Stan Strickland

Brad Hatfield, Marty Ballou, and Jim Gwin  along with my producer for this album, Crit Harmon, joined Jon Lupfer and Joel Edinberg at Q Division Studios in Somerville this past Monday and Tuesday to record eleven tunes – ten of my originals – for me. Talk about joy!

Here in my maturing years I have been learning much about surrender. Not an easy thing for me to do. What a magnificent playground the recording studio is for facing and working with all of one’s strengths, weaknesses and foibles.

I know there are myriad ways to hear and play a tune – each of them equally valid. But-but-but. Letting go of how I’ve been hearing and playing an original and placing it in the hands and care of others – and trusting their handling – is a challenging practice for me. Ultimately all was successful. (Grateful for my producer mitigating my micro-managerial moments.)

Monday night Stan Strickland arrived to lay down flute, bass clarinet and soprano sax tracks. Joy incarnate. To be amongst fine artists who have made their art their life’s work, and supported themselves and families doing so, fills me with both great admiration and a personal sense of humility – for it’s one of those aspirations that’s always been with me and that, until now, I have fallen short of pursuing in a meaningful and productive way.

At the end of the Monday night session Mr. Strickland was packing his instruments up. He asked me if I had written all those tunes. I told him yes I had. Then he asked me where I had been all his life. I experienced a momentary shock wave. This man has played all over Europe with very big names. Perhaps he knew what he was saying and meaning to me.

After he left I found myself silently asking the question, ‘Where have I been all my life?’ And in this moment I’m answering, ‘Right where I am. And I honor all the choices I’ve made in my past and live in the ones I make now and in each moment.’

Good enough.