Over the last half-century there have been basically four threads to my musical career – performing as a member of The Brothers Four, with my friend, Mike McCoy, as a solo artist, and as a songwriter. Due in part to chance and circumstance in the fall of 2010 there were three new albums representing those unique strands. Also a few months earlier, inspired by a Writer’s Retreat, I created a personal, unpublished story about a hundred year family history of mental illness, mostly depression and anxiety, and the human costs of leaving so much of that experience a secret, unspoken and shadowed by shame.
Listening to those albums and reading that manuscript I realized, in many ways for the first time, I was comfortable in all of those differing roles wearing those various hats. That moment became an opportunity to try to take those threads, after untying some knots and untangling some tangles, to spin them into yarns, and with those yarns attempt to weave a single tapestry. What I thought might take as many as twenty-four months took seven years. What I thought would mostly be a meander in memory turned in large part into a journey of discovery. The songs and stories describing what I found were shared around forty-nine virtual campfires in what I called One of Those Times in a Life.
Part of what was involved in that seven-year process was reaching out to as many people as possible who had a made a difference in my life. I wanted to thank each of them and to apologize and where appropriate ask for forgiveness from those I had hurt. I received thanks and accepted a few apologies as well. A few years ago in the midst of all of it I told a friend I was on a “Thank you and an I’m Sorry Tour.” And after we’d had a good laugh I also told her I considered it “A Journey of Gratitude and Grace.”
At times I wondered if the journey would ever end and other times I feared it would stop suddenly far removed from any satisfactory conclusion. Then on May 13th in 2017 at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle in front of a lifetime of family and friends the 49th campfire was lit, completing the journey that will forever be One of Those Times in a Life. That evening included fifteen songs from a new album, the first since 2010. It is appropriately entitled Gratitude, Grit, and Grace.
When I left the stage that night, after the last song was sung and the last story told, though I couldn’t tell what was different, I knew that nothing would ever be quite the same. In time I came to believe that going on such a journey and sharing it in such a way let me and made me face my deepest and darkest fears, by so doing allowed me to understand on a different level what love can mean. With that understanding and belief came a realization that in many ways for the first time I knew what it was to be home.
As we begin to explore, discover, and share Songs and Stories from Home I thought one thing I would do would be to share and talk about the songs from the album Gratitude, Grit, and Grace. This will include a video of each song from the Benaroya concert as well as the audio recording we did a few months earlier in New Jersey. By also talking about the importance of each song to the album and to that evening I hope it will help you enjoy even more Songs and Stories from Home.