On Wednesday of last week my life changed. I witnessed something that I’d never witnessed before, experienced something that I’d never experienced before. Pure love, pure emotion, pure existence, pure music. Daniel Lanois, artist and legendary producer of U2, Bob Dylan, and Peter Gabriel (to name just a few) performed a concert at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall and utterly shattered me. I didn’t know human beings could do what he did that night. I, along with everyone else in the room, witnessed a musical Shaman up there on stage and since then my whole life has been put into new perspective. Now I know what’s possible. That is possible. Holy shit, I got to get to work!
I had the opportunity to say my piece briefly to Mr. Lanois after his otherworldly set, and found myself crying as I shook his hand. Tears of what exactly..? Recognition, connection, joy, grief, humility…a jumble of emotions, truly. It’s simply amazing what music can do. I always knew it, but now I know. I told him that he had changed my life, and that he is now my Guru. (All while assuring him that I’m not a crazy person. Ha!) Lanois may not know who I am or what I do, but I for sure will be seeking out everything he has done so far (which is a lot), and I will study. And learn. And learn, and learn.
The day following the concert, the same way others might “call in sick,” I called in “Lanois.” I was simply incapable of operating normally. While speaking on the phone, I was frantically looking for my phone in my bag…and then later, I brandished my house keys at the subway turnstile. Yup. It felt like my balance, my sense, and my understanding of the world had been altered. I’d been shook and turned around completely. A week later I can say this: it wasn’t a fluke. This feels permanent. There are some things you cannot un-see. There are some things you cannot un-know.
That same magical night I spoke to Rocco DeLuca, one of the mind-blowingly amazing musicians who had joined Daniel Lanois on stage. He said something that I’ll never forget. In speaking about playing with Lanois, he said that their aim each night is to be “mining for truth.” Apparently, on some days and nights they succeed better than on others, he claimed. I assured DeLuca that what I had witnessed that night was just that: truth. Everything had simply fallen into place.
So, the quest I have laid out in front of me is to “mine for truth.” As I rehearsed some songs today on my guitar I was mindful of that quest, and it felt different than ever before. Not just to play, but to connect even more deeply with the force of the song when I wrote it, with the force of who I am, with the force of my voice, and with the force of my guitar. In other words, being true. That may or may not sound woo-woo to you, but I can assure you, it isn’t. For me this is real. I’m not fucking around, the time is now.