Zeke and I were visited this past weekend by retired film makers Tom Reitter & Kelly Bryan. Absolutely sweet folks. We had great fun getting to know one another. They bicycled together to Alaska!!! Such stories they had to tell… They said they’d come back again next Fall.
They recorded 11 songs for us in one day! Zeke and I had prepared six songs in advance. The rest were spur of the moment inspirations.
It all started when Zeke and I played a house concert last month for the amazing Micki Perry, creator of the Tumbleweeds Festival in Kennewick. She invited a bunch of friends that we had never met, Tom and Kelly among them. A few days later we got an email from Tom. Here’s an excerpt from that email:
“In the 1970’s through 1990’s Tom was a professional film maker before turning to software development for 20 years to shun fame and find hardly any fortune. Now in retirement, we turn back to filmmaking but only socially enriching projects that involve no money. Couldn’t help notice your rich YouTube channel. If you would like to shoot some tunes with video we would love to help. We have a lightweight pro video setup and are happy to travel to any location convenient to you. It would be on our dime and the finished video would be entirely your property to use in any way. This would simply be a way for us to use our talent to support folk music in the Northwest.”
We were totally blown away!
Even if we don’t get a single usable video, it was utterly worth it because it pushed me and Zeke to rehearse, discuss, arrange, and prepare at a whole new level. And it got me to ask for coaching from a bunch of skilled friends, like Janet Stecher of Rebel Voices, the ever perceptive Richard Scholtz, and Lizanne Schader & Jerry McGarrity who ran the Bellingham Children’s Theatre for years: professional theatre for young audiences. After the first production I saw, I was determined to never miss another. Lizanne gets right to the deepest heart of things and Jerry is a brilliant comedy actor. I’ve never even thought of asking for that kind of help before. So Zeke and I grew as musicians, as performers, and as a couple.
I finally realized that a key reason Zeke and I don’t play background music at home is because it leaves room for songs to just pop up in our minds. Everything is a song cue. Mostly other people’s songs, but sometimes our own. More often Zeke’s than mine, but I wrote a new one in March for the first time in years. And did my best to record it Saturday.
I looked at part of the first few video roughs and decided I didn’t want to see any more. I don’t need to feel any worse about my mistakes, my limitations, or my lack of perfection. That just doesn’t help. I focused on sharing songs. It’s not about me.
Late in the evening, we finally got help from Vortex The Cat. She was deeply concerned and offended by the Moving Of Furniture (that’s not Furniture! That’s Geography!) and setting up of lights and such. We thoroughly reorganized the living room several times, and kitchen as well. It’s a good thing our furniture is on slides! But Vortex finally joined me on the bed and got to be the focus of a couple of songs that Zeke had written for her over the years: The Cat Does Not Approve, and Making The Bed Without Moving The Cat. I have no idea if we got sharable video out of it; it was past everybody’s bedtime by then. But Vortex purred counterpoint throughout.
We’ll start getting videos back from Tom later this week, and begin writing blog posts and getting songs up on our website. Our thanks to Tom & Kelly for an amazing experience!