Monday, January 26, 2009

Hello. The more I kick around this dirt ball, the more questions I have. Just when I figure something out, a curve comes flying in about chin-high. I have met several spiritual people over the years. People, trying to live life in a manner that allows them to feel good about themselves. I enjoy talking with them and hearing their outlook on life. There is talk of peace, karma, acceptance and tolerance.

When you hear the word peace, do you think of war? Think of peace in smaller, more intimate thoughts. Living a peaceful life can affect everything you do. The way you respond to a slow, fast-food worker or a cell phone-impaired-driver that you are sharing the roadway with can bring peace into your life...or not. Can we live in peace and hold a grudge against others? Are we truly at peace if we harbor negative thoughts? Can you truly have a "peaceful protest"? Is individual peace really possible?

I have found that peace means something different to each of us. Many people don't attempt to live a peaceful life. There are many who believe they promote peace in the world, as they back stab one after another. We should all think about our actions. If not at the moment, then at a later time when you can ask yourself, "Is that the peaceful way?" Thankfully, I have friends and family who slap me in the face when I drop the peace ball. I don't know if complete peace in our lives is possible, but I feel better when I think peacefully.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hello. The week almost slipped by without me punching in. I overdosed on live music, bourbon and facetime last weekend! It was GREAT! We partied with a local blues/rock band, Stealing Mercury on Saturday and a national touring blues act, Juke Joint Duo on Sunday. The "high" didn't wear off until late Wednesday! We had a chance to chat with the "Duo", Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm after their show on Sunday. They are two downhome boys from the Mississippi Delta. These guys don't even know how good they are. They're just doing what feels right. As Lightnin' introduced a song from their new CD he said, "Here's one we made up while..." They're just making things up and having fun!

Last night our grandson came running into the kitchen and said, "Come see the dark with me!" How I wish we would never loose the child-like innocence. He had a little flashlight and was creating a whole new world in the darkness of the bedroom. Shining his flashlight under the bed and in the back of the closet, a lonesome sock and a cat toy became valuable treasures. I'm so glad he makes me sit on the floor with him. As adults, we often look too hard to see the "treasures". They are right in front of us. I guess, maybe we need a better flashlight.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hello. Where does the time go? It's amazing how time flies when you're busy. I think I may have my fingers in too many things. Well, not literally "in" things...but involved with things. We are promoting a couple of events happening this weekend. Saturday is the first "nightlife SUX Party, Party" and Sunday is the Juke Joint Duo show!

As long as we stay in this little river town, we'll keep trying to bring it alive with entertainment. In over 10 years of promoting nightlife in Siouxland, I think we may finally be making a difference. The support from the members of the Sioux City Live Music Club is great. I've written for years about the "merry band of music junkies". After floundering as individuals, we have banded together to create a "live" scene in town. It's working! The support I feel when I'm with these people is truly uplifting. Together, I believe we can accomplish anything we want.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hello. I have reached the summit of the Blues and it is John Hammond. Like most other genres of music, Blues has grown to include, Chicago, Southern, West Coast and Hill styles, to mention a few. But, the Delta-style Blues of the slaves and the share-croppers is unmistakable. John Hammond understands this very well. He is a student of the Blues. I give him glowing marks for his play as well as his storytelling. For almost two hours I was mesmerized. He shared the stage with an acoustic guitar, a borrowed steel and an assortment of mouth harps. I have seen several solo shows and this may have been the cream of the crop.

As I sat there, I was reminded what the Blues are. Music about life, the good and the bad. Music that is simple and complex with the same note. The guitar licks, harmonica blows and percussive foot stomp created a rich, authentic sound. His mellow and intriguing vocals pulled it all together. Most 4 and 5-piece bands don't achieve this quality of music.

I was disappointed, not surprised, at the lack of interaction shown by the South Dakota crowd. The usually reserved Sioux Falls fans only awarded Mr. Hammond with one brief standing ovation. In fact, he worked for almost an hour before the crowd realized they can applaud during a song! I have seen several shows in Sioux Falls and the fans seem to be more concerned with their new khakis or 90's hairstyle than the performance.

I spoke to Hammond for a short time after the show, and he appeared to be pleased. I hope he felt loved...he was by our small group.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hello 2009! Three years ago today I wrote my first blog. Time sure goes by fast. Alot has happened in those three years. Some good and some great. As I reflect on the past, I pull a smile out of my pocket and wipe a tear from my eye. The recent holidays leave me with a pocketful of new smiles. The last two weeks were mind-bending. I really dig 2-day work weeks. Fortunately, my family and friends can enjoy the holidays. Sometimes to excess. Sadly, the holidays are just another day for many people who struggle through life. I did some small things this season to help others, but I think we can all do much more. The people who are struggling can do the most for themselves.

We celebrated the coming of a New Year twice. We spent December 31 with friends at private parties indulging ourselves with high-end party favors. You should treat yourself to some special goodies at least once a year. Putting 2008 behind us is reason enough for me. I feel good about 2009. Even as I struggle to make sense of my life, I like my chances. I am beginning to realize that "I yam what I yam and I is what I is...yuk, yuk, yuk". Instead of questioning where we are, we should embrace where we are.

The Music Club members, Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys and a large crowd of friends gathered to celebrate New Year's Eve Part II. For a few hours on January 2, it was December 31 all over again, complete with party hats, horns and champagne! People were cheering, hugging and kissing. The room was filled with happiness. Actually, every one of the Music Club shows have been like this. We are promoting "happy". Since we started doing our shows I've seen people dance who don't dance, I've seen people hug who don't hug, I've seen people act silly who don't act silly. Apparently, people feel good within the arms of the Sioux City Live Music Club. It is so cool.