Join... "Crying for a Vision"
A Spiritually-Based Activist Musical Ensemble
DON’T BE CONFUSED!!
This page represents my OLD vision (actually going back 20 years) for the musical ensemble I’m now putting together. Seeing the old vision, however, will give you an idea of not only where I was coming from, but how my vision has EVOLVED… both SPIRITUALLY as well as MUSICALLY.
First of all, I’ve had to change the name from “Crying For A Vision” to “Circle of Heroes” in order to be sensitive and respectful to the Native American tribes whose sacred ritual has inspired me to write not only a SONG with that title, but also an ALBUM of spiritually-based songs, as well as the NAME of the drum circle/musical ensemble for which I’m currently recruiting. Two decades ago, I was not aware that I was “stepping on toes” by doing so, but I’ve learned in the past few years from listening to my beloved NPR (National Public Radio) that minorities now consider what I meant as a compliment to be “appropriation”!
Secondly, though, my NEW vision of this ensemble is so much more COMMUNITY-MINDED, more inclusive, more open to everyone’s participation… and therefore, in my opinion, even more spiritually-based… Which means more POWERFUL, MAGICAL and INSPIRATIONAL!
I’m looking for musicians and singers with professional-quality talent and at least some experience, but not necessarily working musicians (who would probably have scheduling conflicts)
Musicians… Guitars, bass, drums, percussion, banjo, pedal steel, keyboards, Also interesting world and “primitive” instruments???
Singers… Great at blending tight harmonies
Also… Sound Engineer, Manager, Publicist, Event Coordinator, Administrative Assistant
* The purpose of this musical group is to inspire change. In the group’s name, “crying” means singing, a plea for others to feel empathy for the suffering, a call to action. And the “vision” is for a kinder, gentler world of compassion for all living beings.
* We’ll perform primarily my songs, but if possible I’d also like to include a few other activist songs (such as Bruce Cockburn’s The Whole Night Sky). The question will be getting rights to do so.
* My songs are spiritually based. Some of my lyrics are explicitly spiritual while others are merely implicit. Let me make it clear, however, that I do not consider myself to be at all religious. And while I use some Christian terminology, I do so to express the broad ethical principles of reverence for all life, reverence for all Mother Nature, faith in the awesome power of a sacred love, breaking open the heart with empathy, finding one’s self in service to the vulnerable, surrender to the calling of the Sacred... principles that apply to ethical thought and behavior, no matter whether one is Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu… or not even at all religious!
* As for the group’s sound, that’s something I’d like to see us develop together. I’d like to create an original sound, but I definitely lean more toward rock rather than jazz. I love the idea of using instruments in unusual ways (as opposed to just the traditional styles), so I’m looking for instrumentalists who are both comfortable with and excited about being experimental in their playing.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead
* I’m looking for singers who really enjoy blending tight harmonies, as opposed to trying to stand out as individual voices.
* We’ll perform at events either we ourselves or others put on specifically to inspire others to get involved in working for compassionate treatment of all animals, as well as fund-raising for WolfStone Ranch and related organizations and programs… such as Farmington Pet Adoption Center, a low-cost spay/neuter program for the needy, a pet food bank, etc.
* Eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) I’d like to do some recording and touring, to expand our outreach beyond the local Mineral Area.
"A growing and increasingly influential movement of philosophers, ethicists,
law professors and activists are convinced that the great moral struggle
of our time will be for the rights of animals." --Michael Pollan
My Musical Background…
Top 40 Rock’n’Roll
In my 20’s I sang lead and played keyboards in Top-40/Rock bands in Florida.
The Daniel Lentz Group
Then I moved to Los Angeles, where I became not only the lead singer but also the co-manager (and road manager) of a Contemporary Classical (aka avant-garde) ensemble founded by the internationally acclaimed composer Daniel Lentz. During the decade that I worked with DLG (1982-1994), we toured the US, Europe and Japan. We also made a number of recordings.
Then in the late 90’s I broke off my relationship with DLG and began writing my own material. First, I wrote a number of songs on piano, hired a band of professional musicians with recording experience, and made a recording. Called Schizi Fritzi, these songs are mostly about unrequited love (yeah, pretty biographical) and inspired by all my favorite rock bands… Journey, Stix, Foreigner, Pat Benetar, Grace Slick, Ann Wilson, The Beatles. Yeah, they’re derivative but even if I do say so myself, I think as good as any of my idols’ songs! One important way they’re different, though… my songs never blame the other person, never make the other person out to be bad and me to be the innocent victim. Maybe the best part is the harmonies… lots of fun to sing and, I hope, ear cookies for the listener!
"I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." -- Abraham Lincoln
Crying For A Vision
Then I finally picked up the guitar… and started writing prayer songs of healing, as well as activist songs for social and eco-justice. I made a recording of several of my prayer songs, all by myself in my own little home studio… although I took those tracks to a professional studio to be mixed. I played not only guitar but also what I call “primitive” instruments, mainly percussion… things like tambourines, rain sticks, gourds and other rattles, wind chimes, slapping my thighs, clapping my hands… but also flutes and whistles. I’m delighted that these songs are, I believe, truly original… nothing derivative here! But what I’m proud of is that I got my self, my ego, out of the way… and invited God in to author these songs. That’s precisely why they are original.
The woods is my church. –- a bumper sticker
Rocky Mountain Songs
Then I moved to Estes Park, gateway to my beloved Rocky Mountain National Park (Rocky) in northeast Colorado… where I was inspired by the Spirit of the Mountains to write a number of songs celebrating the Rocky Mountains. I saw a bumper sticker once (here in Farmington) that said, “The woods is my church.” Amen to that! I find God inside myself best when I am outside in Mother Nature. I felt incredibly lucky to have performed some of these songs a few times at Rocky… some indoors and some outdoors, with Long’s Peak as my backdrop… Wow! A couple of those live concerts were recorded, but I’ve not yet professionally recorded (in a studio) any of my Rocky songs.