Clearing the Beard, Looking Ahead

I've never been able to grow a respectable beard. If I let it go for a week or two I can achieve vaguely 7th Grade facial hair, but that's about it.

Since returning from my California tour a few weeks ago my life has been so busy that I've had to put personal hygiene on the back burner. Doing the stay-home-Dad routine for 10 hours a day with 2 little kids while rehearsing for a big full-band show and launching the release of a new album leaves barely enough time to shower and put on clean clothes. So I inadvertently produced some sort of beard-situation. This week I decided I would shave as sort of a symbolic ritual to help me gain some basic control of my life. It was kind of amazing...I had forgotten what I looked like under there. I can't imagine being one of those guys who shaves in the morning, and comes home with a 5 o'clock shadow. I could maybe have a next-month shadow.

So anyway, I'm transitioning into a new phase of life. Summer is here (it was 80 degrees today). Paavo's preschool sessions are coming to a close. Svea is almost crawling. I finally got around to fixing and re-filling the basement water-softener machine, a project that I've been meaning to do since last year. Our basement is nearly unpacked...and we've been in this house for 10 months.

And with the release of the Best of the 20th Century CD, I now have no new material for the first time EVER. No idea about what the next album should be, no brand new songs. Just wide open possibilities. I do have a few dozen old unreleased tunes that are about halfway recorded, so I'll keep picking away at those, but they're all pretty weird...nothing that most of the general population would really appreciate. I've made some plans with some excellent musicians who I really admire...we may try some co-writing dates, just like the pros do in Nashville. I was inspired after attending that ASCAP songwriting Expo in LA last month.

One final thought: as I get older, when it comes to music and coolness and image, I just don't care anymore. If the music brings me joy, then I don't care who's singing it, or where it came from, or if I "should" like it or not. I just like what I like, and you'll see me air-drumming on the steering wheel to prove it. I saw Nick Lachey in LA last month sing his most recent hit at the ASCAP Songwriting Awards, and he was GREAT: awesome vocals, full of passion. You go, Nick! I've been listening to Joan Jett in the car, and she rocks..."Do you wanna touch? YEAH!" I love the tunes in the new cranberry ELW hymnal, and hanging out with liturgist Guillermo Cuellar last month was a musical highlight of my recent life. I washed a mountain of dishes tonight while listening to Gwen Stefani's "Love Angel Music Baby" album, and it was incredibly fun and well-done and energizing. I performed at a confirmation BBQ last night at a church out in Excelsior, MN, and my band and I played "Texas Kyrie," "867-5309 (Jenny)," "Earth and All Stars," and "Stand By Me." I got the Best of Dave Edmunds traded to me today from and I can't believe I've lived 35 years without this album in my collection...completely butt-kickingly beautiful. It's funny...I caused a small fuss on the blog of one of my favorite songwriter/musicians Terry Anderson when I commented that it was ME who had invited him to participate in my Styx Tribute Album project (a band that he can't stand!). I love Styx, and I love Terry Anderson, and maybe it is totally illogical and bizarre that I like 'em both, but I do. I don't care. I like what I like. Gwen, Joan, Terry, Dennis, Guillermo, Madonna, Keith, Dave, Nick, Warren, Butch, Liz, Avril: I love you all. Thanks for enriching my life and my eardrums. Love and music and joy transcends all barriers of hipness and geography and time. The Grace of God and the music of the spheres is pumping through every atom of creation, and I'm happy to sing along. "Knowledge and truth, loud sounding wisdom, sing to the Lord a New Song." (to quote Herbert Brokering)


Darin Wiebe said…
Hey Jonathan,

My daughter's been singing Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" for a week straight so I downloaded it for her iPod. Now that I've read your blog I don't have to be embarassed to be caught up by its poppiness.

Stein Auf!

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