A Blog about recording and performing musician Randy Granger told in his words. His life as a songwriter, performer, educator, serious Foodie and full-time musician with all the triumphs, lessons, life on the road observations told with humor, irreverence and reflection. An award-winning composer and songwriter Granger blends Native American flutes, the Hang, voice and world percussion into a completely unique contemporary Southwest World sound.
In the Chihuahuan Desert near the Organ Mountains, New Mexico
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Seeing through musician colored glasses
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 café 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.
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Here is the second video from Pura Vida “Rain in the Canyon” Enjoy.