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

 

Look Back [on KS Friday]

where i'm from songbox copy

Every artist has a root. They stand firmly on the shoulders of other artists that inspire and inform their work. They have experiences that color their expression. Every artist walks a seeker’s path. They, of necessity, stand at the edge of their village so they can 1) see clearly the machinations of their community, but more importantly, 2) they serve as a bridge to help their community across boundaries of time and space, providing necessary access to the unseen world, the greater things that cannot be grasped in law or calculation or bought with currency. Inspiration. Ancestry. Purpose. Love. Soul. Aspiration. Perspective. Hope. Possibility.

It is a happy accident that for this week’s Studio Melange Kerri shared a new piece of music, YOU’RE THE WIND, a song never  before recorded, while also choosing this piece for KS Friday, WHERE I’M FROM, recorded over 20 years ago. It traces her path. It speaks to her sources.

WHERE I’M FROM is an appropriate title. It is a reaching back, recorded before Kerri met broadcast constraints and the squeeze of the music industry’s labels (New Age) expectations. It radiates innocence. It took me back to my childhood, transported me to carefree days in the sun, mountain meadows, games of four square with the neighborhood kids, my dad teaching me to ride a bike. She took me across the boundary of time, she helped me touch my source, a visit to where I am from.

Take the time to let this artist hold your hand and take you across the boundary, back to your source, to touch for a moment the greater things that live beyond the day’s achievements. Let her remind you of all that truly matters as you turn and look back and visit your mountain meadow and perhaps, as I did, appreciate the riches of the life that you’re living.

 

WHERE I’M FROM on the album BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about WHERE I’M FROM

 

skipper's pub, northport harbor, ny website box copy

 

 

where i’m from/blueprint for my soul ©️ 1997 kerri sherwood

you’re the wind ©️ 2005/18 kerri sherwood

Appreciate It [on KS Friday]

every breath song box copy

Yesterday we drove the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive to see the fall leaves. It was our anniversary gift to each other. A day off. A day away. A conscious decision to step out of the busy-list of to-dos, the concerns and stresses, the tug and pull and demands…. What could be a better gift to each other than presence with each other. Time less wandering with intent to appreciate.

Every Breath could be the soundtrack of our gift-drive. The crisp air, the glow of the leaves (“Look at that hillside!” she gasped). An utter appreciation of all things passing. Every Breath.

On another note, if the cello line in this piece doesn’t kill you, then you need to take the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive and wake up. Kerri’s compositions were made to be played with the rich depth of a symphony. Every Breath will make you catch your breath. It’s gorgeous like the leaves.

 

EVERY BREATH on the album AS IT IS available on iTunes and CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about EVERY BREATH

 

kettlemoraineacornwebsitebox copy

 

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every breath/as it is ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

Riverstone [On KS Friday]

a musical lift from studio melange to get you to the weekend.

Don’t tell Kerri but this composition, Riverstone, is one of my favorite pieces of her music. It lifts me. Every time. It brings me immediately to my personal mountaintop moments, those times when I felt most alive and shouted to let the universe know it. It perfectly evokes for me that moment on a hot summer day when I waded into a cold mountain stream, my feet stinging, and I laughed at the simple joy of it.

What could be a better gift to give your self on this Friday. Step into Riverstone and let it take you, even for a moment, to your mountaintop.

RIVERSTONE from the album AS IT IS (track 4) iTunes

RIVERSTONE is also available on CDBaby

melange product BAR copy

RIVERSTONE wall art, mugs, totes, leggings, phone cases, beach towels and more. Gifts and reminders to go with the flow!

read kerri’s blog post about RIVERSTONE

RIVERSTONE from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

KS Friday

jacketasitisjpeg copyMeander. A gentle word, that brings to mind a slow stroll through a sunny day with no place in particular to be. It is a word without to-do lists and achievements.

Kerri’s composition and performance of Meander invariably opens my heart/mind to a slow stroll through memory, a warm gallery of small hopeful moments. A barefoot walk in a mountain stream. A sunrise, that moment that the warmth hit my face. A meteor shower and the scent of sage at midnight. The puppy smell of Tripper Dogdog when he first came home.

On this KS Friday, from studio melange, give over to Meander. Let this amazing piece of music inspire you – as it does me – to step out of the race and take a stroll, real or through memory, to those rich and sunny fields beyond hurry-up and go-go-go.

 

MEANDER from the album AS IT IS (track 3) iTunes

MEANDER from AS IT IS (track 3) on CDBaby

read Kerri’s thoughts about Meander

melange button jpeg copy

kerrianddavid.com

MEANDER from AS IT IS ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

 

KS Friday

jackettpotjjpegIn this age of brevity, tweets, freeways, fast tracks, efficiency and ubiquitous worship at the alter of time-is-money, I find this piece of music to be heart-full and hopeful.  It reminds me of the simple truth in this life: the important stuff lives in the fields beyond the achievements and striving. It’s A Long Story is beautiful and evokes a profound paradox: each moment is a long story  – especially if I choose to live IN it rather than rush to pass THROUGH it.

I listened to this album long before I met Kerri in person. I listened over and over again to this track, It’s A Long Story, and knew we were kindred. It asks you to stop and listen. It asks you to take time, to surrender any nagging efficiency, cost cutting race through life and sit in your moment. It’s a warm bath in the simple appreciation of living. It has made me smile and sometimes served as the soundtrack to my weeping. It always serves as a siren call into the present moment. That’s the heart of the artist’s gift and Kerri, my wife is a remarkable artist. On this KS Friday, hear her call from the melange, and fall into your Long Story.

ITS A LONG STORY from the album THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY (track 1) iTunes

KS FRIDAY

www.kerrisherwood.com – buy the album

read Kerri’s thoughts about IT’S A LONG STORY

www.kerrianddavid.com

IT’S A LONG STORY from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 2000 kerri sherwood