Good morning, and sincere wishes for a happy Monday!    I have so much to feel happy about….and I do!   I’m sending love and warmth to those chilly souls that are iced in and not fortunate enough to be experiencing the springlike bliss that we have here in Portland….and I’m not trying to rub it in, truly.  My friend, Vickie, who is snowed-in on the East Coast swears she is going to smack the next person she hears say that they enjoy having four seasons.  ha!  I am very appreciative of how lucky I am to be here right now.  Very thankful.

Today’s post is about music.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”  Plato

B.B. King, Jewel, Tracy Chapman and countless other entertainers began their careers as buskers (street performers). Here in Portland street performers are the norm.  This is especially true in my own neighborhood.  A guitarist that stands outside of the ice cream parlor down the street told me that he makes around $80K every summer standing in that one popular spot playing the blues, and I believed him. There is always a line in front of this shop and his guitar case is always brimming with cash.  The city is quite supportive of musicians.

Portland has a thriving musical culture to maintain its distinctive beat.  All of the music here is a direct reflection of the city’s never-ending support for the arts.   It is a Portland-specific spontaneous way of life. We have ALL kinds of musicians here, and yes, a lot of places do, but the attitude toward music here is different.    For example, no one here thought this was even weird:

On Saturday night, I took Ingrid for a long walk down Division Street where she thoroughly enjoyed all the free musical entertainment, as you can see in this video:

Over the last couple of weeks, I organized a group consisting of 32 musicians for Sunday afternoon jams and a potluck.  A different person will host each week, and we will meet in various combinations, with guitars and other acoustic instruments to raise our voices to the sky and sing to our hearts’ content.  It will be especially nice on those balmy Portland summer evenings. Four of us are meeting independently and are working on this  Lake Street Dive version of this song now.  Admittedly, my guitar playing is a lot worse than my voice at this point in time, so I’m just singing and not playing an instrument:

These types of gatherings were a huge part of my life when I was younger and an active musician.   I look forward to these jams tremendously.  I love the open, accepting attitude of the culture here.  Some people in the group are very accomplished. Others?  Not at all.   However, the group will accommodate everyone, including those folks that just want to come, sit in and sing along.  It is all about the camaraderie and fellowship.  Portland is just that kind of city.   Music is everywhere!

Have a great week, everyone.  If you’re among my cold friends on the East Coast, please know that I am sending musical love, warmth and smiles directly to your heart. Have faith.  Spring will be there soon.

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 stacy smiles feb 2015A line from my songwriting course this week says, “Words have meanings, music doesn’t. Music is all about motion, and motion creates e-motion.”  Hold THAT close to your heart….and move with it. 🙂

PS – I’m not in total agreement with the above-quote.  To me, music DOES have meanings…but I think I “get” this in context.