Follow The Map [on KS Friday]

wait a while songbox copy

These days I am more interested in the rough draft than the finished piece. Recently, 20 gave me a great gift as we sorted through Duke’s old sketches and throw-away paintings. Duke was brilliant and his explorations were free and full of art-frolic.

When Kerri brings out the box of rough cuts I secretly clap my flippers. It means I am going to hear the story behind the composition. We listen and she tells me of the day she recorded the piece or about the problems she and her producer faced. The unforeseen, the discovery-in-the-moment.

My favorite days in this life happen when I am down in the studio and, upstairs, Kerri begins to noodle on the piano, when she allows herself to fall into composing. Our house fills with an enchantment, an invocation of all that is essential. A creative pilgrimage that has no leader and no follower, only the pull of the impulse.

WAIT A WHILE, a rough cut, will give you some sense of what it feels like to be in my studio when Kerri begins the pilgrimage. Like Duke’s free flowing sketches, this rough cut is a map to the sacred place.

Listen to WAIT A WHILE, the rough cut piano track here:

https://www.kerrianddavid.com/ks-friday

 

Kerri on ITunes

 

picnic table website box copy

 

wait a while: rough cut ©️ 1995 – 2019 kerri sherwood

Become It [on KS Friday]

and now songbox copy

Kerri wrote AND NOW for us. For me. It is the piece of music that played as I walked down the aisle. I can’t hear it without being transported back to that moment. Then is now.

The only time I’ve been in the recording studio with her was when she laid down the tracks for AND NOW. It was magic. She was completely in her element, doing what she does naturally and best. I was utterly taken by her mastery, her ease. She recorded it the week prior to our wedding, when the to-do list was endless and the guests were literally knocking on the door. Needless to say the stress was palpable. And yet, she sat at the piano in the studio and played, she stood in front of the mic and sang, and the rest of the demands of the moment simply fell away. There was nothing between her and her composition. She became her music. She lived her song.

It’s what I thought about as I walked down the aisle that day. Eternal thanks. Wonder at a universe that connected the dots. And now? Nothing more or less than living the song in the same spirit in which it was written and recorded. Nothing between us and the music.

 

AND NOW is available on iTunesiTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about AND NOW

 

BootsWeddingBoots website box copy

 

andnowcopyright2015kerrisherwood

Reflect On It [on KS Friday]

her palette - the piano copy

I so loved Kerri’s post yesterday that, today, I’m reflecting it back to her.

Do we ever really know what it takes to do someone else’s job? We don’t know the tools used, the research done, the years of training and experience, how someone perceives their own work. We can only guess and, most often, fall desperately, arrogantly, audaciously off the mark.

Kerri’s piano dominates her studio. A black 6’7″ Yamaha grand. It is not a show piece, it is a workhorse. Littering the music stand are stacks of composition notebooks, idea journals, sketches (she is visual) and pile after pile of church music – old hymnals, new downloads of pieces she’s considering for her ukulele band, choir or handbell choir. On the floor are several heavy binders arranged in alphabetical order with the music already played, binders from the 30 years of experience as a minister of music. There is yet another stack reserved for pieces she’s considering playing with Jim, her brilliant guitarist. Lining the walls are ukuleles, a few guitars, a cello, a keyboard, several music stands, more stacks of the original recordings of her albums (note: they are not stored as sacred artifacts. Rather, they are piled willy-nilly for easy reference). My wife is a Yamaha artist (look it up) and her constantly shifting studio topography (ever-moving piles) is testament to the music in her soul, her very-long history of artistry.

Now, I’ve sung a song or two in the shower. When I met Kerri I told her that I didn’t sing and she fairly quickly called my bluff. I sing in her choir. I delight in singing with her and Jim. They are kind and pretend that I add something to their mix. Nowadays I can even pick out a slow tune on the ukulele!

All of this, however, does not make me capable of really understanding how Kerri plays or composes. I can pluck a note. I can warble a song. I will, however, never have mastery of all the instruments, I will never approach her capacity to transpose on the fly, or compose poetry and melody. I will never hear the nuance she hears, the music of silence. I do not have a natural gift of music nor an entire lifetime to exercise and explore it.

I do not know the tricks of the trade she has accumulated over decades of honing her expertise. Nor do I know the knowledge base she brings about other artists, other musicians and compositions, the instrumentation, the way she ‘feels’ an audience and adjusts, the very technical details and the very heart-based intuitions she has learned through many, many years of study and practice. I can’t understand or even try to predict the amount of time it takes (or doesn’t take) for her to conceptualize, to explore, to create, to review, to assess, to adjust, to re-create. I can respond to her work but I cannot define it, nor would it be credible for me to even try to do so. Out of respect for her work, this ‘music’ that is one of the essential things that define her, I know that I really have no idea. I will never approach all that she knows. What I can do is appreciate the enormity of her talent, the endless hours of study, pursuit, practice, passion, experimentation, frustration, rehearsal, writing, performance, teaching, research, recording, pondering, pounding and playing and playing and playing – a lifetime of experience – that has brought her to this place where she creates beautiful music that seems to take no effort whatsoever.

Making it look easy. It takes a lifetime. The woman who delivers our mail has been a postal carrier for 30 years. It is hubris to think I know what that takes. It is utter arrogance to think I could pick up a mailbag and simply know what she knows, do what she does. Experience is invisible. Value is too easily reduced to dollars and cents. As Kerri wrote yesterday, with regard to anyone, the work they do, the life-path they bring to their work, we have no idea. It is both humbling and respectful to take a step back and consider the invisible, to remember that what appears easy comes from years and years of very hard work.

 

read Kerri’s blog post on KS FRIDAY

 

 

their palettes website box copy

 

Come To Realize [on KS Friday]

you come to realize songbox copy

This is among my favorite of Kerri’s compositions. It is children laughing and running through tall grasses. It is the tender green shoot pushing up through the crusty soil to drink the sun. It is the bursting grape, the wine. This is hope and giddy life. It is “Do it now. Don’t wait another moment.” It is a spontaneous celebratory dance because you can’t hold it in another second. It is the soundtrack for the moment when you come to realize that life is boundless and vibrant and right now.

 

YOU COME TO REALIZE on the album THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY is available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post on YOU COME TO REALIZE

 

 

laughing website box copy

 

you come to realize/this part of the journey ©️ 1998/2000 kerri sherwood

Yearn [on KS Friday]

last i saw you songbox copy

 

Kerri breaks my heart regularly. I listen to her play and I have to put down my brushes. She is a magician who can transport me in a moment to another time, another place. She can take me to the top of a mountain. She can leave me lost and yearning.

LAST I SAW YOU is the magician at her finest. What or who do you long for? This composition will take you there. It will break your heart in all the best ways.

Out there in the field of possibility, Yaacov Bergman conductor and past collaborator of mad, mad symphony projects, is considering including Kerri playing her PEACE in a future concert. I’ve pitched the notion of a sequence of her pieces, a longer program.  In that future evening in the concert hall and my imagination, if it ever comes to pass, LAST I SAW YOU would be included. It is magic.

 

LAST I SAW YOU on the album THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about LAST I SAW YOU

 

moon website box copy

 

last i saw you/this part of the journey ©️ 1998 kerri sherwood

 

Move Me [on KS Friday]

thewayyoumoveme Primary IMage BOX copy

thewayyoumoveme product BAR copy

Kerri composes on scraps of paper. Her notes are unintelligible to those of us outside of her mind. Lyrics peppered with mysterious hieroglyphic symbols and magical music notation that skips across multiple napkins and old homework assignments. What’s more amazing to me: she can play perfectly beautiful pieces of music as she deciphers her random-note-trail.I’ve accused her of being like John Nash, the character that Russell Crowe plays in A Beautiful Mind. “You’re not a paranoid schizophrenic are you?” I ask, scrutinizing her for clues.

“I don’t know, I’ll ask myself,” she replies. I am out-gunned at every turn.

Recently she pulled out a plastic sleeve stuffed with wrinkled paper, post-it notes, and random scraps of scribbles and jots. “This is the song They Way You Move Me,” she said.

Amazed. On this KS Friday, take a moment, put down your scraps of paper, and follow Kerri through hers. Give over and let her beautiful song, The Way You Move Me, move you.

 

THE WAY YOU MOVE ME on the album AS SURE  AS THE SUN is available on iTunes & CDBaby

THE WAY YOU MOVE ME gifts and products

read Kerri’s blog post about THE WAY YOU MOVE ME

www.kerrianddavid.com

the way you move me/as sure as the sun ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

the way you move me/raw lyrics designs ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

See Again and Again

A detail from my painting, An Instrument of Peace

A detail from my painting, An Instrument of Peace

It has become my habit, when I finish a painting, to take photographs of sections of the piece. It helps me see it again. Often, I like these detail photographs as well or better than the painting. There are always discoveries in the details.

My paintings always surprise me. Years ago, I was showing my paintings to Jim Edmondson and he asked why all of my pieces had three spheres in the composition. I didn’t know what he was talking about. He laughed, our roles reversed, and he began showing me my paintings; each piece included three distinct spheres. I literally did not see them. They were apparent only after he made me look at sections of the paintings. I was both shocked and delighted. Perception is not universal.

Another detail from An Instrument of Peace

Another detail from An Instrument of Peace

The mastery of art (the mastery of life – same thing) is to transcend the notion that you “know” and that what you know is “right.” Krishnamurti wrote that, the moment you judge something, you cease to experience it. The fullness of life is in the experience and not the translation of the experience. All of us assume that we see the whole picture. We assume that we see is reality (truth) – and that reality (truth) for me must be reality for you. It is not. To have an “open mind” and “clear vision” is to release the notion that there is one truth, one way of seeing.

Once, I directed a production of God’s County by Steven Dietz and I knew it was a good production because half of the audience left angry and the other half left inspired. One play, many interpretations and the interpretations were, like all things we name as reality, rooted in each individual’s personal experience. What matters is not that our interpretations need to be the same, but a recognition that what you see is just as valid as what I see. As my friend Joe once said, “We come to know ourselves through other people’s eyes.”

 

An Instrument of Peace

A rough shot on the studio wall of An Instrument of Peace

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