Grace Notes

A Series of Essays for 2018

I needed a writing project for 2018 and I knew I wanted this one to be about music.  Reflecting back, I realized that there were a number of occasions in my life where either serendipitously or accidently on purpose,  I bumped up against some interesting people who also happened to be musicians.

Often the occurrences arose as a result of a little badge on a chain, called a press pas, that afforded me unique opportunities to at least get into some close proximity with an opening not usually available to others. (See Leonard)

Sometimes it’s pure blind luck on an airplane. (See future piece Joni)

Often that little press pass made me feel like a bit of an pretender but I did produce some decent work as a freelancer so I still feel a great deal of gratitude for some ideal opportunities it afforded me.

Generally I have always had an uneasy relationship around celebrity…I love film, sports, arts and politics for the moments of grace and greatness that comes with the territory.  However when these moments of greatness begin to turn into people of greatness, I start to get a bit cynical.

I am fully aware of the countless artists, entrepreneurs and politicians who are full functioning asshats in reality.  Cosby, Weinstein and Trump are the perfect trifecta these days.

Grace Notes is about an ordinary guy bumping naïvely into extraordinarily talented musicians in everyday circumstances.  A lovely surprise for me was that the grace note was that small lovely note of their humanity, their gift of the real person outside the mask of celebrity.

Every time it felt like a gift.

Joni

In spite of the full plane I was even more delighted to see that the seat beside me was empty.  It stayed empty until the very last minute when a little old lady (that is to say someone of my age) shuffles in beside me. I realize that I am looking into the eyes of Joni Mitchell.  This is the person who will be my seat mate for the next four hours unless I do something to piss her off and get thrown into the back of the plane for the rest of the trip.  This is going to be epic or tragic, I feel, depending on my next move. 

Bootcamp

Most of these stories have been a product of serendipitous encounters with various musicians or a bit of a by product of some freelancing, but since moving to Calgary I have also had the opportunity to actually buy an encounter with some fantastic musicians. Sounds sleazy, but relax; the money part was just basically a tuition fee for some amazing workshop experiences.

Other Writings by Bob that may interest you: