[Harp-L] Musical Inspiration, Muses and Women

Haven''t started a thread in a while but I wanted to share something that happened this past week.

As musicians/artists there are times we look to outside sources for inspiration and motivation.
Most of us can possibly say it's in the musicians we idolize to become as great or as near perfect as them. Mine has been Butterfield for 40 years.
But there has to be a second force or drive when it comes to creative improv. when performing.

Some of us find it in the bottle, at the end of a needle, or a puff.
Others find it in religion.   I find it in women.

My wife who is a hot blooded hispanic artist offers me most of my inspiration but there are times that the daily condition can
create an intense desire to express feelings through the music one play's. At the end of the day when I practice those primal emotions can affect the
way I'm able to work out new ideas on harp.

Last Saturday I had lunch with a very dear friend I hadn't seen in 30 years. I was pretty much a shy person back then. Had a hard time expressing
feelings toward someone so I lost out on many chances at romance. Rather then words I expressed myself in music. When we drifted apart I decided it was time
to come out of the shell and set the harp aside and learn how to express feelings in words. Took a long time and at times a lot of the wrong things were said in trying
to get it right.

So we talked for close to 4 hours. When it was over we parted ways but the echo of emotions from 30 years ago started to creep to the surface. Since emotion fuels my
musical creativity I used it for the forces of good. :) I went home and practiced until I was dripping in sweat and my tongue was bloody from abuse. What came out of that moment was
what I've been searching for for 40 years. I had the Butterfield vibrato but never his chops. I finally found the level of passion in his playing and was able to make it my own.
I stood before my God and understood.

I was so excited I emailed my old friend, my muse, and told her how she effected me. I may have gone overboard in my admiration because it scared her. I wanted her to know
I found that level of musicianship that hung before me like a carrot on stick but I could never reach. I don't think it would have happened at this point in time if it weren't for the hours
we spent together just talking and getting reacquainted.

She phoned me last night before I was to play and we spent the next 50 minutes talking and I tried to reassure her I wasn't trying to start an extra marital relationship. That she was the spark
that started a change 30 years ago and now she was the spark that helped me find my musical center. I didn't know how to express my gratitude to her without sounding obsessed in the email.
It came close to me hitting the stage so I had to end our conversation and hopefully misunderstanding.

There is this woman at our weekly blues jam the musicians refer to as "Big Red" because of her long red hair that she pins up. When she hits the large dance floor she is in her own little world. Nobody can touch her.
Not a hippy chick. This gal has Bob Fosse/Paula Abdul dance moves. You can tell she is a pro dancer. Most women at the jam are envious of her because they dance like "white chicks".

Earlier in the day I decided to dedicate a song just to her. I told my musician friends I was going to play this particular song for her. I usually play the sideman part but I need to work on my vocal chops so I led the tune. We did Mellow Down Easy but not Walter's or Paul's version. I told the drummer to give me a primal drum beat then we broke into song. Sure enough we lured Big Red onto the dance floor. That was the inspiration I needed to drive the song. Most of my harp buddies will go out in the audience to "entertain" the females. I had a goal to just entertain this one woman and hopefully pick up on her energy. . So after everyone took their solo I eyed Big Red and started walking toward her on the mostly empty dance floor. In the year or so she has been coming to the jam no other musician ever approached her. She responded by coming toward me and for the next 4 minutes she gyrated her body just inches from mine in the center of the dance floor as I built this intense Butterfield like solo for her as we exchanged glances.I fed off of her motion and she feed off my playing to her dance moves. The 7 piece band picked up on the energy and the groove got tighter and the rhythm stronger. The audience was howling as we made this intense primal mating interaction feeding off of each others energy but having never touched. We locked in on each other as if everything else didn't matter. The musical ideas just flooded out of me in raw energy.

I headed back to the stage to finish out the song. When it was over the audience was roaring, the band had big grins on their faces and I was drenched in sweat feeling very satisfied that I could finally express
myself musically in a way that eluded me for decades.

When I left the stage I approached my friend's wife who is the 2nd best dancer there and knows Big Red. I found out her name is Kelly. Red finally had a name. She left right after my set so I never got to talk to her.
Like my old friend she may or may not have gotten the wrong impression if I told her how she moved me. I will continue to find inspiration and passion from women whether the source is my wife or someone in the audience or a friend. I don't think I will start approaching woman like I did Kelly but it was a special musical moment.

My old friend told me it wasn't her, that it was me that found my musical rapture last Saturday. I only wish she could have seen me play last night.

Take Care Mike www.harmonicarepair.com

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