Falling in Love Again

A story of escaping the prison of professionalism after finding love inside the music.

I was raised to be a professional musician. To play all the right notes at the right time. Nothing more and nothing less. Do the job, take the money and move on to the next gig.Barry-300x300

Like a coal miner’s son I was born into a trade and a tribe that I would serve, through good times and bad for the rest of my days. They’d bury me with my guitar and my union card.

I had a dinner suit for the bigger clubs and casino shows, blue jeans, black T’s and doc martins for the smaller pubs and seedier clubs, an array of guitars and amps, skills and ‘guitar licks’ enough in the genre’s of jazz, blues, rock and country music to make a decent living. After several hundred club gigs I graduated up into the recording studio brotherhood and, as a professional I was on time, I played my parts proficiently and I got the job done.  I continued to rise through the ranks and soon I was performing on network Television.

I had made it and as much as a guitar player can be, I was model professional.

Now and then in the midst of this professional journey I would be foolish and play music for fun… on my own of course, in a room somewhere private… where no one could hear me… and I would fall upon little treasures that I didn’t understand or know what to do with… and so, I would keep them to myself and then go off onto my next professional gig, keep my head down and do my job.

But, like a child reading his first Agatha Christie novel… I could not put ‘the book’ down… or stay away from my closet musings with my guitar and these little noodlings or melodies of childlike lyrics… all of which… was very unlike the professional I was trained to be. For, without realizing it, I was falling in love… with music and these simple little musical ideas and chordal shapes.

imgres-2I would stumble upon a basic uncomplicated chord progression and begin to imagine a rock pool or a mountain stream and I would sit there and let the peace wash over me. Then I would hear someone walking down the hall towards my hideout and I would hurriedly put my guitar away as if I had been caught doing something naughty.

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Waiting for God Oh!

Sometimes we have to wait a long time to receive an answer….. often years…. and after a while the question, desire, need or quest may have changed or been forgotten…. because we have changed and the answer we first sought is now quite irrelevant or… it just doesn’t matter anymore.

I am inspired by the 4th century desert fathers and mothers…. ordinary people who chose the way of the hermit…. sensing to leave behind all their belongings, their friends, their reputations, their dreams…. they embraced a life of solitude in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine and Syria. Of course public opinion raged against them….. they were deemed crazy…… and though many were poorly educated peasants, former slaves and prostitutes, some of these and prostitutes, some of these men and woman were giving up vast incomes, houses, careers and good family names….. all in the search of something better……. something they knew they couldn’t find in their current lifestyles.
And…. after battling through years of loneliness, poverty, self sacrifice and inner torment….. these hermits…. these “losers” found joy in their waiting….. and many who had once mocked their poor ‘decision making’….. were soon reaching out to them for help…… traveling many miles across deserts….. even traversing continents just to sit for a few moments at the feet of a ‘wise one’. Some of these new ‘pilgrims’, these seekers of truth were actually the Kings, Princes, and the wealthy and the noble…… the movers and the shakers.
Of course most of the ‘new seekers’ returned home disappointed because they were not given the answer they desired.

Busy people demand immediate solutions to their problems.

No the desert fathers and mothers were prone to offer suggestions like this ….. “friend, consider the farmer….. he understands the seasons… first he sows… then he waters…. and then waits patiently, allowing nature do work all things together in perfect harmony… in its own time.”

Waiting isn’t easy…. if it were… well… anyone could do it.