Monday, January 30, 2012

Balancing on the Edge of Eternity

Ashley, Dave, Russ, Al, and I played our “Jamericana” music at two venues this

weekend. The first, on Friday night, was in Bristol, TN at a place called Machiavelli’s. Most of you will recall that Machiavelli was the Italian writer and philosopher who wrote "The Prince", which detailed certain methods to be used in wielding political power. Primary among his beliefs were the fact that political leaders (The Prince during his time) must be willing to act immorally... This included the use of lies, pretense, and brutality.

It would seem that many of today’s corporate and political leaders have read, digested, ingested, and accepted Machiavelli’s premise nearly 500 years after his death. Observing this fact gives rise to certain feelings, and since artists are in the business of observing the world around them, they naturally express these feelings in whatever artistic form they are engaged in. They “channel the news” so to speak, and for those who like to “tune in”, art can be a very satisfying, informative, enraging, awakening, derailing, and heart warming way to turn on and light up the inner mounting flame.

But frustration about power and politics are only the initiatory aspects of expressing oneself, which brings me to our performances on Friday and Saturday night. Bristol happens to be about a five hour drive from the Nashville area,

and given the fact that Bristol (near the Virginia border) is in the Eastern time zone, we had to leave around 2pm to be at Machiavelli’s in time to set up and play at 9pm EST. But we were happy to find that in spite of the reputation

of its namesake, Machiavelli’s was a really nice place to make music, and we even got some airplay on the local radio station during the preceding week.

With our equipment set up in the cozy atmosphere, we set off to see where the music would take us. Speaking for myself, I had a lot of worldly issues on my mind that I felt needed to be expressed, as I mentioned to Ashley on one of our

stops on the way to Bristol. You might guess - and you’d be correct in doing so - that "hitting" drums is a great way to relieve frustration and disappointment (particularly about powerful forces at work in our society), but as I mentioned

above, that’s only the beginning.....

For me, it turned out to be one big gig over the two nights. We played VERY well on Friday, but just barely began to reach a little further into the depths of the subconscious... But we did release some inner energies and had a great

conversation on the way back to Nashville about books we’d read, movies we’d seen, people we’d loved. And as is often the case with musicians, we drove home throughout the night, arriving in the predawn chill.

Most of us were lucky to get 5 hours of sleep, and I think AL got only 4. All of which made loading and setting up our equipment for the Saturday gig an episode of tired determination. But as I said to Al - just wait till we start

playing.... As soon as we started, it really did seem that we were continuing right where we had left off, and having gotten our world-weary ya ya’s out on the previous night, we were released to explore other realms, thankful for the musical kick start that our “artistic observations” had triggered.

I remember Russ mentioning to Dave on Friday that he’d achieved a certain level of “effortlessness” that comes to musicians when things are really clicking, but then woke up suddenly as if from a dream, which caused him to make a little mistake. I mentioned that the same had happened to me. But that mode - when the music is “making itself”, when the muses are in full gear, is what I live for. It’s the greatest feeling of freedom I’ve ever known. And the muses were truly present on Saturday, awakening the Shaman in us...

This is what I call Balancing on the Edge of Eternity, when we balance between existence and non existence. It’s that time when the music is so happening, and the feeling between us is so warm that all of our defenses drop; we forget who

we are and become one - Sugar Lime Blue. Look for us in a venue near you, because mere words will never describe it.

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