Randy Granger

Randy Granger
In the Chihuahuan Desert near the Organ Mountains, New Mexico

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Paying it Circularly.

In the 2000 movie “Pay it Forward” Haley Joel Osment played a boy, so desperate to detach from his world with his alcoholic mother played by Helen Hunt….

“Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him.” Written by Jim Beaver

I was touched by this movie on a personal level as well as a larger sense that we have such a sense of euphoria when we help others without expecting anything in return. Scientist have indentified  a hormone called Oxytocin as being responsible for this feeling calling it “The Cuddle Hormone” because hugs actually increase the levels in our brains. Hmmmm the more we deconstruct the less we can answer but who put it there? For my years and years as a musician I’ve donated and given my time and talents to non-profits and causes to help raise money or exposure or bring some emotional, spiritual assistance that only music can do. It just always seemed the right thing to do.

Recently a fan, and subsequent friend, made my friend Wayne Crawford a beautiful blanket that was southwestern in design and soft as down. She knew from my posts and notes that he has lost so much weight from pancreatic cancer and chemotherapy that his own body couldn’t quite produce enough heat to keep him warm in the seven hours of chemo and cold winter nights.  She sent a gift of money as well for me to buy something for myself at our local coop. We were both touched deeply. Such is the case that when you give people a reason, a goal to behave unselfishly to help another human they usually do and we have both been overwhelmed by the outpouring. Care giving form Wayne has become a 24/7 deal meaning I’ve cancelled so many gigs and other income sources knowing it is just what you do for family or friends. My basic needs are met thankfully. Income comes in from my TV, radio, satellite distributions, royalties, internet  and CD sales and composing work but the big chunks of income from gigs and live CD sales is on hold—not that I am complaining. People have donated via PayPal, offered fund raisers, brought or made so many gifts, food or help that I am humbled. But there are others in much more need.

Recently folding laundry watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” I was moved at that last scene where everyone in town shows up to help Jimmy Stewart’s character. Just a coincidence that few days after my friend sent her loving gifts my door rang. A man, with his wife in the pick-up, asked if he could maybe have some of our Pecans to sell. He said they have five kids and his wife is pregnant with Triplets. Yikes. He said he lost his job two months ago and has no money for food or Christmas and that the food and keeping the heat on was more important than gifts. I said I was going to sell all the Pecans since the price is at almost an all-time high. The disappointment on his face was real and I said hey I do have some serious yard waste that needs to be taken to the dump would he be interested. He smiled so proud and asked if he could start now. I asked him to come back in two days when I would have a chance to help. He did and we worked over six hours raking, chopping, and hauling making three trips to the landfill. As we worked I got to know about him and him about me. I can’t help but take an interest in people being a songwriter. He asked if I was a college student and I thanked him for thinking me years younger than I am. When I told him I am musician he became excited and said how lucky I was and how lucky he was that he knocked on the door of a famous person. I assured him that wasn’t the case—that I was just a very hard-working guy cleaning up the yard so my friend can sell his home.

When we finished our final haul to the dump I gave him some money including the money my fan had sent. I “Paid it Forward” so to speak. He was elated and kept saying “God bless you.” I told him he already has. Tired, dusty, sore and exhausted I told Wayne all about it as I fixed dinner and he said, “That’s wonderful, I hope his family can have a good late Christmas.”  We have been asked how people can help and I’ve directed them to the Pay it Forward Foundation a non-profit that gives to a charity you designate. I’ve designated a New Mexico Cancer organization that helps people going through treatment who can’t afford other necessities of treatment, in Wayne’s name. So it is really the same concept as when, as a boy I stopped to help fix the chain on someone’s bike or now when I play a concert to raise money for CASA, etc. The Law of Circulation is a way of thinking that everything you give returns and recycles; I like the idea of recycling kindness.  Pay it circularly my friends.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Staying in the stillness.

Gilbert Granger Jr. flashing a Peace Sign

I had been working mentally on a blog about “Stillness” the qualities of peaceful people and music. The word Metastasis had been on my mind as I am helping my friend though pancreatic cancer and learning the lexicon of the diseases. It comes from the Greek words Meta and Stasis which essentially means “Beyond Stillness” which just blew my mind. See I was remembering how when I worked in the office my dad’s construction company my older brother Junie would come in and say he liked it when I was there because it always felt so peaceful. Later when I worked at a university drug treatment center people would congregate in my little office mostly for the coffee but also because, as they would say, they got a contact high off my presence. I, of course, don’t take credit for this but have always known of my calming effect on people. It transfers to my music
as well so I am glad, after years and years of suffering for my art it now suffers me and lets me earn a meager living.

I bring up my brother Junie because today, December 2, 2010 he passed away at a hospital in Lubbock, TX after an illness. I had made plans to visit him this weekend in fact. I even called him last night to talk to him but he wasn’t feeling well enough to talk. My mother called me this afternoon and said he had died. The sadness that hit me was deep, not for myself but for him, my older brother, my “Big” brother Junie, Junebug et al. His name is Gilbert Granger Jr. He was a 1980 graduate of Hobbs High School where he excelled in Gymnastics and sports. I blame him for my musical career in many ways. At Houston Jr. High he was a star on the track team and on two undefeated football teams. By the time I got to Jr. High I went out for sports only to find out I was the absolute slowest person on the track team so became the manager.  I had always been musically inclined and got paid for weddings as a singer for years, but this time I chose to join band instead of pursuing sports. My instrument was the drums and the rest is history so to speak.

Junie was a gifted musician, a natural talent on the piano and singing. On childhood vacations he and I sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” as a duet to entertain the family. Junie loved the Beatles and music in general. He would bang out Hey Jude, Yesterday and Let it Be on the piano at home and would go to sleep to the radio blaring and wouldn’t dream of taking a shower without music blasting and him singing along. He was my protector from the older students jealous of my musical gifts—the ones who sabotaged my music, instruments and performances throughout High School. A fighter who took no flak from anyone he also boxed as a teen with success. But it is his gentleness I remember. We shared a bed growing up as boys. To help each other sleep we would scratch each other’s back. We developed an entire modality of scratches from the “Angel Scratch” to the “Devil Scratch” all the while our tender, brotherly innocence helped against the ghosts and shades that haunted our home and the unhappy marriage of our parents.

Junie was a father, husband, son, cousin, brother and friend to many people and I remember his high school friends well. I looked up to him and my other brother Stanley. Junie loved music and I am grateful he exposed me to such a diversity of bands like Kiss, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and many others. In the past two years or so I’ve lost a handful of relatives to the consequences of addiction whether it is drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. Junie battled his addiction demons and I’ve battled mine as well so can empathize. It really all comes back to finding the stillness within and latching onto it like a lifeboat in a stormy sea.

We will miss you Junebug.  
Gilbert Granger Jr.—1962-2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Measuring the notes in a life's song

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“In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.
Abraham Lincoln 

As musicians we read music by notions of key, tempo, time signature, volume etc., and units called measures. In rehearsal we’ll say, “Let’s begin at measure 30 and take it to the coda,” and we understand each other. When you hear a song performed or in a recording it began as notes fit into measures to create a song with a beginning and end. Playing through the rests or breaths between those notes is the key to becoming a musician people want to hear, lean forward to listen to and stay with an entire song. But like the Lincoln quote above says it’s the life “in” your years given that counts. This sober reality is so much on my heart as I sat with my friend, my partner and collaborator Wayne Crawford in a Houston, TX cancer center as the words left the Dr’s mouth that he has inoperable, stage four pancreatic cancer and would be lucky to live a certain number of months. How the hell do you respond to that?

Sitting with him in his first round of chemotherapy other day he asked what I was writing. I told him it was a blog tying the metaphor of the measures in music and a terminal prognosis—another measure. “Don’t worry I won’t mention you by name,” I said, wanting to respect his privacy always. He said, “No it’s okay. You can use say it’s me, the people in my life closest to me already know, so might as well.” Wayne is an amazingly creative, intelligent and generous person who taught high school and college for decades in Illinois and his students still write to him telling him what an influence he was in their life. One student is a Pulitzer Prize winning photo journalist; another is a major, gifted and successful Cellist and so many others who his time and passion made a mark on. He is, unarguably, a driving force in the writing and poetry community of Las Cruces, NM. He ran and organized successful open mics at Stonehaven, The Bean, The Rio Grande Theatre. Organized tens and tens of poetry readings, events, contests. Is on the Executive Board of the Dona Ana Arts Council, editor of Sin Fronteras Journal, creator and editor of the hugely successful Lunarosity online poetry and prose journal, runs a very important literary arts listserv, is well known throughout the state as an innovative and expressive poet with literally hundreds and hundreds of published pieces in some very prestigious journals. For me where his influence has been so important is the bridging of generations as far as poetry is concerned. He regularly would read at the NMSU Open Room readings amidst the hip-hop and slam spoken word always inviting the students to come to the open mics. At first they were reluctant, but he made them feel so welcome and supported and said, hell yeah you can use profanity, if it is important to the poem why the hell not? We have hosted student readings in our west Las Cruces homes and numerous receptions filled with laughter, drink and amazing food. Living with Wayne has been like living with a teenager though. He loves loves loves music of all genres and periods. He would BLAST his music and have concerts where he would sing along to printed out lyrics by Green Day, Blind Pilot, the Beatles (his favorite) and even Snoop Dog. I learned to take long walks by the Rio Grande when he is cleaning up being the very quiet person I am. Wayne was a music critic for the Chicago Tribune early on and the people he interviewed met and heard live just blows me away. That he loves my music meant something special. When I finally turned him on the iPod so began a new stage of experimental playlists…..

We have lived together for over eight years and have been together through some events like unexpected paralysis after a terrible neck surgery, a heart bypass and a stroke, and the terribly sad deaths of our two Greyhounds. I am a born caregiver if there ever was one with the patience even a saint would be jealous of. So today as I’m mopping the sweat of pain from him and feeding him applesauce I know no awards, nominations or recognition is as meaningful as the honor of caring, unconditionally for another being. I went through it with my Dad, my dogs and my ex’s Dad. I have had to cancel gigs, cut my expenses to nothing, live on sheer stubbornness and delay promoting my music—to the delight of my enemies. (Oh yes, I have them) That is okay. You know when you hear God’s Whispers and I always have. I’ll be back, with even more compassion, more depth, more feeling and music with so much feeling as to be living. Going through the terminal illness of a loved one especially makes you intolerable of bullshit—not that I needed any help in that area of course; so I ask if you are going to comment on this blog have the balls to do so publicly. I get so many emails from people who “privately” like my stuff on facebook, my blog, my music etc., but unless you support me publicly I delete them. Sorry but when you get 400 emails a day like I do you have to be picky. A friend asked me recently what I would do If had a terminal diagnosis; would I choose treatment or not? I said without skipping a beat that I would give my gear away and have a party. Having no health insurance or savings (as so so many working musicians and artists do) I wouldn’t really have a choice.

Wayne will, hopefully, be around for a while by the benefit of chemo and all the love and prayers he gets from people. He is in too much pain to read his emails most weeks but you can find him through his website: www.zianet.com/lunarosity Please don’t send messages to me because I am honestly more busy than can be imagined trying to make him comfortable and still keep my head above water financially.

This Monday I will play at the Mesilla Valley Hospice’s annual “Light of Our Lives.” It is when people who have had loved ones in Hospice the previous year pay a collective tribute with pictures, momentos and candles during a ceremony with words from many faiths and me on Native American flute. I first played at one of these about 7 years ago which led me to volunteer my music for 6 years before I got too busy on the road. Many of my friends have gone through Hospice so it is an honor to return the favor.

This is a video from my album The Roswell Incident a Hugely popular album. Wayne wrote this poem which I based the song around. We had such a blast recording both the song and the video. Wayne also co-wrote and read on the title song of my new album “Pura Vida


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Healing the musician.

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There is no gig like a sit-down concert where the audience is attentive, with you and not distracted by the sounds from another stage, a festival P.A. system or crazy local radio remote blasting hip-hop a few yards away. Not that those aren’t fun and necessary but I find I rise to the occasion and feel the audience notices and appreciates it. Last Sunday I performed one of those types of concerts in a beautiful church with an enormous wooden, vaulted ceiling, incredible stained glass light pouring through, a nice stage and comfortable benches for the people there. I didn’t even need to use any effects like reverb because the sound was so luscious. The church was St. Paul’s United Methodist here in Las Cruces, NM where I live. They have had a wonderful and diverse afternoon concert series for many years with some very well known musicians come through. I have attended many myself.

As the audience came in I saw familiar faces, both friends and people who follow me. I was so grateful. I hadn’t slept more than an hour the night before having been under much stress. The person I live with is in Houston dealing with Cancer and I couldn’t be there to help due to work. So I drank a couple of pots of coffee and even ate a chocolate donut, something I never do, to try and wake up some. The music director had printed out a program of my songs and I was glad because I left my set list at home being as distracted as I was. As a musician you really can’t ever assume just because it is a local gig that people will show up. All sorts of things happen in lives and people forget. I played my best and was only focused on this moment. Between my first and seconds songs there began a low-frequency hum in the P.A. The sound guy tried to fix it and somehow, even when I wasn’t playing the main house speakers blew out. I know right? An acoustic, Native Flute and Hang player blows out the speakers—oh yeah I rock!

Trail of Tears- Painting by Robert Lindneux 
I kid, but it was a little unnerving and we relied on the choir loft speakers which were behind me. I did my best to speak loudly in my story telling and play a little more assertively. I soon regained my composure and focused. When the audience is with you feel responsible for the energy and pace of the music. Looking at the faces I knew they were engaged, even leaning in when I was talking. I was inspired and so happy to have this kind of audience. By the time I got to my Americana Medley of Wayfaring Stranger, Amazing Grace and Shenandoah I knew I had to reward them by digging deep. I told the story of how Amazing Grace became the unofficial song of the Cherokee because on the “Trail of Tears” or "Nunna daul Tsuny" repatriation by the U.S. military when a tribal member would die they weren’t allowed to stop and bury them. And many, many did die along the way. So the Cherokee would sing Amazing Grace, a song they learned from Missionaries, in their own language though as a way to mourn and pay respect.

As I transitioned from Wayfaring Stranger into Amazing Grace the Copper roof of the church started snapping and popping loudly. I looked out and no one made a motion. Many had their eyes closed and others were leaning forward. I played Oh Shenandoah on the flute and put it by my heart and sang three A Cappella verses of Across the Wide Missouri. I had my eyes closed but could hear whimpering and sniffling. When I looked out there wasn’t a person not wiping their eyes and pulling out Kleenex. There was a deep silence then an applause that lasted five minutes as I just bowed and mouthed “thank you.” It took me by surprise. I was much moved.

I finished my set and told them how when I travel I tell people about Las Cruces, our little community on the Rio Grande River and the level of artists, poets, writers and musicians who live here because we like our quality of life. After my last song the applause was so warm and everyone rose to their feet in ovation. I was again floored and probably looked like a deer in headlights, but stood there in gratitude. Afterwards I stayed forty minutes singing CD’s, listening to stories, networking, and answering questions. There were people there from North Carolina, Iowa, Canada and many other places who just happened to be in town and bought many CD’s to give out as gifts. I was exhausted but feeling really content that I worked, it worked that day. It reminded me to never underestimate and always respect the power of music to transcend, to move listeners and to sometimes even heal the musician. This Sunday is a return concert to the Hillsboro Community Center in the low hills of the Gila Wilderness. This is another sit-down concert and I am hoping to again bring my A Game and make people feel something good. Check my website calendar for details: RandyGranger.net

Here is the video treatment of Across the Wide Missouri or Oh Shenandoah. Enjoy
Till next time

Monday, October 4, 2010

Is it the music that heals?

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I’ve read a few studies that suggest that there is a genetic component to compassion and empathy in humans. It develops in infanthood and is engrained to assure we won’t always go around killing each other without some feeling because, after all, that wouldn’t be good for the continuation of the species the studies suggest. As a musician I know without a doubt the power of music to heal, lift the spirits, and soothe the soul. Recently on a trip with a dear friend to MD Anderson hospital for some pretty serious tests I was reminded just how important music is to comfort and elevate the mood.

I drove my friend fifteen hours to Houston taking three days to do it because he was in such pain. It is so hard to see anyone in pain, much less someone you care about. For many years I have played my Native American flute in Hospice and hospital settings and was aware of the emotional impact it had. I couldn’t see the people I was playing for but the families and loved ones would find me as I was leaving and tell me how for just a moment their loved one was peaceful, breathed deeper and slower or smiled at a familiar tune. When my Greyhound Chipo passed over it was such a sad night as I held her in my lap while my flute music was on loop in the bathroom stereo. She would sit as I played and practiced and I knew this would comfort her. When my Greyhound Ancho passed over I held her in the cold Vet’s office petting and comforting her and asked them to play my CD as we eased her pain. I have men come to me at my shows in tears saying they have never cried at a concert before until hearing me. It is such an honor because I know how hidden people are about their emotions. Yes music heals, but not always the music you think.

So driving back from Houston my friend was feeling quite down having some hard to digest news. All the music I was playing just made me nervous. I have stopped listening to news period. It is too much gossip. So I said hey you brought your iPod plug it in. Soon sing-along tunes were blaring. See, this is what I mean by healing is personal, like musical taste. So many think only a certain type of music should be healing, but it really is whatever music makes someone feel good. If it is Guns and Roses, Opera, Pop, New Age it doesn’t matter. It isn’t for us as musicians to presume to know what will be comforting or healing. Just play the damn thing with all your heart and hope it touches someone. Once I was playing in Hospice and played Summertime, the Gershwin song on the Native Flute. It is also part of the Jazz standard collection of songs. When I was packing up a woman came out and told me thank you and that her husband was a saxophone player in the past and it was the first time in six months she had seen him smile. I felt lifted by a cloud of gratitude.

As I help my friend through his challenges, adjust my schedule, cancel gigs, worry very much about income I think about my life as a musician. Also I think about who is my support system and realize I don’t really have one. A friend visiting me in Houston said I have a lot I’m going through. I don’t think so. It isn’t me who is facing the challenge of serious illness, side effects, pain and laying out end of life decisions like so much paperwork. I’m just a trusting comfort who happens to have the time because I make music for a living. I’ve never needed a support system, or admitted I needed one. My family is wonderful but come with born again baggage, no offense of course; my listeners want me funny, happy and positive. My friends—well I just don’t know. So I retreat into my music balancing the path of making art and music that never stops flowing with the increasingly hard task of supporting myself. I suspect I will be doing my best to continue to comfort people and make them feel something through my music. That said I’ve learned that sometimes the most healing sound is the silence of your breath just being present.

Maybe listening to music is one of the things in life that doesn’t require a judgment. You know, you listen and it happens without you needing to react. It doesn’t care about your body language or facial expression or if your texting while it plays. It is comfort, like a friend. And to me, that is what a friend should be, someone who is willing to be with you, unconditionally. I only aspire to that.

This weekend I’ll be performing a rare solo concert in Las Cruces where I live. It is Sunday, October 10, at 2:00PM part of the “Afternoon Concert Series” at St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 225 W. Griggs Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88005. I look forward to this. This is something I’ve been pursuing for about 5 years and received an unexpected message out of the blue. What an honor considering the caliber of people who have performed there. Check my calendar for more info. Hope to see you there.

Here is a sing-along tune from my cd A Place Called Peace:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Are you a Fan? A Friend? Or a Fran?

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I’ve learned to keep my expectations simple. When you are a musician you really need to know what you are walking into but also plan for contingencies—and let me tell you are some big ones at times. Personal examples would be being double booked with another act, not being on the calendar because the person who booked you quit and took everything, getting the worst possible time slots at a festival, your instrument not making it to your destination..etc. As far as before performing I find a quiet time to focus before I play. I ask my brain, lungs, hands, arms etc. to please work together harmoniously and thank them. Then I map out in my mind what I’d like to have happen with a performance. Simple things really like playing or singing in tune, being 100% present, making people feel a little better than before they listened and that the sound, noise, weather all support what I’m doing. Making money and having a huge, appreciative audience is a bonus.

Since the Facebookization of the web what used to be called friends is more a strangely related cross between a forum, message board and high school. I meet people from Facebook who drive hours to my shows and I am always amazed at how it seems we know so much about each other. In reality we don’t. Being a public figure/entertainer it is getting a little hard to find out how to balance people I don’t know, but know my music and my posts ergo know (or think) they know my psychology, tastes, spirituality etc. No different than music mags who used to ask musicians what their favorite food or color was only to have fans show up to shows with cans of ravioli and all wearing Chartreuse t-shirts.

Before Indian Summer Music Awards in Milwaukee
I have come up with a new term for people who are Facebook friends and fans I call them “Frans.” A Fran is a fan you let friend you. Recently a fan asked me why I didn’t accept their friend request and I chose to not to answer instead giving my trademark half smile. Frans come to you through your music, videos, performances or other connections. The bring expectations that you Are your music or your stage presence. As they get to know you on Facebook or twitter they are usually astonished or offended to find out you have really bad days, use profanity freely, post photos of your not so fully-clothed body and goddess forbid, don’t share their political, religious spiritual preference. Flute people want to talk about procuring flutes, (a lot) Hang people want to talk about the cosmic healing powers of the Hang, New Agers want to talk about spirit doing this or that, Karma or give you lectures about the law of attraction. What do I want to talk about? Food, music, bathroom humor, Seinfeld, Homer Simpson, travel and how poor I am always begging people to buy my CD’s and anything that comes to mind. I suck at talking about how my music makes someone feel, or how much I move them or what I was thinking when I wrote a song or a certain blog or what I was playing at 2:03 in a video I posted two years ago. Huh? You think these things are planned? Heck I’m happy to get through a song with energy left to sign CD’s.

Frans expect you to be someone they’ve formed in their minds through selective status updates or tweets. It is a great and accessible new world in the cyberverse. What I hope to happen is people like me as a person first, and then my music, my philosophy, my passion for food and cooking etc. I try to be as authentic and unscripted in my cyber life as real life, but there are many many complex things I don’t want to share and some Frans can downright make me uncomfortable when they show up to my shows with lists of questions, invite me to lunch then pull out a folder of questions for me. These aren’t journalists; these are relative strangers wanting to pump me for who knows what. I know I’ve lost some fans recently in the past two months when I drew a line and said if these questions, life and music lessons continue I would need to be paid. Oh well. See I’ll say it again; this is how I make a living. A very meager, tight living but information is education and my time should be as respected as any other professional’s time like a doctor, accountant, and plumber. Being authentic gains you few friends and, based on my sales, VERY few fans who actually buy your music. So if you’re gonna Fran me at least buy a CD much like you would buy date a drink first…. Thank you for reading these blogs. I hope they offer some entertainment and insight into life as an independent musician.
This video is from Indian Summer Fest where I had a blast playing solo at the awards show doing Double-Barrel Train Wreck and a First Flute Song story and dance with the cutest kids ever. They were wonderful and so sweet afterwards. What a blast. When I began playing this song there were literally hundreds of Dragonflies and Butterflies that flew in over the crowd. You can see some of them but to experience the sheer number and choreographed dance they were doing as I played was absolutely awe inspiring. Thank you for reading my blogs. I appreciate you.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Indian Summer Settling in......

Banking into O'Hare over the Chicago Skyline

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As the Earth begins to finally tilt north I can sense the change in season, and in myself. Fall has always been my favorite season. I was born in September but don’t think that is it. In New Mexico we pick and roast green chilies in fall and the smell of them roasting in every parking lot and backyard is intoxicating. The smoky, earthy and musky smell is like no other. We have our major fiestas in the fall when it begins to hint of cooler nights. The sun is moving north over my beloved Organ Mountains. Myself, I become even more pensive than usual seeing the rich metaphors in natures and the seasons. The type of gigs I play also changes back to my stable of fall festivals and indoor concerts. I never feel I’ve worked hard enough by the time September rolls around. Must be some linkage to starting school this time of year from elementary to college—I don’t know. When you are an artist you never feel you have worked hard enough, dug deep enough, took enough time with a project. That is why live performance is so attractive to us as musicians. It is ephemeral. An album is a document people can listen to over and over and over, hopefully. So often it takes me months before I can really listen to my own album detached enough to enjoy it. Just after it comes out it is like a special dish you’ve tried for your friends and keep feeling like you need to apologize for it saying well this is my first time trying this recipe, there is probably too much this or that. A new album is like that too. Eventually it becomes your signature dish that everyone must have the recipe for. Humans are funny that way.

I’m in the upper Midwest again in Chicago then on to perform at Indian Summer Festival. I’m honored to be included as a performer after winning the ISMA Best Native Flute Album last year. What is amazing it the awards are judged by independent judges in the field of being music professionals. Several of the judges stopped by to talk to me after I won last year and I was humbled by what they said about my music without knowing a thing about me. That is validation that is priceless and wonderful to hear.  I was hoping to get to Iowa to perform after Indian Summer.  I didn’t enter this year and probably missed the NAMA’s too but that is okay. I don’t need to chase these awards. All things in the right time and with the right intention. I perform at the ISF Saturday at 12:30pm, then during the awards show and again Sunday at 11:30am. Come on out if you live anywhere near the area and be sure to get me to sign your CD for you. I’m always happy to do that. I was hoping to do some shows in Iowa after Milwaukee but some serious family health matter mean I have to clear my gig slate for the rest of September. I’m still plugging away and always interested in performing at House Concerts, for Flute Circles, Drum groups, concerts etc. Just email me at booking@randygranger.net for info okay.

I hope your fall is reflective and abundant. We are beyond fortunate to enjoy the quality of life we have in the US. Music is the glue my friends. The arts are the salve that reminds us of beauty and what we are capable at our best moments. My new album Pura Vida – This is Pure Life is available on iTunes now at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/pura-vida-this-is-pure-life/id384128875.  You can hear song clips; download individual songs or the whole album at CDBaby.com, Amazon.com and iTunes of course. You can always order directly from my website and receive a signed CD on my order page.  I am getting really great feedback and I’m happy for that.

Thank you for reading these notes.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Radio interview with Randy Granger and KUNM-FM's Ear to the Ground

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Hey friends forgot to mention you can check out a recent interview I did with KUNMFM up in Albuquerque while I was passing through to play at SF Indian Market. The show is called "Ear the Ground" with host Matthew Finch, KUNM's Music Director. We talked about my music, where some of the songs from my new CD Pura Vida - This is Pure Life evolved. How I write and compose. The instruments I play and being a musician on the road and in Las Cruces, NM where I make my home. 

To listen to  it go to http://kunm.org/listen/archive/index.php?archiveby=byprog 
Then under where it says Play archived broadcast audio by program you will select 
Ear to the Ground Sat, Aug. 21, 7:00pm to listen

When I do these interviews they are always spontaneous in nature and what you hear is what we actually said with very little editing and usually only them for time. I try to make sure I am speaking as myself and talk openly. I've been doing interviews a while but have never rehearsed or come in with notes. I hope that freshness authenticity comes through. This interview will be up until next Saturday, Sept. 4th. They keep them up for two weeks. Hope you enjoy it. 


Seeing through musician colored glasses

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One aspect of being a touring musician is you put yourself, like any aware traveler, in situations that are unfamiliar. The difference is how well you connect and people enjoy what you do is directly related to the night’s end result. Whether you freak out and sleep in your car or rent a hotel room because you made enough to cover expenses. It really is that tight of a margin and has been for couple hundred years or so.  That is the business side of being a musician. The more ephemeral side of being an artist requires explanation of how we see and experience the world. It is different than our civilian brethren who most of the time takes life in digested doses via news channels, talk radio, the View, Oprah, Showbiz Tonight, Entertainment tonight or the TMZ websites. Not to be dismissive at all. I’ve watched my share of those programs. However, songwriters, poets, artists have a different filter that is a source of constant inspiration and pain equally.

Others have written more eloquently about how artists assimilate then distill their experiences but I’ve found that when you accept the Job so to speak you don’t really have an on and off switch. You are at a cafĂ© and a man comes in with his wife assisting her on her walker, he hovers over her, orders for them then attentively makes her comfortable. Why in such a public place? Because it is something familiar maybe from their past, regardless it is a self-contained and intimate, if not public, moment for them. A songwriter looks for a few seconds and can write an entire album about their life, this day, the imperceptible way he adjusts her skirt. We take a mental and emotional picture of this moment. We slow time down, notice every smell, sound, color and gesture. We immortalize it because we see the story unfold. To do that you have to open all the time; you are detached and storing it like a digital photo. There is recent research that demonstrates how the brain and senses are heightened during an emotionally charged moment like an accident. What they have found is that your “brain space” for remembering the event is turned on so you do record every detail and later it feels as if time stood still or happened really slowly. That is how I feel all the time. Whether driving through the endless dairy hills of Wisconsin or getting threatening looks and body language in a bar in Amarillo I’m taking it all in with a perception and sensitivity that would drive the civilian crazy. I’m not sure it hasn’t done that to me already.

SF Indian Market 2010
by Melissa Dominguez
Spending so much time away from home and on the road you lose sense of day and time. Sometimes your hotel base becomes your  locai. You get comfortable then have to move on. The sense of stability and familiarity fades like a book left out in the sun. As I drove the three day plus drive back from the upper Midwest to New Mexico and longed for the familiar. Something about crossing into New Mexico does that. The air is drier, the horizon further away, the earth redder, the fauna a familiar olive/sage green, the people browner and redder. Home. I remember my bones, hair and skin are of this land, this soil, these minerals, this muddy water and air. My long hair, Native/Mestizo look and dress not so alarming to big, cap wearing, family types who stop talking when I walk into a place leaning into each other looking at me laughing like what happens in the lower Midwest states and all of Oklahoma and northern Texas. I’m undisturbed not because I feel any more accepted by anyone else but because I know who I am. I’m confident in myself and smile easily. In Amarillo a group of men were laughing so hard at me and my look and went to their table, sat down and started talking with them. A couple of them wanted to kill me it was clear, the others were fast friends finding out I was Native American and a musician. They had been discussing Pink Floyd which is how I opened up the convo. Personally I can’t stand the band, but was just looking for an in. 

SF Indian Market 2010
by Melissa Dominguesz
My new CD, Pura Vida is out and getting some airplay if not many sales. I posted on Facebook a link where you could get a signed copy of it for $15 and got exactly one response. Guess that tells me what I already knew. But it’s cool, I take it in stride. I don’t make CD’s to be played in spas, to get played on some particularly picky programs. No, I record the music that speaks in me, through me and to listeners. Screw the rest right? It is a Punk attitude I’ve had since my first band. If it means I eat beans, so be it. I love beans haha. You are either in the business to please others or yourself. I guess I’m in it because I’m compelled to. Sure I headline festivals, I rank high on charts, I win awards, I do interviews across the country, I play venues to total strangers and I love it all. I’m authentic to me and my music and that is enough. I was fortunate to play last weekend at the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Roots and Rhythms Festival a venue with over 100,000 attendees and 1300 Native artists. It was great and hot and dry. Made some new fans and that is always a delight. No one I recognized or knew from the "Native flute community" but I don't have a clue how to get those people out to my shows truthfully.

Okay so I’ll be performing at the Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts Labor Day weekend, Indian Summer Festival in Milwaukee September 11 & 12, the Renaissance Festival in Las Cruces, NM, St. Paul Methodist in Las Cruces and a return to the Hillsboro Community Center all solo shows this fall. Check my calendar www.randygranger.net/calendar for details. To listen to clips and order the new CD “Pura Vida – This is Pure Life” go to my website or Amazon.com, iTunes or CDBaby.com.

Thank you for your support and for reading this blog. Please share it and share my links. 


Here is the second video from Pura Vida “Rain in the Canyon”  Enjoy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mama's Ashes

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I have always depended on the kindness of strangers, the last line from Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)

Camping near Saugatuck Michigan
Staying at campgrounds on this Midwest tour has made for some good stories and fodder for later songs. Practicing my music at camp a community of campers and Rv’rs comes by each evening. They bring firewood, build my fire, and have food and everything to settle in for a night of community. Not exactly Kumbaya as the beer and vodka flows freely. One night a man gets up and leaves upset. His wife tells me Amazing Grace, which I just played, was his mother’s favorite song etc. Another night a young cowboy lingers and brings more to drink eventually telling me he is also part Indian, Apache in fact, and says he was working up the courage to come and ask me to play for him. He had just been diagnosed with Lymphoma, something his grandmother was in the hospital for at the time. He says he’s had 3 DUI’s and the last one cost $25K to fight. I listen. He starts crying says he’s scared and fighting the bureaucracy to cover his meds and treatment. He works as a maintenance guy at the camp as well as restores and details cars. Pretty much this is the story you hear out here where everyone is working many jobs under the table to get by and always with a plan to score some big dough. Here’s the thing though. Very few bemoan or whine. Most just end it with the comment that things will get better, other people have it much worse and always there is hope and a belief that they’ll be okay. When I think of our politicians (all of them) who spew platitudes about the American People want this or that I get disgusted. What the hell do any of them know about us? Nothing! I’ll spare you a rant on that subject though…haha

So one day this guy sets up camp a few spaces down and across from me. He comes by to say hello and he seems skittish and nervous. He asks if he can come hang out later. I say sure that my site seems to be the community center and to bring a chair. When he comes later he notices that I suck at building fires. He says his dad taught him how to build a “Kentucky Fire.” I’m intrigued and say go for it. Plus it will give him an activity. He said his dad told him always travel with an Axe, matches and a knife. Hmmm okay. He’s trying to make kindling from a log and to me seems ill trained at it. But, as he chops he’s telling me about how his brother’s (whom he lives with) girlfriend is visiting so he had to leave town. She wants him dead was the quote. He says she is moving in with her autistic teen son so his brother bought him the cheapest tent available and told him to go camping. Wow. The poor log is really taking a beating by now and I’m thinking oh shit, I am camping with an axe murderer nearby. So be it I think. This rain and mosquitoes are kicking my ass anyway.

As “Abe” (a made up name) drinks more Vodka he goes through my logs and I’m thinking hey save some for tomorrow and at the same time glad he has an activity. Abe says his mission on this trip is to spread his mother’s ashes in Lake Superior. Though he explains Mama never actually went to Lake Superior she always liked it. He says he doesn’t really have enough money or gas to actually get there so I suggest Lake Michigan which is just miles away. Soon it comes out how Mama kowtowed to drunken dad ignored the molestation his uncle did to he and his brother….whew, and on and on. I’m thinking how on Earth do I get out of this one? So of course I do what I always do, I play music. He crumbles and retrieves his Mama’s ashes saying she loved music. Oh shit. This goes on another night but I flee into town for the day. Other campers are leaving the next day and bringing me their beer, hot dogs, groceries and even a bigger tent. I graciously accept because I know they want to tell me thank you for the company and music and this is their way to do that. The damn raccoons break into my cooler and steal the hot dogs, chips, granola and everything but the beer. Guess they can’t open the cans. 

Mama's Ashes
Early in the morning I hear someone calling, “Randy. Randy are you up? Randy?” I come out and Abe is there saying he is taking off so I get out and he seems excited. I’m rarely excited about mornings until I’ve had a half gallon of coffee and my mood shows. He says, “I took your advice.” “About what?”  He says, “I left Mama’s ashes here in Michigan.” “You drove to the lake already this morning?” He says, “No, she is there.” “Where?” “There,” he says pointing to the fire pit. I look closer at the ashes and sure enough there is a different color of ash on top with little fragments that I think are bones. I am in shock and jolt awake. “You put your mom’s ashes in the fire? Really?” He says yeah makes perfect sense. I ask if he’ll tell his siblings. He says maybe the other brother who was also molested but not the others because they’d get mad. You think?! I ask if he said any words or anything? He said no she wasn’t very religious. I tell him I’ll play Amazing Grace for her later. He says “Oh your music is pure magic, just magic, she’d like that. “

I just don’t even know what to think at this point. I’m so mixed about how to feel but decide I don’t need to have an opinion other than be honored. When you play Native American flute music, have long hair, are of American Indian ancestry and speak calmly people think you are somehow spiritually connected so I just went with it. After I got cleaned up I did a ceremony, said some words and played Amazing Grace on the flute. Later that night I’m thinking do I build another fire here? I’m out of wood by now so gather fallen wood from the campgrounds. I scoot the ashes out of the way and let it roar. Half a dozen or so campers come by and I tell them the story. Some are appalled, shocked and are asking if it’s legal. So as we are talking about it and our strange camper Abe I notice (not kidding here) there is a log that looks like the lower part of a woman’s leg with an old-style shoe attached. It is glowing and I tell you, we all agree how real it looks. The young cowboy at that moment says he was just diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer and as soon as he said, “cancer” the log split and poked straight up. Several people screamed. It was so on time that we just freaked out. Wow.

I leave the next morning thinking okay I’m camped out and had enough of playing listening post. I suspect something about the outdoors and fire makes people open up. I don’t know. Maybe there are just more people with issues out camping these days. Either way I love collecting stories so it worked out I suppose. I never did eat those hotdogs and was craving them for days. Dang Raccoons.

This weekend August 7th & 8th I return to perform at The World of Faeries Festival in South Elgin, IL. This festival is set in the west Chicago suburbs in an Oak tree park on the Fox River. The atmosphere and mood is always festive and magical. My Flute and Hang music just seems right at home. Check their website at World of Faeries Festival. You can find my performance times on my calendar at Randy Granger Calendar.

Here is a new video of a song Heart Song from my newest album “Pura Vida.” I hope you enjoy it. Listen to song clips, post reviews, download or purchase the album at “Pura Vida.”  



Sunday, July 25, 2010

Life as a work of art in progress.

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I get inspired by reading autobiographies, hearing interviews with artists and learning about the not to public side of creative people and public figures. Hearing Joan River’s audio book about her husband’s suicide, her really difficult rise after being fired by Fox and struggle to find work again, I related to just how really tirelessly and hard you have to work to be noticed then stay in people’s minds and on their radar screen. I heard an interview with the songwriter Jewel about her new project. What struck me was how insightful and practical she is. At one point she says how after her first huge album success she realized she had more money than she could possibly ever need and continues to be very conservative with her money so she won’t be put in the position of having to be desperate and pressured to record a hit. What a refreshing thing to hear I thought from a successful musician. One quote really struck me though, I want my whole life to be a great work of art, not just my art," she says. "And that means paying attention to my entire life and trying to make sure my whole life is balanced." You can hear the whole interview at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128243945
2010 INAFA Convention Randy Stenzel, Randy Granger, Randy Starnes

I live that way as well. Most of the time it means I get too little sleep, push myself too hard and don’t make rest a priority, but I’m not at the point where I yet have more money than I could ever need. Jewel, Joan et al have all made the sacrifice and struggle on the long long road up. A good sense of humor and thick skin are nice tools of the trade and a few lucky breaks sure as heck don’t hurt. Funny that we need to ask someone what they do as part of the initial meet. I mean dogs sniff each other’s butts; we want to know how they make a living and if they make more than we do. That’s easy on my part. Most people I meet make more than I do. Of course they then ask, “Is this all you do?” I still don’t have a witty answer to that question. Whether I’m cooking, taking photos, working on the garden, washing dishes, cleaning or whatever I try to make it all a “work of art.” Yep, even the dishes. I take care in soaking and scrubbing them. Sounds crazy but I think if you are going to be doing something might as well make it your best intentioned, in the moment thing right? Of course, I don’t want to do anyone else’s dishes so don’t send me yours thank you very much.

So getting back to the whole more money than you could ever need thing; here is how some booking inquires go, especially lately. So Mr. Granger, could you tell us how much you will charge to play 2 or 3 hours for our event? You will need to bring your own PA system, pay for your own travel and hotel but you can sell your cd’s on a little piece of cardboard only when you are performing. I reply and give them a very modest quote; especially compared to my Native Flute contemporaries let me tell you. Then, if I’m lucky I will hear back saying they didn’t choose to go with me or “went another direction” as happened recently. A gay and lesbian community in New Mexico recently contacted me about performing there since I would be in the area anyway. I perform anywhere they hire me mostly. So I gave them a modest quote and heard back they “went another direction.” Something about his didn’t sit right. So I politely responded saying thank you and pointed out how every single candlelight vigil, memorial walk and event the aids, gay and lesbian, battered women, child advocate, spay and neuter, humane society, human rights, peace, hospice etc etc. has an event they need music for or a fundraiser they are organizing guess who they call? Yep, moi. When I am available I say yes thinking I need to give to the community at large. Is it SO wrong to expect to be hired once in a while? Hello No! Share the love people. Same thing with the Abq Balloon Fiesta. They asked how much I would charge to get up at 4am, play in the freezing October cold for 100,000 people and I gave them a “range” of price. They also went another direction…hmmm. Getting paid has rarely been harder my friends.

When I can I try to book as many shows in an area as possible to maximize my income earning potential. But I’ve been so so busy getting my new album Pura Vida released I and now up in the Midwest for six weeks with about 10 performances total with a week at a time in-between. That means find a place to stay they won’t cause me to go broke. Solution; tenting and camping it. Someone forgot to tell me about all the flooding and raining and the mosquitoes the size of bats and more aggressive than paparazzi. The other night when Milwaukee got hammered by flooding I lay in my tent in about two inches of water and in wet clothes. A raccoon got into my trail mix and brazenly walked right over my shoes as I sat playing flute. Not so glamorous. But like Jewel, who was living and sleeping in her van on the California beaches when she was discovered by and A&R guy playing at a coffee house open mic—well, it’s what we do. This is what you do when your art is your priority, your passion, your living. You take it in stride and have no regrets and seek no sympathy. That doesn’t mean I can’t bitch about it if I want to. I meet really generous people camping and traveling. They are astonished as I fill the campground with my flutes or Hang or Halo. When they find out I’m a professional musician they never say to me, “Is this all you do?” Somehow we all know if you are camping you are probably a self-determined, rugged person who is there by choice. They usually buy my Cd’s and always share food and beer with me, give me wood even a tent the other day. People are good, they are kind and they are generous and I am in good company. When I can I pick up gigs through open mics or searching online for coffee houses. I would like more house concerts but haven’t quite trained people to do that yet. I also busk at as many farmers markets as I can. I always find musicians and chat them up about how it works locally. It feels good to work really hard and be able to pay my bills. When I’m on stage playing for several hundred people or at a festival no one needs to know just how much work it all is. And that is how it should be. Next time, however, you hear a musician think for just a moment at the metaphoric and literal road they took to get there.

I have some performances coming up in Chicago at the 2nd Unitarian Church and South Elgin, IL at The World of Faeries Festival August 1st, 7th and 8th. Check my Calendar page for details. After that I’ll be at the Santa Fe Indian Market and Roots and Rhythms festival at the Buffalo Thunder Resort in Santa Fe then the Indian Summer Festival in Milwaukee and the Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts in Mesilla Park, NM. Sometimes venues pay for my rooms and sometimes not. It is always an adventure and I hope makes me more appreciative of what I do for living, notice I didn’t say “a” living….

Oh yeah I found out this week that this blog you are reading right now won a “2010 Top 50 Indie Music Blogs award!” Thank you following this blog and for your support. 


Sunday, July 11, 2010

July Newsletter posted

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I'm on the road, however, enjoy the Randy Granger Music Newsletter. Read it in pdf at http://www.randygranger.net/RandyGrangerMusicNewsletter.html

See you down the trail.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Finding inspiration in the mirror? and new song clip

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Recently I came across a story about Kevin Michael Connolly. His book Double Take: A Memoir has recently been released in paperback. Kevin was born without legs and has managed to insert himself into an active (understatement) life with, shall we say, gusto. He has travelled the world, was a silver medalist at the 2006 Winter X-Games and rides around on stake and snow boards. With all that what impressed me most is how he turned the lens, so to speak, on everyone who stares at him as if He is the one who is the oddity while accomplishing more, much more, than most of us bi-peds. Here’s the thing, he knows people will gawk, stare, ask questions he’s heard thousands and thousands of times all the while, by his presence alone, saying hey my drive, my creative force, that which is me is not my limbs, or lack thereof. No, he says the spark within me is in my heart and mind and spirit and I’m expressing it, holding up a mirror to the people staring and making assumptions. You can hear his story here http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128107424

I doubt he has a hero complex. Heroes, I think, are people who do something unremarkable every day and never ask for credit or recognition. The moms who raise kids with little sleep, the addict battling every minute with relapse, the immigrant who rides the bus, works every day 14 hours, goes home and teaches themselves to read and does it all over again next day.

As a professional musician that feeling of being on display like Connolly, is something I and other artists experience every day too. With my new album, “Pura Vida – This is Pure Life” about to be released I share some of the same feelings of vulnerability mixed with defiance and then disregard for what others think like Connolly. It isn’t a “Punk” like attitude or an “I don’t give a hell,” instead it’s caring about my music deeply, documenting it (in an album) as best I can then detaching from the response. Thick skin is what people used to call it probably. I don’t know what in the human experience makes others want to criticize, make fun, belittle or dehumanize others—and honestly I don’t spend time thinking about it. You can’t, and be sensitive and honest about what you do. If you spend your time wondering what your virtual and non-virtual friends think about every song, every video or comment you post--you are a slave. I don’t think of myself that way. You have to let it go in every sense of the word. One of the reasons I ignore MySpace is because of the constant emails I’d get saying, “Hey come and check out the music on my profile and tell me what you think.” Ugh.

This weekend I was Busking at our local Grower’s Market for a few hours then played a festival in El Paso Saturday and Sunday at Ysleta Mission Cultural Arts Market. As I took the stage realizing only a handful of people had ever heard me play. I dug in my heals, took a breath and reached deep into everything I am and played that flute like it was my last time to play ever. The sounds of the lower valley Barrio were all around booming from cars and Harleys. I knew I was creating an envelope of sound and peace that would envelope everyone listening. This belief in my music has sustained me financially and my spirit as it has so many other artists from ancient to modern times. Success is self-measured and forward motion is motion. Don’t wait for that perfect flute, microphone, gig or someone to tell you something nice about your playing or CD. Do something towards your dream everyday regardless and try not to spend too much money doing it is the best advice I feel I give to the myriad musicians who email or approach me after shows.  Kevin Connolly didn’t wait around for artificial legs, the perfect technology or for people to quit staring. He took the tools he had and dug deep. All you can ask yourself is to do that too—make what you already have your tools and do the best you can now. Life, like success, is incremental and roads are made a brick at a time. Okay, enough of those metaphors before I choke myself on them…haha

The official release date for "Pura Vida - This is Pure Life" is July 15 on Amazon, CDBaby.com,  and iTunes a fews weeks following. I will be on the road when it comes out and will have some CD’s shipped to me as I head to INAFA and gigs up north in Wisconsin and Illinois. The best relationships are dances, the ones you ease into. I’m hoping this release will be like that for listeners. I’ve included an mp3 clip from the song “I Am the Mountain Within.” The lyrics pretty much tie in with my own belief that the person is more than the appearance and that heroic acts happen every time you move outside of your comfort zone.

Thank you

Friday, June 4, 2010

Kicking around the southwest getting ready for summer touring.

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Greetings I hope this summer is finding you and those close to you safe and happy. Last Blog I reported I was up for several New Mexico Music Industry Awards. I am happy to report I won one of those nominations in the category of New Age Contemporary. I was surprised and honored as I accepted the award for all the hard working musicians in my part of New Mexico. It was a top-notch awards ceremony with amazing performances, formal banquet and all the major players in New Mexico Music. Lest you don’t think that is much several are Grammy winners and recently Oscar winners. Music is big and close to the burgeoning film industry here as well. I met the two other musicians from Las Cruces who were also nominees, C.W. Ayon in Blues and Mick Harris in Pop. C.W. Ayon won his very competitive category. Though we had met half-an-hour before the awards show I hit it off with he and his wife immediately. Maybe it is because we are both extremely hard-working independent artists. Or maybe it was that we were all three sitting at tables nursing beers because no one would talk to us. The music industry in New Mexico is heavily represented by the northern cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Most have never been to Las Cruces, which is, incidentally New Mexico’s 2nd largest city. I introduced myself to one of the major distributors of Native American Music who was presenting that night. He dismissed me quicker than you can open a beer saying, “I was wondering who ‘Randy Granger’ was.” Okay. I was polite and professional and slightly embarrassed that I had been so nice to him and his wife.  He was presenting two of the categories I had multiple nominations in and mispronounced my name. I wanted to show my award to him afterwards but thought better of it.

Awards do count. Especially the awards where you don’t have to beg every Facebook friend, relative and acquaintance to go vote for you. These awards were pre-judged by New Mexico music pros then sent out to some seriously qualified national judges. I mean seriously well known. I was blown away by that. The people who weren’t talking to me before all of a sudden were seeking me out saying hey we have your music in heavy rotation at our station could you record a station ID? It is all part of it. Awards for independent musicians help bring us cred, attention and better paying gigs. You have to make really good music first though. No substitute for music that sounds killer, has feeling and raises you above the hundreds of thousands out there. Here is some good press we had in our local papers http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_15156196 my hometown of Hobbs, NM ran a front page story and interview on my award. I was so happy knowing my family would read it and feel proud. They have always supported me in everything I’ve done. You can read the articles and more at my website http://www.randygranger.net/press.html.

I was in Santa Fe playing some shows and thought the awards ceremony was Saturday night so I rushed to my room after playing followed by a trip up to 10,000 Waves to soak in the communal tubs. Drove an hour south to Albuquerque only to find it was the wrong night. I just laughed at myself and went back ending up with a great night strolling in and out of live music venues around the Santa Fe Plaza. I conducted a flute playing workshop for the Albuquerque area flute circles and had a wonderful time seeing some friends and meeting new ones. Melissa Dominguez, a Santa Fe photographer and college friend I hadn’t seen in too many years took some really nice photos she let me post here. Yes that’s a Kilt I’m wearing. Specifically a Utilikilt which I absolutely enjoy wearing both on and off stage. You’ll love their approach and humor.

My schedule for this year’s International Native American and World Flute Association’s (INAFA) convention for me is:

Lead a Clinic titled “The ABC’s of Playing the Native American Flute” in Lecture Room 143, July 15th at 1:00 PM
Perform July 14th at 7:30 PM with Michael Graham Allen aka Coyote Oldman in Gantner Concert Hall
Perform Solo concert: July 15th at 3:00 PM in the Phillips Recital Hall

You can find out all about the Convention at http:///www.inafa.org. For the first time INAFA will be allowing main performers to offer private lessons during the Convention. You can email me directly for info an costs at lonegranger@netscape.com. I have over 15 years teaching guitar, percussion, voice and Native flute along with being a lifelong, classically trained musician I have worked with some of the best flutists such as Michael Allen and R. Carlos Nakai. If you want to get an intense private lesson and evaluation feel I don’t have much free time at the convention so slots are going quickly. I will also have a booth with my Indian Summer Music Award and NM Music Industry Award winning CD’s, t-shirts and more. I plan to have two new CD’s available and am working on the details now and will be ordering them soon. I am so absolutely excited about these new CD’s.

I’ll be playing in El Paso at the end of June. You can always bookmark my calendar at http://www.randygranger.net/calendar.html. While up north in Wisconsin I will do a few other gigs including the 6th Anniversary World of Faeries Festival in South Elgin, IL. I am open to booking some House Concerts or flute circle performances/workshops. Email me if there is an interest. I look forward to seeing again the friends I made at the 2008 INAFA Convention. Don’t be shy. Say hello.
See you down the trail,

Native American Flute Firefly music in the Texas Hill Country.