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OUR CALENDARS | -- poised to make good on their threats -- shall shortly fade 2015 to an echo and wade our world waist-deep in the maturing effects of this El Niño. Does a change in atmosphere ever bring you instantly to a former time and place, much like the unexpected arrival of a familiar scent? Walk outside just now; breathe in. Where were you this time last orbit, early December? Which passions had your pursuit, and who was there by your side?
The November nip and whistling winds send me back to schooldays and fall-ball and the way your chilled digits would sting like crazy when you caught the hard throw or connected with a slider just south of the sweet-spot on the wood-grain. And of course, the abiding afterglow of the fall classic and ensuing celebratory spectacles for history's newest MLB Champions. Man, I love playing ball.
But today as I feel December's drifts, I'm prompted to leaf back through my text-logs to 12/1/2014. Having been inspired a month earlier by my friends with the San Francisco Giants who achieved their 3rd historic conquest behind the crafty lefty cutter of their MadBum, we spent every subsequent November night working in studio to produce an original album for the Christmas holiday season -- a personal first, and nothing short of the fulfillment of a lifetime's desire. And here now I sit, reading diaries from exactly one year ago, declaring that we'd received and delivered the final audio masters to be pressed and packaged for release! "Tonight I hear the carolers straining fairer are the joys to come."
There are tales untold of the way it all came about, and I intend to "ring" them out at last in the remaining days till Christmas -- the wild hair in mid-October, the vision for the album's theme and story, the inspiration for each song and the lyrics themselves, the wakeful nights at the baby grand composing and arranging music under deadline, the faith of the scores of fans who helped finance the effort by purchasing copies before a single note had been recorded, the conception and commission of the original album artwork, and on and on. And perhaps more than anything, I'm eager to spotlight for you the superb talents and dear friends who collaborated to fashion what we all hope becomes a tenured treasure in your seasonal soundtrack for years forward.
But for the moment... I'm halted to hoist a mile-marker. Will each year's end now return this same warming gratification? We all pursue an endeavor, at some stage, that requires great focus and fortitude, even a degree of faith. The Bells of Good Will was that, for me, last year. A breakneck pace to record and a thrill to perform live since... I'm looking forward to sharing with you the inside stories of the forging of these Bells.
It's my hope they ring in your heart for a long time to come.
✧ Merry Christmas ✧
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