September News

by j on September 29, 2014 · 0 comments

in music marketing and business

I love new years, and better than a new calendar year is a new birthday year. So after turning 42 earlier this month and feeling like it had brought many answers, I set out again to refine my sound and vision for Fall’s shows.

This meant getting some new (battery-powered) gear that will allow me to bring some of the sonic magic I make in the studio, outside, to remote settings. It meant playing with new loop and delay pedals, many nights in a row.

It also meant bringing new ideas to the music-council for feedback. Thanks to Earl and Airshp for all the help envisioning and refining it with me. Channel J is on the way!

Stay tuned,

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Gray and Lauren got married a few weeks ago, so I worked up this old favorite to perform at the wedding. How much more simple, beautiful and true can a song get?!

LOVE-by-Lennon

Love is real, real is love
Love is feeling, feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved

Love is touch, touch is love
Love is reaching, reaching love
Love is asking to be loved

Love is you, you and me
Love is knowing we can be

Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needing to be loved

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Asleep In The Shade

by j on September 22, 2014 · 0 comments

in my music and performances

Meditation takes many forms and for me sometimes the most effortless is losing myself, late at night, in the soupy, loopy delay of a slow ambient guitar progression. (Especially when I have new loop and delay pedals to play with.)

Adding simple layer upon echoey layer bakes a nice end-of-day dream. I use this to help slip past a long day out into the night sea.

For the gear-heads, here are the tricks I’ve got up my sleeve on this track, along with an Ebow.

loop and delay pedals

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42 Is The Answer

by j on September 5, 2014 · 0 comments

in wisdom and self-knowledge

Anais and I on our bday bike/walk. Taken by Maile.

What’s the question? Well, it could be:

  • How old are you now? or
  • When will your life come together? or
  • When will you be happy?

I could answer all of these with, “42.”

(I haven’t read it, but I’m aware of 42’s significance from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which the supercomputer Deep Thought spends 7.5 million years to compute the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. The answer is… 42. See for yourself on Google, or YouTube.)

This is a great bday because it is a wonderful time in my life. Maile, Anais and I have such fun. I love my job. And my music vision is stronger and clearer than ever.

The thrashing around that started at 40 seems to have subsided. The result of the tally is that I have everything I need,  so much love and joy, I’m surrounded by so many wonderful people and meaningful projects. What else could I ask for?

Well, ambition is as wide-eyed as ever as I turn my attention to a refined approach to music that relies less on the distinctiveness of  my talent and more on my art as a healing service for the fracturing world.

Between gorgeous gigs and Sundaysong singalongs I offer connection and reconnection to nature, beauty, people, and peace. (Gorgeous gigs are in beautiful spaces, outside when the whether is right. Sundaysong singalongs are like a folksong church, without the church.)

Thanks, peace, and love to my family, friends and fans for giving me so much. I hope for 42 years more for the chance to repay you.

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I’ve finally started doing something I’ve wanted to do for like the last year: Sundaysong Singalong. The idea is simple: have a singalong instead of church. Put another way, it’s like an old Pete Seeger-style folksong singalong, just with a Sunday-morning sort of setlist: songs of  love, beauty, gratitude, wisdom, work, wonder… songs that evoke higher powers, that are sacred without feeling sectarian.

So yesterday I finally gathered a small group to test the concept. A dozen of us gathered in my living room where I projected the lyrics on to a sheet hanging from the hearth. I didn’t snap any pics — the one below of Gray and I playing at the back of the room was by Dan — but I did have my recorder going. Here is a medley of seven of the songs we sang to give you a flavor of the morning’s songs:

j-gray-singalong-7-20-14Setlist

Rise Up Singing Songbook

  1. This Land Is Your Land (p.5)
  2. Moonshadow (p. 30)
  3. Big Yellow Taxi (p. 34)
  4. Day-O (p. 49)
  5. The Times They Are A’Changin (G)
  6. The Water Is Wide
  7. Rivers of Babylon (p. 63)
  8. Lean On Me (p. 66)
  9. With A Little Help From My Friends (p. 68)
  10. Keep On The Sunny Side (p. 87)
  11. Amazing Grace (p. 92)
  12. I Shall Be Released (p. 102)
  13. Blowin In The Wind (D) (p. 115)
  14. Imagine (C) (p.116)
  15. Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore (p.62)

Beatles Songbook

  1. Let It Be (p. 206)
  2. All You Need Is Love (p. 18)
  3. Across The Universe (p. 10)

We only made it through #12 before it had been an hour and we called it quits, chatted by the fruit and the donuts, and went our separate Sunday ways. The whole thing was an easy success judging by the effortless joining of strangers in song, the sharing and the smiles.


Last weekend I inaugurated the first Sundaysong Singalong’s touring version, because we were in Houston for the weekend to catch the Magritte exhibit at the Menil. I invited a few Houston friends to join us on the lawn of the Menil for the hour before the museum opened at 11, so at 10 AM, Maile, Anais and I spread our blanket beneath a shade tree and laid out our picnic. Before long Ritiban, Jasmine, and their boy Ian had joined us. Before we were done another mom and her girl had found and joined us.

While Ritiban and I strummed, the kids drew with sidewalk chalk and the mothers watched and talked. (Ian had to be chased down the block several times as he made breaks for it.) It was a wonderful hour after which we all went into the  gallery to roam around in the cool surrealism.

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