Greg Murat (mur-rah)
Journal October 2004
October 30, 2004
This day is beautiful with autumn colors and sunshine. I heard from my friend Bill Spies and his grandchild was born and his mother passed on all in the last week. He said at the funeral for his mother he was able to play the CD recording of one of his songs . It is a powerful song called Eternal Love. I am so glad we got it recorded in time for his mother to hear. His friends and family were greatly moved by the song. Music can be such a comfort and a perfect reflection of love and life. When is the time for catching that wonder of music in recordings?That time is now, this very moment. So that is where I am headed today, into the studio. My heart is with Bill and I greatly appreciate his understanding of the importance of every moment in life.
October 30, 2004
Thunder is crashing outside the dour and rain is pouring down this morning. I fear this is not a day for mowing lawns or outdoor adventures. I think I shall edit the recordings for Provinces and see what we have. Maybe some prayers for this election would be good accompaniment to the storm outside.
I met Josh's Grandmother Evelyn and her friend Mary last night at Cafe de Paris. I was able to visit a bit when I finished playing and I really enjoyed the company. Evelyn expressed love and real care for Josh and was glad to hear of his adventures on the road with Freedom. Evelyn sent a note introducing herself and requesting Josh's song, Leaving Home. That is a great song. I had to ask the waitress to explain that he hadn't taught it to me yet. Josh called the day before yesterday and said he was coming into town last night so I hope to see him before he goes back to Oregon. I know Flow Motion was playing at the Jet Deck last night so I imagine that is where he was. I passed on the fact that Josh seems to be doing really good at this time and ready for some new changes.
This is a good day to sit back play my guitar and work on some songs and put some time into picking the ones to record first. Maybe I can get Josh on some tracks as he is passing through. That would be good. He seems to love Oregon like Chani loves Alaska. She called yesterday to say she is doing fine up there. Hey, I think it is getting close to time for Andie and I to do some more traveling as well. The road is always calling. Always.
October 29, 2004
Back to the grind today and then it is the weekend again. Life becomes more like hang gliding all the time: it is going by like the wind. One day into another. I really enjoyed playing music the other night and talking to Ronnie and John about what is up in their lives. John Matthews is a tasteful percussionist and has a soft touch which really brings out the tone in a hand drum. Mike had them dialed in so the congas and bongos recorded beautifully. Ronnie adds a great flavor to the music and a little rock and blues edge. I plan on thinking a lot about what songs we should do next time. Jamie wants to get together for a rehearsal of yet another version of the band, before we do the Christmas show for Becky. That is probably a good idea.
Sounds like Josh is going to stay in Oregon for awhile. He said he learned a lot and enjoyed his time on the road with Freedom. He is working on an organic farm in Oregon and says he likes it. A change is a good thing. Sometimes new places and faces help us make improvements in our lives and ourselves. We are a traveling family for sure. I certainly have enjoyed all the traveling I've done and so much of it has been thanks to music. I hope there is lots more to come.
October 28, 2004
Last night the wayward musicians were over at Mike's studio until midnight. Now I don't remember another time I have stayed up so late on a school night when it wasn't for a paying gig. Mike was getting stressed by trying to give 5 different headphone mixes at the same time, setting up the songs, dialing in the sound, and playing drums. I don't know what his problem was. Just kidding. It was so nice to not give a care about the world of technology for a minute and just play. Don Quijano came over and ran the console and encouraged Ronnie on leads. It was a time of getting used to the environment. I had no expectations of walking away with any keepers. I just wanted to start dialing things in and have some fun. We did Lost In Viet Nam, These Blues and Walk Away. I said maybe we would have more fun if we did some happier songs so we played Caribbean Islands. That is one of those songs that is just kind of silly and is begging to have the lyrics rewritten. It was fun though. We closed down the studio with I Love You Naturally. It was a good evening spent with close friends playing some music. I woke up sick as a dog and couldn't get out of bed so that is where I spent my day. I guess I am getting too old for late nights, but where else are we going to find the time. Same time, same place next week. Thanks for the visit.
October 27, 2004
It gets a bit colder each morning. Andie and I talked about getting into winter sports so it we can take the edge off our attitude towards the cold. We could get excited about it instead. It's hard to believe this month is almost gone. Now begins the thoughts of Christmas and the holidays. Andie is still dreaming of hang gliding. I guess she found an outlet she really loves. It is quite an experience, yet still a bit scary for me.
I guess Jamie, Jimmy, Manolito, Ronnie and I will be playing at Becky's Christmas party in December. I would be happier to have Mike there on drums but it is their call. Jamie said it is going to be low key. So much to do, so little time. Tonight Mike and Jimmy and I will be laying down tracks for the another CD. I have been trying to get John Matthews to bring up his congas but I haven't heard back from him the last two times I have called. Hope I can get the energy up to play and record at the end of the work day. I would like to have a new CD by the holidays. A recorded live CD would be my preference. I find myself thinking about Florida today and wondering what it will be like there at Christmas and New Year's. We had such a lovely time there with Randy and Terri and I look at those pictures and smile. I love the Northwest though and there are so many good friends here as well. I put a link in for Larry and Cindy Mason's online store for fresh Albacore Tuna. Check it out, they have some products that would make great Christmas gifts. And the holidays are coming after all.
October 26, 2004
I passed on sleep last night night to watch Michael Moore's film 911. Now that was an experience in seeing behind the scenes that I will never forget. I have struggled greatly with the options in this upcoming election and as I have mentioned, I don't think our options are too sweet. I think the preponderance of fear and deception lead to a choice that calls for change. Our way of life has come under so much scrutiny and the innocence we had as a nation has undergone so many changes as we have been informed of the cost of our luxuries to other people and countries. I think we were given an opportunity to help others by God, I think we have fallen short in that responsibility in many ways. I think the scene that moved me the most in that film was the one in which a woman cried out to God to avenge her and her country for the hardships and losses that were being caused by our invasion. She called out asking God where He was while all the suffering was going on, and then saying "God is great! " even as she was crying over the loss of family members to American artillery and fire power. I know that a political documentary can have a total slant, and objectivity was certainly not the aim of Moore's film, but I think it was a representation of what the media does not portray and how biased the supposedly objective news coverage is. I encourage all Americans to exercise their right to vote, whatever your choice may be. We have grown so accustomed to propaganda and fear that I wonder how much impact we can have in the end. Still, it is worth a try. See the movie, if for no other reason than to view a different perspective. With all the mudslinging in the campaign by both camps there was one thing that Kerry said that impressed me. He said "I don't think we should pray that God is on our side. I think we should pray humbly, that we are on God's side."
October 25, 2004
The new day begins with quiet reflections of the last week. From Larry's e-mail regarding Celeste records and Miya, the musical director, it seems they are interested more in the Deirdre Lord's female vocals on Rhythm Cafe and Room With A View. I suggested to Larry that they take the Rhythm Cafe and Room With A View CD's and make a new CD of just those songs. If anyone can make it happen, Larry Mason can. We all should help each other when opportunity arises. The bottom line is I probably won't be retiring any time too soon. Any more I am keep playing for the sake of playing. I am really looking forward to doing some live in the studio recording with the boys. I continue to write, although the last three songs I have written were inspired by Jimmy's trials with love, (Didn't See It Coming, Is This Love, and Walk Away) I am ready to write some more Make Peace With Yourself kind of songs. I just need to make some time.
I played at church in Bellingham last night and it was good to play and sing with Paul and Kevin again. It is also fun to sing the low harmonies and play lead background for the songs. I like it more when the service is mostly music and not much talking. I hope we get back to that soon. Andie and I worked on harmonies all the way to Bellingham.
It is time to look at new possibilities. I am getting tired of keyboards and mice. Snow is falling in the mountains and I am thinking of beaches again. To walk barefoot in the sand and sing to the sea would be a good thing, but for now, I will zip my coat tight and brace myself against the cold breeze that signals winter's coming.
October 24, 2004
The weekend is coming to an end and it has been interesting. Car wrecks, playing in Bellingham where my guild wouldn't work, and now it is off to bed and on to another adventuresome week. I can hardly wait. Andie just handed me a bowl of comfort food: ice cream with nuts and fudge and whipped cream. Now that is a new twist on a long weekend. I look forward to working on recording this week. I am also rebuilding my dad's tribute website for his friend, Jan. The moon is eerily peeking through the overcast skies and seemed to be moving as the wind blew through the cedar bows. Time for sleeping now.
October 23, 2004
It is another one handed morning as I am holding the little dog who is sleeping in my lap. I am off to Mike's studio shortly. I have added some pages with a few paintings Chani sent. She has a whole series of watercolors that have snakes and scare the hell out of me. They are fantastic paintings though. She is one of a kind and is at peace with her expression of who she is. God bless her for that and for her unflinching dedication to her art. The chore list is calling I have to go hide.
October 22, 2004
Andie and I did a drive by to Studio 04 last night and found Mike Daily in the dimly light main room pounding away on his drums and playing along with Little Feet. He had that big Daily grin and kept right on rocking through the song while we listened in the headphones. We had a little visit to discuss the CD and hopefully a get together next Wednesday to record with as much of the band as we can rally. Then we went home and Andie whipped up a cover for a brief, and limited to one or two, edition of a CD called JT & me. It is just 11 JT songs recorded for friends. I knocked out 11 songs on Wednesday night and she knocked out the cover. It could be the shortest run of CD's in history.
We were thinking of going to Florida for New Year's Eve with Randy and Terri but we have so much fixing up to do on our little house on the prairie that we are going to have to pass. It was good to hear from them and it sounded like such a good get away. I was just looking at some of the photos Andie shot in Florida. It was funny to see the gentleman who said he was a government ninja hired to break into buildings to demonstrate the need for security improvements. All these people he was with were really wasted, dancing and partying while I was standing on the beach playing Andie's baby Taylor. But in every single picture she shot he was looking right into the camera, smiling and posing. He was pretty aware of what was going on around him for as loaded as everyone else seemed to be. It could have been the "punch" we made. We had discovered this new drink that I will share with you. It is called the Fickel Murat or Jolly Man. 1 part Crown Royal, 1 part Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, two parts pineapple juice. It will have you posing and dancing on the beach right here in Seattle.
October 21, 2004
I heard from Larry Mason and I am passing the ball for Celeste Records to him. It could be a great opportunity for all those Allies Records and for the Funk and Mason as well as the Rhythm Cafe CD's. Don Quijano has been encouraging me to get licensing in Asia for the last two years. He and his brother, Oman, are just finishing their CD for release in the Philippines. Don is currently producing an acoustic CD for me which will include 3 of his and Oman's songs. Here is a link to Celeste records in Japan. Check it out. Celeste Records
Last night I recorded 10 songs live in the vocal booth for some friends I met at Cafe de Paris. Andie was at the console and she was editing a DVD she put together from footage she shot in Arizona. It is hilarious and is the first independent film for her Chihuahua Production Company. So there is another day slipping past. It felt good to sing and play and not have to push any buttons. I am looking forward to cranking out a CD with the band as well. John Matthews called to see if he was still in the band and the answer was a great big yes. Mike's Studio 04 is looking and sounding great and I will be spending a lot of time there in the next month. It is a different world from behind my guitar. It is the place I love to be.
October 20, 2004
I got an interesting e-mail from Miya at Celeste records who found the website looking for Rhythm Cafe. She is interested in licensing the Rhythm Cafe CD. She asked about Room With A View and I said I would send a copy or MP3's if I hear back from her. I didn't have any contact information for her so I am going to e-mail Larry Mason, who produced both CD's, and see if he can follow up and help get Rhythm Cafe's timeless CD out there to the world. Good music withstands the test of time. I also received an e-mail from Wendy who says "Room" is her number one CD and doesn't know why it isn't at the top of the charts. Those kind of messages help when a musician is going about the daily grind hoping to find a little tiny bit left over for music. Too many days it feels like there is nothing left. I love when there is time to play and write.
I spent the better part of 25 hours mixing down Bill Spies three songs and while I was wrapping up "Eternal Love" Andie was whipping up a cover and label for the EP so Bill could give copies to relatives and a few close friends. It takes a lot of patience and time to take music from the heart and put it onto CD. I look forward to stepping out of the engineer's chair for a while and playing, singing and recording the new CD. Music makes the world go around, at least in this heart and mind.
October 19, 2004
I watched leaves scattering in the wind yesterday as I walked in the chilly wind. In one night all the leaves fell from the lilac bush outside the studio. I feel the cold creeping in on us. Those winds that whip up from the arctic, or wherever they originate, just pass right through any coat you might be wearing. I wonder what winters are like in where Sharon and Clay live near Chicago.
The elections are drawing very near now and I have never seen or heard so much interest in voting. I am weary of the ugliness of the campaigning by all parties. It all has such a negative slant and character attacking tone. I imagine if I were from another country and was listening to these commercials, what would I think. I would wonder about the whole American political arena. I am from America and I still find it embarrassing and a bit disheartening. I personally do not think we have a decent choice on the ballot for the oval office. I feel tired from trying to scrutinize the options and after much pondering I feel the same as I do after watching the TV ads and the debates, a little queasy.
Whatever happens, it can be fuel for more music. Maybe a country song like " I'm grounded and I don't fly no more."
"It's hard work for this here Am'rcn." Whoever wins and whatever happens I can sum up the whole approach to campaigning for office in a word, wrong.
October 18, 2004
This is one of those mornings when the mental fog doesn't seem to want to lift. The weekend was filled with friends and music. We spent Sunday afternoon with our friends Jason and Blu. We sampled some delicious food that Andie prepared and we sipped some very fine red wines. Jason and Blu gave us a bottle of Honey Mead that they made and it was wonderful. We had a hilarious game of Cranium and the girls won at the last minute. They got lucky.
Saturday night the whole band, except our drummer Mike, showed up at Provinces. Ronnie was really tasty on his lead guitar work. He and Manolito wove in and out of solos through out the night. Jimmy nearly set fire to his five string bass with some of the blues solos he played. Jamie, I am sure, went home to dip his hands in ice after wailing on those congas all night. There was some powerful harmony with Jamie, Jimmy and I. I especially remember John Lennon's song, In My Life. Wow! We formed a little circle in the corner because there is barely room for two people and we had 5 players. It was a packed house and Kenny, the owner, was wearing a big smile. We were jazzed. We have all been friends for so long and we have all been on different musical adventures but there was so much magic in the music that we want to go to Mike's studio and have at it as a band. I want us to play live like we do and hit the record button and let it roll.
I am dragging bottom this Monday morning and that is about all I have the energy to say. It was a fine weekend so I earned being this tired and that is okay. That is it until tomorrow.
October 15, 2004
I woke up thinking about how much fun we had at the fund raiser event at Dog Mountain with so many great people in such a lovely place. When Mike called me he said it was a last resort because he didn't think I'd want to play music in the dirt for a bunch of hang gliders. I said yes right away even though I'd have to cancel my week end gig. He said he would try to arrange some tandem flights and comfortable accommodations and did he ever follow through. Even so, if you had told me on Sunday morning I would be hang gliding 2500 feet above the ground I would have told you you were out of your mind. Every one was so friendly and Larry was so laid back, professional and confident that I found myself doing just that. It was such a bonding experience for Liz, Andie and I to all experience hang gliding on the same day together. All because of music we found ourselves in another wonderful place making new friends.
We got so much positive response from the Who Are Those Guys band. It is such joy to play music for the sake of music and when it is with good friends, it is one of the best experiences in my life. So now we plow into another weekend of music. Manolito is coming to play at Provinces one night and Jamie will be there Saturday. I am looking forward to it. On a musical note, the Freedom tour is over and it went well from what Josh said.
That is my story and I am sticking to it.
October 14, 2004
This is a big weekend coming up. I have double shows. 7-9 at Cafe de Paris and 9:30-12:30 at Provinces. Every month when this weekend comes around I feel like I am too old for this. But every time I step in front of the microphone I am ready to go again. This week end will be a special treat because my long time friend and adopted brother Jamie Phalen will be coming in on Saturday night to showcase his many talents. His sense of humor, which can be stinging, but is always entertaining, his voice and those congas all make for shows that are unforgettable. He approaches every performance with a great deal of passion and emotional intensity. I used to often forget I was part of the band and set back and watch the show myself. It is a joy to by accompany Jamie on ballads like You Don't Know Me and Faithless Love. We rock up a lot of songs I do in a much more mellow manner as a solo artist. I love the term improvise, which is a fancy way of saying fake it. That was one of our specialties as the Banana Brothers, improvising. It will be a fun night at Provinces.
Andie has dreamed of flying every night since she took her tandem hang glide on Sunday. She even checked out a book on it and is looking into flying again this Saturday. She has the fever so maybe we can run up to Chuckanut on Saturday and she can jump of the cliff and soar. We will see. I still don't know how I feel about that. It is incredibly beautiful to be gliding over the landscape and it is true, you never look at the sky the same.
October 13, 2004
I had about a four hour session with Don Quijano last night at Mike's Studio 04. He is producing a CD for me and it is different to be coached on a different style and on a song I didn't know. It will be good but it is work to get used to it. I had a good time and Andie visited her mom and wished Hope a happy birthday. While I was at the studio I got a call from Maria. She was feeling bad and I wanted so much to say something to make it better but I think I failed.
There are so many actions we take in our life or patterns we can repeat unknowingly. I think if we all spent more time thinking about what it might feel like in someone else's shoes, then we would interact a lot differently. One person reaches out and gets pushed away. Then the teeter totters and the other person reaches out and gets pushed away. What is the point? Hugging is better. Make peace with yourself is the best answer. Can we understand all the reasons for the things we do? I don't think so. How can we understand the reason other people do what they do. So many of us think we did not get what we needed growing up. I think that if we can somehow take our experiences and take the reins of our life, along with God's help, we might realize that we got just what we needed to be who we are. Long after the people who said hurtful things to us are gone from our lives we continue to give ourselves the same messages. We don't realize that it is us kicking our own butts with no help from anyone else. Stop! Don't go there! That is what I say to myself when I am paying attention. It is often after I have taken a self inflicted beating. Those are the worst kind. I heard it said that when you acknowledge that someone is feeling bad now, the now puts the emotion in a perspective of time. It won't be that way forever. The passage may be painful but we can come out of the other side, maybe even with a little more understanding.
October 12, 2004
I listened to focus on the family this morning and learned some interesting things about parenting teenage girls. I wish the program had gone on for several hours more. It is impossible to fathom the pressures young people undergo in the high school environment in these modern times. I remember being told that home is a place you should be able to lower your guard and feel safe. It is also a place you should be able to safely vent your frustrations. A haven, what a great word. I wrote a song about the wilderness being a haven. That is what home is to me. That is what music is to me. That is what family is to me. It is also what this journal has been to me. I am going to rethink the journal though and I may just quit writing it. I am probably too human in my readiness to openly share my flaws and feelings. I guess I should save that for songs. I guess I will or maybe I won't.
I am working on a few new songs at the moment.
I got a note of encouragement from Dale this morning about the merits of this journal and the opinion that I try to be fair in what I say. I needed that, so thanks Dale. I need the daily creative outlet of writing and like life, sometimes it will be happy, sometimes it will be sad and sometimes it will angry, but no matter what the tone, it will be real.
Life is a moment. Get your 60 seconds worth. Soar.
October 11 ,2004
What an incredible weekend! We played for the Hang Gliding Association's fund raiser at Dog Mountain this weekend. The band was hot and we had a magnificent time. Ronnie Llinas played lead guitar and Ronnie rocked. Mike got to play his acoustic drums and that always makes him happy. Jimmy did sound and played bass. We had a four piece band and four singers. How much fun was that? A lot.
The big highlight of the weekend, and the main reason I took the gig, was tandem flights hang gliding. Liz and Andie jumped on the opportunity and I knew Andie has wanted for years to hang glide. I, at the last minute, decided to do it too. Jimmy and Mike are great human beings and we learned from experience that there are a lot of those kind of people in the Hang Gliding community. We were treated to warm hospitality by Tom and Gerrie. There home is so lovely and they are very comfortable people to be around. Andie and I had our own little trailer to sleep in and Liz got to stay up all night playing board games with their son and his friends. Morning came and we were off to the air port. We thought we would have to do the run and fly off the cliff routine. I was absolutely not interested in doing that. We learned that the flights were to be "tows." You get hooked up to the glider beside the pilot ( Larry was fantastic) and a line is attached to an Ultralight aircraft. You are on a little three wheel cart and you are towed down the runway. As you get lift, you just leave the cart the glider is resting on and off you go into the air. I watched Larry do a test flight and I had absolutely no intention of going up. While Liz and Andie were deciding who would go first, I heard "I'll go" come out of my mouth. I almost slapped my own self. My loved ones know that heights and me are not the best of friends. I think Liz going "Come on Dad," pushed me into the air. I was shaking so badly I could hardly sign the release forms but I was committed. Andie fast forwarded through the video so I wouldn't hear her making fun of how scared I was.
Take off was smooth and we climbed to 2500 feet. We flew through several cloud banks and I was treated to what is called your glory. It is a silhouette of the hang glider in a perfect circle rainbow and it glows from the sun's reflection. It is surreal and beautiful beyond description. The climb was gradual and I did pretty good. When Larry asked me about motion sickness it was about the time we released from the Ultralight and began gliding on our own. I got a little queasy then but kept silent. He asked if I wanted to fly the glider and I declined. So he said " How about some aerobatics." My mind screamed "No #@#$#% way," but my mouth said "Sure." Larry did a dive and dip to the left. I was complimenting myself on not having wet my pants when we went into the second dive and the Velcro on my legs released and dropped me from a lying to a standing position. Now I am certain that in the spiritual realm my scream was heard to the outer edges of the universe, however, not a sound came out of my mouth. Larry said, "I should have told you about that. It's okay don't worry." I don't have a lot of recollection but it is quite possible that I began singing Jesus Loves Me to myself at that point. The peaceful sound, the dream like view, the flying all showed me why all these brothers and sisters take to the air in this manner. Andie and Liz were like old pro's and they just experienced the joy of it all. Liz flew the glider for most of her flight and was doing all kinds of tricks. Larry called her a natural. She and Andie both went 3500 feet into the air before release. 2500 feet was mercifully fine for me.
Thanks to all the people involved who made this possible and to Mike, Jimmy, Andie and Liz for nudging me into the air.
October 8 ,2004
"It is raining like Oregon." Someone said in passing this morning. It was a down pour. I love the way the walk way and bamboo looks in the rain. I love the clean air. I think of how many rainy days I used to sit and play my guitar and write songs and dream dreams. It seems like several lifetimes ago now. I noticed the leaves turning red on the trees. I think they need more water for more color in the autumn change. They are definitely getting it today. I saw people walking around getting blown about by the wind, cups flying, water splashing. Oh, another great day in the Pacific Northwest.