Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

I’m very good at tying knots…at least tying myself in knots. I recently was revisited by my old friend chest pains. This time it was a bit more serious. I had been hiding a lot of stress and not having anything that could release it. My exercise was near zero, my meditation habits were poor,  I even had stopped listening to and enjoying music! Even those closest to me had noticed how stiff and rigid I had become.

Needless to say, my doctor was less then thrilled with me. Once again, I was reminded sternly that I was “a walking heart attack and if I don’t change I will be dead in six months!” I think that scared me more then the physical things.

I am now reminded that I need to take things less seriously. It was such an interesting 2012, with so many highs and lows, that I had forgotten what in between felt like. It seems like I have been living my life for the high and low moments. I need to find that proper balance and also do better about letting my stress go. Shouting if I need to, exercising more regularly, writing more often. Sometimes, it’s ok to be angry, it’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to be happy.

I wise friend and mentor used to tell me all the time, “Craig, don’t take things so fucking seriously”. This was usually said in times of great stress.  I need to return to that advice.


I love this time of year in Salt Lake City. The weather is usually pretty good, which means lots to do outside! Lots of outdoor concerts, celebrations, Farmer’s Markets, and just lots of fun. This past weekend was the perfect way to kick of a summer of fun.

It started Friday night when after work I went down to Living Traditions in downtown Salt Lake City. It is this huge, 3-day festival to celebrate the diversity in the city. Now, I know diversity and Salt Lake City is not something that usually goes hand in hand, but the amount of different cultures represented is incredible. Different food, crafts, and music/dance from the different cultures. Once a year I indulge in a Chorizo sausage sandwich from the Basque region of Spain. The taste is something I really enjoy!

Saturday after work, it was time for the Festival of Roses. This is a fund raiser for the local Catholic Church. Again, the food was incredible! The Knights of Columbus, which my grandfather once led, cooked up a great steak sandwich that was covered in onions and peppers. It was huge and incredible! But the real reason for my participation at the time I went, was to see a great local band, Urban Bleu. Now I have written about them before but never had the chance to see them and speak with them until that day. What a fun time! I am including a video from a previous performance for you to enjoy. If you get the chance, please go see them, you won’t be disappointed!

Now Sunday, it was time to go back to Living Traditions to see the legendary blues harmonica player and singer Charlie Musselwhite. I have enjoyed his music for years. He is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame and has been recording since 1960. He has played with almost all of the legendary blues performers of his time. He also was in the movie “Blues Brothers 2000” as part of the all-star band at the end of the movie. What a thrill it was to see him live!

After the concert, it was time to head to the Gateway Mall to see the solar eclipse. What a spectacular show that mother nature put on. And it was the perfect end to a great weekend!

Dear Mom:

Another Mother’s Day is upon us. I am reminded of growing up in Kearns…we would wake up on Sunday and go to your Mom’s. Gram would make us breakfast…we would bring flowers…all of us would give you and her hand-made gifts and cards. It was always the “safe” place for us…free from the stress that was there.

Mom…I know that it was hard. You had all four of us within five years…almost to the day. You were still pretty young yourself…barely 19 when Marcey was born. For most of the time before we went to school you worked two jobs. Dad worked nights so he could get paid more. We never felt like it was a struggle financially, but looking back, I know that it was.

Mom…I can count on one hand the sporting or school events that you missed. You were always there..cheering not just me…but my teammates as well. You shared in our triumphs and disappointments. Many of them called you “Mom”. You welcomed all of my friends into our house…made sure we were all fed and safe. You would bring extra food to those all day track meets in high school…enough to feed an army.

Mom…you gave me my love of music. We would sit for hours listening to the great musicians of the time. I remember you going with us to see Boston and Queen in Denver…and also waiting in line to get Bruce Springsteen tickets. You encouraged us to explore other genres of music…taught me to appreciate theater…movies…and a love of art.

Mom…you gave me my love of politics and history. I remember we watched the Apollo missions together. And how we both were watching when Robert Kennedy was shot. I remember your tears as if it was yesterday.

Mom…you gave me my sense of humor…the ability to laugh at myself. My caring nature…my patience.

Mom…it’s been about five years now. We both had to make choices. I think about you everyday and long to speak with you. I sometimes go by where you live…in fact…was there today. I have dialed your number many times…just to hear your voice. I understand the choice you had to make. I wish you could see the person that I am today…to share in my triumphs and disappointments. To be able to talk about the physical issues that we both have now. Hopefully soon.

Mom…I love and miss you…and thank you!

Growing up…Sunday was always a relaxing day. It was the day that we would all go over to my grandparents for the better part of the day. The lived within walking distance of the house, so as we got older we could walk, or ride bike, but mostly we would drive up.

I would watch sports on TV with my grandpa. I remember during football season, he would place a small TV on top of the larger one so he could have both games going. I would also lay in front of the stereo listening to my uncle’s albums…memorizing every word and note.

My Grandma would cook for us…any meal. Plus snacks. The house was always filled with the most wonderful smells. In warm weather we would sit outside overlooking her wonderful flower garden. Grandma was also a serious crossword puzzle player. My love for words really came from doing puzzles with her from a very young age. Any one who has played me in Words With Friends can blame her for the bizarre words that I come up with. Sometimes you just have to make it fit!

My grandparents have passed away…Grandpa over 20 years ago and Grandma just in the last few. I am really grateful that my Grandma got to know my children before she died. Every Sunday, I think back to those times and realize how lucky I was in some aspects growing up. It’s that memory of simpler times that relaxes me and helps me remember to stay grounded and enjoy what I have.

So when my life gets extremely crazy…as it is now…I always go back to my true love…music! I grew up getting a large part of comfort in tough situations from being able to escape in music. I have been fortunate enough to have been to numerous concerts featuring some of the greatest acts in music history. I can remember spending hours in front of my grandma’s stereo listening to “The Beatles”. Or having my uncle Jan introduce me to the album “Tommy”. Watching “The Smothers Brothers” or Johnny Cash on TV. Along with Sports, it was always music that was my salvation. I think in the last few days, I have really discovered how much.

Life is constantly a struggle. It seems like now I am at a crossroads…trying to make decisions that I have been putting off for awhile. I know that things will be ok. Whatever happens in the next few weeks, will be but the beginning of a new chapter…a new chance to grow.

As I look back on the past few weeks, I realized just how focused I have been on being caught in my own misery. I have been so worried and focused on the bad in my life that I forgot about what is good and wonderful. Just a small switch yesterday really made it a great day.

Yesterday had all the opportunity of a bad day…I had very little sleep…work had been tough…It was raining..I was feeling down. It took just a simple switch…I listened to music…to really put me in a great mood. Well, that and coffee. LOL. One little thing really mad the difference. Whenever I got down, I just started singing or at least focusing on a song or two that really made me happy! I had more energy…felt better…and related to people much better.

I think that inside of each of us we have that thing that brings us joy. It is easy to get caught up in the misery that we feel…the darkness. If we just switch that a tiny bit I think that you will feel much better…have more energy…and be able to enjoy life so much more.

I just wanted to mention a few dates for a couple of my favorite local bands.  The first happens on February 15 at The Depot with Truce playing. You gotta get down there and check this show out! Not a better place to see a show and I know you will love the band!

The next is the great Urban Bleu at The Green Pig on February 24th. That’s a Friday night and so it can kick off a great weekend of great music

Last, but certainly not least is the following night on February 25 at the Filling Station in Magna featuring Parchman Farm Freedom Riders. We need to pack this place for this show. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first time they will headline a show. Let’s get out there and show them lots of love.


I said it. I hate “American Idol”.  Look at the name…what have these people done to be idolized? Usually, the best people aren’t even the winners. Why do we care about this popularity contest? Plus, Ryan Seacrist gave us the Kardashians. I’m sure there is a special place in hell for him for that!

Now, I love music! Nothing soothes my soul more than music. However, I feel that people should be “idolized” based on a popularity contest. Bands should have to pay their dues and work at their craft. Here in Utah we are fortunate to have some really great local groups who deserve our support. The first one I want to highlight is “Urban Bleu”:

The next one I just have a link for some audio and I hope this works . I appreciate then helping me with this. Please enjoy  “Parchman Farm Freedom Riders”

These two definitely need your support. Get out there and see them…buy the albums!