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the moose and the pig and me. [k.s. friday]

it is said – and clearly there are many people in the news now’days who subscribe to this – that any press…good or bad…is better than no press. you have to wonder.

way back in 2002 i released this album. ‘as sure as the sun’ was the culmination of much writing, practicing, arranging, driving, singing, hydrating, listening, reviewing, re-writing, more singing, more practicing, more driving, recording, listening, sitting and watching my producer, more sitting and watching my producer, re-recording tracks, more practicing, more driving, more hydrating, more singing, more writing, more listening, more reviewing, re-writing, practicing, singing, hydrating, more driving and a lot of worrying. i recorded the album in nashville and drove back and forth for sessions, in between which i spent my time finessing each piece of music, each song i had composed for the project.

as an independent solo artist and not a complete band with others to lean on or a label financially chugging it forward, it was a big project, a big investment in heart, time and money. my producer and i had to believe in it to keep it going. bottom line, i had to believe in it to keep it going. when it was done and i drove home with a mastered CD, it was with a mix of feeling proud, wiped out, anxious and full of dreams. ‘as sure as the sun’ was my sixth album and the first that was a full-length vocal. it was stepping out of my comfort zone. it was the edge.

i hired an agency to help with its release and a radio promoter to aid in its adds to radio airplay. i don’t recommend either. to the tune of almost $40,000 they took me for a ride and i wonder now how this was possible. but when your professed dreams come knocking it is hard to turn away and do it yourself. in retrospect, i should have just continued doing it all on my own as i had done with all the instrumental albums that preceded it. but ah, that whole retrospect thing is such a fine perspective arranger.

amazon, and various other entities, added the album to my lineup online and radio stations added songs to their airplay. ‘slow dance’ charted at number 13 on the secondary adult contemporary radio chart. i’m not really sure how important that was now – at the time, however, it kept me paying for the promoter. i suspect that was the goal.

i played concerts and interviewed on radio and drove around to wholesale and retail shows with product, selling to large box brick and mortar chains and small privately owned shops that played music and displayed cds for customers to purchase. at the label in our offices on lake michigan we put together more cardboard display boxes than i can count, shipping out displays and cds regularly. it was busy and fun and a time when people still purchased actual cds.

in the zeal of the after-release glow, i looked everywhere for reviews of this new album. i wanted to know how it resonated with people, how it measured up, what i could learn by reading others’ commentary.

and then there was this.

the title was just the start. dang. sounding like a “hoofed mammal in heat” or a “squealing pig” was a tad bit much, i thought. the first-grader-lyric-writing comment was, well, kind of first-grader-like. i noted the misspelling of norah’s name. and, much as i appreciate his style, i really wouldn’t use “soulful” to describe jim brickman’s vocal music. but i digress.

i was stunned to have such a review and didn’t know what to think. i spent lots and lots of time, an inordinate amount of time, pondering who might have written such a statement. for some reason, i did not give as much time to the emails i received, the notes, the non-promoter-sought airplay, the adds in box stores and shops around the country, and the thousands of cds that were shipped out. this review nagged me.

it’s funny to me now how i let this one commentary puncture a pinhole in my confidence. but that’s the way of negativity. to stand firmly rooted, to take on the edge, to step new steps, to grow, to believe in your ability to shift gears, sway in the wind – the inner job of every artist. one moose and one pig should not be enough to undermine you and yet, there it was.

somewhere along the line i mostly forgot about this review and got on with the business of the music business: making more music. nine albums and several singles followed this album’s release. but i never really looked for reviews. i listened to what was inside and kept stepping. one of these days, maybe when i decide that i am still relevant, i will step again.

artists of every medium adjust and re-adjust too often to the whim of the viewers’/listeners’ fancy. they lose something every time in their pursuit of wanting their work to be liked by others. yet, the artist is most certainly riding the value-train with every project released. for that project, the last project, the next new project – all represent making a living. they represent a vulnerability not broached in other life-work paths. they represent a piece of someone’s heart and soul, hoping against hope not to be pounced on. all together – the projects of all artists of all mediums – they represent the woven fabric of our narrative, diverse and rich.

as my sweet momma used to say, “if [someone] has nothing nice to say, [someone] should say nothing at all.”

though i generally like moose and pigs and am in good company either way, i trust the moose and the pig agree with her.

*****

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a dance in the night. [k.s. friday]

slow dance

to sit in the dark.  to watch the flicker of flame on the yard torches.  to stare into the bonfire.  to listen to the crickets.  to feel cool air brush your face.  to walk barefoot in dewy-damp grass.  to slowly swirl, in time to music, in time to your heartbeat, in time to deep breaths.

we all need a break.

instead of a mind racing-against-itself in the middle of the night, we need a dance with slow.  we need a dance of hope.  we need a dance of release.

do you remember how to slow dance…in the middle of the night?

even in the bleakest of times, even in the dark.  the tiniest pinprick of light through an inky sky will remind us of the trillions of stars that are always there.

 

download SLOW DANCE on iTUNES

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SLOW DANCE ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

 


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it’s real life. [k.s. friday]

it's real life sandheart shadows songbox

lists.  we have lists of things to get done today, this weekend, next week.  so.much.to.do.  “…it’s not just romance, it’s not just spark…it’s not just passion, it’s not just flame…” (lyrics)

we are not alone.  real life requires lists.  and lots of hard work.  together.   we lean on each other for the challenges.  we hold each other through the really tough stuff.

we just came back from being on an island where we heard a story about the recent high school graduation.  there were three (3) graduating seniors.  (the school has about 72 students, k-12.)  most of the people on island went to this graduation.  it lasted two hours, with speeches and personally-chosen-songs played by the graduates and a recessional.  it is amazing to think about how many unrelated people watched this ceremony, taking time out of their lives to witness this very important moment in the lives of these young people. it takes a village to raise a child.  yes.

but everyone knows everyone there, indirectly if not directly. deb recommended to never say anything negative or derogatory about anyone because they are likely related or best friends to whom you are speaking. she added, and i agree, that “we should always live like that.”  there is a shirt in her sweet bookshop that already has my name on it and reads:  heart>hate

as we plan our lists and our calendar for this next crazy week, we can see, ever so clearly, that our own village is here to help us.  we lean on each of them for the challenges.  they hold us through the really tough stuff.  it does take a village.  it takes each other.  together.  that is the stuff of real life.

purchase the CD or download on iTUNES or CDBaby

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IT’S REAL LIFE from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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written in your life. [k.s. friday]

written in your life songbox

from the book and the movie the fault in our stars:

i know about you.

the fault in our stars quotes

arrowthis.  this is what this song is about.

 

purchase the CD AS SURE AS THE SUN or download on iTunes or CDBaby

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WRITTEN IN YOUR LIFE from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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hear you whisper. [k.s. friday]

hear you whisper song box

missing comes in many shapes and sizes.  colors too.  i’m now at that age that i hear this song in the context of too many people i know who have lost loved ones.  whether their beloved has moved on to a different dimension or a different life, it leaves behind someone grieving.  “you’re so here though you’re not here.” 

i occasionally browse through facebook and i am struck by the number of acquaintances or friends or family members who are remembering a loved one, this group of people unknown maybe to each other but bonded invisibly by a mutual intense emotion.  my heart responds to their pain, their determination to keep going, their day-by-day stepping back into the world.  it’s indeed a “crazy maze” that they are navigating, that i have navigated as well, that we each navigate at some point in time.

although moving on to a different life presents other extraordinary challenges to live through, losing someone to dying often leaves so many unspoken words, so much un-lived living-together.  “i hear you whisper, hear you cry, hear you call my name at night, over many miles and many distant skies.  i hear you whisper, hear you cry, hear you call my name at night, and i believe it’s not goodbye.”  like many of you, i, too, have listened intently to the universe, to the night, waiting to hear, believing that just-on-the-other-side is a whisper, on the wind, wafting its way to me.

purchase the CD AS SURE AS THE SUN or download HEAR YOU WHISPER on iTUNES or CDBaby

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HEAR YOU WHISPER from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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same sweet love. [k.s. friday]

SAME SWEET LOVE SONG BOX

paper and pencils strewn about, guitars in hand, i sat in los angeles with cliff, the producer of this album, as we penned this new song together.  long a solo artist and songwriter, it was my first full collaboration, a visit to high energy and laughter, a rhyming dictionary (every songwriter’s friend) at our side.  we reached into our own lives and experiences to write.

when we finished recording it in nashville, the duet touched me as a poignant reminder of steadfast love.

so put your arms around me now

close your eyes, remember how

keep believing

that we’re the same two people

in the same sweet love

purchase the album AS SURE AS THE SUN or download SAME SWEET LOVE track 6 on iTunes or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

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click here (or on the box above) – it’s the last few days of our fall 50% off art sale.

SAME SWEET LOVE from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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count on you [k.s. friday]

count on you song box copy

i drove back and forth and back and forth to nashville when i recorded this album, each time returning with a cd of the work we had done on the album.  i’d play it numerous times, taking notes to share with my producer, re-writing, practicing, sometimes sharing the songs-where-they-were-at-the-time with others.

joan was the one who told me i needed a “strong woman” song included on this album.  so i walked across the street home, directly into my studio and wrote one.

now, this isn’t my favorite song – it’s a little kitschy if you ask me – but i have had many tell me how much they like it and one of my favorite performances of it was when beth’s students sang it.  (i was long-term-subbing for her. she’s a dear friend and an amazing choir teacher in a middle school in our district.)  those kids really rose to the occasion and kitschy fell by the wayside in favor of strength and power and belief in themselves.

recently d and i listened to some of my first recordings.  they were from 1979-80 and recorded in a studio in a town called port washington on the north shore of long island.  i had found a cassette (now isn’t that retro word dating me!) and we have a boombox (another retro word) that plays cassettes so we settled in to listen to the three songs on what would now be called an EP.

one of the songs is called leaving and is a song i wrote for my parents as they retired and moved from our long island home to florida.  i remembered that song well.

the other two?  well, it’s funny.  i could sing every word, but i didn’t remember the intense emotion behind them.  THESE were my #metoo songs, i discovered (rediscovered?) as i listened.  one of these days i might share these songs, not because they are great songs but because they are truth and every artist has songs that are life-defining.  not the ones necessarily that chart (although those are lovely, indeed!) but the ones that speak from deep inside, with lyrics or music that must be spoken.  these two songs were written by a vulnerable (and pretty angry) young woman who wanted to unleash the power of her crayon and live out loud, who definitely wanted to live without fear, who tried hard to break away from an experience i still would rather forget and who prayed – alone at the time – beseeching words.  all this is what i wrote about in this week’s melange.

my heart goes out to all those women who are also card-carrying #metoo survivors.  the out-loud ones and the silent ones.  my wish for each of you: unleash your crayon, live without fear, break away, pray with another, count on you.

from this song of today’s melange post COUNT ON YOU, which may be more #metoo and less kitschy than i thought,  “just move forward and then believe – you gotta trust…in you.”

DOWNLOAD the song COUNT ON YOU track 12 AS SURE AS THE SUN on iTUNES or CDBaby or purchase the CD on kerrisherwood.com

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COUNT ON YOU from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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freefallin’ in love. [k.s. friday]

freefallininlove songbox copy

you can’t help but listen to country music when you are in nashville. there’s something about the storytelling in country songs that i can really identify with.  i love telling a good story.  ok, i even love bad stories.  i’m sure there are a slew of people rolling their eyes around me most times i am talking.  when i was writing for this album and traveling back and forth to the studio in nashville, i decided i wanted one of the songs to be a little bit of a nod to that genre, of which i am a big fan.  i wrote this song on a single page of notebook paper on an airplane.  some songs just show up.  my favorite part is the happy ending. 🙂

download FREEFALLIN’ IN LOVE track 9 on AS SURE AS THE SUN on iTUNES or CDBaby or PURCHASE THE CD (or several hundred for your closest friends)

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FREEFALLIN’ IN LOVE from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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angel you are. [k.s. friday]

angel you are with photo song box copy

“…you’re an angel in my life, and i’m still ridin’ on the back of your bike.”

“…you’re my big brother till the end of all time.  angel you are.”

when i was little, my brother wayne used to ride me around on his bike…pretty much anywhere and everywhere.  and so my adoration of him started early.  he was nine years older than me; he had wisdom and know-how i didn’t…i was years behind him.  even when i was small, i cherished all the moments he spent with me.  and i didn’t know.

i didn’t know that time would be cut short and that this person who i relied on for advice and wisdom and fixing-stuff-know-how and just general big-brother stuff wouldn’t be around forever.

i remember being in the hospital with him during one of his chemo sessions.  i asked him if i had been an annoyance when i was young, always wanting to go with him, always wanting his attention.  there was this moment i will always remember – forever.  he said, “no!  you were my little sister and i was proud of you.  i always wanted you with me.”

time stood still when he said that.  i knew it was important to memorize that moment.   i am still holding on to it.

angel you are, bro.

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ANGEL YOU ARE from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

 


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in a split second. [k.s. friday]

inasplitsecond SONG BOX

over and over and over we are reminded.  every second counts.  it even gets trite sometimes.  but then, once again, something makes time come crashing to a halt, where everything moves in slow motion and we are crushed with the inevitability of a change we didn’t anticipate, plan for, dream of or, even, want.

i wrote this song when heidi told me about waiting for the results of her mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy.  she spoke of the moment her doctor called; she asked him to hold on and she walked to the mirror to look at herself before her whole life changed.  THOSE WORDS impacted me enormously.  i couldn’t get the vision out of my mind and wrote this for her.  we went on to use this song when we performed (heidi – breast cancer survivor and inspirational speaker, me – writing songs and music to wrap through and around the events) as part of cancer survivor celebrations, walks, runs, hospital and pharmaceutical recognitions, susan g komen foundation, y-me breast cancer organization, american cancer society, gilda radner’s gilda club, young survival coalition, the san antonio breast cancer symposium, bristol-myers squibb tour of hope, living beyond breast cancer…

but this song goes beyond cancer survivorship.  time can change and our lives can turn in more ways than we care to think about.  there are many challenges, in many categories.  the older i get, the more i see it.

on our roadtrip through the i-can’t-get-enough-of-it rocky mountains and intensely beautiful southwest, we talked about one second moving into the next.  (don’t worry – lots of time we talk about things like twizzlers or our obsession with mission chips or we talk the scion into going up steep mountains.)  and we talked about how, no matter what happens in a moment, it would be in our very best interest to linger in each one and then move into the next moment without carrying the stuff of the previous one. “it’s all new,” we agreed.

each individual moment counts.  each one is different.  yes, each one…each moment…trite as it sounds…is a gift.

download IN A SPLIT SECOND – track 11 on AS SURE AS THE SUN on iTUNES and CDBaby

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IN A SPLIT SECOND from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

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