Believing in yourself seems to need some kind of Other....

One of the hardest things about the path I have been on is that at every turn in the road, when the next step comes into view, and you know you are heading in the right direction, but you see the enormity of the joureny ahead, you will be facing another crisis of faith, maybe almost bigger than any one you have had before. For me, I felt grace from the beginning of my decision to pursue making my own way with music, and pretty quickly, with poetry. But it has been anything but easy. There have been so many confirmations, "Yes", you are on the right track, and at the same time, soooooo much sacrifice - sacrifice that I never imagined wouldbe part of the landscape. Like someone building up muscle, there is some kind of new formidable challenge at every step along the way. 

Now, as I attempt to raise the money for The Shoulders Project, I am experienciing that same sense of challenge and questioning my belief in myself, questioning my belief in my path, questioning my belief in my capacity to fulfill the goal of this, what feels like an entirely worthy dream. 

That is why, when I get someone saying something like the following, it brings me to tears. I need this. I need this. I need this:

"Daniel is one of those rare souls who has made it his life's work to put forth truth and beauty into the world. Sacrificing personal gain and even the comforts that many of us take for granted, he is using his life in the highest way serve and uplift humanity. Very few people live their lives in this way. He is not a musician seeking grandeur. Rather, he is a Troubadour of Love. Supporting his work means that you, by proxy, have a hand in his pure intentions and have played your part. Your contribution or support of him is a pebble that makes a ripple, that becomes the wave that transforms us all."


Puzzling over a number of things, let's start with one...

My goodness. I do not have all the answers! How strange! Strange world we live in.

OK, so here is what is up. I am thinking of creating music around a particular proposition: that the attention of a number of people being with me at the time of the creation, and the attention of a number of people at the time of release of the music, will help to propel the intention of the music itself. 

Let me explain further: Supposing a person wants a piece of music created for them, as I have done now many times. I just counted and I am up to 45 pieces of music created for people for personal reasons. Some of these are to mark a passage in their lives. Some are gifts. But there is always some annunciating intention. And the process has been very mysterious. I feel guided. I am listening for what matters in the person's life. My own intention is to bring through music that truly connects them with their lives, or with the person the music is for, or whatever this intention is.

So, now, let's say, there was a group of people who are, in effect, magnifiers. For now, I want to call them magnifiers.

These are people who have said they will set aside a little bit of time, even five minutes - I don't know, it seems to me that ten would be good - to take the same intention, take the same direction in awareness that I am taking and effectively ask that this music come through, in as glorious a way possible.

I share with these people the story I have learned of the person. This could be anonymous of course. The person for whom this is being done does not have to reveal anything except to me, and I then relay the nature of what is happening there to the "magnifiers" and I announce a window - a window of time - where each of these magnifiers will have a chance to do their work.

And their job is to take that person into their awareness, to take those particulars, that story, and feed the Holiness around it, to do a little gardening there, in the Soul Field, and bring their own intention to this intention to magnify it. And to say, "let this music come that can assist here, with this intention". 

So, the window is set, and I also set a particular time, when I am going to do this, in whatever way makes sense to me, just take the time. And I want to do that especially close to the beginning of my work on the piece. This way, the maximum power of all these intentions gathered together can influence the creation of the pieces.

Then, I work, I bring in the music. I complete it. At that point,  I want to create another window for all of the magnifiers and also for the person for whom this is being done. This is the listening time. This is when everyone will listen to the piece and drink it in, and again, hold the intention that was originally brought, because we now have the ability to magnify it even further. We have a cup into which all the intentions have been poured. And we can drink from the cup, together. 

And then, the story might continue, in any way that seems right. I don't even now what happens then. I wanted to create a collection of these, called Evocations of Humankind: A Collection of Musical Prayers, in order to have a focus for this work.

But I need to hear from people about what they think of the idea. I don't mind doing it like this. There is work in communicating with everyone. There is work for the people who are magnifiers. I think maybe the person who has asked for music to be created for them has in some way more psychic vulnerability, in exposing, even anonymously, their intention and their story to this group. 

And, you know, I don't know that I am an expert on such things. But I wasn't an expert on creating musical portraits until I started doing it.

A couple of days ago, as I was driving to the American River for a day of being on the river, kayaking, I had a really big blowout with God. I got upset with whatever the Divine force is that feels like it is pinning me down. I don't understand my life at all. I just said, "Do something - I need help!". I was angry and I cried and I asked for help. I yelled some. I just have been at my wit's end. I don't really know how to do what it seems to me I am being asked to do - which is to offer my gift. 

And then, somehow, over the last couple of days, this idea has come in. And I don't know if it is a good one or not. I want to try it. But I need to have some people say, "I will do it with you", or "Let's try it this way", and I need this to support itself, because I need to be supported in organizing and creating the whole process. 

So, whoever is reading this: say something, ok? Tell me what you think. Tell me if you would take part in this.

Thank you.



Coming clean about homelessness...

Maybe this is a landmark. Maybe it is not quite right to talk about it. But to the degree that I have not been completely honest about what my life is actually like, I feel the need to write this down, mark it, take note, let it be what it is, and move on, hopefully, into a world where I may have an actual home. 


But that is not the case now. And I do not now when it will be. 


I left the last home I had in the fall of 2010, to go on the road, to do concerts in people's homes. This was the beginning of what I thought was going to be "touring", but what has simply become "homelessness". 


To be fair, I had "places to stay", and one of them, up in Eagle Point, OR, was an incredible place to stay. But it was not a home, and not even becoming a home. And I had a place in Davis, CA, but through a very strange and convoluted set of circumstances involving a disagreement between the person I was subleasing from and his landlord, I had to leave that place. 


So I am homeless again, and this time, I think I really just want to call it "homeless", and not "touring". This is not what I want, and not what I have planned, and I realize I may be in somewhat the same situation as many people who end up in this situation, never planned, and find themselves a little bewildered about what to even do. Coming up with the up-front money to rent a place is daunting, when you are barely making basic ends meet to begin with. And affording rent, even sharing a place, is not necessarily predictable, either - at least I have not been able to predict much, in terms of my income.


It is a scary situation, and once in awhile I am a little concerned for my state of health and well-being, because traveling around and not really knowing where you are going to land, or how you can get work done, is not a very easy way to live. 


When I think that it is really hopeless, sometimes it helps for me to simply listen to the music I have created. There are six albums of work completed, two of poetry and music, four of all music. And that is amazing to think that I have created it all in the space of about four years. And it is beautiful work - I like it! In fact, it amazes me, and I don't even think I can take full credit, because there is some sense about how all of this has been some sort of divine intervention, and the work I have created seems to stand as a kind of embodiment of my faith.


But I would simply not still be at this, admittedly alive and well, if it were not for how much I have been helped. I have had so many hosts. People have straight up given me money, to help me get by. I have been helped by many, many people, hosting me, helping me, having faith in me. 


On Monday, I head to Nashville. I will be in Knoxville for the memorial service of my father. I will be able to visit my kids, and that is a huge blessing. I plan to do some concerts on the way back, and look for a place when I return, in late August. 


I really don't want to keep being homeless. I am happy about what I am offering to the world, and now that I am focusing more on different kinds of musical portrait offerings at different price levels, I am hopeful that business will grow and I can have a place. I am open to what this all "means", whether there is a larger plan for me, whether a different direction is called for. And I have work, right now, to complete, and it is musical work, and for that I am very grateful.


How the offerings of personal music are evolving....

Over the last three years, I have been gifted with the opportunity to create "personal" music for many people - what I originally called "Musical Portraits" and later, with words, Musical Tributes.

Now there are four different CDs of my work that include Musical Portraits and Tributes. What is renewing in me is a desire to stay employed in the service of others who want to have such music, and poetry, created for themselves, and their loved ones, for a passage, an occasion, an intention. To bring music and poetry into the life of a couple, a family, a school community, an individual, in such a beautiful way has proven to be one of the most satisfying adventures of my life. And the word on the street is it is very satisfying to have one of these pieces created for you!

The evolution of the form, and the cost of the commission is taking another turn with two new offerings I am making today. One is the Day From The Cello Troubadour, where I dedicate one full day to the creation of a piece of music for you, or with an intention of yours, for another - whatever the idea behind the piece is, I have a conversation with you, either the night before, or the morning of, and create some music to fulfill that intention. That commission, at least for now, is going to be $100. Like I say, that may go up, but I want this to be easy for people to consider, as a gift, either to some one special in your life, or for your self, to celebrate some aspect of your life, or all of it! 

The second new offering is one I am very excited about. I am in the midst of creating a circle of poet friends who are onboard to stand by for your intentions, conceptions, passages, grieving - whatever the occasion may be for an expression in words. At this point, there are probabky two or three including myself who will be in this circle and create a poem for you - and this circle is growing. After you tell me what you want the work for, who or for what occasion, I put the word out to my piet circle, and go to work on a poem for you myself. Once these poems have been submitted to me, in about a week's time, you will see them all, and choose one to be set with music and turned into a spoken word piece as I have done on When Your Life Becomes Poetry and A Secret Pouch Of Listening. This one will be initiated with a commission of $250. It is called The Gift From The Cello Troubadour - Poetry Edition. 

Musical Portraits, as I have created them, will go on. I have reduced the cost of those commissions to $500. They entail more time and care and the basic form of that is not likely to change. 

There will be other offerings soon, involving other musicians I can draw on to make the piece you commission even more unique and unforgettable. I will share that with you soon...

Many thanks to all the people over the last years who have commissioned this work, and for the one, who knows who she is, for the encouragement and support in the early days, of this potent idea. 


Why Father's Day was exceptional for me...

For month's I have been diving into a little bit of history, a recorded lecture by Pierre Bourdelle, an exceptional American artist whose work graces a train station in Cincinnati and the Fairgrounds in Dallas. In this talk, from 1963, Pierre speaks about his own father, Antoine Bourdelle, who was a sculptor, who worked with Rodin, and himself created amazing work that stands today in monuments in Paris, and in a museum in his honor. The words of Pierre Bourdelle bring back to life a time in France when the artistic guilds were one of the prime forces in the country, when art was so respected that a young man with artistic ambition could find his way to a career of reknown in his own time, guided all along the way by masters, creating timeless beauty. A passage in Pierre's talk asks us to see the world through Antoine's eyes - he describes walking with his father, and how Antoine's power to see the interior life of every rock and tree and man walking in the street were bordering on magical. I took those words and a little bit of the recording itself, and fashioned it into an homage for Pierre, a piece honoring the father of a man I met two years ago at a concert I gave in Quakertown, PA, Peter Bourdelle. I had been engaged by Peter at the end of 2012 to compose this piece, and this journey came to fruition on Father's Day in 2013, when I performed the piece for Peter and his wife, Sandy, at Wilbur Hot Springs, in Williams, CA. It felt like an honoring not only of Peter and his lineage, but an honoring of the lineage of artists throughout time. It is called "What You Give To Them - For Pierre", and I share it with you here.