Tag Archives: Music

A Childs Nightmare

I released this song about a month ago now.

I hope you guys have been enjoying it!

If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen here:

It is a song that kind of came out of no-where. I was not planning on writing a song at all. In fact I was playing my guitar earlier that night and was just frustrated with it so I put it away.

My son was in bed one rainy night and woke up crying and screaming uncontrollably. I thought at first that it was a night terror and that perhaps he would go back to sleep. Well, after a few moments I realized that he was definitely up.
He had this severity and urgency in his voice.
I walked into his room and he stood up immediately, reached for me and began to exclaim “Daddy come here!”. I picked him up and he just wailed on my shoulder. He threw his arms around my neck and buried his head in my chest as if his life depended on it.
I asked him if he was ok and he replied a very shaky, tear filled “yes”.
He couldn’t really remember what he was dreaming about, or maybe he was too scared to express it, but either way, it was real, it was intense and it was scary.
I was just glad that I was able to be there with him.

We eventually sat on the floor and he sat in my lap with his back up against my chest. His breathing was beginning to slow back down to a normal pace with the exception of a occasional sigh.

To watch my son experience this just broke my heart, but the moments during and after this are things that I hope to never forget.

Children really are a blessing and they remind me of that in the strangest times!

I can still quite vividly remember some of my nightmares as a child. And to this day, they feel quite real, quite intense and pretty scary. While I don’t know much about nightmares, I feel like they have their purpose, their place and their meanings. In some ways, they remind me of something so much bigger than our mundane day to day activities.
As a result of this night and all of these thoughts, I picked up my guitar fairly late that night, and this song came out of it.
I really like this song and am quite excited about it.
I hope that you all enjoy it to.

Please let me know what you think! I would love to hear from you guys!

Until next time.

Be well!

Jonathan.

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Album update and Random info

Hey everybody!!!

 I hope that you can forgive my absence of communication as of late, but I have been busy with some good things too!
For those of you who read my last post about finishing things, you can read that here, I would like to update all of you on the progress that has been made.
First off, I gave myself a public deadline of finishing one song per month. That was in January that I posted it. Well, the really great news is that I am ahead of schedule. In fact I have 6 songs recorded and am working on 4 more. I should have those done within the next two months.
Artwork: well, my friend Michael who owns MichaelEllis Art (click the link to check his stuff out, it rocks!) and I have struck a deal and have been corresponding back and forth. As it were, he has delivered the first sketches about two weeks ago. I was blown away by them. They were better than I could have imagined. It just goes to show you that some things are best farmed out. His artistic expression is way better than anything I could have come up with. Plus, producing all of this myself, I feel like its better to have a professional artist intrepret my creativity.
I can’t hide behind a wall of excuses anymore and my hope is with all of this is that you guys will help keep me accountable. So far so good! Some of you have checked up on me and have asked me hard questions. I really appreciate that!
I can’t share to many details about art or song previews, but I am really excited about this. I may give snibbits here and there, but for now, its Top Secret!
In the mean time, I did release a song with a friend of mine Matt from the band SatelliteReBoot. Click the link on his name to check out his other stuff as well. You can listen to the song we collaborated on here!
I really enjoyed working with him and he was such a catalyst for me to get my rear end moving on my goals of releasing music.
That is all for now. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks!
Be well!
Jonathan

Can I finish anything?… Yes I can

I absolutely love creating music.
I love it when inspiration comes and ideas just start flowing. It is very organic and natural.
The recording process is another story. It’s almost like once the click track starts, I get so nervous and the emotion of the music is stripped from me. It becomes too technical and less about the joy of playing.
I have all of these songs that are written but I struggle so much with finishing them.
All the guitars are recorded, all that is left is bass, percussion and fills. A bit of mixing, then having someone master it.
But I can’t seem to finish them. I feel so overwhelmed. I question if each song is good enough.
I understand how things get done.
One piece at a time, but I think I have become paralyzed by the amount of work that must be done, and all the steps that will get me there.
I think that because there are no outside pressures or deadlines, it is easy for me to drag this thing out and beat these songs to death. There is always more that could be added, but are all those minute changes really necessary?
I need deadlines, I need goals, I need limitations and I need accountability!!
That is what this is really about.
Limitations, Deadlines, Goals and Accountability.
So as I think about this, I have decided to finish just ONE song a month. Start to finish. It is an attainable goal and one that will produce results.
During each month I will post updates along the way as to how the process is going.
I need your help!
Check in on me, ask me how things are going!
As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read this – I appreciate you, your support and encouragement!!
Jonathan.

The Anticipation of Arrival.

Back up two and a half years, and you have my wife and I anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first son Noah.

   So it’s the weekend before my first son’s arrival into this world. My wife is full term and then some at this point. We had just come from the hospital since her midwife said to go to the hospital immediately to get a few tests because she was past her due date at this point.. We were planning on having a “natural childbirth”, which meant no drugs, no epidural and no labor induction.
    While at the hospital, the nurse said, before even receiving the results of the tests, “well, lets get you ready, we will induce you and get this thing going.”
Aaaahhhh, excuse me, NO!
     So the doctor came in and he could tell that we would have no part of this and allowed us to go home for a few more days, but with strict orders to be on bed rest. Which meant, no getting up unless you need to go to the bathroom.            Humph…. well, at least we were giving this boy the time he needed to “get ready” to come into this world. So home we went. My wife did as she was instructed and rested, I did the husbandly duties of fetching what ever she needed. But in the off times, i.e. her naps. I went into the studio and began to work out a song.
    I was so freaking nervous but at the same time extremely excited to meet this little guy. So I prayed, A LOT and played my guitar, equally as much. As I was working out this progression of notes all I could think about was getting to hold this little guy and I was imagining the tears of joy that I would surely have. I also had a massive wave of fear of becoming a father and the responsibility that goes with that for the rest of my life.  I was on edge, and these notes and chords really calmed me down.
    A few more days hours passed and we were off to the hospital to s-l-o-w-l-y welcome this little dude into the world.
    This is the first song that I have written for him, and I hope that it will not be the last either. It is also the first song he ever listened to. He would be fussy and just upset, and I would bring him into the studio and he would nestle in my arms and just take a deep breath in and a deep slow breath out, and listen. Even to this day, every time I play this song for him, he calms right down and listens intently.  It is such a blessing and a huge joy to share this with him.
  This is my Anticipation of Arrival.

The Patter of Little Toes

I was playing a series of notes in a drop D tuning about a year and a half ago. I really liked the natural progression of the notes and just couldn’t get the melody out of my head.
    I remember playing with my son one day while my wife was out and about. Noah and I were in the living room and he was not quite mobile yet. He was able to roll over but not able to crawl.
     As we were in the living room, he was laying on his back looking up at me with this drooly smile and giggling quite a bit. I was playing this particular song but I didn’t have a title for it yet. I had all the rhythm parts down and an idea of where I wanted the song to go with all the different parts but it was still “under construction”.
    Noah loved to spend time on his back with his feet and hands stretched up in the air. Something he still enjoys doing I might add.  I would take his feet and make them clap like a pair of hands and he would just laugh and seemed to really enjoy the strangeness, craziness, and goofiness of his dad.
    So as I was playing this particular song for him, he had his feet out-stretched upward towards the sky, his toes were wiggling like crazy and he was smiling and shrieking like a  pterodactyl.  So it seemed to fit the moment and it stuck.
    The real inspiration for the song came one day as I just became overwhelmed with emotion as I looked at this little guy sleeping in his crib and thinking about what interactions would be like once he became mobile. I couldn’t help but be reminded of my childhood, and if any of you know me, you know that I have always had two speeds, ON and OFF.  Which Noah has now received from his dad. Hahaha.
    I was really laughing at some of the things that I did in my childhood, like chase my parents around the house with a hose just before we had to go to a wedding. My parents were less that thrilled! I can’t remember if I actually soaked them or not, but imagine my folks enthusiasm while their child tried to ruin their really nice clothes on a hot Minnesota day just before a big wedding. Not the best decision I ever made! My mom reminded me of that story many times growing up and we could laugh about it. So I expect to have many, MANY experiences that we can laugh at down the road.
    But now that he is mobile and running around our house like a wild man, I will enjoy hearing The Patter of Little Toes, but also the screaming helps announce his presence too!
    Thanks for taking the time to read this!

The News of Another Son

This song title came from the fears, excitement, joys and hopes that come from expecting a second child. In some ways, I am not as freaked out about what is coming, but in other ways, I have no idea what to expect. This particular song was written as I thought about the joy of what is coming.

    I am so stoked that we are having another boy. Truth be told, I was really hoping for a velociraptor, but a boy works too! Hahaha! My wife on the other hand was hoping for a girl, but we knew that we would not be disappointed either way. As we were watching this little guy on the monitor at the Dr’s office, I was just amazed that we could really see this little guy moving around and all of his different parts. Which I have to tell you, one of the first things we saw was his “boyish” features. We both new right away before the technician told us that we were having a boy. Just the fact that we can see this human moving around inside the womb of mommy is pretty incredible. I mean think about it, this lil dude is swimming around right now and we have the ability to watch him do what he does in there. We could see his lungs moving, his blood flow, his heart beat, his hands move and toes wiggle. Just incredible!
    To be a father is kinda scary, but it is the biggest blessing and I can’t imagine life without out my son. Don’t get me wrong, parenting has its challenges, but to watch them grow and figure things out is just amazing. Every day they learn new things, say new things, and do new things. I anticipate that there will be much laughter in our house with the interaction of our first son and his little brother.
    This song is really written from my anticipation of watching this little guy grow up. To see what he will do to test things, how he will learn things, and those really amazing sounds that newborns make, like the shrieks of pterodactyls flying in the sky, or the joyous smiles that have not been tainted from the outside world. I have absolutely no idea what this little guy will be like, but I know that no matter what, I will love him more than I could ever explain. So as I process the reality that we are about to have another child, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with a unexplainable joy for the arrival of this little guy. This is a glimpse into the inspiration of this song.

Microphone syndrome

Microphone Syndrome

I had a gig this weekend for a benefit run for The Forgotten Foundation, which is a great group of people doing some really great things!
   A friend asked me to play some music for the event and I gladly accepted! I practiced my songs and threw in some hymns that would be familiar to many people, but I did not think about what I would say during the breaks between all these songs.
   I have this thing about me, if you put an instrument in my hand, I cannot stop playing it. But, if you put a microphone in front of me, I clam up and struggle to say anything.
    I wonder sometimes if other musicians have trouble with what to say, or how to preface a song before they sing it. With instrumental music, a song may have a particular meaning to me, but to someone else it may be quite a bit different. This makes it difficult to know what to share before I play it.
   I think that deep down, even though I want to share my music with people, I have a bit of stage fright. It’s not bad or wrong; it’s just something I have to work on. I have always really enjoyed smaller venues, because I like the intimacy of those types of shows, but being so close to a person who is right in front of you and is watching your hands move and your feet touch different pedals makes me focus too much on the perfection of what I am doing, that I ultimately mess up. It is something that I need to work on; I really enjoy playing, but the pressure that I put on myself is hard for me set aside sometimes.
   I really enjoy playing the guitar and writing music, but interacting with people live is one thing that I will have to work on in the coming days. My goal is to connect with people and make them feel like they are a part of the event. I don’t know if it will get easier, but I want to be better at it, and the only way I know how to do that, is to do it. So that means booking more gigs and trying things out as they happen to come.
 Have you struggled with this?  How have you overcome it, or worked through it? I would love to hear!