The old saying that “friends are the family you choose,” is so very true. When you go through hard times you discover this via a very unscientific mix of flakiness and sturdiness. You find out who you can count on and who you can’t. Another favorite saying of mine related to this is, “no friends like old friends.” The amigos you’ve known the longest are like tall oaks in a forest of weeping willow trees. They stand tall and proud alongside you. They don’t cowotow to your weaknesses and the accentuate your strengths.
Many years ago I was adopted by a musical family of friends. We shared a common passion and a common workday timewaste on the old PatGreen.com message boards. Pre social media, this was about as high tech as it got. Some of the greatest friends I have, I met via this scenario. We may only see each other occasionally throughout the year, and when our annual family reunion rolls around some of us may be so busy organizing things that we can’t sit down and catch up as we’d like…but I know they’re that tall oak in the forest for me. They’ve got my back. During the recent hard times, many have reached out to help reaffirm my foundation and assure me that things will be okay. Their advice has been indispensable and well-timed. This crazy, musical family of friends is bonded together through thick and thin. Marriages and divorces. Births and deaths. Good times and bad times.
Thread that runs among all the relationships of this little OKOM family is just that: the music. There are times when music feels like my only friend. And, I know you’ve felt that way too, even if you don’t want to admit it. Music boosts us when we’re down, and boosts us higher when we’re up. It consoles us during grief and cajoles us when we’re weary. It can be spiritual, powerful, emotional, digestible, forgettable, unforgettable, magical, fantastic, realistic, easy, hard, sensual, plastic…it can be whatever you need, whenever you need it. Music lives in our hearts, minds and souls. It’s in the air we breathe, it’s in the fabric of our beings. Having that as common connection to other people is not to be taken lightly.
True friends show their true colors at the darkest hours. So does my friend, and yours, music. Whatever despair you’re feeling, whatever joy you’re celebrating…music (along with God’s grace and love) will put its arm around you and remind you that it’s going to be alright…it’s got your back. Over time, certain songs and artists begin to feel like personal property…family if you will. It’s not just 3 minutes and 15 seconds of minors and 7ths…it’s real to you. It connects you to places and things and emotions…just like a person. It’s your friend and it’s your family.
I hope you have a similar, familial and friendly connection to music. If you do, join us in New Braunfels at Greenfest to celebrate friends and family…both flesh and bone, and lyric and chord. It’s been a while since we’ve all seen each other in one place. OKOM families are special, don’t forget that. Let’s lean on each other and lean on the tunes. I’ll see you in New Braunfels…yes you…me and the music will be waiting to see our friends and family.
-Greenfest is such a big undertaking for a mom and pop operation as us each year. We’ve got it down to a pretty good science now, but that doesn’t make it any less stressful. Worrying about paying bands and if people will show up is a fear that any music promoter knows…but when it’s just a party you’re throwing for your friends I think the stress doubles. Help us out by buying some GF15 tickets HERE. Ha.
-Traveling to Minneapolis next week prior to GF. Most of my air travel has been to coasts, I don’t know that I’ve actually flown straight over the flyover states before. I’m looking forward to playing checkers out of the window.
-I’m working on some exciting projects to expand the Galleywinter brand and develop a That Metal Show type talk show revolving around OKOM and possibly even doing some morning radio from time to time as a yuck monkey. Sponsorships welcome. 🙂
-Am I just getting old or are fireworks overrated? News at 10.
-Headed to Crystal Beach at the end of the month, post-Greenfest. It’s been a long time since I’ve been down there. Suggestions aside from fishing and Stingaree?
-There was a big Waylon tribute held last night in Austin. I wasn’t there, but it had to be (based on the Tweets and Snaps etc, and the lineup) the best of its kind that’s taken place. The old Saengerhalle one has a special spot in my heart, but this seemed like a whole ‘nother league.
-A Nashville songwriter friend jokingly told me that Chris Stapleton is so good at everything, that it makes the rest of them want to give up. In hindsight, I don’t know if he was joking. That boy good.
-This month’s recommended album: Statesboro Revue-Jukehouse Revival. The title really says it all. Stewart Mann and the gang return with another release packed full of their brand of swampy, bluesy, twangy country rock straight out of Texas. They took a few adventurous turns with the production and writing this time around, stretched their creative comfort zones out and have produced something wholly original. Mann’s vocals have always been super strong and they are peaking here.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain