Greg Murat (mur-rah)
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Journal Apri l 2006
Sarah Maria, Noel, Kenny Lee, Maria
Happy Birthday Sarah Maria
April 29, 2006
A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world.
April 26, 2006
A single sunbeam is enough to drive away any shadows.
Saint Francis of Assisi
What a grand day for me, walking on the beach at Alkai with Sarah Maria and having lunch with her at Duke's. It was a typical Washington day with overcast cold air but who cares. We discussed life, love and the pursuit of happiness and the few relationships that seem to really work. She shared the observation that life is more enriched when you are married but if you have kids it doesn't matter because you are really too tired for a relationship at the end of the day. It was not a hot air balloon ride but it was grand to me. When I first headed out to see Sarah I missed the exit as I was in south Seattle, actually Tukwilla and I drove a very long way towards the north but said "No I am going to see Sarah." I exited and drove backwards to get on the right track. Then I missed the exit and went too far north again. I said, "No I am going to see Sarah." I exited and headed south again. It just occurred to me from up in the sky I must have looked like an ant going this way, then that way. By God I made it and Curtis, Sarah's wonderful supporter and kindred spirit, said he could wait until later to hook up with her. So off we went on a little adventure. All the rest of the stuff that is made of sadness and stress slipped away as we headed out together, father and daughter. I was ever so grateful for the time. Often our conversations will stray to the fact that her mother still harbors very hard feelings towards me after all these years. I have spent a great deal of energy not sharing my perspective on things like that but one day I realized that every story has two sides. All the children I have been blessed are more intelligent than me so I realized that not sharing my perspective was a disservice to them. I know they will process the information in their own way. One thing I have never pretended not to be is human so they know I have no delusions of grandeur. It is also healing to me as I learn some of the things I thought and felt when I made, what I still feel, were mistakes in my life. I still believe we do the best we can at any given time. Except at some point one needs to ask the question, what have I learned? Perhaps that is what is meant by the unexamined life is not worth living.
Chani called me in the midst of a very awkward business meeting and I called her back afterwards. She was quite excited and proud of her puppy. She shared the story of how while out on a walk about she lost her cell phone. She told her baby to find it and off she ran. Chani had to let the lease out as she could not keep up as she ran after her faithful friend. Suddenly her baby ran off the sidewalk into the grass in a church yard and stopped looked down and began to bark. Chani looked down in the grass and there was her phone. What a proud mama she was and should be. There are little miracles everyday if we just pay attention. If we just open our eyes. My miracle is to be loved by these new life's that I had a small part in creating, not because of who I am, but because of who they are. Thank you Lord.
Happy birthday to Sarah Maria. It was a blessed day when she came here to the planet. Through all of the trials over the years the perseverance she has displayed has been an inspiration to me. She has so much discipline and I admire the way she stays dedicated to her music, art and film and her growth as a person. I am looking forward to sitting in a theater and watching her new movie when it is finished. Keep shining. We love you and need you here.
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love. Goethe
April 24, 2006
Not much to say. We had a nice visit with Jason and Blu and I got to ride in the Porsche with Jason. That was a thrill. Here is a tip, never buy flavored vodka. I did and it was yucky. We had some appletini's but they were not very good. Had to have a few to be sure. I am sure. It was nice to have a surprise get together. Mike and April had one last nigh and I did a drive by burger on my was to see Aaron Tippin with Jimmy Culler. It was a honky tonk show for sure. He is a great entertainer and really knows how to get the crowd in the palm of his hands and keep them there. We met with him briefly after the show. Jimmy was trying to hook us up so I could share some music with Aaron. What a good guy. These days I look around and see how many people had a better plan for what they are doing with their lives. It is nice to see it paying off after all these years. I am still walking around without a clue. I know how to rule out things, like music, but don't know what to replace them with. It makes for a lost sort of feeling. Lost, that would probably make a good TV series.
April 22, 2006
Kayden is raising the Titanic with his experiments in how loud his voice can be. I can answer that: loud. He has all these toys at one end of the living room and he wants to only play at the other end where there is a plant to get into, a gate to climb, an entertainment center to try and open. He now has the little mischievous look he gives when he is getting into something he knows he is not supposed too. He loves to pull on the plant. Yesterday we sat in the grass and he picked Dandelions. He didn't even try to eat them. He also played with his first Cedar cones and we bounced on the trampoline. Well actually, he sat on my lap and we baby bounced. I was thinking if the person I talked to yesterday had his way I would lose all that time I was spending with Kayden to an afternoon commute. That is not going to happen. Anyway it is a beautiful Saturday morning and I have to get back to the boy. Hope the day is good to you.
April 21, 2006
The sky was pouring water and the highway was filled with assholes with automobiles. What is it with people these days. I often look about and say "where is the fire?" I need a big car swatter for some of those folks. It would swat the car, stun the driver, then lift it onto a spot off to the side of the road, issue a dumb ass ticket and after a time out set them on their way. It was really pouring down this morning. Andie came home last night with an idea and some info on a new job opportunity. Unfortunately she decided to clean out her car on the way home and disposed of all the pertinent info. C'est la vie. Kayden and I both fell asleep at the same time last night. It was around 7. I don't know what was up I just got blasted by the Sandman and off I went to La La Land. It is funny how that works sometimes. I like sleeping. It is one of my favorite sports.
Jimmy Culler called me about taking a run up to Bellingham to meet his country singer friend, Aaron Tippin. He is in concert up there on Sunday night. Jimmy is always thinking of me, his adopted brother. Maybe I have a song or two Aaron might be interested in singing or sharing with a friend. Wouldn't it be nice if I could work full time as a song writer? Of course that would mean I would need to write some songs and I have not been so inclined for some time. Maybe I can still write though, you never can tell. You just never can tell.
April 20, 2006
I got some new picture from Josh and I put them on his pages. Man is Saria cute and does she ever look so happy and full of love for her papa. It really makes my heart feel good looking at the pictures. It also makes me miss them very much. They are so far away. I think we would pack and move down there if I had some way to make a living in that area. It looks beautiful there. It will probably be August before we can make the trek down that way. Josh also sent me a new MP3 of him playing with his loop pedal. It is beautiful too. He has such a refined and smooth style of playing. Root MP3. His melodies and chords are all his own. I listen and say "I wish I could play like that."
It is a sunny spring day in Washington. The flowers are starting to bloom and the air is clear and clean, that is the benefit of all this rain. It is a fine day in the great Northwest.
April 19, 2006
It looks to be a beautiful day here in the Northwest. I heard from Terri in Ohio and she seems to be doing pretty good, all things considered. On Easter when I talked to Josh he sounded great. I still haven't heard from Freedom. I guess I will have to get an update from Rob. I was just informed by my neighbor that there was a large gray wolf in her driveway this morning. She is half a block away. That is not the best news I have gotten lately, not with a little long haired Chihuahua.
I am working on the CD with Mike and we spent a couple of hours trying to get a mix on Dawn's recordings. There is so much variation in volume that it is very difficult to mix. I think I have spent about 8 hours on the project already. Mike is much faster though and with the work we got done last night I should be able to finish in a few more hours. Mixing is meticulous work.
April 18, 2006
It seems more and more difficult to write this blog. Manolito told me on the phone "You can't write any songs because you are not inspired. I think you should work on your guitar playing." I agree. How do we get our needs met and how do we define them? There is a frustration in the air that is kin to a thick fog. Nothing seems clear. I keep thinking that I am looking every where for a solution to our situation, every where but music. If picking one thing makes you successful then what does not picking anything do for you? All I know is when I am playing every thing makes sense, at least for the duration of each song. I think that is true even more so for instrumentals. I am just carried away by playing the music. We scramble through each day and it is often difficult to take the time for the things we love. TV is the great distraction and escape. Unfortunately it helps us escape from things like talking to each other, sharing feelings, sounding ideas. Now if Jack Bauer was here he would make us talk and find the location of our dreams and he would do it in less than 24 hours. Instead we can spend hours upon hours looking at each other's profiles and not saying a word. Kayden is a full time experience though. I swear every time we put him down for a nap he is replaced by a slightly larger version of himself. He is so heavy now. At the end of the day when he wants to be held and danced around I feel like my arms are going to fall off. Still. I would not trade him for any thing. That is the truth and I am sticking to that version. My heart goes out to Terri and Randy in Ohio who walked away after all those years. God bless and heal their hearts.
April 17, 2006
It is already the start of a new week. We had a lovely Easter with Faith, Kathy, Dale, Liz, Kayden and we even got to see Chani for awhile. It was nice because Chani and I did a store run and got to visit for a spell. We had the full range of Washington weather with hail, rain, wind and sun. We nearly froze to death walking from the car to Bartell's drug store. We had a laid back day with lots of fine food, Andie made a prime rib and we had our traditional Easter egg hunt, inside due to the inclement weather. Josh sent some new pictures of Saria and we compared them to some baby pictures of him and it looks like she has his eyes. He and Christina both have those beautiful dark brown eyes. I was so thankful that I did not play Saturday night because I was rested and relaxed and ready for a nice family day. It would have been nice to go to church but we did not make it. Kayden was beautiful in his little Sunday outfit that Andie had bought him. I don't have pictures yet so hopefully Andie's pictures turned out. I have a ton of pictures to sort through from Provinces but I need a few days to not go there. It really was a good night and the positive out weighed the negative. It was not nearly as sad as I thought it would be but that is because of the positive attitude Kenny Lee has. I really don't know if I will play there again. I need some time. I think I really need to drag my butt to some new venues.
I got thumbs up on the live solo guitar CD from Andie and Faith. Mike and I are rapping up the Essence CD which is sprinkled with a bit of Bosa Nova. Then we will tackle the rocking band CD we started a year ago last December. Andie reminds me every day that she really wants to move but I am a slow starter so we will see how it goes. It is time for a chat with the bank because that will really determine the kind of choices that are open to us. So have a great week and off we go.
April 16, 2006
He is risen. That is the happy news of today. On this day we celebrate Jesus's rising while we can. It is an interesting time that we live in because in the land of the brave and free we are less and less free to express anything to day with Jesus. Any other religion but Christian seems to retain the right for freedom of expression. There I go right off the bat; glass half full. It is a blustery gray day outside. Kayden has already took his first crash and has a little knot on his head. He has been a sweet heart this morning. He is now snuggling with Andie. He actually wanted me to put him in his little play pen. We never put him in there but he has his little stuffed animals in there so he got in and was playing with them quietly. That was my chance to write a few words. I still haven't finished his song, Little For A Little While. Days just seem to blend together. I have to go play with the baby.
April 15, 2006
I made it through the weekend with the help of some very fine musicians and friends. It was sad to see Kenny go but he is the ultimate optimist and he will land on his feet. We shook hands again last night and once again he said "You don't stop playing and I won't stop cooking." Deal. What a guy and what a friend. So many people turned out to give Kenny a birthday send off that it was very touching. Kenny did his traditional House of the Rising Sun with Dee singing. Aaron played Margarittaville. There was the usual amount of back ground weirdness going on too. I am glad it is over and I packed out last night to take tonight off. I guess Dee and Hans some how thought the gig was theirs. The schedule said differently and Kenny and Kelly asked me to be there late Thursday so I am not sure how that transpired but that is why I gave up tonight. It is time for new adventures and venues. I am thankful for all the times that passed at Provinces and there were many many good ones. There were some that were not so good, like life. Kenny stood up last night and said "I'll be back." I am sure he will.
April 10, 2006
Too much to do, or time management training might be a good idea. I am listening to Dawn Williams sing from the tracks she recorded here a few days back. Man what a voice. It is my own little head phone worship service going on tonight. It is nice. I just spent 15 minutes dancing Kayden to sleep in the living room. He did a fall on his lip today. It wasn't even a fall he lost his balance spun and hit his mouth on his little English and Spanish dexterity training table. He was not happy and neither were we. Andie was giving me the "We were both right there and there was nothing we could have done. This is going to happen." I don't want that to be true. I love the little man so much. The memories of lost time with all my other children is so present every day to remind me to pay attention. He is ten months old today and a second ago you could fit his little head in the palm of my hand.
Last night my spirit son Rob came over and we sat up talking until midnight. Andie and he looked up little Mayan description of us based on birthdays just for fun. It was funny because I was the white rhythm wizard and Kayden was the mirror of me. I have loved this time I have spent with him even though I have been through much pain and health issues I got to spend a lot of time with him. I wouldn't trade a minute.
I wish I could just be here. I am weary of the world and like being at home in the shelter of home.
I have down loaded the pictures that JB took on Saturday but have to sift through them. I don't seem to be able to get things done for some reason. The gig was great and even though I am sad about the circumstances with Ken Lee and the impact of the whole situation on my thinking process it was very very good to be there to celebrate his birthday early. I don't think I will make it in for the last night. The way the whole thing went down is a little to weird. I think that is why Kenny had me play Saturday night because I got bumped out of my weekend by the Delivery Boys. No sweat though. I told Kenny that is who should be there for a big send off. We have had some great times over the years and I have played with some great people. Saturday night was no exception. John Matthews played his butt off and grooved like a champion. Jimmy and I had the hardest time getting it together but we kind of did. We mostly had a happy sad time. John Coffey kicked booty playing four different saxes and played them all with so much passion and precision. John was stoked. He was saying, we could do something with this band . It would be good to have Mike on drums but we still smoked with just the four of us. That is my story and I am sticking to it.
Thanks to Jason, Blu and Chris for showing up on no notice and taking home the C'est Syrah CD and for giving me a bad time about recycling a picture from another CD. Short notice is my excuse but I owe you a new cover.
April 5, 2006
I have spent the last two days tightening up the recordings from The Passport to Woodinville that I recorded in the Columbia Winery Wine Cellar. I think what makes me happiest about the recordings is the joy that comes through in my playing. It isn't perfect technique, I am playing after all, but it is a guy happy for a minute doing what he loves best.
It is kind of bizarre to discover I am not playing at Provinces any more. I must have played there for 14 years. Ironically Keith called to tell me what is going on and then Ron Llinas called to ask me about copy rights and publishing music and then informed me he was doing Provinces on the the third Friday with the Delivery Boys. Communication is a weak link in the human chain. So for the first time in my memory I have not a single engagement booked and no real ideas. To go or stay, that is the question. To go or stay. I am looking for shows as a solo guitarist. I am not much interested in singing any more. I will say it when I play it. That is enough for me. What I am feeling these days does not translate into lyrics I care to write or that any one would care to hear.
April 3, 2006
Kayden stirring awakened me this morning but he is still sleeping. A new week begins and new beginnings are near. Patrick, Andie's cousin came by yesterday and the two of them went to work in the yard the whole time I was playing at the Columbia Winery. It looks great out there. There is so much clean up left to do. Patrick showed up while Andie was at the store and he proceeded to mow the lawn. What a guy.
I spent a few hours last evening dumping the tracks I recorded at the winery into the computer for editing and managed to get one tune up on the web site. It is tax time so it may take me a few days to mix down the CD. Mike Daily called and we are even closer to being done with the Essence CD. He put five hours in on the project yesterday while I was playing at the Winery. There are some really good people in the world.
I doubt Kayden will be sleeping much longer as I am busy trying to cough myself inside out. Well I have so little to do and so much time. Wait. Scratch that. Reverse it. Walk in peace to the sound of good music.
April 2, 2006
I recorded the show for the first time today. Me and my loop pedal making music at Columbia Winery. It was good for my soul to play. I may become a guitarist yet. I think I am going to concentrate on that for a while. I want to compose some music just for guitar. At present I just play my regular songs instrumentally. That is fun too. Listening the recording while I put into the studio from mini disk I realize there is something there. People seem to get the soothing part of this instrumental music. Diana at the Winery said it is just good wine tasting music. It is mood music, other worldly music. I am grateful for the chance to play and for the people who took the time to introduce themselves and say hi. I hope we get to know each other better. I will have a "Live at the Passport of Woodinville CD" soon.
Freedom called to say the Doctors bailed on them and they are going forward with prayers and faith that Sierra will be born fine in July and that is our prayer as well.
April 1, 2006
What a fool's day it was. All the streets and I mean all the streets in Woodinville were closed today. I spent over an hour trying to get to the Winery to play a gig. I finally had to get out of the car and ask a Sheriff what to do. I had to head North on the freeway and switch highways and take back roads to get there. Then I stopped for gas and my car locked up and would not accept my key. Damn what a day. The funny thing is that I was set up and ready to go a half an hour late. I really was just about to head home and scrap the whole gig I was so frustrated. As it turns out I met some pretty nice people, some in education, some in coffee shop and music venue businesses, and some just nice folks. I strictly played instrumental pieces today. To top off every thing else I forgot my guitar pedals and my effects POD. I did have my loop pedal thank God and I realized that is all I really need. It allows me to play parts and go back and play on top of parts. I love the last part of a piece. I step on the left pedal and it erases every thing I have recorded. It is here and now and then gone. I realized my guitar is my partner on stage. I have missed having some one to set up and tear down with and play and perform with but realize this is the game. This is how it is. But when I sit my guitar in my lap I know it isn't going to give me a bad time, make me feel guilty, put me down or lift me up, it will just do whatever it is I do. The more loving I am the more music it makes. For the first time in my memory I did not feel lonely playing today, not at all.
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Greg Murat (mur-rah)