March 17, 2020 is the day the world shifted and it hasn't righted itself since.
I had a House Concert booked for March 17 and in the few days leading up to the concert we were on again off again as to whether it was safe to host the concert. We finally felt the full weight of reality the day before the event and we cancelled the concert and live music has not really found a way to thrive since then.
Like lots of people when the world shifted, I busied my self at first with cooking and freezing soups and stews, lasagnas and meat loaves, spaghetti sauces and chili. When my freezers were full I started digging through closets and sorting out stuff that had remained unseen for years!!
I came across a box of old photos and next thing I knew I was sitting with photos piled around me and taking a trip down memory lane. One of the photos I found was me as a young mother sitting on the couch holding a guitar. I was sitting with my two adorable sons. Sean was about seven years old and Tim was about two.
As I looked at the photo of my sons and my young auburn haired song-writer self, I wondered "what kind of guitar is that?"
The guitar was given to me when Joe and I were living in Ottawa and we went to visit a friend in Deep River. I honestly can't remember why Joe's friend gave me the guitar. I was writing poetry at the time and must have expressed a wish to write songs. Strange that I don't remember. I also got a book on how to learn to play guitar from a girlfriend from school. It seems that I had a plan even if I can't remember.
The guitar travelled with us to Maple Ridge, BC and was the guitar I used to write my very first songs. Several years later the guitar was stolen out of my car and I bought my beautiful Fender girl that has been my rock steady songwriting companion all these years.
I was very curious about the guitar in the photo and so I decided to take a picture of the photo and put it on Facebook. I asked "who knows what kind of guitar this is?" I received an answer that same day from a young man that I have known for many years. He and our youngest son Tim were in an amazing band together called Barrage.
The young man was Aaron Young. He informed that the guitar was a Stella. I don't believe I had ever even hear of a Stella guitar. I am definitely not a guitar aficionado. Aaron then informed me that he just happened to have a Stella guitar and it was for sale. He wondered would I like to buy it!
I felt like the story of my songwriting was coming full circle. I decided to buy the guitar and make arrangements to have the guitar delivered when things settled down with the pandemic. Little did we know it would not be settling down for quite an undetermined length of time.
So, I went back to keeping busy. I happened to have a mandolin in the house. It had been therefor around 15 years or more but I had never gotten around to learning to play it. With nothing but time on my hands I took the advice of a fellow songwriter and decided to learn to play the mandolin as a way to get inspired to write.
I downloaded some simple chords and wrote the first song almost immediately on the mandolin. It was as if I had turned on a song faucet! I wrote song after song and they all had the same themes. Hope! Looking for the beauty in the world. Dreams of freedom. Planting seeds of hope. Working together! It was a wonderful healing process.
Several months passed and I finally made arrangements for Aaron to bring the Stella guitar to my back yard. I fell in love with the deep rich tone of Stella and named her Bella Stella! As Aaron and I talked, I told him about the songs I had been writing. I sang them for him and we decided that I should go to his home studio and record the tunes!
I felt safe in his two room studio and was so excited about his amazing ability as a musician, producer and harmony singer! The songs took on a new life and I was off on a journey of discovery and intention. How to put my music out onto the internet in a way that I had never done before in order to reach a wider audience.
And so began steep learning curve!! A fun and frustrating process that I am still working on. Songs are recorded. Art work is in process. Videos are in process. Strategies for a single release are being explored. On line concerts being learned with the hope of a CD release concert? Who knows what else I will need to learn!
I have been busy and focused and I know that has been good for me in these unsettled times. I also believe in the power of these songs that have been gifted from a creative force that I really don't understand. I know I need to do my own due diligence to get these songs out into the world where I believe they can bring hope and encouragement into the lives of others.
The first song to be released will be Heartbeat of the World. This song was inspired by the world wide marches that were happening at the time of the death of George Floyd and others. I was inspired by the energy that I felt from the people gathering to make their statements heard!
I will keep working to make my statements heard through my music.
Take care everyone. Stay strong. We are all connected.