I’m continuing with the process of studio mixdown for my album, In a Circle. So far, I have three songs mixed with only nine left to go. For those of you unfamiliar with mixing, it’s the most unglamorous part of recording an album. You might think of it in terms of housecleaning. I don’t enjoy vacuuming the carpet AND it’s nice to have a clean house to share with friends when they come over for a visit. In other words, mixing an album is necessary for everyone’s recorded musical enjoyment! And speaking of that, enjoy this recently mixed version of It Ain’t Natural by clicking here:
If you want to read more about how this song came about, click here.
Men at Work
I’m not referring to that popular 80’s New Wave band from Australia here. No, I’m talking about men’s groups. Back in the summer of 1979, I had just moved to California. I was a new father living with my infant son, wife, and step-daughter in the town of Davis. I had read some of Robert Bly’s early writings about men becoming more conscious and connecting with their true masculine self. As a result, I was very intrigued with this notion. While living in Davis, I joined my first ever men’s support group and experienced something totally new. In this group, I witnessed men who were being honest and open with other men about themselves and their life journey. For me, a powerful seed was planted that day and I wanted more.
Are We Not Men…?
Over the years, I have been in various men’s groups. I’ve also been part of several different men’s communities. One of those men’s communities has trainings and chapters around the world in different countries. Around 2006, I became involved with a mentoring organization that works with young men from ages 12 through 17. Along the way, I have also participated in or staffed many different workshops and weekends for men and young men. I currently sit in a men’s group on a weekly basis. I have found this to be a very useful and empowering resource in my life.
We are Not a Men’s Group
If you’re thinking that all this men’s work stuff is always a serious matter, I offer you this tongue-in-cheek song. You may see a reflection of yourself here or a man that you know.
Poetry Spotlight: Rumi’s Moon
This poem came about from my experience at an event called Rumi’s Caravan, an evening of poetry with music. I found myself outside during the break enjoying the evening when the Muse paid me one of those unexpected visits.
Written by Marshal Jon McKitrick 9/7/14
After words flutter about
followed by proclamations of “Ahhh!!!”
I step down off the back porch
into the mystery of evening
Standing on bare dirt
making out moonglow
just over the roofline
there she is in her glory
for the last full moon of summer
And over there
the old church’s cathedral spire
is fully lit like a rocket on the launching pad
aiming for an unknown destination
that has already been reached in moonlight
The moon says:
There is nowhere to go
that cannot be found here
the journey and the destination
are one and the same
So, I will enjoy the fluttering
followed by “Ahhh!!!”
and savor the dark drive home
Last week, I made my way back to the recording studio. I had to take a break from working on my album, In a Circle, due to financial reasons. Ed has been very supportive of my first time out as a full producer and I appreciate him for that. I had a productive session and now all the song editing has been completed. Hooray! Also, I recorded a new piano track for Familiar Strangers. To hear a sample of the latest recording, click on the player below.
Next, I’ll move on to the mixing process to complete my time in the studio. If you’re wondering about the expected release date, that will be impacted by post production costs and logistics. At this time, I’m hoping to release the album by either May or June. I’m grateful to everyone who has been encouraging and supportive of me through this studio journey. As always, stay tuned!
Poetry Spotlight: Ego is a Funny Beast
I wrote this poem while I was part of a local men’s group. We called ourselves Men at Work. I continue to seek balance with my own ego, as a musician and songwriter.
My Ego is a Funny Beast
Written by Marshal McKitrick/ Copyright 1995
My ego is a funny beast
If I ignore him or try to lock him up
He comes in howling at just the wrong time
And I say things that make me wonder
Who’s really in charge
My ego is a funny beast
If I entertain his notions or just give in to him
He struts around the room like a peacock in heat
And this time I’m the prisoner
Easter Egg: Morning Lake
Folks who like my music and are serious students of album liner notes may have already heard Morning Lake and read about it on my website. You’ll find it included in my liner notes for my last CD, Older and Wiser. I recorded it near the end of my time at Bender Studio in Sacramento. If you haven’t heard it yet and are curious, you can listen below. To read more about it, click here.
Musical Roots One of my Spirit names is Meadowlark, as singing and music are my passion. Hence, I am Meadowlark Tunes. I grew up in the American Midwest in a musical family. Two of my biggest joys were singing in church choirs and playing on my father’s baby grand...
Here are 25 things that you may not know about me:
I was born in Mattoon, Illinois because the other town my parents lived in didn’t have a hospital.
One of the earliest cartoons I remember watching on t.v. was called Crusader Rabbit. The main character had a tiger as a sidekick.
I lived with my family in the Indiana countryside for a year or more and attended a school that had two grade levels in one classroom.
My father was a minister and named me after Peter Jon Marshall, a well known Presbyterian minister at the time.
I once shared an apartment with a friend who bought an Asteroids coin-op video from a local Chuck E. Cheese and put it out on our balcony for entertainment.
One of my favorite memories from childhood is hunting geodes with my younger brother in the wooded creek areas of central Indiana.
I liked the shoes that George Harrison wore on the cover of the Abbey Road album so much that I asked my parents to buy me a pair.
I learned how to sing harmony by singing in the church choir and singing old hymns on Sunday mornings.
I loved to play the main theme from Thus Spake Zarathustra (from the 2001: Space Odyssey movie) on my father’s baby grand piano.
At about four years old, I got to appear with other kids on one episode of Romper Room, a local children’s t.v. program that aired in our area.
Although I was born in the state of Illinois, I grew up next door in the state of Indiana.
I saw Richard Harris play King Arthur onstage in the live theater version of Camelot.
In the fourth grade, I lived in the country across the road from a large corn field.
In my high school art class, I created a pen and ink drawing of a guitar. It was my own creation and I dubbed it a Willmon; a combination of two of my favorite guitarists – Mason Williams and Paul Simon.
The first LP record I ever owned was Alvin and the Chipmunks with Dave Seville.
One of my favorite classic films is To Kill a Mockingbird with Gregory Peck.
I used to love to swing on the playground set and sing songs.
I’m a big fan of Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals from the 60’s (ex.,Carousel and Oklahoma)
My sister, Camile, got me started on playing the guitar when I was sixteen. I was housebound and stir crazy after breaking my leg while skiing.
I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy almost twice when I was in junior high and wrote a list of actors I thought would be great for the film version. My pick to play Gandalf was Gregory Peck,
I named my son, Kabir, after a 14th century Persian poet of the same name.
My first guitar was an Alvarez classical guitar. I paid $100 of my own money for it.
In my college years, I used to listen to popular records of the day (like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon) and play along with my wooden recorder.
The first vehicle I ever owned was an old ’65 panel truck. I paid $200 cash for it.
In my early 20’s, I protested the imprisonment of my Indian spiritual teacher by sitting with others on the steps of the U.S. capitol building in Washington, D.C. It was a peaceful demonstration and we sat together in meditation.
And one more than 25 things – I wrote this song in January 2016. It was posted on my YouTube channel. I think it’s timely to share it again here, as we begin another new year of possibilities. I look forward to living more of my dreams in 2017! Happy New Year everyone!
Over the first weekend of December, Dena and I attended one of our favorite experiences called Singing Through the Heart of Winter. This annual end of year retreat brings together a number of friendly folks from our greater NorCal tribe. I really love the location being nestled amongst beautiful, tall redwood trees. Singing through the Heart of Winter has been happening for the last eight or nine years at St. Dorothy’s Rest, Camp Meeker, CA (west of Santa Rosa). Since being established in 1901, St. Dorothy’s Rest is the oldest camp in California.
This was our second time attending. It was a beautiful way to celebrate our 12th year wedding anniversary, which is later this month. The retreat was led, as usual, by Doug Von Koss and Richard Naegle, co-directors of the Noah Project.
This weekend is a preparation for the Solstice season in the quiet and beauty of the redwoods. We were invited to “join with kindred spirits in sharing good food and company, celebrating via tears and laughter, and exploring Soul’s longing in the darkest night.” The purpose (to quote the flyer once again) is to “embrace the heart of winter while helping sing the world once again into being.” So, there was plenty of singing through the heart (all acapella with no instruments), sprinkled with poetry, story, and ritual.
I appreciated taking a break from the chaos and troubles of the world (i.e., last month’s election) during this dark time of year. It helped me to get grounded in the deeper mystery of the holiday season and connected with a greater reality. As a result of going off on retreat, I felt refreshed and less distracted by the commercial hustle or old memories of years gone by. I’m thinking it would be wise of me to make this end of year retreat into an annual ritual.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world…”
Without prior planning, I over-extended the previous weekend’s retreat. I got sick after arriving home, and wound up taking a different kind of personal “retreat.” I stayed under the weather for most of the week, until I finally began to feel better by the weekend.
While I was “busy” recuperating, I viewed some cool music documentaries on NetFlix. I watched Jaco, a biographical film about the life of Jaco Pastorius, the great jazz/rock/funk bass player. It cover his life’s journey from childhood in Florida to the tragic end of his life. Next in line was Jimi Hendrix:Voodoo Child. This piece has solid content covering Jimi’s personal musical journey from the early to final years. It was a collage of video, photos, and narration from personal letters. Finally, I viewed Austin to Boston. This documentary follows a group of young mostly folk musicians as they get to know each other on a long road trip, gigging across America from, yup, Austin to Boston. It’s an interesting look behind the scenes that reveals the human side of musicians on tour.