One quote that could sum up my last several months, as well as my future, is as follows:
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
In so many ways this concept applies to my life these days - Music Career wise, my “Other Career” wise, my individual life and my relationships.
Unfortunately, at the start of this year I developed a very painful nerve injury and have been in pain for about 2 months straight. This injury WILL heal, but it is a long process and in the mean time, life has been very much a “One Day At A Time” kind of existence.
Up until this past weekend I was feeling pretty desperate and overwhelmed in terms of how to cope when I am constantly distracted and exhausted by pain. This past weekend was the annual Folk Alliance International Conference which was held this year in Toronto. It is only every 5 years or so that this conference comes to Canada, so there was a huge Canadian contingent of musicians in attendance.
I went again as part of the Alberta Rooms which are sponsored by the Bow Valley Music Club, Alberta Music Industry Association, and many other sponsors. This was only the 2nd year in a row that Alberta had organized and formal presence at the conference which has been running for 25 years now. The group that attended was full of such great Alberta talent: The T. Buckley Trio, Cam Penner Duo, Amy Thiessen Duo, 100 Mile House, The Travelling Mabels, Steve Pineo, Dave McCann, Jenny Allen, The Backyard Betties, Pear, Lucas Chiasson, Dani-Lynn Trentham, Braden Gates, Chris Gheran, Chloe Albert, John Wort Hannam, Scott Cook, Maria Dunn, Ralph Boyd Johnson and me. I know there is even more Alberta talent out there that didn’t attend, and so I felt very proud to be able to represent the great province of Alberta.
In context of a multitude of representation from other provinces and countries, I was so inspired again to have the reminder that music itself is what is important about this musical path I’m on right now. Some musicians will be able reach financial stability being working musicians, some will get to be super famous and be on Strombo (jealous), and some will always struggle to conquer the “business” side and financial side of music. I was reminded that for me, all I want right now is to make music. I want to meet people who inspire me and meet people that I want to collaborate with; I want to sing about things I believe in whether I’ve written the words myself or not. I want to just take music a day at a time - the way I’ve learned to with my physical pain - not let the whole situation overwhelm me and to just let the outcomes evolve as they are meant to in the time they are meant to. (It is funny to compare my pain experience with my musical experience, especially because the two situations bring up very different feelings for me! Well...sometimes the music business is pretty painful...)
Of course I will do what I can to promote my music in a way that keeps me feeling comfortable in terms of self promotion. But I am striving now to take pressure off myself to be in places with my music that I’m currently not. I’m trying to take everything as it unfolds, having faith to take the steps forward that feel right to take, even if I don’t know where those steps will lead me.
Also helping me is that I saw a doc today who put me on a pain med which has made today pain free and productive - woooohhhooooo!! In “Other Career” news, I am working as a nurse again for an adult mental health crisis response program. This will be more part time than before, but allows me to stay in a helping profession (which I love) without having to devote full time hours to it as I did for the last 8 years.
Other quick Folk Alliance musician shout outs I’d like to give are as follows (in case you’re looking for new music to discover!): Charlie A’Court, Red Moon Road, Sweet Alibi, Petunia and the Vipers, The Crooked Brothers, Rose Cousins.
I have a lot of cool musical projects coming up this year. More on those as they unfold!! We’ll be doing a handful of CD release shows in Alberta in May - please check the “Shows” sections for dates. Check back here often too for CD release information, especially the Calgary dates which we anticipate will be busy!
A request of you: Going back to the idea that blogging seems a bit narcissistic...in my own journey I realize that we all learn from our ups and downs, and that living is about moving along with the way life unfolds, making sure to experience all the feelings we need to in order to grow and reach our potential. It might take a while to realize this though and we all reach that level of awareness from different experiences and at different times. I would love to learn from the stories of others - especially if you are reading this, we probably have crossed paths before, know each other or at very least have something in common! If anyone feels compelled to share their learning with me, I would love you to email me or direct me to your blogs if you have them! Not for any reason other than just so I can read your stories too, maybe learn something new. A lot of my song writing is about life and living, so who knows - maybe you’ll even be inspiration for a bunch of new songs. Feel free to send any thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next time (not 5 months from now DW, I promise!),