Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist  

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Journal    May  2006

Kayden Listening to his Aunt Chani sing.
Kayden Listening to Aunt Chani sing
Happy Birthdays
Grandpa Joe, Jason

Kayden & Papa MP3
Kayden 9 months old
Kayden on laptop
Kenny's final hurrah
Kenny's next to last hurray
Kayden in the yard

May 30, 2006
These days are trying. Yet the yard is beautiful with all the work Andie puts into it. The lilacs are blooming and smell wonderful. I drove into to Seattle to see Freedom play at Folklife. The problem was he wasn't playing. I was misinformed so I spent 3 hours total driving on my free day and still didn't get to see Freedom. I guess Freedom friends were up until morning celebrating his visit so I do not expect to see him today either. Kayden fell asleep dancing with me again. I love that time. He is so serious about his dancing. If he really likes the moves he starts to sing. Too fun! Life is a roller coaster these days. Big fat highs and deep dipping lows. So it goes. I have spent the week with Live in Ashland CD by Freedom, Mish and Rob. It has been a balm to my soul. There is great and ancient poetry on the lips and in the heart of my son. I hope he holds steadfast to the dream and will continue to bless us with song. I look forward to hearing him and Josh play together again. Maybe write some music too. Josh is a brilliant composer.
 I guess Chani is going to have a new truck as of today with the help of Lisa Marie. I hope it carries her safely for many many years. She loves to travel and now she has her doggy it will be perfect for her. I hope she has peace in her heart. I read something on a wall hanging at Bri's house. In the end all the really matters is how well you lived, how well you loved and how well you learned to let go. The last is a hard one for especially when it comes to love that is a hard row to hoe. Let go. Just let it go.

May 27, 2006
Andie hit day 10 today on her cleansing fast. She talked to Mish who informed us Freedom is playing at Folklife tomorrow in the early afternoon. Rejoice is playing in the evening on the same stage. Probably won't make the shows. It is a little late to find out and I am not keen on all the crowds. But check it out if you can. I am messed up in the back once again thanks to the brilliance of people and situations with which I associate myself. I may find myself laid out on my back again if I am not careful. I think we are gravitating towards a move and it may be a big one all around. Got my car wrecked last week while I wasn't even around. Neat trick, huh? Not a big wreck but a very expensive one. Sometimes acts of kindness leave you covered in spooge. Still there is something to be said for doing them anyway. I can't think of what that is at this time but I am sure there is something.
 In the picture above Kayden was fascinated by listening to Chani sing through the headphones. He sat perfectly still and just soaked it up. Tonight he sat on the floor in the control room and pulled the ball out of my laptop track ball and then put it back. Out. Back. Out. Back. Out. Back.Out. Back.Out. Back. Over and over until I picked him up and we danced for a bit. He fell asleep at about 10 pm. Not good. Three hours past bedtime. I am a very tired old man now and I still don't want to go to sleep. Oh well. We are but fleeting moments. Thanks for the kindness and generosity Jason. You rock! This Saturday Manolito and Papa in concert, see what 20 years has brought.

May 26, 2006
It was so long ago since I saw my dreams clearly that I can't seem to remember them. What we love drives us to our dreams. When we compromise those dreams they die slowly in much the same way a frog in a pot that is slowly heated will not realize there is a danger and will not try to escape. He slowly cooks without noticing it except for the increasing discomfort. Daily stress can do the same thing. We do not even notice we are slowly going to sleep towards life. We breathe in and out and go through the motions but at some point we cease to be really alive. I see an old soul in the face of Kayden. He has an independence and a comfort with just being. I myself feel like an alien at times. In this day and age there are so many cultures clanging together that I think it more and more we are a conglomeration. It is good and bad. A clearly defined ideal and dream or belief is tougher for us because we are pieces of other pieces. I think that is why so many people migrating to this country have no interest in assimilating the vague culture of our country. They are here for what drives the American dream: Cha Ching. I am working on a new song with that title.
I am very tired and I spent the evening with my brother, Jimmy Culler, trying to solve the riddles of the universe. At this point, since it is 5 hours past exhaust
ion for me, I think I shall say, God bless and good night.

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
Isn't it the truth that the more we try to be someone else than who our hearts tell us we are the more stress we create in our lives. That is never more true than when I am playing music. It really doesn't matter how many troubles are going on in life, they are not there when I am playing. The same is true if I am sitting at the console recording someone or encouraging an artist while someone else, like Rob or Mike, engineers. There are none of those "Who am I? Where am I going? What am I supposed to do?" kinds of questions. Then that little devil whispers in my ear "What is the difference between an extra large pizza and a musician?" "What?" I ask. "An extra large Pizza can feed a family of four." It is that kind of mental attitude that keeps me turning over every rock but the one I should be looking under. Yet I was listening to Freedom and Rob live in Ashland this morning. Freedom says he hasn't met anyone old enough to know we are where we are supposed to be. It is all relative or it all involves relatives. It is one or the other or both. Relax. Just relax.

May 24, 2006
Days roll together is a seamless stream. Ron and Dave (Delivery Boys) came over last night. I was so happy to have a chance to visit with Dave before he leaves for Minnesota. Ron recorded three songs he wrote with his brother. They are collaborating long distance. Ron writes the music to his brother's lyrics. It was a smooth, laid back and fun session. The sun rises on another day and I hope this brings an opportunity for the guys as they submit one song to a competition. It is a good tune: Shelter. Listen for it in the future.
  I hear Kayden stirring and it is much too early for that boy to be awake. Andie is on the 5th day of her cleansing fast and says she feels pretty good. It was a little edgy at the start but I am proud of the way she has stuck to her guns. It is good to see her taking steps to take care of herself. She is such an artist at taking care of others. No gigs insight at this time. I shouldn't say that really since I have a concert in a little over a week. What to play and who to play it with? That is the question. Go forth and conquer..

May 22, 2006  It is hard to defeat an enemy who has an outpost in your own head. Sally Compton
 Chani came by last night and sang another of her tunes. She has a natural writing ability too. She informed me that she has written over 130 songs. It is pretty amazing that she can sing all her songs a capella and stay on pitch. I wish I were better at hearing chords so I could play along on the piano. Maybe we will be able to work that out over time. She gets more relaxed each time she records. Kayden sat in my lap with the headphones on and listened to her whole song with budging. He fell asleep while snuggling in Andie's arms last night.
  Andie's cousin Patrick showed up yesterday and Faith came out. Andie barbecued hamburgers, made potato salad and fed everyone even though she is fasting. She is definitely a giver. Faith brought asparagus and I love the way Andie cooks it on the grill. Patrick, Andie and I moved the Gazebo way back on the property and Faith kept Kayden busy while we worked. We always get a lot of work done on the place when Patrick shows up. He just jumps into the pan. I had just mentioned that we wanted the Gazebo out back and the next thing I know it was apart on the ground and we were toting sections around the house through the neighbor's yard and back again.
   I had a bit of a rough day as I never ate food on Saturday and instead let Jeela, the bartender at Provinces, bring me exotic drinks all night. The drinks were quite diverse but shared one common trait, they were all very strong. In my inspiration I thought, I am not playing, I am not driving, I am not working: go for it. I am pretty sure that was not the best idea, especially without any food. Ronnie said I had a great time. I myself don't quite remember. I don't remember the last time I ever got that silly but it has been a long long time. The good news is I survived. I played my cards right and lived to talk about it.

May 21, 2006
 The Wisteria is blooming just outside the window. Kayden is pounding on the kitchen barricade with one of his little toy people. Andie is trying to sleep. He wakes up busy and raring to go. I am a weary soul this morning. I got really tired watching everybody work last night. I think Rob got some good tracks of the Delivery Boys. Those guys are a singing playing tribute to classic rock. I love their harmonies. Mark Lull, the bassist, summed up last night. "It's the end of an era." It is and it is time for a change. Time to clean house. Andie is on a cleansing fast right now. I need to go on a fast of sorts myself. I am thinking that I need to just be clean and clear for a while. I have been in fog.
  The world moves on and so do we. I got old when I wasn't paying attention. So many places I used to play have gone by the wayside. Now Provinces is going to one night of music a week only. I wonder how that will work out. It is a lot of work to set up for a single night. Way back when, in another era, I used to set up my equipment in a club and then play there 5 nights a week for a whole month. Those days are so very long gone. The Delivery Boys were the last band to play at a club called the Meat Market. Their name was on the marquee for a couple of years after it closed. That was a lot of free advertising and marked the end of another era  Life is different now with this new baby in our lives. We all have many memories that come to call and we are about the business of making new and even better ones now. So long to a great band and a great time. On we go to new horizons.

May 20, 2006
Typed for a half hour when I go home last night and I see it is all gone. I was very tired so I probably went to bed and forgot to hit save.
It was good too I am sure. Anyhow, it was fun last night because Dale Fuentes came in to play. Ronnie was packing his acoustic and we had a good time. JB was ready to take pictures but I couldn't find where I left my camera. Kelly was in rare form and sang several tunes with us. It was pretty much empty in there so it reiterates that it is time for me to quit playing Provinces. Dave and Ronnie did some Delivery Boys tunes. Rob came down to get ready to record the DB's tonight. Our friend Chris showed up thanks to the blurb I put on the home page about playing one night only. He is a good guy and a fellow wind affectionado. Today I am tired and I have no recollection of what I wrote last night except to say thank you to the musicians who came to play and the folks he came to listen, both of you. I hope we have a great night and get good recordings. This is history in the making; the "last" DB show at Provinces!

May 19, 2006  
Look at life through the windshield, not the rearview mirror.

   Tonight at Provinces one more time I step up to the microphone. Andie is going to visit Gia. This should be a quiet night and prelude to the DB's last big show tomorrow night. It will seem very weird to be at Provinces with no Ken Lee. Rob is coming down to set up for recording the Delivery Boys tomorrow night. He can practice on me and I hope he brings his guitar to sit in and play. Jimmy is going fishing this weekend.
   I heard from Pastor Paul and he just had his appendix taken out. It happened on his wife's birthday. When it is time it is time. The last Vesper's Service of the season is this Sunday. I am not sure if I am up for making the trip but we will see. I look forward to laying low on Sunday's and playing with the boy and spending time with the family.
  Chani is back from New Orleans and seems to have had a good time but she really missed her puppy and said in the future she will drive so she can bring her along. Haven't heard from Freedom, Sarah or Josh for a bit.
  I had a nice visit with Jimmy Culler last night and he shared what a positive influence Jimmy Wright and Mike Daily are in his life. It is good to have friends. I sent Larry Mason a note to let him know I heard from Miya at Celeste Records in Japan and the RC album is sell good, over 800 so far just since January. Bahcha! Make great things happen!

May 18, 2006          
I have a new philosophy. I am only going to dread one day at a time. Charlie Brown

I read yesterday in a book by Tony Robbins that we can change our lives by changing our core values. He suggests a 10 day commitment to focusing on only positive things, reading at least a half an hour every single day from a book that is inspirational and educational. Successful people read he said. I wonder if the Sweetwater Sound Catalogue falls into the category of inspirational reading. It certainly inspires musicians to spend money. As to the 10 day changing your life exercise, I need it badly but I have to gather some reading material first and make a commitment. I hate commitments. I mean, in the past, I hated commitments. Now I see them as an opportunity to shine and achieve. How am I doing so far?
   We are still dancing around the idea of selling our property and moving, staying and building, or sitting and spinning. Right now we are sitting and spinning which pleasantly like being on a merry go round and brings back fond memories of childhood. Hey I could get the hang of this.
    Last night Kayden displayed his flair for passionate expression of anger. He does get upset at times. He would not be comforted at first but he was so tired he eventually gave in and allowed himself to be carried and rocked to sleep. It is tough when nothing you do seems to work when a little one is upset. It is a great exercise in patience and good for the character to continue trying until you find a way. So now I am going to zoom into my day and may yours be brushed by a peaceful breeze.

May 16, 2006          Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects. Harold Glasgow.
It is another lovely Washington day. Rob came by last night for a visit and a few beers. I suggested he record that last Delivery Boys show and his is open this weekend. I am waiting to see if the DB's are interested.
   Kayden is into everything right now. Andie joked that she has to go to work to get some rest. I used a bungee chord to attach the djimbe to the leg of the art table. Now he can climb the drum and stand and play. I did the same to Andie's old guitar and he plays that as well. I put it in an open tuning so when you strum it it plays a G chord. He was really studying Rob last night and not quite sure what to think of him. He did go to sleep good. I think Andie wore him out playing all day. He loves the water and he was in and out of the wading pool. There is a little, maybe not so little, temper thing going on right now. It isn't that much fun. It is all a part of the big adventure. We talked to Freedom and it sounds like Sierra is doing fine. We are looking forward to her arrival and to Freedom's visit in June. I really hope it happens. He and Rob have a lot of musical work to get done. It is time I was about the business of the day. Hope yours is the best ever.

May 15, 2006  
  I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific. Lily Tomlin

    This month is rolling by on a breeze. It is supposed to be 85 degrees today. I watched the sun rise this morning and it was beautiful pinks and purples. What looked like a pretty full moon was still in the morning sky. Last night Kayden couldn't sleep and we all took turns with him. Finally I took him yelling and crying out on the porch where he stopped crying immediately. I wrapped him snugly in a big blanket and we proceeded to watch the night unfold. I don't know how long we sat there but dusk turned night and the stars came out. I pointed out the big dipper to him and he saw it. That was a good moment. Eventually he slept and I place him in his crib with Pooh bear. Now another week begins. I hope it's a good one.

May 14, 2006
Baby Kayden is snuggling with Mama Andie. He sometimes wakes up just after falling asleep and then he is usually up for two hours. She is the one he wants to snuggle with and go night night every night. It is mother's day and he is lucky to have Andie for be mama and grandma. Tonight she was playing tag with him and chasing him on the floor and he was laughing his head off. Two hours later and Kayden is still awake. He is having a tough time. He had a little taste of apple pie: bad idea. The sugar wound him up and mad him very fussy. I am frustrated as for the first time in about 11 months. Ah never mind. It was a nice day today. Faith came over and we all spent the day together. It wasn't a traditional mother's day since we spent it working. Andie got the Gazebo back together and pressure washed some of Kayden's toys. I painted the front door. We put Kayden in the swimming pool for a while and he liked that. On June 10th Kayden will be a year old.
 On another happy note I spoke to Josh last night and he played me a tune he wrote in an open guitar tuning. It was so beautiful and intricate. He is so gifted that way. He is natural composer. Andie wanted to wish Christina a happy mother's day so I stopped talking but I think we could have talked about music all night long. It reminded me of when I used to go and see him at the Love Israel Farm and sit outside in the cold and listen to him play and sing. Saria has so much of his personality and looks. She is beautiful.
   Lastly I will only be playing Friday night this week at Provinces. Saturday night is the final hurrah for the Delivery Boys. I regret I won't be able to make it to the show. I will be home working in the studio. I guess I could go and record them like I was going to do but went into the hospital instead. What some people won't do to get out of work. We will see what happens. And that is the way the organic biscuit crumbles.

May 12, 2006
Okay we are too darned busy if I can't write in my journal any more. Kayden turned 11 months old yesterday without a fanfare. Too tired to talk about it. I guess we need to have more fun because Andie and I are just exhausted at the end of each day and don't seem to have the energy to do much of anything. It is coming up Mother's Day and I haven't done anything. Am I bad? Dale called me today to ask me about the website and as always he is my quality control guy and lets me know when I am screwing up. It is the weekend again and I am so looking forward to some time with my family. It is my favorite thing. Kayden has brought so much to our lives. I wish we were closer to Josh and Christina so we could see Saria all the time as well. I was meant to be a papa. But Andie is the supreme mom. It is a time to reflect on all that all our mothers sacrificed for us and how much love they have given. Andie has a lioness's instinct to protect the children, any children. She has blessed my life and the lives of all the young people who have passed through our lives.

May 9, 2006 
Tomorrow Kayden will be 11 months old. He and Andie and I went down to the water in Madrona, a very lovely part of Seattle today. We were with Elvira and Tim, new friends I have recently met. It was good food and good company as we ate at Ruby Asian Restaurant. We love Larb Gai in our family and although it varies from Thai place to Thai place it was delicious today. It was sunny and Madrona is such an enchanted part of the City. We both were saying how it wouldn't be bad to live in the city in that area. The houses all sell for a starting price in the millions though. It may be a few weeks before we are ready to make a move in that price range. A few weeks, maybe more. Tim has introduced me to a few restaurants in the area for all kinds of food: Vietnamese, Southern fried catfish, Thai, good stuff and not pricey. When Andie and I stayed in Seattle for a few months we enjoyed ourselves a lot. We were on Beacon Hill and did a lot of walking. It is a compressed version of everything, more food, more people, more culture and more crime. We like the country. Still I really enjoyed spending time in the city with my family a lot today.

May 6, 2006
   We got the news that Josh, Christina and Saria are not coming to visit just now. We were very so as we had been excited to see them all week. We are grateful that they let us know so we weren't watching the door all weekend. We are working on plans for a visit in August if they do not come sooner. We love and miss them a lot.
    We are having a guest for the day, Gwynne, a 15 month young lady who will spend the day visiting with Kayden. It should be interesting as this is his first visit with another young person. Our living room looks like a play ground but I just realized that all these are manly toys. We will see how it goes.
   We had a fun night at the Richmond Beach Bar and Grill last night with Ron Llinas, John Matthews, Dave Raynor and myself. We changed the band name throughout the night for the Delivery Boy, The Ron Llinas Band, The Dave Raynor Band, The John Matthews Band and various combinations of the former names. I thought I might get beat up for not being Dave Noran as he is the other Delivery Boy and people love the the DB's and all of their classic rock. Jill, who books the music, cringed when Ron said he might have to call on me if Dave doesn't make it back from Minnesota for the festival they are playing. I don't blame her. I am not a DB. There was an old Banana Brothers fan who recognized me and even remembered my name and made requests off the first album I made back in 1984. It always amuses me to see Dave Raynor playing bass because he is a phenomenal guitar player. He is a great bass player as well but still. After we were done he gave me real estate advice: keep your property. Kathy, Dale and Mary Ellen made the show and stuck it out for the whole four hours. I got to visit with Dale and Kathy before the gig and watched part of James Taylor live at the Beacon DVD. Man, Wandering brought tears to my eyes with that incredible harmony. Who arranges his music. It is perfect in every way. As for the gig, it was a good night although I was pretty tired and I also didn't get to see Andie or Kayden the whole day and everyone was sleeping by the time I got home. C'est la vie. So I am glad it is the weekend and ready to play grandpa dad.

May 3, 2006              
It takes courage to grow up and turn out who you really are. EE Cummings

   It is nice to lay back at the end of the day and take it easy for a bit. Rob came over last night with David to do vocals and I stayed up and helped produce the recording until 2:30 in the morning and then headed off to bed. They kept at it most of the night. I haven't heard how it turned out but it was a blast and it was nice to be working with Rob. We are a good team and he is an amazing producer and engineer. I love the city but I am country at heart and every afternoon Kayden and I have been walking at the back of the property and then playing on the trampoline. Our little bird comes and sits on the cedar stump the whole time we are on the trampoline. It is one of the best parts of my day.
Here is another good quote from my friend Dale. Love you man.

Blessed is the person who sees the need, recognizes the responsibility, and actively becomes the answer.
William A. Ward


May 2, 2006            
A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world. Joseph Addison

 It is a new day and the beginning of May and there is new promise in the air, in the new blossoms and the peeks of sunshine we are seeing. Christina called and Josh, Saria and she are coming to Washington this week. Yea. We are excited to see them. I am sure they will be busy with all the friends they have here but any time we get will be so very much appreciated. What a beautiful and old soul Saria seems to be according to the wonderful pictures her papa Josh keeps sending. And she loves her daddy.
   Andie is feeling a little better and maybe even passed her kidney stone. We may start a stone business if we can find a market. We sure can make them. Our little man is scooting around in a flurry now. He has started to stand by himself and it will just be a minute before he is running full speed. He is going to be an outdoorsman like his uncle Jimmy. He is happiest when he is in the yard. There is a sparrow that flies all around us when we are on the trampoline. Kayden watches him as he circles around the nearby bushes. Today he landed right on the trampoline. They seem like old friends. I love the spring and I love our home at this time of year more than any other.
  New hopes on the horizon. Bring it on. And look out for Kathy and Dale and confound and capture the bad monkeys who stole from them. Bad monkeys. Thank God they did not hurt Bucky and Lucy was the ray of sunshine Dale saw in that storm. God bless all the folks who know how to count their blessings.

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Greg Murat (mur-rah)  
  Singer-Songwriter  Guitarist