Recording as a Tribute Artist is always a topic of hot debate. Even to myself, it seems folly unless we can do something meaningful with these songs. Simply reproducing precisely what is done by the original artist seems dumb. Just doing a sloppy job of it, also pointless… as in both cases, why wouldn’t a person just try to find an album by the original artist? I’d love to be able to elevate an old song to some new relevance without disrespecting the original arrangement. Having someone tell me I achieved THAT would be the ultimate motivator to do more. These are the instructions to the Mixing and Mastering Engineer. A tall order when the 1977 Rumours album, the 8th best selling album of all time (Over 40 million copies sold) took a year to produce and probably a million dollars in studio time.
Most of the vocals are “in the can” and we only have a few more bits of saxophone, mandolin, violins and other strings, and pedal steel guitar to add to the tracks. I didn’t write a single one of these songs… but I still feel like it’s a work of art that I’ve been able to have a hand in. I’ve tasted working in a big well equipped studio with absolute A-List musicians…. and it’s a really really wonderful flavor.
As Christmas 2012 approaches and I think about the wisdom of my choices, I try to think philosophically about these things. From an article I read recently, “A wise person sees both sides of a matter. The fool sees only one. The origin of the word “wizard” is wise-ard. It means wise man. Nothing more.
The wise-ards of the Christmas Story followed a star, had an adventure, made a discovery and leaped onto the pages of history. What did they talk about along the way? Who did the cooking? What pressing issues did they leave unattended back home? Did they do anything really big with the rest of their lives? Where, when, and how did each of them pass?
We know only that they followed a star everyone else was content to ignore… that they were nonconformists with strange beliefs who had the courage of their convictions. They took action. They left home and found the thing they sought.”
This is what gets me out of bed in the morning. How about you? Will you run with the big dogs or sit on the porch and bark at the postman? Talk is cheap, the buzzing of flies. What are we trying to accomplish? How will we measure progress-to-goal? Do I know what needs to happen next? Which star do you follow?
An encounter with the wise man in the woods is part of every hero’s journey. Athena was the wise man in the woods for Odysseus. When Obi-Wan was gone, Luke went to Dagobah and Yoda became his wise man. Mr. Miyagi was wise-ard for the Karate Kid. Morpheus for Neo. Galadriel for Frodo.
When you’re in the darkness of the forest – the belly of the whale – look around for the wise-ard who will help you complete your journey. The wise man in the woods exists only to assist the hero on his or her adventure. I’d love to be that hero….
“As I bow at the waist and back slowly off the page, I pass along these carefully crafted words from heroes who carved their names deeply in the tree of life.”
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”
– Hunter S. Thompson
“If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.”
– Wes Jackson
Julie C Myers
I’ve heard that “the person who achieves spectacular failure has at least attempted something bold. Failure is a temporary condition. Success is likewise temporary. Life, itself, is temporary.” I think I’ve lived my life taking chances… but not probably really BIG chances. I have people telling me to go out on a limb. I know that “mediocrity comes from having perfectly implemented tried and true, traditional wisdom”. I am venturing into uncharted territory right now.
The frightening thing is that outcome is the only thing that separates confidence from hubris. If your bold idea succeeds, you were a confident visionary. If your bold idea fails, the walking dead will accuse you of being full of yourself. “It was hubris,” they will say.
I am trying to convince myself to ignore the zombies. Life is risk and risk is life. The only death is mediocrity. It’s still hard to fling myself into something uncertain…. and I can tell you that the view from the edge is spectacular! Zombies invented the lie that curiosity killed the cat. But it wasn’t curiosity that did her in. I think it was boredom. Boredom killed the cat.
Security, boredom and a bloodless life are all the zombies have to offer. I’m putting my faith into the advice of friends and advisors… and following that advice into the “Forest of Uncertainty”, I’m going to ask directions of angels, anticipating they’ll answer by opening doors I never knew were there. I hope to “kiss the hand of Serendipity as I gaze upwards into her face”. I hope she smiles….
My experience is that Zombies tell many lies under the guise of sound advice. The most famous of which I’ve found is that “If you give your money to financial experts they will grow it into a fortune”. Strangely, this lie is partly true. But often, the only fortune those experts will grow your money into is their own. Invest in the things you know. Invest in yourself, is my advice. I’ve been a performer all my life and that is what I know. I’ve been convinced to do some recording… and today, I just completed day one of working on a video. We’ll likely be shooting the rest of the week. Seems risky to me right now… but wow, what a blast! The view from the edge is spectacular…
This week has been an emotional roller coaster ride! I was brought crashing down from the high of the biggest gig of my career by a call telling me my brother Philip had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer earlier this week. Wow. I think that might be terminal. I’m told that he’s “lucky” in that he has a tumor in his pancreas and not his entire pancreas is cancerous… but where’s the luck in that? We ARE all hanging on to the hope that an operation will remove it and that the cancer has not metastasized to the rest of his body. Do the really great times in life make the down times seem that much worse?
I’ve had my share of heartache in my life. My middle brother died when I was 18 when a drunk driver hopped the curb and ran him down walking down the street. His wife, my sister in law, was gunned down when caught in the cross fire of a convenience store hold up she walked into less than a year later. My first husband died of a drug overdose in 1993. He was bipolar and was fine with his medications on board but, as is so often the case, when he was fine he would decide he didn’t NEED his medications and this could have catastrophic consequences. My father passed away due to the complications of Alzheimer’s in 2007. I’m not sure I could handle loosing another brother… and I just KNOW my mother would loose the will to live if my brother wouldn’t pull through this.
Philip, myself, and brother Joe at my wedding January 7, 2012…
I’m not sure if a blog or FaceBook or twitter are appropriate places to ask people to pray for situations like this… but I guess that’s what I’d really like to do. Please pray for guidance for his doctors and for healing in his body. Pray for my families emotional well-being in all of this as well.
The roller coaster had another twist in the ride in that my husband’s daughter Kristen gave birth to a baby boy in Africa right about the same time we heard about Philip! This is her third child and his name is Isaiah David John… a brother to Zechariah, almost 3, and sister Maisha, 4 and a half. Kristen and her husband Kevin are group tour hosts in North Africa for groups from North America. They speak several languages and two of their children have been born in North African hospitals. I am not Kristen’s mother and to her children, I am “Aunty Julie”… or “Aunty Joe-Lulia”. We had hoped to head out to Africa for a short visit after the baby was born but travel plans are on hold while Philip’s treatment plan is still uncertain. Kristen’s mom, Jocelyn, is out there right now helping out the newly expanded family. We hope this gets settled with Philip so we can head out there for a bit as well. I’m in Boston for a show on April 7th so it would be wonderful if we could do that shortly after….
Such is life…
Little Zechariah sharing his toy car with newborn Isaiah…