On May 2nd, 2020, I was scheduled to play a concert for the Gatherings concert series in Philadelphia (https://www.thegatherings.org)- a concert series that has been around since 1992, and has also graciously hosted shows from me since 1999. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the May 2nd show was (rightly) cancelled.
However, I wanted to do "something" for those who would have been in attendance, but i wasn't entirely sure what. The obvious solution was to provide an online concert- with a bonus being that anyone with an internet connection could view it.
But considering the current situation in this world, i also wanted to do something musically different than what i had originally planned and practiced; to shift the focus of the set towards providing an audio environment of comfort, contemplation, and peace. In short, I just want to do "my part" to add some calm in a somewhat frightening time. I have been blessed by the support of my listeners, and it's my time to give back to them.
Which leads to why I've called this set of music "Hidden Shores"....
The year 2020 is the 25th anniversary of my album "The Hidden Rift", and the 20th anniversary of my album "To the Shores of Heaven". Over the years, I've received such beautiful messages from people telling me how one of those two recordings in particular got them through a tough time (it's split about 50/50 rift/shores at this point). Some of these people put pen to paper and sent me physical letters, and i count those letters as being some of my most valuable gifts; they've certainly kept me going at times over the years.
Here in April 2020, we're all in the midst of a tough and uncertain time. So i created a set of music that explored the "rift" and "shores" sounds, without actually featuring music from either one- and this also resulted in me getting out pieces of effects gear that I'd not used for close to 20 years. After getting a few ideas happening, i went about filming and recording a live set.
So, the title "Hidden Shores" seemed appropriate..
For those of you who have never seen me in concert- i tend to dress up at least a little for my shows (but i don't wear shoes for any of them :)). However, in keeping with the "home concert" theme of this set, i performed exactly as i would if you were to stop by my house for "dinner and some music"- me wearing my usual "t-shirt and jeans" wardrobe, sitting on a chair in the corner of our living room with a couple of my favorite guitars, and, at least at this point in time, sporting a full head of overflowing and uncooperative "quarantine hair". :)
I played the set like i would for any other concert, but inside of the first five minutes, there was a "shift" in something- i can't really describe it. What i DO know is that I found myself looking up at the camera every so often to make sure it was still recording; earlier in the evening, when running some record tests with my camera and its phone app, the app and camera would lose connection, and the camera would stop recording. I knew very early on in my set that "something" was happening, and i was certainly hoping it was being recorded. On top of that, something REALLY unexpected happened at the end of the set, and i was very thankful it was recorded. I'll update this page about that "something" after May 2nd- i'll just say for now that things could have easily gone in a BAD way, and I'm sure happy they went in a GOOD way.
(AND here's the update: towards the end of the concert, i realized that i hadn't exactly "sketched in" an ending. So i was playing the guitar with my paintbrush, trying to figure the best way to close the set, when a little voice spoke up and said "you know, you could probably play 'The Last Bright Lights' from your 'Skies and Stars' album..." And it's true- i used the paintbrush for that song, but my guitar for this concert was in a WAY different tuning than the one i used for "The Last Bright Lights". But i did some quick "guitar math" in my head, and it certainly seemed like it was feasible- i just had to get my fingers to go to new places than they were used to. So that was when i looked at the camera to make sure it was still recording, because i knew i was going to do something either neat or disastrous. I think it turned out pretty neat.)
My friend Molly Emm (aka Datadrift) (https://datadrift.bandcamp.com) helped me greatly with lighting ideas. My wife, Stacy, helped tremendously with placing the lights and testing camera angles- and I'd like to thank both of them for all their help and encouragement.