2. News: Posi Music Awards report, Waymores album + tour Ireland with Tom
3. Special Feature: Valentine’s fun facts
4. Drawing Board: Solo recording, songbook in 2011, next TK book
5. Food for Thought: Sinatra on Rock ‘n’ Roll, Hendrix on imitation
6. Perspective: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Winston Churchill, Chris Rock
7. Recommended: old book, new films
8. Notes from Shauna: TK Songwriting coaching… and House Concerts
Hello everyone from snowy Kansas! I’m nearing the tail end of a nice six week run through FL, CA, WA, CO, NE and KS (mostly Waymores shows, with some stray solo dates mixed in). We’ll be home in a week, but alas, I’ll arrive after Valentine’s Day. My wife loves Valentine’s Day, so thank goodness I remembered to send the roses and chocolate. (See, I can learn!)
BTW I was just wondering where the heck Valentine’s Day came from, so I did a little exploring, and I’ve lifted some fascinating V-Day trivia from Wikipedia. (See Special Feature below.)
2. News: Positive Music Awards, Waymores album mixing, Tour Ireland with Tom
A. Posi Music Awards
I enjoyed my time at the 6th Annual Positive Music Awards in Orlando last month, but alas, my song “No One Gets to Heaven (If Anybody Else Is Left Behind)”–co-written with Klaus Caprani–did not win. Thus I have racked up a fourth close-but-no-cigar loss at the Posi’s.
Yeah, I’m disappointed. But you know, judging art is a tricky thing. Kind of like wine tasting. What one man prizes another pours down the drain.
FYI a few years ago I took a wine tasting course in Nashville. After a series of lectures the class participated in a blind taste test. When I found out I’d picked the most expensive Cabernet as my top wine I was pretty pleased with myself. Then I discovered that my second choice came in a box!
B. Waymores album: mixing this month! Recording’s done on the Waymores’ debut album, and we are now booked to mix it mid March with Grammy-winning producer-engineer Ray Kennedy.
Hard to say exactly when we’ll have a release because we intend to explore opportunities for support, promotion and distribution… but we look forward to sharing it asap.
C. TOUR IRELAND with Tom late summer 2011!
I am thrilled to be taking a group of friends and fans on a backroads tour of Ireland starting late August 2011.
I’ll be partnering with Irish “tour master” Tom Pigott, owner and operator of Enchanted Way Tours, and our band of twenty will be exploring one of the most beautiful places on earth. By day we’ll be traveling in a private luxury coach along Ireland’s breathtaking west coast, visiting castle and abbey ruins, stone circles and fishing villages. We’ll be staying in B&B’s and small inns and dining on excellent Irish pub fare. By night we’ll be enjoying some of Ireland’s finest musicians and songwriters.
There are still a few seats left on the bus, but I am told the tour will sell out, so if you’re interested, visit the web pages at this website.
And to read a “special edition” newsletter I recently sent–including a short essay I wrote about an unforgettable day spent on an Irish island–scroll down to the newsletter just below this one.
3. Special Feature: Valentine’s Day trivia!
Ever wonder about Valentine’s Day? Me either! But if you look it up, it’s got a pretty interesting story:
- Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine.
- The Valentines we indirectly honor on February 14 are both Italian: Valentine of Rome (martyred about AD 269) and Valentine of Terni (martyred about AD 197).
- No romantic elements are present in medieval biographies of either of these martyrs!
- By the time a Saint Valentine became linked to romance in the 14th century, distinctions between these two fellows were entirely lost.
- The story goes that Saint Valentine (one or the other, take your pick) was executed for secretly performing marriage ceremonies for Roman soldiers (who were forbidden to marry), but that before he died he miraculously restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter.
- That story was embellished over the years, and it was further told that before he departed Saint Valentine wrote a love note to the daughter (now healed), and signed it, “Your Valentine.”
- Scholars tell us that Geoffrey Chaucer (author of Canterbury Tales) made the first link between Saint Valentine and romantic love in his poem, “Parlement of Foules” (1382), which he wrote a few decades prior to the invention of the printing press. The key words:
“For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”
- Prior to Chaucer’s reference, earlier links with the saint were focused on sacrifice rather than romantic love. (Some might ask, “What’s the difference?”)
- Chaucer did not link Valentine’s Day to February 14, and it should be noted that mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England!
- Paper Valentines, sometimes adorned with lace and ribbons, became extremely popular in England in the early 19th century.
- In the States, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts, typically roses and chocolates (often packed in a red heart-shaped box).
- Hallmark Cards, the largest manufacturer of greeting cards, was founded in 1910 by Joyce C. Hall. The company sells a boatload of Valentine’s cards.
- In Iowa, in 1921, Russell Stover and a partner invented the world’s first chocolate-dipped ice cream bar. At a dinner party Russell’s wife Clara suggested calling it an Eskimo Pie. The production of chocolate candy followed.
- My wife prefers Russell Stover’s chocolate covered caramels, and on Valentine’s Day she will be enjoying a large box of them (which I ordered from the Russell Stover website).
- The three (3, count ’em) dozen roses in the living room were sent to her on my behalf by Costco. Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!
4. Drawing Board:
A. TK solo album next up
Now that the Waymores album is wrapping up I can begin recording my next solo project… and my first studio days are coming up in March. Hard to say how long it’ll take, but breaking ground is the necessary next step!
B. TK Songbook
Here’s what’s left to do: a final proof and corrections to the master PDF file, the compiling of instructional videos (already shot), and the addition of Nashville number charts. We’re close!
C. Next TK book
As I write this I am remembering the long home stretch of work that pulled my first book together… after I thought it was done! So while another book release is not imminent, I am accumulating poems, stories and essays, and the energy is building for another written-and-spoken word project.
5. Food for Thought: Sinatra, Hendrix
“Rock ‘n’ roll: the most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear.”
–Frank Sinatra (1915-1998)
“I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.”
–Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)
6. Perspective: Moynihan, Churchill, Rock
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
–Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003)
“In 1970 the richest 1 percent made 9 percent of the nation’s income; now the top slice makes closer to 25 percent.”
–Newsweek (December 13, 2010 edition)
“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”
–Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
“Every town has the same two malls: the one white people go to and the one white people used to go to.”
–Chris Rock (1966- )
7. Recommended: old book, new movies
A. Book: Huckleberry Finn (no kidding!)
I’ve read Huckleberry Finn several times, but I recently picked it up and am reveling in it once again. One reviewer wrote that it’s not only a masterful telling of an adolescent’s story, but the story of an adolescent nation.
One of the first American novels written in the first person vernacular, it’s uncannily timeless–in that the class stratification and pig-headed frontier spirit of our culture is not so much changed today.
Of course, some references to slavery, some characterizations and the use of the “n word” are painful, but they must be viewed in the context of Clemens’s story, the time in which it was written and the author’s intention. I suppose the bottom line for me is that anyone with half a brain who reads this wonderful book will not question the author’s reverence for life, freedom and human dignity.
B. Movies: The King’s Speech, True Grit
Regrettably, I don’t get to the movies much these days, but I see what I can, and lately I’ve enjoyed some wonderful films. (Last month I recommended The Fighter–a very fine film, in my book.)
This month I’m recommending two more Oscar contenders:
True Grit. This Cohen brothers remake is something special. The dialog is superb, the acting sure and crisp, the story told with patience and reverence. (Fourteen year old Hailee Steinfeld is a wonder.)
The King’s Speech. What a lovely film. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helen Bonham-Carter in a great story, deftly and beautifully presented.
8. Notes from Shauna: TK Songwriting coaching… and House Concerts
A. INTERESTED IN TOM’S SUPPORT WITH YOUR SONGWRITING?
Tom is available to teach/coach/mentor songwriters in one-on-one sessions (in person or long distance via phone, iChat or Skype).
Feedback from Tom’s students and peers is consistently outstanding. He’s not only a great writer; he’s a great teacher for writers.
“Your insights and thoughts on songwriting have really opened doors for me, and your encouragement continues to mean so much.”
–Aisling Kavanaugh, IMRO Workshop, Dublin, Ireland
“Thank you for the excellent job you did for us at Dallas Baptist University. Our students did not want it to end… and later asked if we could have you back for a week!”
–Terry Fansler, Ph.D., Director of Studies in Music Business, Dallas Baptist University
B. INTERESTED IN HAVING TOM PLAY A CONCERT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM?
A “HOUSE CONCERT” is a unique way to hear Tom’s music in an intimate, personal setting. If you’d like to learn more about creating a night you and your friends will never forget, email Shauna Jamison.