughlin and Floyd Marshall, my dear long-time friends who always offered encouragement and support.

-To everyone at the First United Methodist Church in Grapevine, TX (the best church in the world!!!) for allowing music and singing to be an important part of my ministry. From day one, Ken Diehm gave his full support toward my working toward my goal of becoming a certified TME. John Mollet graciously told me to "go for it" to get it all finished, and to keep singing whenever and wherever I can.

-Thank you, God . . . for the strength that can only come from the passion fueled by a calling in one's heart.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>