Something to Say

Have you listened lately?

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself this morning.

There are 7 billion people on earth, and they all have something to say.

Some days we don’t have the patience to listen. We watch faces come and go, dwelling on our own problems, aspirations, and experiences. We look to other bodies to fulfill our own purposes, and toss around another’s talent for our own selfish pleasures.

We hear the noise coming from a friend, but are consumed by our own inner dialogue. We refuse to let other voices pour into our lives, because we are consumed by the urge for our own voice to be heard.

Love is not a cold, innate, unfeeling, self-absorbed statue.

Love is a conversation. Sometimes the conversation can be grueling, and other days, it’s the most beautiful, easy thing one will ever experience.

But every moment, it’s worth it.

Because we should fight for

the lost cause,

the outcast,

and the invisible.

Everyone has something to say.

So I’m still asking myself:

Have you listened lately?

From the Road

Actually, from Starbucks. Even more ironic than “from the road.”

Anyways, I thought it was clever.

For the past few months, I’ve been studying in Nashville at the Contemporary Music Center. Instead of my really awesome homework load, I’ve been writing songs, arranging a band, performing weekly shows, and recording in the studio.

It’s been an incredible ten weeks! Ten weeks? Wow.

This summer I’m planning to make a permanent move in Nashville to pursue a few opportunities that have been coming my way. And of course, I have a few dates added to the calendar!

This week I took off with CMC for our Holotour. We’ve visited Bryan College and Erskine College. The rest of the tour takes us south—North and South Carolina. We’re returning to Nashville to finish up some shows locally at colleges and high schools.

I love nothing more than travelling, meeting new faces, and playing my music.

My opportunities with CMC have been awesome. It’s been a fast-pace, intense program, but to be completely immersed in music makes it worth it.

This is not a eulogy

I’ve taken awhile to come back to my blog.

The past few weeks have been a landslide of thoughts, emotions, and experiences that spill out innumerable words of pain, joy, and pensiveness.

I’ve attempted to take these thoughts in stride, speculating how I can be honest, genuine, and deliberate with my work.

Let me be frank, this is not a eulogy.

“In remembrance of”

“In honor of”

Sounds stagnant, and overused.

When someone pours such joy and inspiration into your life, you can’t simply leave them with a eulogy, or a token of remembrance.

So this is not a eulogy.

We are the living. We are the ones responsible for carrying on the legacy, thoughts, and beliefs of those before us—if we chose to do so.

A collection of lives continue to shape and sharpen our actions and morals, and we get to decide how to use the wisdom that has been passed on to us.

A couple weeks ago I went to back-to-back funerals.

My grandma—a woman who has had perhaps the most profound influence on my life.

And my grandpa: a man who pushed me into doing my very best under all circumstances.

I could write countless pages on how their actions affected me deeply. However, I feel as if this wouldn’t do justice to their memory. I want to encourage and uplift, rather than dwell on what has already passed.

So I want to leave you with a simple thought…

Don’t take those around you for granted. Pour into others the legacy—of joy, persistence, or determination–that they have poured into you.

Pokemon is still relevant.

When I was little I gave away my favorite Pokemon card to a friend, because he had an inadequate deck. If you had/have a Pokemon deck (no shame), then you know how big of a deal it is to part with your cards. I vividly remembering watching some twisted episode of Arthur, or maybe the Magic School Bus, in which a main character gave away a treasured possession to a friend out of goodness. As a result of their goodness, they received all the joy and bliss in the world.

I did not feel the least bit satisfied after giving away this Pokemon card. In fact, my emotions were quite the opposite—anger, confusion, and betrayal. PBS had totally ripped me off. I was left with one less Pokemon card, and a plate full of regret.

I feel like we all have been dished the lie that giving is healthier for the giver than the receiver. But if you’re giving out of selfish means, is that any worse than giving out of obligation?

Shouldn’t we be giving out of the goodness of our hearts?

Giving isn’t pretty.

Giving makes you weak, vulnerable, and accumulates countless risks.

Giving leaves everything up to the receiver, for better or worse.

Giving is an act of letting go, without expecting anything in return.

So why have we reduced giving to an emotional high?

Or a societal obligation?

Giving, in the purest sense, is love.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. LewisThe Four Loves

NAMM 2015

You knew it was coming, don’t deny it.

The longest, most obnoxious, most ridiculous, wonderful weekend of the year.

And the appropriate loud, boisterous social media posts to accompany it.

If you’ve checked my media, you probably realized I experienced beaches, celebrities, boutique pedals, and incredible instruments this weekend. But, in case you really do enjoy pretty pictures…

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Yep, that’s Laguna beach. Unfortunately, it was perfect. 80 degrees, cool refreshing water, and really big waves.

Prime beach conditions.

Sorry Midwest friends.

I have this theory, that NAMM gets 10x better every year—because, NAMM 2015 was amazing. Venturing out, I was reminiscing about how awesome last year’s show was. I had made several assumptions throughout the year, that nothing could possibly be better at NAMM 2014. Of course, I was proved blatantly wrong.

I mean, I knew I was off to a good start on Day 2, playing my dream guitar…

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Ugh. White Falcons are the only way to go, guys. Just looking at the picture makes me happy.

NAMM is such an incredible trade show to go to, and this year I had the privilege of receiving the NAMM Presidential Innovation Award, which funded my entire trip. Not only did I get to squeeze out every opportunity possible during the jam packed weekend of music and gear, but also do it fully funded by the NAMM foundation! Needless to say, I am so grateful.

Plus, did I mention I had a few awesome friends a long the way?

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Check out that hunk. Yep, that’s my hunk of a boyfriend. I get to embarrass him every once in awhile, right?

But seriously, it was so fun to venture into NAMM with the intention of playing every guitar, trying every possible pedal/rig we wanted, and enjoying some sweet music.

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Like seriously, my face explains it all.

Saturday night, I got to watch living legend Kenny Burrell play (the Kenny Burrell that was dubbed by Duke Elliot as his “favorite guitarist).

As a jazz guitarist, he’s been one of my biggest influences on playing and tone. Furthermore, he has this overall aura about him–genius, honest, and legendary–all packed into one person. It was breathtaking to watch him play, and at 83 years old he’s still got it!

So aside from seeing countless talented people perform, I also got to experience some really cool gear!

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Check out these in-ears from Ear Dubs! I spent all week walking around NAMM with these clever little guys in. They worked to protect my ears, especially in such a loud environment. Plus, they look better than fleshy colored ear plugs! Give ’em a shoutout at getdubs.com or @weardubs

Also, did I mention I got to spend the week with Marshall?

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Yeah, we don’t really know how to picture. But I thought I would share for your enjoyment.

Have a blessed week!

White Chocolate Cinnamon Caramel Bark

Yes, it’s a real thing. White chocolate cinnamon caramel bark. I know the majority of my posts namedrop foods or tasty meals, but this one is a shameless plug. Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, who specializes in pecan pralines (YUM), has some ridiculously good sweets. It was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth during an escapade downtown, with all three of my roommates. Seriously, just look at all this gold:

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After our Friday night escapade, which sounds more exciting than it was, we spent a sunny Saturday afternoon enjoying Long Hunter State Park. It was a refreshing break from rehearsals, traffic, and concrete walls. Sometimes all you need is a little sun, water, and trees. As you can see, my roommate was thrilled.

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Did I mention that my roommate is adorable? There’s no denying it.

We scaled bridges, trekked the eight mile stretch of trail, and I attempted to climb a tree….

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At least the lake is epic.

This week I’ll be spending the majority of my time in Orange County, California at the NAMM show. That is, National Association of Music Merchants–one of the most exciting music shows of the year. I’m looking forward to concerts, gushing over new gear, trying out a few guitars, and garnering all the knowledge I can from the infamous artists, producers, engineers, and sellers that attend. It’s going to be a blast, plus, I’ll have a few friends there to keep me company.

More pictures and music to come!

Happy hump day, friends.

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“Plants are people too!”

That’s something my old roommate, Emily used as a mantra to cultivate her plants. Actually, it has nothing to do with my post; I just thought it would catch your attention.

To be fair, I do maintain a blossoming (see what I did there?) relationship with my plants: each has a name, and a designated spot in my apartment. However, I digress.

The past few days have been a whirlwind of opportunity and change. Sometimes I feel as if I’m on the other side of a glass at a zoo, watching each opportunity and talent flourish behind tinted windows. It’s incredible to live in such near proximity to a myriad of “legends”—purely inspirational.

In fact, this is an accurate depiction of my excitement:

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Yes, I had to get my tourist pictures in at some point.

We’ve done some amazing trips just in a few days–journeys to Sputnik Sound and the Grammy Offices, to name a couple notable ones. I want to garner as much knowledge from this experience, and do my best to communicate and utilize it among you all! Here’s a quick snap of the beautiful guitars at Sputnik Sound:

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I’ve never been in a studio with such beautiful vintage instruments, legendary staff, and gear—it was as if wisdom was reeking through the walls. Okay, that was a strange description….lets move on.

One of my favorite activities has been the scoping out the potential “hang out” spots. I wouldn’t consider myself a “local” yet; not that I’m waiting for an official initiation, I still feel as if I’m the typical “tourist”.

However, yesterday my roommates and I hunted down a quaint little Vietnamese Pho (noodle) joint that was phenomenal.

Fresh rice noodles, warm broth, and hot sauce is the perfect remedy for a winter night….

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Seriously “Pho”nomenal.

After settling down in the apartment, re-arranging the cabinets, cozying up in my PJ’s, and munching on leftovers, I already feel an overwhelming peace that the Lord has put me exactly where I need to be.

Of course, maybe I was just “Pho”cusing on the noodles.