Sixty-one years and counting…..

Last year Michael Franks released a new CD, titled “The Music in My Head”. I am happy to say that once again, I was able to contribute vocally to the recording. I feel that all of Michael’s work is amazing, but this one stands as a masterpiece of brilliance that only Mr. Franks can deliver. Perfectly summed up and edified in only the way he can do it. 

A straight-ahead testament to all that is Michael Franks.

I started touring with Michael in 1993, the Dragon Fly Summer tour. And now 25 years later, I can honestly say that Michael’s music and talent as a singer-songwriter continues to inspire and motivate me to be the best that I can be as an artist and to have determined aspirations to write songs that will impact people’s lives in way that they are encouraged and brings happiness.

left, bottom to top- Sonny , Terry, Clint, Chris, me, Jay, Charles, Michael, Livingston, Logan.

The second week of January I attended the Jazz Congress 2019 at Jazz At Lincoln Center, sponsored by Adam R. Rose. There were a plethora of panels and workshops that covered a wide range of topics relating to the music industry. One event, in particular, was Art Blakey Centennial Celebration, the keynote session for the two-day program. On October 11, Art Blakey would have become a centenarian. The program began with the presentation of the Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award to Darlene Chan. Assembled on stage were the numerous musicians who have played in the Blakey band over the years. Of course there were many absent, still, it was impressive to see all who had worked with him.

The alumni of Art Blakey’s band.

“One is not a genuine leader if one does not foster capable successors. True success cannot be achieved without fostering talented individuals and nurturing their potential.

Daisuku Ikeda

After the welcome introduction and presentation, the moderator, Celine Peterson (WBGO), began asking the assembled guest musicians to talk about their “time” with Mr. Blakey. It was at that moment, the word longevity popped into my head. I’ve used the word thousands of time but I wanted to really look up the meaning and to make sure my understanding of the word was close to the textbook definition. A Google search for the answer came up with 1. Long life; 2. Long existence or service. It was curious how both these explanations were applicable. Definition two, for instance, Long existence or service; I am not sure if anyone on stage that evening had been with Blakey for 25 years, maybe, but even so, they all performed a service with the band whatever amount of time spent.  And as long as they honor the man they will continue to serve the spirit of how Mr. Blakey’s artistry influenced their lives as musicians.

How does the long life fit in? There were those who started performing with Mr. Blakey when they were young and although they were not close to 100 years old, albeit there were some there that were, at least, in their late eighties, this fit the long life. Art Blakey’s leadership, mentoring those around him, built and sustained a legacy that manifests in the lives of the musicians that are still living, playing and celebrating the soul of the music he generously shared with the world.

“One tall tree does not make a forest. Unless other trees grow to the same height, you cannot have a large grove. A true leader is devoted to raising capable people to whom the future can be entrusted.”

Daisuku Ikeda

Why Woodstock?

When I talk to people and they ask me where do you live, my response is always, house in Woodstock, apartment in Brooklyn. The reluctance to let go of Brooklyn as my official place, because I do so love me some Brooklyn, is puzzling to me somewhat, yet, Saturday I was pleasantly surprised by my feelings about how much Woodstock has become my home.

A dear friend emailed me about whether or not I would be attending the “march” in Woodstock. First I was taken aback that there would be anything organized up here and secondly, I figured that if there was something going on here, more than likely the attendance would be perhaps 30 people. I have lost count of the Sundays where I’ve driven by the Village Green to see the lone woman from Families for Peace, standing, holding one end of her colorful sign made from a bed sheet with the other end tied to the tree. And every time witnessing her solitary acknowledgement for peace, I would vow to myself that one of these Sundays I’m going to park and go stand with her.  OK back on track…..I got to thinking, a women’s march and rally in Woodstock is ideal. If I could march here instead of traveling all the way to Brooklyn where we would eventually end of up in Manhattan, this would definitely save me time while showing solidarity. I had long discarded the idea of going to Washington, DC. cost, time, distance all the things that would make even an active activist hesitate.

Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link she provided for me and found out that there were women marches happening all over the world and not just mobilizing on a large scale such as Washington, DC; New York City; San Francisco, but they were also being organized in smaller more remote areas. How brilliant and exhilarating! If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed……The point of these marches are to mobilize wherever you can and to show unity no matter where you are in the world, right? So thus my decision was made and I prepared to attend believing that at least 30 of us Peaceniks living here would show up.

I DID NOT EXPECT the turnout!!! There were hundreds of people. Women and men of all ages, children, babies, young and old, carrying signs….They were marching together, singing songs, playing instruments, talking and reminiscing about the days when they rallied in this exact town or other rallies and marches. And those pink hats. I’ve never been a fan of pink, but now, well let’s just say, I’m picking out the yarn for my new pink hat, knit a few to keep on hand cause something tells me, I’m gonna need it.

Experiencing the day, I met many new people. I ran into new acquaintances and people that I’ve known since I first moved here. We talked, laughed and recalled events in our lives together and it was that moment that I came to the understanding why I live in Woodstock. What was the thing about it that made me feel that it was my home? I really can’t put my finger on it exactly but there is a saying that Austin, Texas coin, you can find it on the t-shirts that Book People use to carry in their store – Keep Austin Weird, well Woodstock has a saying, Relax, they’ll never find you here. I think we should add another slogan and have one that says, Yep….you’re in Woodstock.

Mission Unknown

The beginning of a new year and some of us reflect on years from the past, perhaps focusing on the most recent one, we ask ourselves where are we headed this year, what do we want to accomplish? What sort of goals should we set for ourselves?  Some of us are using the same goals from the previous years but adding a more determined mindset to stay on track this time around.  Maybe we are modifying long term goals, having met a number of them, we excitedly make way for newer ones. Still there are folks that have only their “I wish I coulds” in their heads. Then there are the individuals who discover they have a mission in life and from there they begin to embark on a life altering journey for themselves and others.

What is a mission and do we need to have one? I am a steadfast advocate of mission, awakening to, discovering of, uncovering, whatever way you need to find it.  Do we each have a unique mission in life that is ours alone to fulfill?

There are hundreds of articles written on-line, videos, audio books that explain and give great examples of people and missions and why having one is the key to not only a happy and successful life, but a solid and prosperous business. Suffice to say, I feel that I am only adding to a topic that has already been reiterated over and over. The question is why is this topic constantly circulating? Is having a mission the same as having goals or a specific goal? In looking at the differences and or similarities, I have gone to my ole tried and true….the dictionary. Provided is the definitions for both mission and goal.

It seems from the seven definitions listed to the right, with the exception of  numbers 1 , 2 and 7, a lot of us can identify with at least two or more of the definitions stated for mission.

Looking over the definition of a goal, most of us have experienced all six, but on the point for defining and comparing mission and goal, it is safe to go with number one.

My overall view: goals seem to be the building blocks to developing our mission, helping us keep on track. They are the “practice tools” we set up to help us integrate all of our hopes and dreams into an achievable reality, strengthening faith. Mission, well… our raison d’etre. I’ve provided some links to articles that ignited my quest to sorting out personal mission and setting goals.

I trust they will help guide and inspire you to examine, reveal, make real the mission that only you were put here to do. It is a question indeed and I will leave you to it.





Planet of Success –  The Personal Mission Guide, by Steve Mueller, May 28, 2016
Huffington Post – Why You Need to Create a Personal Mission Statement, by Susan Steinbrecher, Oct. 1, 2014
Wikipedia – Mission Statement
SoulWork, Self Healing, Self Exploration & Subtle & Simulation Argument Evidence Research & Investigations –Examples of the Negative Symptoms & Life Effects of a Blocked Soul Mission, by Clive Hetherington 
Sacred Scribes -Joanne – You Life Purpose and Soul Mission, by Joanne Walmsley, April 14, 2015