Liquid music... or how I made my fortune

Well... I've just received the Music PEI award for Musician of the Year.

What an honour!  Sincere thanks for Music PEI for including this award for all current, past, and future nominees and winners.  For many music awards organizations, most of the well deserved focus goes to mainline artists and groups for their creative contribution to the music scene. Totally legit, totally great.  Music PEI is one of the few that has the musician of the year category.  Grammys, Junos, ECMAs - none of these have this specific category.  So in these larger music award organizations, many musicians like Chris Gauthier, Nathan Condon, Dan Currie, and myself don't even get the honour just to be nominated.... and they should... because these musicians and countless other musicians across Canada and around the world are responsible for creatively and professionally and passionately supporting artists in rehearsals, on stage, in the studio, etc, etc.  They really do help to make things tick in the music world.  Prime example..   The Funk Brothers

So again - kudos to Music PEI for recognizing that there is merit in officially and publicly saying thanks to these type of musicians.

So in preparing for the weekend, I of course, had to think "what would I say if I won?.   I've won awards as part of a group before, and never had to say anything.  I probably should prepare something"

So along with the need to thank the other amazing nominees, whom I have incredible respect for, and Music PEI for the reasons mentioned above, well, I'll have to mention that I'm a family man.  Getting out for gigs isn't easy as pie.  In fact sometimes it's a downright pain in the ass - a veritable logistical nightmare of car switching, babysitters, amazing in-laws, missing suppers with the kids, missing bedtime ( ok sometimes that's not sooooo bad ), missing kids' events or presentations, important school meetings, messing with my lovely wife's sleep while she's preparing for yet another nursing night-shift, asking for time off work, leaving work early to get to a gig on time, and finishing up work late at night to make up the time, etc, etc, etc.

That all being said... to me, it is worth every second of it.  I get to play the bass, with other musicians, for an audience.  I get to make music.  I get to be creative.  I get to share my craft.  In a non-bragging way I get to say "look at how worth it, it was to put in all those hours of practice to be able to do this right now",.   What a gift!  What an honour!  If I was in a non-sharing line of work, something that doesn't get displayed to an audience, or shared for critique, or publicly valued, well.. I'd be awfully jealous of musicians, artists, etc.

Think about these two things: 1) a kid in school who plays in a final band concert.  2) a kid in school that completes his final math test.   Both very valuable end results.  but... yeah.

I also of course had to thank the incredible list of musicians/groups/artists I had the pleasure of making music with over the last year.

Special thanks to:
How freakin lucky am I?!?!  Though to be honest, luck isn't a word I use any more.. I prefer the term: fortunate.  Luck is something that happens to you. You make your own fortune. 

Now...something I really wanted to say....Something I really wanted to explain...but couldn't find the right spoken words for ( for fear of ugly crying in front of peers, friends, strangers, and the staff at the Delta ) ... it's the real reason why I'm so incredibly proud of this nomination and award.

Though I've never stopped playing music in the last 20+ years, well...several years back I accidentally let it slip away...  it went from a vast ocean in my world to a slow annoying drip from an old rusty tap.  ( <-- friggin dramatic eh? ).

I never meant it to happen.  I let music related priorities slip.  I took music in my life for granted.  I forgot how to respect it.  I made the mistake of saying "someday I'll get back into it" but for now I'll focus on work and life.  For several years I didn't take my bass out of its case unless it was at a paid gig and even then my heart wasn't there.  I slowly weaned myself out of the scene.

I don't blame anyone but myself.  I let it happen.

Then one day as I was sitting by my mother's bedside at Palliative care listening to my aunt and cousin sing some potential funeral hymns in harmony for my mother... tears started streaming down my face: the combination of the visual (my mother dying) and the aural (that familial harmony) broke me.

Days later I was sitting at my mother's funeral and listening to Terry Hatty play guitar and sing songs in the exact manner my mother asked for ( funeral dirges), and in the only way Terry Hatty ever sings, which is with unreserved fullness, and well... the aesthetics of the whole thing was the perfect storm to absolutely slam me with a tonne of musical reality-bricks.

Music had become an afterthought in my life.  I needed to fix this.

I took an unpaid leave from work.  I listened to music.  I picked up the guitar.  I bought the guitar I've always wanted.  I played music.  I remembered.   I became that excited 14 year old again, picking up an electric bass for the first time.  I was inspired to give one of my electric basses away.   I re-learned to appreciate music.  No, I relearned to respect the opportunity I *can* have to listen to and play music.  I relearned how to respect every...single...note.. I've played since that day.  Even the wrong ones.

No award is needed to tell me I've won.  Still, I am completely amazed and honoured that others see it too.

I decided to make changes in my life - I left a job that was destroying me.  My family moved to a house that allowed us to be a happier family.   Today I juggle the balance of a full time non-music job I actually enjoy, a full family life, and a deep respect for the benefits of music in my life or to put it in general..the importance of making your dreams a reality.

I'll leave you with this... Meaghan Blanchard so eloquently described Sunday at the Songwriters concert how an elderly gentleman approached her after a gig in PEI and said "you've inspired me...all my life I never followed my dreams....and I'm gonna start tomorrow...and become the man I could have been... ".

It's never too late...


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