“Soulo” is here!

For everyone who was clamoring for a CD from me (especially fans in Clarkston), here you go! “Soulo” is out and available, and it has 10 tracks of intimate piano/vocal music for your enjoyment. The first three tracks were recorded in-studio, and the other seven were recorded live at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Rochester by the talented Norman Gilmore. It’s available via mail order only at this time, so if you want a copy, just email me and we’ll sort out the details. In the meantime, you can take a listen to some tracks on Reverbnation.

St. Paul’s was where I did a live midday concert during their Lenten season, and the crowd, being a church crowd, was naturally more accustomed to organ recitals and classical fare. I wasn’t sure how much “coffeehouse” music they would be into, but I knew at least that I could present songs about spiritual journeys, and the season of Lent is exactly that in the Christian tradition. So their music director, William J. Randall, took a listen to what I had and booked me for March, and it was a miracle that we could get a recording out of it as well.

Now, the music is not Christian, even though I often present it in Christian settings and mention Jesus in “By Way of the Valley.” The soul/gospel feel of a lot of the songs support lyrics that can go in quite a different direction, as with “Believe Again”:

You gotta believe again / like the young butterfly / you gotta believe again…when he comes alive in the spring / when he opens himself to the world / and the sky / you gotta believe again…as the seed contains the flower contains the seed.

The butterfly is often used as a symbol of resurrection, but I’m dealing directly with the cycles of nature here. I wrote this song at a time when the recession in Detroit was at its worst in 2008/2009, and I wanted to remind people that we have it within ourselves to cause transformation; we don’t need the redemption of an outside agent for that: the seed contains the flower contains the seed.

And that’s what all my songs are about, really. I risk sounding like a cellophane-wrapped, self-help guru when I say this, but I’m really interested in self-transformation when it comes to my music-making. That’s the essence of SoundSorceress. I could try to write love songs, or party songs, or anything delightfully distracting like that, but it just isn’t in me. There are enough fine artists doing just that, whom I admire.

But if I have a chance to say anything with my music, or my teaching or conducting work, it’s this: You have all you need within you, and it’s perfect and beautiful. Just set it free.

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