Life is change. Life is movement. Life is fleeting. These are the thoughts that have preoccupied me this spring as we move towards midyear, another summer and the great wide open.
Hejira means journey and of course it is also Joni Mitchell’s career-peaking masterpiece, which are both themes present in my life today. This beautiful work by New Mexico artist Bonita Barlow captured me in 2011 as I began my journey to California, and it continues to inspire me today, reminding me life is Hejira.
Los Angeles and Malibu continue to bring enormous gifts to my life. I was recently sworn in as a new commissioner on the Malibu Cultural Arts Commission, and, almost simultaneously, I was invited to perform at Soho (Little Beach) House in Malibu on Thursday, May 18th, for the monthly curated music event, “Samplifier,” hosted by our Composers Breakfast Club of Malibu. I feel incredibly welcome here as the community embraces me back after my initial blushes of love.
I was also informed by dear Scarlet that Joni Mitchell has become a van Gogh Brothers and John Cate fan, after she played Joni tracks from our Brothers – Voices record, “Painting With van Gogh.” Scarlet, Joni and Eric Anderson met on Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Revue” back in ’75/’76 and the three of them have been getting together at Joni’s home recently. This validation of my work runs very deep, as Joni’s first album, “Song to a Seagull,” is what first inspired me to write songs way back in ’67/’68. I hope to have the opportunity to share one of these intimate encounters in person this spring.
And while the West Coast blooms with goodness, the East Coast beckons with depth and weight. April brought me back to Boston for reunion gigs with the van Gogh Brothers at the always-welcome Vincent’s and Cafe Betterley, and recording sessions for the continuation of our 13th album, which is now three songs deep and sounding spectacular. The beauty of the work of the van Gogh Brothers after all these years reminds me of a line of an old poem, written by an old friend, “Deeper, darker our love grows, as the moon swept full up through March, and our nights are strung like moon pearls.” Time has deepened our chemistry and proved our mettle. In the context of change, movement and a fleeting life, our band has moved back to center for me.
And, of course, in the midst of all this, Kathy and I have started looking at options to spend more time on the East Coast while I continue broadening the circle in LA and begin to look at ways to re-introduce myself to the music community in the UK where I recently regained citizenship. Life is change, life is movement, life is fleeting.
Most of all, life is very, very good. My friends at MIT welcomed me back for an Internet Policy Research Institute session with the head of the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission while I was in Boston, which was fantastic in and of itself, and also afforded me a perspective on some new technology we have been developing for music synchronization in social media environments like Facebook and YouTube. We have more summer trips planned to see my beautiful daughter and the Redwoods up north, and my son and Willie Nelson down south, then East to Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine for the better part of August.
Hopefully the van Gogh Brothers will find some workable live performance slots in Boston in August and of course we’ll keep you posted on any new dates. In the meantime, go well and enjoy the coming months of summer and solar celebration.