2016 is turning out to be another very interesting year! Even when you think you've got it all planned out, I've learned to expect the unexpected.
I decided at the beginning of the year to take a year off from touring to concentrate on other things like making music videos, recording covers and spending time alone to meditate, read, walk, and enjoy living in the moment.
I settled in to my digs in Australia, not hard when it's close to the beach and family, and everything felt so right and good.
Then just after my Birthday later in May, I got a message from one of my closest friends, Theresa, in the States to say that she'd been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and was to start chemotherapy almost immediately.
I was devastated and straight away I was making plans to fly over and be with her. I didn't know what to expect when I saw her. I've not been through this with anyone before and I have to admit I was terrified. Then I thought, if I'm terrified, what must SHE be feeling. When I spoke with her on the phone, she put my mind at ease with her uplifted attitude and I just couldn't wait to get on that flight.
I'm here now with her in California, and I have to say, I feel very blessed to be able to go through this experience with her which is turning out to be a surprisingly joyful one. Watching her accept and embrace this thing is inspirational. She's so full of love and laughter and the time we're spending together is healing in itself in so many ways.
Having said all this, my purpose for this story is to show you her artwork which she refers to as 'My Tangled Journey'. Just over a year ago, Theresa began drawing Mandalas and I watch as she churns these out on a daily basis. I'm captivated by these stunning pieces of work and I'm in awe of her skill. Since she began she's published two full books through Amazon and she has a third in the making.
I asked her if I could make a video collage of her work and she loved the idea. She chose one of my songs that she thought would go well with the mandalas, 'Celebrate It' from my Here On In album, and below is the result of this project.
I hope you like it, and if you'd like to follow Theresa's progress this year you can join her on her Caringbridge Page.
Thank you for reading my story today, and don't forget, I always love to read your comments below.
One thing that I'm really grateful for is the continued love and respect that my ex partner and I have for each other. How else would I be able to write about this song that represents such a significant time in my life.
If you're in love with someone, then there must be things about them that make you melt right? Little things that stay in your memory forever because of the way they made you feel.
One of those things for me was the fact that he would stroke my face so gently and his fingers were really soft and silky. This was magic to me. I never asked him to do it, he just did it which made it all the more special.
Towards the end of our relationship, we spent some time in a ski resort in Northern Italy where his band had a contract to play for a few months. Each night, I would go and listen to the band and each night they would play 'With Or Without You' by U2. What struck me about this song was it's simplicity and repetition, and the effect it had on the audience. Every night, they put their hands in the air and swayed from side to side. No other song had this same impact and I just wanted to go home and see if I could write something that was purposefully repetitive and simple in structure.
You would think this would be an easy task, but it was a challenge for me because I had to keep reminding myself to "keep it simple, keep it simple". The temptation is always to add more, more lyrics, more chords, more tricks.
So anyway, I just sat and thought about the love in that U2 song, and I thought about how those silky fingers stroking my face made me feel, and once I convinced myself that this song was to be an exercise in simplicity, I dropped all expectations about producing a potential hit song, and then it was all done in about 20 minutes. I was shocked!
To my surprise, Silky Fingers has managed to touch a lot of hearts, and on the flip side, it's also been reviewed as being too simplistic. Well, either way, it's a win win for me right? Whether it will ever cause people to throw their hands in the air and sway, probably not, but I'll keep trying for that song, because THAT would be quite an achievement I think.
Below is the only video that I have so far for Silky Fingers, and this is the acoustic version which can be found on my Silky Fingers album. If you like a more produced sound, you can find that version on my Le Cafe Ancien album.
This week I want to tell you about a funny thing that happened a few years ago while I was on tour in the States with Fiona Joy.
The world seems to be getting smaller and smaller as more people are travelling these days but it's still a minor miracle when you meet someone in a whole other country who has a direct connection with you in the most unexpected way.
Fiona and I were doing a show in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and before I went on to play, a man named David Sorensen walked up to me and wanted to chat about Australia. This is not unusual lol! A lot of people in the U.S. ask about where I'm from and when I tell them I'm from northern NSW do you know it, they say, oh no I've never been to Australia and I don't know it at all.
On this occasion, David wanted to know exactly where I was from so I told him that I was living near a town called Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore etc. He said, "oh I know it well. In fact, I was there last year and I broke my foot while walking on rocks at the beach". He said "in fact I was taken to the local hospital there and the ER doctor was so nice and very thorough and really looked after me. I was very impressed". I said, "oh what was the doctor's name" but David couldn't quite remember and knowing that it was a hospital in my area, I said, "um it wasn't Guy Loosemore by any chance was it?" and he straight away said "yes it was! Oh of course, I thought I recognized your last name". That's my brother! What are the chances!
Well we giggled about that for a bit and I thought to myself, phew, just as well he only had good things to say about that doctor. I probably wouldn't have dared to ask who it was if he was not so impressed (wink wink).
David and I have remained friends and in fact it turns out that he is a wonderful artist. He actually spends quite a bit of time in Australia touring his paintings which reflect his love affair with the Australian wilderness. You can see more of David's work HERE!
Enjoy and thank you for reading my story today.