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Silent Night

lake-waban-december-2012

The wind-down is upon us as we come to the end of an amazing and tumultuous year. It’s time to take a breath, get centered and look ahead– or not. After a very busy 2016, my entire being has finally rebelled and kept me off my feet for the last weeks of the year. I’ve been thinking a lot about the past and the future which of course ultimately put me in the here and now, probably more than ever before in my life. My cumulative experiences and travels have given me a privileged perspective on life and the beauty of our world. One of my treasured memories is the view above of Lake Waban in Wellesley, Massachusetts, in December 2012, in a moment of complete silence, stillness and peace. May we all have this in the days ahead.

For all the great personal, professional and family triumphs of the year, the greatest gift was a single song written this month- the first written from start to finish without the help of co-writers since we moved to California in 2013.  For those of you who know my history as a writer, this might sound mundane, but it’s not. As creatively inspiring as the move has been, the upheaval has been great, and the logistics of settling have been challenging. I used the chaos to open myself to other writers and learned a great deal by doing so. This fall I set out to return to solo writing in hopes of starting a new van Gogh Brothers album and the first song came after a couple of months of allowing myself to “write through the rust.”  The song is called “We Are” and I hope to begin East-West production early next year here in Malibu, with Paul, Clayton, Steve and Andy weighing in from Woolly Mammoth in Boston. As a writer, the act of creation is an affirmation of life and purpose. Without this, one feels lost, and many of us feel like the last song written is the last one we’ll ever write, so we struggle against our spiritual and physical mortality in the continuing act of creation. As beautiful as it is to write with other writers, I often feel like I’m “cheating” by doing so- that I should be demanding more of myself- and so I do, and that’s just my own crazy mind, but there it is.

I’m now feeling comfortable enough in LA to feel homesick for my East Coast friends and bandmates, and I’ve also integrated deep enough into the music scene here to objectively measure the talent of the van Gogh Brothers. What is amazing to me is how tall we stand in comparison to the musicians in the LA community, which may be the best in the world. I feel very proud of the work we’ve done, and the real, visceral ensemble we are, and I hope to find ways to expose our wares more broadly here in the entertainment capital of the world as we go, beginning with a new van Gogh Brothers recording in 2017. Let’s bring some more Boston to LA, along with Ray Donovan.

So the pendulum swings to the middle and puts me back to the here and now, which really means to live as consciously as I am able to live today, since that is the only life we have, and, curiously, is also the key to the future.

Our 2017 Massachusetts dates are fixed for Vincent’s Worcester on April 21st and Cafe Betterley on April 22nd, with a possible Boston/Cambridge date on Thursday the 20th. Stay tuned.

As for life here in Malibu and LA, what can I say? It’s beautiful and amazing, and constantly revealing more. I am in a sweet spot both personally and professionally. I have made many new friends, contacts and colleagues and have deepened relationships I already had established here. Our Composers Breakfast Club of Malibu is now resident at Soho (Little Beach) House, where I’ve recently become a member, providing yet another level of involvement with our creative community. As I’ve expressed in earlier missives, I feel very much at home and in tune with my True North.

Kathy and I are both grateful for our beautiful life, and I am lucky to share this new chapter of mine with such a kind, loving and joyful woman. They say happiness is wanting what you have, and I do.

Happy Holidays and all the best for a fabulous 2017.

See you soon.

Love,

JC