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End of 2009 — Feeling Grateful…

hi, friends—happy holidays, all!
When I run into folks, I’m often asked “how’s the music going?” This is a question I’m never quite sure how to answer. My inner cynic/cranky old man likes to complain, if I let him (“I’m so broke! The album’s still not done! The turnout at my last show was light…”) You get the idea—the inner crank is unhelpful. :7
For me, success has always meant continuing to do things I love to do: write new songs I’m excited about, play them for people (mostly at small shows), play sax & harmonize with others, enjoy the great songs so many of my talented musician friends write, and getting excited about new music. The fact that I’m still doing all those things, having put out my first cassette tape release in 1992, seems pretty miraculous to me! As a writer, you always wonder if it’ll “dry up” some day (do chefs or shoemakers have this problem? a fear that inspiration will vanish overnight? I doubt it.) So, I’m grateful that I’m still writing songs that matter to me, 10 so far this year:
nothing rings as brightlytwo left feetcarnival balloons (written while doing my annual Bethel Park H.S. residency), stalking poetry (inspired by a trip to Germany & Switzerland), just in case,better with practice (big & catchy, very ADHD!), mulberry tree (quiet & pretty), I was a terrible waiter (funny, and a contest winner!), ghost of me, and what God likes (a sermonette, really, advocating for my GLBT friends.) I just rehearsed those last two new ones last night, with the super-talented Jason Rafalak, who continues to patiently learn my new songs and rehearse older ones, and whose musical depth and insight always make any show I do with him more fun, and way better.
I also have 3 unfinished songs with nifty music and incomplete words (which I really want to be playing right now! :] )
This year, I got to:
—back up Jon Vezner (on sax) at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival—tons of fun, and great songs!
—play at a wedding in Germany, then travel and see old friends in Germany & Switzerland (and speak some German & French.)
—open for the unbelievable Bobs at Caffe Lena, a club I’ve wanted to play for years (now I have!)
—organize the “Musical Chairs” showcase at both the International Folk Alliance & NERFAconferences, & play with amazing people, including Pierce Pettis!
—got the next CD ready to mix (a process that should start any day/week now?)
—continue to work at my very fun day job, coordinating a Tutoring program for East End Cooperative Ministry here in Pittsburgh. So, I have a lot to be thankful for. Thanks to you, for listening, coming out to shows, and being connected to my musical life.

2 comments on “End of 2009 — Feeling Grateful…”

  1. Zoe Mulford

    Well, I’m grateful you let me be part of the Musical Chairs showcase at NERFA. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a room with that much talent per square inch!

  2. Timothy Vaks

    Thank you so much for joining me onstage at Club Cafe’ last Monday.
    (After Mark Dignum invited us to use the talent in the room I made a last moment decision to ask you up.)
    Your sax was perfect–my version of R.Trower’s “Bridge of Sighs” never sounded so good.
    Thank you again,
    Timothy Vaks


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