The Cover Story – How the Piece of Cake CD Cover Came to Be

how the piece of cake CD cover came to beHow the Piece of Cake CD cover came to be…where to start is the question…2013.  December of 2013 and we’re all gathered at Lee n Kerri’s place for their annual Christmas party.  I had to skip the past three because it was either a chemo week or I was photographing the MLS cup, so I was especially happy to be there.

I remember I was a bit obsessed with the fundraiser for the CD and how we were about 15K shy of our 18K goal and one week left to go.  This is when the wheels in my head start churning away like a blender until everything smooths out…what will I have to leave out?  How can I work this and still get 10 songs plus a bonus track on it?  I’d already promised contributors they’d get a “full length CD with a bonus track”, so I had to deliver.  I overheard Ana talking to Nat (who was my housemate for about a year when I first moved back to the area). I drifted in and out of the conversation and the room as I buzzed about making the holiday good wishes rounds.

The next morning I woke up with a clear vision in my head.  It was the conversation Ana was having with Nat.  This time I heard very clearly “You should really get back into painting.  You’re really good and it makes you happy.”  I knew exactly what this meant and so I got up immediately and sent Nat a message asking her to design the CD cover.  I told her I couldn’t pay her, but I could trade it in VIP passes to the screening event…

She wrote back with an enthusiastic “Yes!”  She asked me several questions so that she could pinpoint what I wanted, but what I wanted had nothing to do with me and everything to do with her.  I wanted her the friend, the artist, to draw her interpretation of what the song meant.  I sent her the lyrics and an MP3 of a rough cut of it (though she’s heard me play it several times at BBQ’s and open mics over the past few years.  I asked her to listen to, to read the lyrics and then paint.

The extraordinary image above is what came of that.  Some people who don’t know us or the story asked how come there were flowers and not an actual “Piece of cake” on the CD cover, so here is the answer in both parts:

For me: Piece of Cake is an unintentionally tongue in cheek phrase to mean that something accomplished is easy, but it’s also used jokingly to pretend something difficult was indeed easy, “climbing Mount Everest was a piece of cake.”, or “beating stage IV cancer was a piece of cake.”  I choose the facetious version.  Love and life can be hard or a piece of cake.  All depending on your point of view.  Given a choice, I will always pick the tongue in cheek version because it’s far more fun and to me, far more true to life.

For Nat: “When I started on the concept, the lyrics ‘it’s too late…’ kept running through my head. And I thought about love.
Then my thoughts turned to a new love long ago, when I was young and naive, and the first time he brought me flowers I had butterflies.  The flowers were so pretty and vibrant and had a life of their own, but the stargazer lily brought a moment of regret
It’s scent and sight reminded me of a time and day and place in the past of funeral arrangements and that awkward moment when you realized he thought that the lily was your favorite flower, but my favorite flower was really a daisy…
Simple and lovely, not the elegant, perfumed flower he wanted me to love.
Why didn’t I just speak up and say that my true love was daisies?
I just allowed it to happen and the flowers faded with my memories.
I couldn’t really save them, but I tried. I tried to press them and preserve them
I tried to look at them from time to time, but not the stargazer lily, they’re too big and awkward for any book and they were never really ‘me’ anyway.

If someone asked me what love is, I would say just be yourself.

Click here to see the Piece of Cake lyrics

Musicians That Will Make The CD Magic – Russell Ramo

russell (moppet) ramo, ali gilmoreAh, my heart has a special place for this guy.  I found him shortly after I moved to Pacific Beach at the beginning of 2010 I think it was…I found the local music shop and went in to get some strings for my guitar.  Was chatting with Alan, the guy behind the counter, saying how my beloved guitar teacher John Shipe had moved away and I was reticent to try anyone new.  He boasted about the shop’s resident instructor so well that by the time I left the shop I was convinced it was worth a shot.  When I arrived there was this strapping 6 foot-something with a giant mop of hair, deep eyes and pearly white smile.  Radiant soul just beaming from him.  I kid you not.

The picture you see here was taken the day that Russell introduced the Ukelele to me and to my song “If He Were Mine”.  I loved it so much that I bought it that day.  That’s Kala I’m holding there, the Uke I refer to in so many of my stories and the one that my friend Natalie hand painted for me.  Such great memories~

My first guitar teacher, John, helped to draw out the Americana song writer in me, then Russell’s rhythm and blues/rock persuasion gave my songs a little kick in the butt.  From him, I learned Travis Picking  to pick up the prussell ramo, ali gilmoreace of some songs and the Ukelele to lighten the tone of others.  How I was so lucky to find just the right teachers at just the right timing is beyond me, but there you have it and after having Russell in the studio with us and reconnecting to one of the great sources of my success made me wish I could fly John down to be part of the CD as well.   After all, this CD isn’t just about recording my music.  It’s a testament to those who inspire it.  Since that’s not in the cards though, John Shipe and Oregon are top of my list for locations to travel and record a single.  More on that later.  For now I’ll leave you with my lovely attempt at capturing some moments in the studio with the infamous Russell Ramo (who by the way, is currently playing in band called The Routine in San Diego and touring up the coast, so if you’re anywhere near, you should go.  I saw them play the other night and they are awesome~).

6 songs down.  4 more to go.  Going back into the studio with Justin and Jim to work on two more tonite…

Day 1 In The Studio

I promised you updates and what better place to start that day one in the studio.

First off, you might have noticed that we changed studios and engineers.  I’m still really looking forward to working with Alan Sanderson, but it will be on a single that we’ll record later in the year.

For the full length CD we decided in the end that the best fit overall would be to return to Sound Source Studio and its owner, Bort Schrader.  Bort and I go back to the beginning,  recording the Boomerang CD back in the summer of 2009 and then again with the two singles By New Year’s Day and Dear Santa in the fall of 2010.  His studio also happens to be just down the road from most of us involved in the CD, so you can imagine how pleased my dear, sweet,  under-payed musicians were to hear of that.

Yesterday was proof positive we are well on course.   I met up with Bort the week before to go over details, expectations, etc., but this was Justin and Jim’s first time in the studio/working with him, so we talked over how it would go.  The plan is to have Justin (or whoever will be playing lead guitar on the song we’re working on) to lay down the foundation of the track with guitar, then add placeholder vocals, then other instruments and harmonies, then polish it off with fresh vocals and fine tuning (ok, pitch fix).

Jim lugged his upright bass, electric, amps and accordion (not knowing what we’d need on day 1), so they are camping out there for a while.   Jim is not only my band mate, but my partner in music, so even when he’s not strumming the bass his presence is much appreciated, to bounce ideas off of and to help me stay focused on capturing the sounds and feel of the the music that’s authentic “me.”

Justin was brilliant.  So many times while he was in the quiet room running through the tracks we would look in through the window, commenting on what a great find he is, how professional, positive, what a great spirit…all said from the other side of a sound proof booth of course, so as not to over inflate his young, Berkley educated ego ;).

Jim himself is more relaxed knowing that he won’t come in until the foundation is complete on several songs and then he can just plug in and play them all the way through, where Justin plays the songs piece by piece; intro, verse, chorus, bridge, end.

Part of Bort’s magic is cutting/pasting and color coding each piece into his editing software, making each song look like a colorful EKG.  That’s an over simplification of what he does, trust me.  Every musician who knows anything about editing has been in awe watching him as he slices, dices and smooths out the rough edges.

There really is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make a song CD worthy.  Some would think you could just sit down and play it all the way through (and some veteran musicians do), but just as a camera captures every mole, hair out of place and scar, the recording microphone picks up every slip, breath and popping sound…

Day 1 was an excellent start to this venture.  We laid the foundation for two of the ten songs and we all feel really good about it.  I had my little camera and my cell phone to capture some snippets to give you a fly on the wall perspective of how it went.  Enjoy and more to come~

PS – Have your ordered your copy of the limited edition CD?  For a short time we’ve extended the offer, so get yours now or don’t say we didn’t warn you~




Musicians that Will Make the CD Magic – Justin Helland

Surround yourself with the right combination of people and magic happens…

That’s advice I lived by in my IT management career and have smartly carried over into my musical endeavors. Some of the musicians I’ve hoped to surround myself with are “confirmed” for the recordings by means of “contributing” their time and talent while others are still on the “wish list”, because either:

  • they live live far off and we can’t afford the travel costs
  • this is their livelihood and they literally can’t afford not to get paid
  • they don’t know me from Adam, so once I find a way to contact them, I need to convince them this project is worth their time.

For those who have already invested or are considering investing in the CD, here’s an inside look into what your money will be going towards:

Ali Gilmore Music and Justin HellandJustin Helland (confirmed)

Justin is new and still a bit of a mystery to me, but here’s what we know so far and how he became part of the magic that is this upcoming CD…

I met Justin a few weeks back at my friends’ old pub in Escondido (O’Sullivans Irish).  Paul Castellanos (wish list) had invited me to join in an Irish session several times, but I didn’t think I was quite ready to try and keep up with all those fast chord changes, however, as part of this campaign was to “get myself out there”, I packed up my guitar and ukelele and off to the session I went.

There were about 6 of us in the session that night, including my drummer friend Brad Rehn (confirmed).  At one point I thought I heard a mandolin playing, but when I looked over it was Justin playing my Ukelele.  Astounding is the best word for it.  After the session I gave him my card and asked if he’d be interested in playing together.  He came over the following week for a session.  Jim, my upright bass player (confirmed) joined us and well, he said it best last night that when I put down the guitar and Justin picks it up, my songs “Ricochet”, to which I say “Exactly~”  This brings a smile to both our faces, knowing just how good this is all turning out to be…

Justin is young, but he’s an old soul.  He’s been playing music since he was a kid and studied at Berkley School of Music in Boston.  Music is his livelihood.  He has a studio in Escondido, California where he patiently and enthusiastically teaches guitar to students of all ages and when he’s not teaching, he’s performing at local venues.  Oh, and he recently met his musical hero Guinga, the world famous Brazilian guitarist.  Ask him about it and watch his face light up like a little kid at Christmas.

Justin is soft spoken, warm-hearted and the perfect “third man” for our trio.  There are plans for Jim, Justin and I to perform together ahead, but for right now we are focusing on getting the three of us and rest of the magic music ensemble into the studio all at once, which as Alan Sanderson, our engineer says is “like herding cats.”

Musicians that Will Make the CD Magic – Paul Castellanos

I may be humble, but I can honestly say that I do like my songs and I believe they’re good enough to record, but I also know and believe fully that when combined with certain talents, these songs will rise from likability to something far more meaningful, memorable and ready to promote to music supervisors (who will hopefully place them in TV and Film).

Some of the musicians I’ve envisioned are confirmed for the recordings by means of “contributing” their time and talent while others are still on the wish list, because either:

  • they live live far off and can’t afford the travel costs
  • this is their livelihood and they literally can’t afford not to get paid
  • they don’t know me from Adam, so once I find a way to contact them, I need to convince them this project is worth their time.

For those who have already invested or are considering investing in the CD, here’s an inside look into what your money would be going towards:

Paul CastellanosPaul Castellanos (wish list)

Paul is one in the middle. Being a musician is his livelihood.  I met Paul years back when he was playing fiddle for the San Diego based Irish band “Behon Law”, headed by local pub owner and lifelong musician Ned Giblin of Galway.  In his 30 year career Paul has played for more bands than we can count, including; The Chieftains, The Young Dubliners, Highland Way, The Clay Colton Band and one that recently changed their name to “The Mean Fiddler” after Paul’s truest talent.  This guy is a savant, no doubt.  Put any instrument in front of him and he can play it like he was born for it.  It’s uncanny to witness.  With all his talent, you’d expect him to be unapproachable, yet Paul is probably one of the friendliest, most endearing people I’ve ever met.

In a given night, Paul will play fiddle / mandolin / banjo/ bass and most anything with strings, but it was the night at one of our gatherings this summer, when he sat and played my great uncle’s fiddle that got to me the most.  To hear that thing that had been sitting dormant under my father’s bed for over 20 years, come back to life…  Even Paul surprisingly said that it seemed to “warm up” and sound better the more he played it.

With all that and over 30 years of experience, it’s easy to see how hiring Paul to play on the CD would be a brilliant investment.  For me personally, to have him play my great uncle’s fiddle on the CD would be the greatest homage I could pay to my Pop for entrusting me with this piece of family history and to my great uncles who were all musicians in their own right.  I am the apple and they are my tree.

If you’d like to see Paul make it into the studio with us, please show your support by going  to: now and placing your order for CD II, then pass this story on to your friends and encourage them to become part of this very cool experience.

For all you do, thank you~


PS – Little known and recently discovered factoid for you soap opera fans…Paul isn’t the only talent in his family.  His brother John played Attorney John Silva on The Young & The Restless 😉

PSS – Here’s an old clip from June, 2012, of the first time I played the song “See You Around.”  Written just 3 days before our friends Ned and Brenda’s going away event, my voice still a bit weak from chemo, knees shaking from stage fright and holding back the tears/emotion at saying goodbye to dear friends.  Ned Giblin (wish list), Len Crowley (confirmed), Brad Rehn (confirmed) and Paul all joined in, so naturally following me on every disjointed twist and turn, even though this was the first they were hearing it.  John Dawson’s (wish list) son Justin even joined us on stage with his air guitar 🙂


Step 29: The Currency of Kindness…

Do you remember my photo session with Brazilian photographer Osni Omena? It was a good three years ago now and I don’t think I’ve willingly posed for a camera since, but if you want a refresher, you can find most of the shots in an album on the aligilmoremusic facebook page.

From that session came the infamous “peek” image you see on my website, facebook page, etc., and the one on the campaign’s front page, among many others.  I was scruffy that day and sicker than I knew, but somehow, even I’ll admit that he got some pretty great shots of my not so photogenic self.

Osni Omena photographerI met Osni through his wife Jan, who is one of the good friends I’ve met and made during my IT career. She was living in NY and traveling back and forth to our Seattle office, where I was head of IT.  Since then we’ve both moved around a bit, but for the past few years we’ve been in the closest proximity ever.  They in LA and me just a couple hours south, in Oceanside.

Jan has a keen interest in visiting missions while Osni and I have a keen interest in photography, so we meet up on occasion and combine the two which of course ends with a meal and invariably a great series of conversations and much laughter. Yesterday was no exception.

san  luis ray mission

This time we met up at the Mission San Luis Ray just east of Oceanside.  We had a late start and didn’t get there until after 4, so I skipped lugging along my Nikon.  I regretted that decision within moments of arriving.  The place is a hauntingly beautiful kind of eye candy for the soul.  So much work and love has gone into every detail of designing and preserving this historical place and how somber slipped into whimsy when I noticed the overly tinseled Christmas tree shining proudly in the midst of the graveyard left me wide eyed and euphemistic.

But I digress.  Then again, what story is singular in itself?  I think the best ones are usually intertwined with others…  The reason I mention the mission isn’t just that it’s worth a visit, but because it also became the location of another pivotal moment in the making of my music CD.

While Osni wandered off to get in some last minute pictures of the grounds,  Jan and I got to talking…I had mentioned the music CD campaign/project and how I’d hoped to hire Osni for it, but with only 10 days to go and only 13% of the goal raised I would have to re-think how I was going to make it all happen.

I half-assed and rather sheepishly said “I would offer you guyz 2 VIP passes to the event in exchange, but…” and before I could finish that thought she cheerfully accepted on his behalf, which was great, but I was doubtful he’d be pleased when he found out his talents had been traded in for peanuts and a party.  This is a man that can command copious amounts in just a day’s work.


Moments later we hopped in our cars and headed out to the Flying Pig for our after-excursion meal.  Once we were settled in, the subject was broached and I said “Oh, yes…did your wife mention…?” to which he equally, cheerfully responded that he knew and he was delighted.

Before I knew it, I was introducing him to Roddy (the owner of the place) as “the photographer that will be covering the event” and those two went on to chat about lighting and such while I looked on, savoring the words and feeling pretty pleased with myself I will admit.  Jan even made a tongue in cheek comment at one point of feeling like she was dining with celebrity.  Ah, go on.  Let the girl have her moment.

So, the point of today’s story is for those who are running a campaign to fund their dream or are just thinking about it; don’t measure your success by whether or not you make 100% of your financial goal, but by how much actual support you receive and never assume that the mighty dollar is the only form of currency accepted or even wanted by the talent needed to make it happen.  When you create a campaign, you are asking for votes of confidence, not permission.  The response is not and answer to IF you will do it, merely HOW.

So, to recap, I’ve got the design of the cover, covered, a photographer for the studio and CD screening event, the following musicians secured: Brad Rehn on drums, Len Crowley on Bodhran, Jim Steiner on upright bass, Justin Helland on guitar, ukelele, vocals and possibly accordion and David Sias on guitar, vocals, drums and something else quite spectacular…

On our wish list to add is: Russell Ramo on strings, Paul Castellanos on banjo, mandolin and my great uncle’s fiddle and Dermot Mulroney on cello (and those are just the local ones).

What else do we need?  Oh right, a studio to put all the talent in and an engineer to record them.  That would be rather crucial to the success now wouldn’t it?  Good thing I’ve got a meeting setup for this Wednesday then eh?

Stay tuned, more on that to come…


Our goal is to get 720 pre-orders of the CD to pay for the talents to produce a professionally recorded, full length music CD.  To order yours, go to:

Campaign ends December 24, 2013~




Step 25 – Pay attention.

Pay attention, because the answer could be standing right in front of you.

Case in point, I was at a friends’ holiday party the other night soaking in all the crew goodness, snuggling with the new baby (who was dressed in a Santa suit, how cute is that~) and catching up with friends.

My mind was running in a thousand directions as usual…Is this dress too short? How long can I stand in these little flats before my feet say “For the love of Pete, no more”?  What if i don’t make my goal on the CD campaign? and at least a dozen more.  When this is going on I tend to fade in and out of the conversations going on in front of me.  This night was no exception.

It was only as I woke the next morning that the image of the moment came to me like a lucid dream.  There was Ana, holding her little Santa in one arm and gesturing with another at Nat.  The exact words I probably don’t recall, but the message I did.  “You need to get back into art.  You’re really good at it and you really enjoy it.”

Nat is a great artist.  Some would say a “closet artist” because she rarely talks about it, but on select walls in certain people’s homes hangs proof positive that she is indeed a talented artist.  My home is no exception.  Only, instead of her work sitting in a frame, it is cleverly displayed across the front and back of  Kala, my ukelele.

People often comment on it and I often tell the story of how it came to be.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, there was an out pouring of offers to help from friends and family.  When Nat asked “Is there anything I can do?”  I blurted it out without thinking “Paint my ukelele.”  The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea.  I handed Kala over without ali gilmore musichesitation, then she asked a series of questions to determine what I’d like the end result to be which shaped the vision of “Imperfection at it’s best” in the form of  a naturally imperfect daisy missing a petal that the wind had blown out of place and across to the other side…

I loved it and since then the daisy has been my signature image of imperfection at its best, a term that’s been used to describe me on more than one occasion…

That also explains why “Imperfection at its Best” is one of the choices for the CD title, but for some reason “Piece of Cake” is the title that leads the way by a pretty comfortable margin.  Unless we have a massive influx of voters over the next 14 days who say otherwise, I’d say it’s going to be the title of my first full length CD, but I digress.

Back to the morning’s wake up call.  I poured myself some coffee and mulled over the conversation a few more times in my head to decipher how much of it was wishful thinking that my project will inspire others to dust off their dreams and set them back in motion and how much should be taken as “a sign” of how things are meant to be.

harborview park, port gardner bay

Harborview Park, by Port Gardner Bay, Wa.

I decided to take it all as a sign and asked her if she would design the cover of the CD.  I am extremely pleased to say that she agreed to and said “I think that would be great!”  This time I just sent her a photo of a park by Port Gardner Bay and the lyrics and am leaving the rest up to her creative mind.  Of course if another title wins over then we’ll start from scratch, but either way, this time I am leaving the design to her creative mind and resting easy knowing that it is in capable hands.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be receiving sketches from her and as they come in I will share them with you all on the facebook music page or should we keep it a surprise till the end…?

Oh, and one more thing.  A good friend made a notable point this morning when she said “It’s not how much you have that matters as how much you give.”  When good fortune such as this smiles down on you it’s important to recognize that someone very real probably had a hand in it. In this case it’s dear Miss Ana who was the facilitator of a very positive shift in this campaign, so Ana, check your fb inbox.  There is a VIP pass to the CD screening event there, with your name on it 🙂

Thank you both for your support, inspiration and friendship~


Please join us.

To order your copy of the limited edition CD or get your VIP pass to the CD screening event, go to:

Every contribution counts~

Piece of Cake lryics

By Ali Gilmore – © 2009

Sitting on the bench the other day

Over there by Port Gardner Bay

She looked up and she asked us what love is

We looked at her and then we turned away

We both had very different things to say…


It’s a walk in the park

It’s a stab in the dark

It’s a piece of cake

One you shouldn’t have ate

But it’s just too late


It’s a willingness to walk 500 miles

It’s a failure to see past someone’s guiles

It’s like waking up and glad to greet the day

It’s like a blinding light that just won’t go away


It’s a walk in the park

It’s a stab in the dark

It’s a piece of cake

One you shouldn’t have ate

But it’s just too late

It’s too late


Now anyone can tell you what love is

But, it’s something you must experience yourself

Now there’s one thing we agree on and it’s this

Never leave your heart long on the shelf


Cuz It’s a walk in the park

It’s a stab in the dark

It’s a piece of cake

One you shouldn’t have ate

But it’s just too late

It’s too late

It’s too late

It’s too late…



My Great Uncle’s Fiddle

When I say the title out loud it makes me think of something a southern friend would say when they’re telling you they don’t believe something “My great aunt Edna’s ass, he’s rich”, but here they are…the picture is noted that these are five of nine, but I was only able to find one more brother who was the youngest in this brood of 10 or 11 children.  My grandmother (my pop’s mom) was the youngest.  When I was visiting my father this summer he handed me the fiddle and said “you’re the only one who really seemed to follow in their musical footsteps, so I guess you should have this.”

I was so thrilled~  I knew it existed and I saw it once when my brother Eddy was dating a violinist.  I remember my parents getting it checked out and tuned for her to play.  Don’t think I’d ever try my hand at violin, but I do love the sound of strings.  Cello is on my list of ones to try, but that’s down the road.  This fiddle needed to be played though.  IThe Guay brothers - Frank Guay, William Guay, Arthur Guay, George Guay and Joseph Guayts been gathering dust in my father’s room for decades and that’s an unfair life for such a thing that has such history and so much more life in it.  I’m not sure when Pop acquired it, but I can say it was built in 1894 in Berlin and made it’s way to my great uncle in Canada not long after that. Which uncle?  That I don’t know, I can’t even tell you where this picture was taken, but I do know that these boys traveled in a pack and moved between Quebec, Franklin County, NY and Hill County Montana as laborers.  I guess the pic kind of gives it away that they weren’t exactly pencil pushers… I can tell you that their names are (oldest to youngest); Frank (b. 1876), Arthur, William, George and Joseph (b. 1884). It’s anyone’s guess at this point which name belongs to which mug, but it’s a solid guess that this violin was put into the hands of one of these five gents.  I’m going to keep digging around until I find out.  And hopefully, who the banjo, cello and the rest of the instruments Pop talks about, belonged to as well.

my great uncles fiddle, After I posted the video you’re about to see, I called my dad to let him know where to find it.  That was our deal.  If I took it, I was to get my violin virtuoso friend to pick it up and play it, then video tape it for Pop to enjoy.  He told me that he had just remembered one of them also owned a piccolo and everyone thought it was neat that he would carry it around in his pocket, always on the ready to make music.  He also said that he doesn’t remember it specifically, but that he remembers people talking about the boys playing at the grange town mixers and barn dances.  I can’t just picture it and I love the idea of it~

Louis Lowendall violin was built in 1894 in BerlinAs luck would have it, just weeks after bringing this baby home with me to California, we had a group gathering and I was sure to message Pauly to let him know “my great uncle’s fiddle will be there.”  A lot of us hadn’t seen eachother for a good long while (thus the room was bustling with chatter), including Johnny.  If you remember, he is Ned’s (Brehon Law) nephew and we practiced together for a while last year with the intention of gigging, but he ended up moving to Michigan with his family, so it never came to fruition.  This was the first time we’d seen eachother since the move and played music together.  It was magic, of course~   Both of us are stronger performers than when we saw eachother last and that aside, we just click musically, so it was reassuring to know it was all still there. The best part was that Jim (my new band mate and upright bass player) got to witness it all.  He was encouraged to join in, but he didn’t want to lug the bass over, especially since it was his first time meeting everyone. He said afterward several times how great my crew of friends are (ha, and that wasn’t even all of ’em) and how much they encouraged him to keep at our musical venture.

Great night, great music and great reminder that no matter what your age, there is still music left in you.

So, let it out already~

AGM Music Exchange Between Ali Gilmore and Jeff Diamond

AGM Music Exchange Between Ali Gilmore and Jeff DiamondIt finally happened.  Weeks had passed since we originally planned to do it, so I was beginning to think that I was slipping back into my routine of 3 parts wishful thinking, 1 part procrastinate until everyone else forgets about it.  I’ll have these brave moments of action followed by heels digging in when it comes time to follow through and yesterday was no different.  M had asked if it was going to happen, because if so, then she’ll get out of work a little early to make it there in time.  I txtd JD to find out if he’d be there, since he wasn’t the week before when I was all primed and ready (or so I thought).

Sign ups are at 6:30 and it starts at 7. I txtd him at 1ish and by 6 there was no news, so I told M it was unlikely.  Besides…it was really cold outside, like that damp kind of cold the marine layer brings in and the HS/FJ open mic is outdoors…at 6:30, I stepped outside my front door in my flip flops, leapt back inside and reached for the phone to confirm with M that I was definitely NOT venturing out in this  horrible weather. What was moments before “cold” had now become “life threatening” (of course). Everyone knows I struggle to play as it is.  Add a chill in the air and my voice’ll be shaking, my throat will tighten up, I’ll be missing notes all over the place and blah blah fkng blah~

Just as I approached my phone, it buzzed.  There, at 6:32 was the monosyllabic txt of “Yes”.  A man of few words and never one to give you too much of a heads up, that’s JD.  Fk.  Now I have to go.  I responded in kind, bundled up like an Eskimo and headed out the door.  I only live down the road, so I was there in plenty of time to get a good spot, a shared table with Don, one of the regulars.

Had my sushi, sake and green tea all lined up and soaked in all the music coming from the stage.  Some I knew like the back of my hand and I tend to sing along, while some were brand new.  I love the mix this place seems to draw.  One girl sang a song that reminded me of James Taylor’s How Sweet it is (to be loved by you), only with a clever twist by replacing the word loved with judged.  Another was new and stumbled (like we all do), but the crowd encouraged her to pick up where she dropped and she did.  I always admire those that take a deep breath and see it through.  Her song reminded me of the meaning behind my song, No.  We all have so many parallels between us that you’d think all our songs would drone on like cheap copies, but they don’t.  Not even when we’re playing someone else’s. We inject the things about us that are unique into it; our souls, our vision and our perspective.

I have no idea what JD envisioned when he wrote this song.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the same as what I did when I played it, and vice versa.  It’s all pretty cool when you think of it.

I am sure that I want to try this exchange out again.  I have no idea who with, but I am game to find out…

PS – He apologized for “butchering” my song. He didn’t.  It may not be what he intended (thus the rush from the seat), but after listening to it a couple times, I really like it. Keep that under your hat though, will ye.  I’d prefer to keep him thinking he owes me one 😉