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Three Black Crows

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Like a toddler with a pudding cup

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I was talking with a friend last night.  In the course of the conversation this is what was said, "We always think we're being shaped by the bad stuff. By the hard stuff. What if we let ourselves get shaped by the good stuff instead? What if we let joyful things in with the understanding that beautiful things can turn us into someone new also?"

I had never thought about that until just that moment. I woke up thinking about it.

I drove down to Austin for SWRFA last Wednesday. I got back home late Sunday night. It was a magical, wonderful, amazing meeting of the music and I'm so thankful for it. I'll confess to you  that I got there and people knew who I was. That's new for me. People came up to me repeatedly telling me how much they love my new record and liked my songwriting. It was beautiful to be the recipient of so much kindness and appreciation. Holy cow. Friends of mine went out of their way to help get the word out about me and my work. And when I think about it now it feels unreal. Like I was the Cinderella and, you guys, I'm forty and I don't work out that much. 

Not only that I got to be surrounded by friends and discover new music and hear great musicians share their work in such a lovely, friendly supportive atmosphere. It just doesn't get much better. It was my first time at SWRFA. It won't be my last. I have so many people still to thank for it.

Tomorrow "Three Black Crows" comes out. Seriously, if for some reason, you can't get it at bandcamp or Amazon or itunes, please, email me. I'll get you. I promise. I am a real person and I want you to have the record. 

This moment feels triumphant, peaceful, happy and emotional. I did it. It took me a while, but I did it. And even though we didn't start recording until March, it feels like this record's story started ten years ago. That, right there, is enough to make me cry.

I'm reading this book called, "Finish" by Jon Acuff. It's about allowing fun and imperfection into your goal setting in order to finish what you start. I think he's right. It was a hard ten years, but I kept going because I really love songwriting and I think it's fun. It feels like magic. And I completed this record because I made peace with the imperfect way in which I got here. I made lots of mistakes. I had set backs and freak outs. That's OK. The important part was that I kept going.

You should too. Have some fun. Fun should be part of your life and part of whatever it is you'd like to accomplish. Give yourself a break. No one is demanding perfection. Starting, messing up and continuing is a great way to keep going. Fear of failure should never be allowed to keep you from starting. Be like the 3 year trying to open a pudding cup. She does not stop. She might get pudding everywhere, but she's getting that pudding. And good for her. A little pudding on your hair/face/clothes/pants/ eyelashes never hurt anyone. Do it.

The record is done. You should see how much pudding I have on me. It's crazy, but it feels great.

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Home for now

Hope, Emily and Emily in Lyons, CO last week.

Hope, Emily and Emily in Lyons, CO last week.

I'm home for now. I'm making dinner that kids don't want to eat and trying to figure out the right size of inner tubing needed for flat bike tires that now number three. I'm going to work at the cafe, doing breakfast duty at school and watching dumb RomComs on Netflix when I get a minute to relax.

After nine days in Colorado at the Song School and Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, it's good to be back. As much as I love the Colorado air, the roll of the St. Vrain and the music nerd talk all day every day, I like being home better. 

What did I learn at Song School this year? I learned that music is an amazing world to live in every day. It's light and dark and fun and hard and full of wonder, full of the unknown and I'm glad to be doing it. You'd think I'd know all that already. But making a record can really make you forget all that stuff so I'm thankful for a week where the focus was the work, the line, the song.

I love the song. I love it. I wish it didn't feel so far away.

I know I can bring it close, but I'm chicken. Chicken I am.

Why? Because my social media numbers are low.  Because I'm nervous about the record because loving it too much is gonna hurt real bad. Because I feel lost and uprooted and I never want to write a song about being on the road. Ever. I'm chicken because now I want the work to be good and I can't always guarantee that it will be.

And then I went to the Senior center yesterday for lunch. Jon and I joined our friends and neighbors for meatloaf and apple crisp and afterward I got up and sang some songs. It had been quite a while since I'd been there and I wanted to sing some songs from the record and tell them the record is for them because it's about them. I wanted to sing the one about Lloyd and Caryl. I wanted to sing the one about getting better as you get older. So I did. And by the end I was crying. We were all crying. People in that room were friends with Caryl. People in that room were at that funeral. People in that room had just lost their friend, Louis, and life and death and missing your loved ones who have gone felt so real, so intense, that it silenced all the bullshit about being popular and getting the record out and not being pretty enough or young enough and for one blessed moment, I remembered why I made this record.

I made this record for them. I wrote these songs to figure out the hurt and loss, the joy and freedom of a life we share together. Yesterday's gig was heavy, but it was real and it was good and it was exactly what I needed and I didn't even know it.

Afterward I thought I chose the wrong songs. I should've kept it light and silly, but that wouldn't have been honest. Music is powerful and yesterday we felt its power. You all know by now that I'm a believer and yesterday it felt like God was doing the work. I was just there playing the guitar. God knew what needed to happen. I didn't. 

I'm home for now and trying to reconnect after feeling so far away. One meal at a time, one song at a time, one walk to the grocery and one walk back and waving to the people in the cars passing by. One check of the garden, one posting of a letter, one waiting on a train one lunch shift as a waiter. I'll get there. I hope you do too. Peace.

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