Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thoughts from a Mountain in the Moonlight

There are societies that measure time not by the sun but by the moon.

I like this better.

The moon is a creature of passions. Something about that strata of light appeals to our curiosity, to our imagination, to the better parts of our intuition. Maybe something remotely dangerous.

Especially here.

There are places where the starts do not shine - they dance! They cover the sky like neon ivy. Here there are no streetlights. Here the lights are only from the sky, having nothing to do with man.

Here the crickets hold philharmonic concerts. The owls guess all night. The coyotes and wolves mark the hours. The wind plays millions of leaf maracas.

All under the quite of darkness. Not city darkness. No. Real darkness. The meaning of the word. Where light is absent.

But not all light.

On most nights, the moon and stars spread a soft angelic silvery blue over the land. A colour in dreams and distant memories. The colour of the fog of age. On a clear night, the moon shines as bright as the sun, just in its own spectrum. A spectrum of full energy.

Isnt the blue flame the hottest? The most full of energy?

Would not the same hold of the blue light of night?

Something in human DNA calls us to intrigue with the moon and the moonlight.

It's the thing of romance. Its the thing of fairy tales. Its the thing of inspiration.

Although, to be fair, everything is a thing of inspiration. Especially here.

In a different time, there were stories reaching the cities about deadly, but beautiful beyond compare, but deadly mountains, capped with snow eight months of the year. Where flowers grew like weeds, and wild beasts covered the land. Where the rivers flowed from Heaven itself, and from Hell as well. A place not bound by society, not bound by the city. Not bound by the normal expectations of civilized man.

There were drawings and whispers. Stories told at dusk and in pubs. Stories not even the moon would dare disturb.

And some people, upon hearing these tales, recoiling in terror. They clutched their cross. They hugged their comforts. They drove their roots in deeper.

Some people were intrigued by the possibilities, and the chance for land, a new life, gold, perhaps.

And some people. Well, they heard this as a call home.

A call to a different life, where what was possible was whatever happened. A place where man was not the king of the world, just a life within it.

They heard not the "deadlys," the "terrible," the risk of "life and limb." For there was no choice for these souls. Life and limb was being risked day in and day out where they lived already. If not physically, then within the soul.

So they climbed onward.

It snowed here today. And several times last week.

I dont mind.

Its 90 degrees where I live.

I dont mind.

To be surrounded in Mystery is worth the cold.

To be encompassed in Beauty is worth the winter.

I stand here, upon a mountain jutting out of the valley with the grace a ballerina only can aspire to. The snow tucks in the majority of the surrounding mountains. In the distance, the grunts of the bison herd drift along. Grunts deeper than time itself.

My shoes are rimmed in mud, soaked, as are my pants. My hands are sunburned. Vitamin D is ragging in my cells. Breath fills my body with pure air. Breathed directly from God before. Or at least from the den of a forest that knows little of man.

Here I stand. An explorer and a prodigal son, both. My heart light as Times Square. But full. And genuine.

I feel the land smile.

Our souls embrace, long and deeply.

Mystery is where we find it. Maybe where we bring it. But its definition is peculiar to each of us. I have stood in the center of 5 million people. People with lives and cars and jobs and ... yes, there was mystery. Shallow and restless mystery. Mystery that flickered in the neon buzz. That hung around stench of the sidewalk and alleyways. A mystery that did not call my name. A ghost that four meddling kids and their dog unmasked as just the jealous banker across the hall.

But I do hear my voice. Sailing on the wind. In the raindrops. Sown into the melting snowflake. It's written in the lupin, or in the yellow timbre of the arrowroot. Its spelled out by the squirrels and marmots in pine cones and blow down. Its hummed by the stones rolling down the river. Its in the eye of a bear, foraging alone in a field.

It says, "We are Home."

Home is wherever Im with you.

And I wonder how long I will ignore their voices. How long will I turn my soul from itself. How long, how long?

A wise man said there are no problems. Problems are only there when we are looking for solutions. Once we accept there is not a solution, it ceases to be a problem. It is a fact.

The moons have drifted on. I have watched the flight of other birds. The feathers on my arms and back have filled in.

The ground is further than ever. But the moon is on my side. She smiles and sends confidence into each cell of my body.

My voice echos in my head.

And calls back from Here. From beyond the trees. Beyond the mountains. But Here, where the soul pervades even places. Even within the energy of rocks.

Dreams are just wishes. And wishes are dreams youve wished to come true.

I believe in dreams. They create our lives. What some might call reality. (Though i despise that term. Reality is subjective to each person and each moment, and there is no over-reaching out there reality.) Dreams. The soul has dreamed this and called it into existence.

How can I deny the voice of the soul?

So here I sit. In a moonbeam. Breathing. And knowing that the past has passed, the future is always tomorrow, and that now, the coyotes sing.

I know this song.

This song has been given to me by the moonlight when I was a child.

So I too sing.

When you hear your song, you'll know it. All you have to do is sing along.

Friday, May 6, 2011

New Record!

The band and I are still working heavily on the new recordings. Yes, it will be a full length CD, album, etc. We're in the mixing stage, and working with our good friend Lesley Katzenmeyer on the CD graphics.

The music on this record is very exciting and the soul of the songs and the players is captured better than any record in the past. Im pretty sure you're gonna love this record . It has been stretching us and allowing some new creativity and new directions.

This is a record dedicated to inspiration.

We hope to have some new measures on the website and social media sites to keep you connected with this new music, and the band.

Excitement is building! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stand for Something

Art is something that creates itself. It forces itself into being. Through our souls. Through our hands. Our eyes. Our ears. Our breath.

Since is is birthed out of intention, we, as artists, need to have a passionate and larger intention. This path is not for everyone - I do think that real artists are actually called to pursue this path. And it frequently doesnt lead to fame, or even sustainability for that matter.

But that doesn't matter. We dont make art to live. We live to make art. It is in our very essence. Our very existence. I speak with seasoned musicians that tell me they would much rather have done something else, but they couldnt. This was what they had to do. And I can relate. (Though I wouldnt trade this for anything in the world - save maybe world peace and global compassionate consciousness).

We all need to stand for something. And artists even moreso.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Northside Last Night

There is something about the Northside.

I'm not sure what it is, but there is something there. I've always liked the club, from the first time i walked through the door almost a decade ago.

Its dark, intimate atmosphere and narrow space carries a spark. Something in the air.

Perhaps it's the Luigis that struggles in. That delicious dough and marinara.

Perhaps it's the ghosts.

They hold the refrains from the thousands of songs sung there. They hold the residue of the hundreds of artists' dreams and creations. They dance in the silence. They sing in the hum of the lights and in the pauses in conversation.

Or maybe I just project these feelings on the room.

Maybe I just want a space in Akron where there is some magical aspect. Some little place that is my own personal Greenwich Village.

Whatever it is, once my feet touch the stage, Im transported to the peace of comfort, yet inspiration. Even on those nights where 7 of us are in that room.

My Northside nights are a space where anything goes. Old songs not sung in years may be dusted off. New songs may be sung for the first time. Any song might be altered or re imagined. And of course, any cover that might inspire me in the moment might arise.

Last night, I opened with Coming Home, which i havent played in years. It was a song I sang for my dad's funeral, and always reminds me of him, though it's not about him. The version was special, and felt quite inspiring as it was leaving my mouth and fingertips. A full version of If was rolled out too. Affinity made an appearance as well. The Traveller made its second venture out ever. I really like this tune. It's potential grows everyday.

About an hour in, Cameron joined me, rocking the beat box. And the goal is always to make Cam laugh at some point & bust up the beat boxing. It's an inside joke i think. But it's fun!

Shortly after that, Courtney joined us for Mountainside, Must Be & Home. Home is always awesome. One of the most fun songs to sing, even though I had no hand in writing it.

 The night drew to a close with a magnificent Life that included a full fledged dance-a-thon in front of the stage. Possibly even a dance off between Cameron and Sarah. Then, it medlied into Kieshka, and I ran around the building. 

But it was the encore that really got some response. I only like to do covers that I feel I have an attachment to and that I can bring something to. Covers that lots of folks have done, or that have a "quintessential" version, I like to steer clear of as much as possible. But I'd had Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" on my mind this week. So it asked if I would sing it. And i did. It was magical. By far the best version I'd ever done of the song. Lots of passion. The room grew totally silent, and I could actually see goosebumps developing on everyone! What a feeling.

Maybe it'll ask to be sung again sometime.

Until next time!

Monday, March 7, 2011


I'm sure you've heard the news.

The band has a name. The Bright Lights.

After years of discussion and brain storming and crossing out lots of pieces of paper, we've arrived at this new name of musical enlightenment!

Have you seen the new "Meet the Band video?" It's the first in a series. Check it out!

In other news, we have been working hard the last month in the studio on what will be the bands 4th Cd (and my ... 14th).

This, as of yet unnamed record, will be released this Spring - if all keeps going to schedule.

We're all very excited about these recordings. They're some of our favourite newer tunes. And we've been able to experiment and flush out these tunes. We even have Tibetan bells on one of the tunes!

Keep tuned in for more info as we progress in this process!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I talk about food a lot.

I realize this. Many of my posts from the road are about food and restaurants. It's my little way of promoting good places that are vegan or are kindly to vegans.

There are a lot of them!

Every now and again, I come across an establishment that is quite hostile to the non-traditional western dieter. A Bob Evans experience my good friend had shortly after going vegan where they told her to "go someplace else," comes to mind.

I don't really fault these people. We live in a society that is wary of anyone different than ourselves. Many folks are raised to believe that different equals wrong.

That doesn't change overnight.

Also, every establishment has the right to serve whatever it wants. Though I would love to see every restaurant have a viable veggie option, each place has their own market, niche, and clientele.

This is why I never visit a steakhouse or a seafood place, etc.

What does confuse me though are when asked about their options, a place turns hostile.

Usually, when someone is rude, there are a whole host of things involved in bringing about that side of someone.

But can we change that behavior? Should we?

When rudeness dwels from a place of ignorance or lack of information, is it our place to educate someone?

Sadly, we can't send the ghost of Christmas past, present & future after ever act of rudeness... can we?

No, probably not.

My advice for rudeness is typically to look past it, and to send prayers of compassion to that person. We all need more understanding. We all need more compassion.

So, I ask you to send some thoughts of compassion to the manager at the Courtyard in Brecksville.

I have to admit, that the rudeness I experienced there (including "is this just some lifestyle thing? no, we dont accomodate special needs.") riled me up a bit. I wanted to tell everyone I knew to go out and either vocally boycott the place or that everyone go in asking for vegan options.

But then I thought, what would that accomplish? It would satisfy my wounded ego, but would it be a constructive way to bring about change?  Would this man be helped along to a place of greater understanding?


So I am sharing my experience. Do with it as you wish. And please send this man, and the countless more out there, the seeds of compassion.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I breathe.

This breath hangs in the still cold air like a bird hovering in an air current before finally fading out into the patches of falling snow.

And I breathe in.

I breathe in calmness, and a warmth, despite the frost on the air. I breathe in the songs of the crows, and the songs of the trees. Their stories fill the forest like story time when we were in 2nd grade.

To many, there is only silence. The occasional wind-whipping through the pines. But to me, a tale older than any of us is unwinding, with all the vividity of any poet or campfire teller.

It says, “Come listen to my story.”

And so I walk on, snow shoes digging into the deep snow. The forest is already surrounding, and the mountains loom above, though today, the snow clouds are low, and the mountains can freely hide behind their curtain.

The powdery snow reaches up to my knees. No one has been here yet, since the last snowfall. I am breaking ground, blazing a trail into the forest. The tracks of a coyote dash out from behind a near tree, and cross my path, disappearing behind the brush on my left. The scene still playing like a ghost. It is a playful moment for the canine, mouth open in a near-smile, looking for a good time, and perhaps a chizzler. So it heads into the brush, it’s fluffy tail healthy and tinted with a rusty orange flare.

I can almost hear him yip in the distance.

All of the air has stilled now. Too cold for even the wind to be out.

But the mountains are peeking through the clouds, as though the clouds were a tattered old pair of blue jeans.

The sun is even spreading through the cracks in the sky. It throws shadows in every direction, and spots the air with colour.

“Reminds me of a day many years ago,” says a near pine. “The river froze early that year. Bison still wintered by here. Their snorting was a kindly lullaby. We would all close our eyes and just sway to the rhythm.”

The pine stretched into the sky, poking through a cloud. Its branches were full and green, even under the fuzzy sweater of snow.

A swan flew by out of the corner of my eye.

Another deep breath. My feet began rising and falling again, and soon I could see the bend in the river.

It was not frozen though. True, the sides of the river were frozen, but a good-sized channel dashed through. It roared softly as it passed.

A duck of some sort swam lightly by the opposite bank. It didn’t look cold, but I would have traded places.

The mountains were now mostly in view. The river came from that direction. There was a large field between us. In the summer, it would be full or bright yellow flowers and Indian paintbrush. And sagebrush. And the more than occasional grizzly bear.

But right now, 10 feet of snow lay of all of that.

The nearest pine extended its limbs and with a generous embrace, whispered, “Welcome home.”

Valentine's Specials!!

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Look no further!
You could have me come to your house and sing some songs for the 2 of you!

It's a Z-Valentine!

This is a special offer to all my wonderful Facebook blog readers!

Here are some options, suggestions:
1. I play a 35 min set of songs for you, and you get a copy of my newest record, Mountains & Meadows! ($75)

2. I play an hour set of songs for you, you get a copy of my new CD Mountains & Meadows, and I bring you some vegan chocolate & flowers! ($150)

3. I play a 90 min set of songs for you, you get a copy of my new CD Mountains & Meadows, and I bring you some vegan chocolate & flowers! ($250)

4. I play an hour set of songs for you, you get a copy of my new CD Mountains & Meadows, I bring you some vegan chocolate and flowers, AND i prepare a dinner for you! ($350)

4. For $1,000, I'll play all night for you!

(Prices are subject to negotiation)
Email me at or facebook message me. Dates and times are filling up, so reserve your spot today!