Back at it. Jordan and his hands of fury
Greatest Gal / Lapland, Finland
Thirteen days ago I boarded a plane with some of the besthumans I know. My lady lover, my best pal, Evan and his lovely lady, Maren. Westarted our 23-hour journey to Helsinki, Finland, where we would be cared forby good friends Mika, Ninni and their 4-year-old daughter Helmi.
Upon arriving in Helsinki we were greeted with a warm embrace by Mika, who drove us to their apartment that sat on the third floor in downtown Helsinki. Upon arriving we sat around the dinner table, pots of tea were brewed and we discussed things of our surroundings, the ins and outs of our lives. Our triumphs and our trials. Picking up right where we had left off two years prior when we were fortunate enough to be in Helsinki last. I knew right then that there was so much to be learned from these amazing individuals. Their take on life, their view of the world, their kind spirits and smiles. I felt a thin layer of darkness cracking.
The next three days were a soft whirlwind that consisted of
coffee, karelian piroques, music around the grand piano, Belgian beer, ice
skating, Nepalese food, strange sleeping schedules, bizarre dreams, good
people, good conversations and a seemingly “real” elevation of my
On the fourth day / evening we headed to Espoo, where Evan and myself were scheduled to play for a sold out show with our friends Mika and Ninni. As it is with most foreign performances I found myself in a state of stress and unnecessary stage fright. Although I knew that the majority of those in attendance spoke English I was afraid that my ramblings in song would not translate properly.
But the show went on, and so did we.
During our three days at Mika and Ninni’s place we practiced 7 songs in which they would accompany us on voice, guitar and fiddle. We ended the Espoo show that night with the song “Queen of the city”. I played piano, Evan on guitar, Mika on acoustic and Ninni on fiddle. It was a moving feeling for me that night. I remembered what music really had meant / and currently still was for me. A dip into the pool of the indescribable feeling of heaven. These moments come every now and again and are fleeing; I knew that this was one (moment/ life change) I would tell my babies about.
Cafe Regatta / Ninni, Helmi, The Gang.
My Life / A Moment of Happiness
After the show we made our way to the local pub where we escaped into the arms of glass of Belgian brilliance. The tongue became looser and it wasn’t until 2am that we found ourselves back at Mika’s apartment. The night had been remarkable.
The following night we would be headed to Lapland, which is found in the farthest corners of Northern Finland. We boarded the night (Blues) train at 9:30 pm. It was 14-hour train ride and each ticket provided the passenger with a bed to sleep in. We spent the first 5 hours listening to the blues band that was performing on the train until the pangs of Morpheus seeped deeply into our bodies. Time to sleep.
Lapland Dogs / Girl In Coat
Helsinki Chinese Food / Americans In The Heart
Pro Skiers / American Sweethearts / Lapland, Finland.
Lapland was a dreamland where reindeer are the wildlife and you make your way around town and a push sled. Right off of the train we were taken to the outfitters to be clothed in “Arctic Wear”, without it I surely would have perished. The next two days in Lapland felt like a dream. We ate Finnish pastries, cross country skied through some of the most angelic landscape my eyes have seen, sat in saunas and sang songs for those in attendance at the Ylla Jazz & Blues Festival. The days slipped by much too quickly. Before I was able to properly let the experience seep into my skin we were driving to the Lapland airport to begin our 28-hour journey home. For whatever these digital words are worth, thank you, Finland. Thank you Mika, Ninni, Helmi and every other kind soul that we came into contact with while on our journey.
Life is found in the living of it. You can be dead and still breathing. You can spend your days in the confines of your screen. You have the possibility of true self. We all do.
Real skin / bad teeth / the color of their eyes.
The sound of pebbles / water running / screaming without reason.
A kiss / a lie / a cheating lover.
Sun light / Noon day rain / a broken ankle.
Pain / progress / discovery.
All these along with a MILLION others are the proverbial “dream”.
Caught in a landslide of problematic and paper-thin online relationships.
When did we start giving more thought to what was “trending” online than the sounds of the morning? We choose facebook over a face-to-face conversation. We are becoming mindlessly obsessed with our phones, and we don’t know why.
We find discomfort in the stillness and fill it up with a cacophony of pseudo sound. It isn’t the technological advances that are destroying our relationships and us. It is our willingness to trade in realness for fantasy. Pardon the cliché, but that man had it right.
"So you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?”
We have traded it all in.
I have traded it in.
With January slowly fading into the latter part of it’s 2015 days I am foreseeing, just as the previous years, the time passing with a velocity that is both unprecedented and undesired. The last year’s triumphs were received with appreciation, but were often time shaded with the drab shadows that I / we all find peppered along the hills and valleys of a man’s existence. I was allowed to wallow in it’s sweet depression like a child left to his own tantrum, sinking further into self ridicule / scrutiny. I, at times (and possibly too often), would pass the weeks under a dark cloud, wondering if / when the yellow light of the sun might make her way back onto the landscape. I didn’t pretend to be rid of her, I wasn’t able. I was consumed in it, and let it dictate my thoughts. Hours of putting my obscurity into word form and eventually lyrical content helped (albeit small) my mind cope with the ache. Drastically described? Excessively outlined?
Sure, but it’s lasting echo still rings loudly in my “New Year” psyche.
I have, throughout my life, come to realize / accept that I am prone to the darkness, my heart in a constant state of flux and confusion but with clarifying neighbors that lend a lucid approach to the “coping” of my existence.
Speaking from my inside is both divulging and liberating. BUT…if you can’t speak of it you can’t heal with it. New Years (so often time) send me spinning into a dream of reflection. A colorful image of past, a bleak and blurry vision of present and a looming shade of future, all intricately compiled into a single thought, a thought that can last a lifetime.
I am learning (still) to welcome each rising sun, each falling night and the completion of every year, though its difficulty had proven herculean. As the last days of December faded into the inversion that surrounds the Utahn mountain range I, as I am sure I have done in years passed by, told myself that this year I would conquer. Without formulating what the verb specifically should detail in the 365 days to come. The eve of the New Year came and it went, but one REAL thought remained.
Make a recording of it.
In life I have found most joy in the expression that we are all capable of. Music / singing has been at the forefront of that creative caravan, and though the prospect often time (always) feels overwhelming, I knew that the outcome would be soothing, even if the same sentiment wasn’t shared with listeners. As the first week of January came I sat to list the songs that had surfaced throughout the last 18 months of my life. I whittled them down to 24 songs that I felt comfortable with. For a couple of days I hid in an upstairs bedroom, typing and notating the lyric and structural changes of each one. I called on a friend to help me set up microphones to begin the process, and without too much thought we began. I feel liberated to begin. After all, isn’t it all beginnings anyhow?
Timmy The Teeth / Drum King / Coles 4038
Evan The Terrible / AKG / Guitar ELECTRIK
Californian Visitation / Rico Csabai / Ollie Investigation / Tuck.
Singing Sisters / Shure SM7 / Coppertone
Tape Machine / Jordan / Ollie Reunion
Bear Face / Green Bullet / Room Microphones
Late Night Choir / One AM
Teams of Friends