Made It Up To Music Row

“Lordy don’t the wheels turn slow” is the next line in that song. A song performed by Alan Jackson and could easily have been written by my breakfast companion.

Roger just dropped me off back at my hotel, so I grabbed my laptop and a coffee from the lobby coffee shop to recount this most unique morning.

My day to day life is pretty routine. I don’t travel extensively and my social circles are pretty small, but from time to time, I find myself someplace entirely unique and unexpected.

Roger.Murrah1That Roger, is Roger Murrah, acclaimed Nashville songwriter. Our meeting is the direct result of wanting to know about a particular line in another country song. Several months ago, as part of an Origin of Inspiration segment, I tracked down it’s author and found myself on the phone with him. You likely don’t know Roger’s work, but have most certainly heard it. Roger has written countless songs for artists including Alan Jackson, Al Jarreau , Conway Twitty, and country music group Alabama. I enjoyed my phone call this past Spring and decided to email him when I found out that I was heading up to Nashville on business.

I’ve spoken to a number of influential people over the years, but Roger has been one of the most generous with his time. He suggested we meet for breakfast and he drove us out to Pancake Pantry, a local breakfast spot that’s walls have seen and heard the best in the country music business over the years. Surprisingly, we walked right in and were seated within minutes. After ordering, we talked for the better part of an hour. Topics of conversation ranged from how the industry works to our childhoods and family life.  I picked his brain on the nature of music and words, but at every pause, he wanted to know about me. Roger has worked with just about everyone you can think of in country music. Someone with his resume could just as easily have talked endlessly about his own merits. He’s written ten number one hits and has awards that surely must fill a large wall in his office. However, I was the one answering questions about me. That speaks volumes about the character and integrity of someone. I sat there realizing that this, was what humility looked like.

Before heading back to the hotel, Roger drove us through Music Row, a historical district in Nashville that is home to numerous businesses related to music. Left and right, he called out the headquarters of labels and publishing companies that are the major players in the music industry. Sony, BMI, RCA. All the greats have been there. Elvis and nearly anyone you could possibly think of part or present. While my musical tastes are broad, I don’t spend all that much time listening to the music that was born and raised here. I like the older guys and don’t really care for the new stuff, but the culture and concentration of talent here are impressive. 

When you talk to people, every once in a while, they say something specific. And you hear it again. And you hear it again as it resonates within you, and you hold onto it. It is a statement that you will need again later. I had asked Roger what mistake up and coming hopeful musicians make most often. His reply is what echoed. He said, “They wait for the phone to ring”. But I could swear he said it several times. I’m really not sure what he went on to say while I was thinking about that. I needed that one for me.

I’m barely a musician, and I certainly didn’t come to Nashville to “make it”. However, I do have a purpose and a mission. I have this blog, and a podcast, and a YouTube channel, and a website, and ideas. So many ideas.

I find self-promotion particularly distasteful, and steer clear of it as much as I can. As Roger and I spoke, I found myself using the metaphor of life as a road on several occasions. In one such instance, I told him that quite simply,  I was just wanting to help people push their cars up the hill of life and put a rock behind the tires of those too tired to go on.

These projects of mine are my life’s work. The end game may end up being high profile, but will certainly come to nothing without the efforts of today. And tomorrow. And the next day. I deliberately don’t chase numbers. But the numbers matter. They are indicators of people reached, and reach people I must.  I’m just here to help. I look to Fred Rogers, and Garrison Keillor, and Bob Ross, and Anthony Bourdain, and the countless other unknown people who have extended kindness and acceptance and encouragement, and sparked inspiration. So I will continue my life’s work. The fruit may come slowly, but as long as people are helped, it does not matter.

On the way back to my hotel, we drove by new hotel construction owned by Richard Branson. Cranes are everywhere as Nashville booms and booms. The joke is that the crane is the state bird. (Get it?)  The old is being enveloped by the new, and I looked up at the unfinished floors wondering if my work would ever reach their heights, and then it occurred to me that the purpose of the hotel was to make money. And then it occurred to me that the true purpose of the hotel – the building, was to accommodate guests, and make them feel welcomed and comfortable. True. Purpose. What is it? Usually, not what it appears at first.

So, with that breakfast conversation, and car ride realization, I will continue to produce content that encourages and inspires. But, I will seek out avenues in which to distribute it. I will more clearly define what this multimedia thing is to become, and I will remain satisfied with the progress of today and focused on the progress of tomorrow.

Someone once told me something I rather quickly dismissed. But Roger said almost the exact something to me again about an hour ago. He told me that I was “one of the most interesting people he has ever met”. What do you do with that?

I’m unique, but so are you. Maybe I’m more differently unique. What do you do with that? Well, while I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t want to waste it, and I won’t wait for the phone to ring.

 

Happier Than Jerry Seinfeld

07.23.2019 I like Jerry Seinfeld. He’s always seemed like a very happy and likable guy.

Although, I was never a fully devoted fan of “Seinfeld” when it was on NBC,  I’m sure I’ve probably seen the vast majority of the 180 episodesB7C007BE-0B02-4586-A3E9-6BA7CC2DB429. Even after 1998 when the sitcom went into syndication, I would generally stop and watch it when flipping channels, but I was never a true devotee. I recognized and appreciated the quality and wit of Jerry Seinfeld’s humor, but, again, I wasn’t anything more than a casual fan.

That all changed with the arrival of his Netflix series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”. The show’s title pretty much sums up what to expect.

Jerry introduces a unique vehicle, many of them his own, and then spends the rest show picking up, riding around, and getting coffee with well-known comedians. I enjoy the cars, and the scenery, and the conversation. It is the conversation that I enjoy most. I have always enjoyed listening to people “talk shop”. Whether it’s plumbers, or pilots, roofer, or racecar drivers, I find the familiar exchanges of people I am unfamiliar with to be very oddly fascinating. So when Jerry and a guest deep dive into how a bit gets worked out and the fine art of playing an audience, I am engrossed.

Now, Jerry loves to laugh. He often leans wildly forward, mouth agape while driving, laughing in response to what a guest has said. Jerry Seinfeld is a very interesting man. His humor is equally interesting, and I love how he thinks about the world.

However, I’m not so sure he’s happy.

I recognize the judgy waters into which I’m about to wade, so please pardon my musings.

Yes, I see him laugh. He smiles often, and even when listening, there is a pensiveness in his eyes as he considers what is being said. But, he just doesn’t seem to be very happy. I’m making this assessment on the last six collections of his show, and that may not be fair, but let’s be honest. We can tell a lot about people if you watch them long enough.

Until now, everything I’ve seen him in has either been scripted, or an interview. Either way, the result is pretty much what he and the producers wanted you to see. On “Comedians”, you get enough time and raw conversation to see what appears to be more of the true Jerry. My wife and I on several occasions have looked at each other in response to a cynical, negative, cutting, or sarcastic a comment he made. They are not frequent enough to change the overall pleasant feel of the show, but they are there.

Jerry seems authentic. He seems incredibly intelligent. He is obviuosly very gifted as a comedian and entertainer, but he just doesn’t seem happy. You know that very satisfied with life type of happy? Maybe he’s a jubilant type of Eeyore that can hide depression and anxiety well. Maybe he’s doing just fine, and I’m reading him wrong. But, I think I may be more happy than Jerry Seinfeld.

I wish him well as I wish all of you the very best and a very happy day.

Patrick

 

Rails to Trails & Balloons to Boards

06.05.20191166

Notice the photo above. It is interesting, but doesn’t necessarily have any special meaning. Well, lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Origin of Inspiration, and figured that 1166 must mean something to someone. Well, as it turns out, it does. Not only is it the year that Henry II of England enacted the Assize of Clarendon, reforming English law and defined the legal duties of sheriffs, but it is also a German longboard (skateboard) company. 1166 gets it’s moniker from the former East Berlin district where it all started.

So, I got looking at longboards. Being that everything is interesting to me, I just found myself delving into the world of long distance longboarding.

I had a cheap skateboard when I was 12 in 1989. I remember that it was orange and black and said, “El Loro Malo”, which is, The Bad Fox, on the underside. I was never any good, and I was woefully unable to do an ollie, the foundational trick to skateboarding. My skating career ended when I attempted a Bomb Drop from a two foot retaining wall and snapped the board in half.

That was very close to exactly 30 years ago.

Now, with my newfound interest in the world of wheeled boards, I think not of tricks or flying, but of distance. Long distance.

I fancy myself a runner and have, by the grace of God run ten marathons. I prefer solitude and have largely abandoned organized races in favor of my own solo, self-supported efforts.

Well, as it turns out, there is a small but growing movement of longboarders going on 100+ mile skates. There are several high profile events around the world, and one of them,  a 188 mile race on a paved rails to trail path, runs between Atlanta, and very close to my home. This is an event that is attended by skaters from all over the country, and even internationally, and it’s effectively in my own back yard. I even run out there from time to time, having never been aware of the trails alternative usage.

Now, I’m not committing to doing this event, but it intrigues me, and just yesterday, I bought a purpose built board. I’ve connected with a few guys that are into LDP (long distance pushing) and they have been more than helpful in suggesting specific board set ups.

It’s simply staggering to think that it all started with the seemingly random order placement of some balloons at my local supermarket.

Stay curious. You never know what doors it may open.

The Pantheon board below should be arriving to my home within about a week. Thanks for reading, and feel free to connect. As we all live life’s great adventure, we need each other.

Patrick

info@needfree.com

Pantheon Trip

Memorial

05.27.2019

As I write this, it is Memorial Day.

I work in the retail industry and have witnessed thousands over the last three days purchasing goods to enjoy their long weekend with friends. This year, as with most every year lately, I see social media posts berating those that would wish one a “Happy Memorial Day”. I understand the sentiment. I understand the ease with which we do not remember that Memorial Day is to remember those that lost their lives during war defending our freedom. Perhaps the day isn’t to be celebrated, but, rather, those that did not return home.

Last night, a neighbor was shooting off fireworks just after 9:30 PM. It did make me wonder what their association was between an incendiary display and the remembrance of the dead was. Certainly Independence Day is cause for such activity, but perhaps not so much so on a day that, in my heart is much more austere.

I don’t care, or correct, those that would wish me a Happy Memorial Day. I wish everyone, every day to be good, and it is on Memorial Day that I actively use my imagination to think of those that served and died. Who were they? What did they do for fun? What made them laugh? What music did they enjoy, and what plans did they have?

I am grateful. I am solemn. I will not go out and  buy a mattress because the local bedding store is shouting at me.

I become more pensive, and I think about the kind of life I am leading. Does it honor their sacrifices? Am I doing worthy work? Am I making my community a place of peace and encouragement?

I think so. I’m sincerely trying to.

So for those that fought – at any time, and left loved ones behind. I remember, and I make my own life a living memorial to them by doing what I believe they would have done themselves.

What are you doing here?

04.03.2019   Hey, you’re reading printed text! Thanks for slowing down for just a minute to read this.

Blogs are strange things. For some, they’re a personal journal that only a select handful read, and for others, it’s their…It’s just one of their many platforms to promote themselves, or their product, or agenda, or themselves, or even themselves.

It is with significant hesitation that I press forward with all the social media outlets that Need Free has. But then I remember. It’s not about me. As one is apt to do in one’s life, I asked myself, “What are you doing here?”

I determined that it was quite simple. To start with I wanted to be happy and live a comfortable life with my wife and be at peace. Secondly to that, I just wanted to

Help people. and Be good to them.

That’s it. I don’t have a cause. I’m not trying to end a scourge. I’m not banging the drum of anything. I simply want to encourage you in whatever you’re doing. Maybe it’s just getting through the day. Maybe you do want to change the world. Either way, if I can help, or offer a word of encouragement that’s what I’ll do. Additionally, as we pursue the improbably ourselves, we hope to serve as an inspiration, or perhaps as a cautionary tale to avoid some of our mistakes.

So…Less than “What” are we doing here, is “How” are we doing it?

Just a note here. I will frequently use “I” and ‘We” interchangeably. My wife and I started Need Free. She is my biggest supporter, encourager, and inspiration. I am the engine in the vehicle, but she’s the gas in the tank.

We have outlets. That may not be the right term for it, but that’s what I call them.

We have YouTube, Twitter, Facebook – several Facebooks, Instagram, and this blog. You know, all the biggies.

At this point, I still really am trying to avoid the gimmicks and all the things that people are using to promote their stuff. It just seems so on the nose and distastefully self…self everything. It’s “ME” wrapped up in a pretty package in the name of some kind of benefit for you. No hate. It’s just that way I taste it.

So, we’ll just continue to produce content. The photos, blogs, link, and videos. It is incredible important to me that all of it be a value to you. You. I’m pretty good at it in my personal and professional life, but the rules of social media are different behind your device’s screen. If it comes across as self-promoting or self-serving, it’s out.

So let’s wrap this up. It’s hard, even for me, to read seemingly never ending blog posts.

This past week, I made a shift in my thinking. I decided that instead of trying to craft regular episode’s of Runway, (Need Free’s podcast turned web series), I’ll post not only those, but more frequent shorter, check-ins, longer occasional specials, as well as featured music and videos, longform content, and curated videos.

Thanks for reading along with me. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing where all this goes.

I hope you have a great day. Drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing.

info@needfree or poweredbygenerosity.com

Patrick

 

And We’re Back

03.12.2019   Sorry about that. Just as last year’s running trailed off, so did these blog posts. However, we’re back. To be honest, our dinosaur of a computer was making most PC based social media very difficult. Now, with a new slick and quick laptop, I’m able to get things going much more consistently. It’s scary how many pages, sites and apps have user names and passwords that old systems remember for us. Fortunately, just about everything has been migrated over and all systems are go.

So…Need Free and everything we’re doing is for you. All the encouragement. All the inspiration. It’s March and I feel like I’m off to a bit of a late start. But it’s March. It’s the name of a month. Nothing else. This year I’ll be very focused on bringing you much more visible and consistent content across all of out social media outlets and letting you in behind the scenes. So stay tuned! Tell a friend!

Talk to us at info@needfree.com

Have a great day!

Patrick

(What I’m listening to: Phosphorescent, “New Birth in New England”)

Five and Gone

I really didn’t mean for it to happen, it just did. I had a great summer of running and somehow one recovery week turned into five. I think I enjoyed it too much and just let time slip away from me. As I write this, I’m listening to YouTube music videos after getting home from work at 11 this evening, but I can still feel the ache in my legs from a slow and uncomfortable two mile…(et-hem)…run. You could call it that. I did run.  Exactly one mile, and then I jogged/walked home. Somewhere in November, my endurance and strength went the way of the buffalo.

I mention this for two reasons. Firstly, this blog lets you look over my shoulder at the canvas on which I plan all of Need Free’s happenings. Secondly, and most importantly, it is to encourage you. I was looking out the kitchen window this morning having just deposited my coffee mug into the sink. I got up rather late at 5:00, and sat in the office simply sipping and silently pondering the what’s and whys of it all. Once again I reached the conclusion that all my human efforts are to somehow embetter the lives of my family, friends, and all the rest that fall less traditionally into either of those categories.

I have what seems like several dozen ideas swirling around at any given time. Everything I see and hear is a profound source of inspiration if I choose to see it. I think everyone has a little different reason for doing what they do, but my wife and I started Need Free to meet needs in a simple way, but what has happened is that we’ve begun using a broad spectrum of social media to encourage and inspire. And it’s just the beginning. You are cordially invited to stick around and see how it all unfolds. We’ll need you, and we’re always looking for ways to cheer you on as well.

That is all. Have a great day!

Patrick

Mr. Robot

I interact with a lot of people every day. Every week. It is interesting how obviously people put their best foot forward when it comes to social interactions and especially on social media. Thee’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just easy to forget how many major difficulties most of us are juggling at any given time.

I’m very selective about the media I watch. In general, It needs to inspire, encourage, or else, at least inform me. Even most of the entertainment television I watch does some combination of that.

Ever since cutting cable a couple years ago, my wife and I have been working our way through some really good series on Amazon Prime and Netflix. Most recently, we’ve begun watching Mr. Robot, a show about a brilliant, albeit, troubled young technologist. The show’s creator does a very good job at humanizing someone with whom we would never usually come in contact with. Or, at least that’s what I thought at first. All those people that I work with and around and come in contact with around town have real things going on in a real life that is most often is kept off Facebook and certainly out of polite conversation. But the battle still rages. The depression and addiction continues. The self-loathing and frustration never fully disappear. They hide themselves behind the video games and alcohol, and sleep, and exercise. We, as humans have done a remarkably good job at auto-pharmacology, that is,  self-medication. Without much research, we’ve found what makes us feel better. I’m not here to judge or condemn. The only purpose of this blog post is to just hold up a reminder to reach out and be friendly to someone today. So many people are starving for just a little kindness. The world as a whole can’t provide it. Instead, it must come from individual, intentionally directed at another individual. You many not see the immediate effect it has on someone. They may not even show any sign of appreciation, but even just the smallest random word of compliment or well-wishing can lift a spirit or change a mood. Maybe even your own.

Be well. And have a great day.

 

That Wasn’t So Hard

Often times, one will have an idea. That idea is generally in it’s completed form, and the “how” of exactly what it would take to bring said idea to past, are generally…fuzzy at best.

After nearly ten years of audio podcasting, I’ve got my first video version up on YouTube, and it’s a lot like I had hoped it would be. (You can view it here: https://youtu.be/xG-qg9GABYg) Sure, there have been other videos I’ve posted, but this one is the closest to how the old podcasts have been. And…That wasn’t so hard.

I’m not the most technically adept person out there. But I’ve accumulated a few doodads that I can work with, and they seem to be enough. I’m on several Facebook groups for people doing similar things, and it never ceases to amaze me how much money these people have spent for results that – frankly are underwhelming. I mention this to encourage you to just do what it is you want to do. Start with whatever you have, and just grow as you go. As a matter of fact, some of the most successful people have credited their ability to rise to the top with the limitations they were under at the beginning, and along most of the way. So now, after a few trial runs I think I’ve got the hang of how to do this now, and am ready to get episode 113 off the ground sometime soon.

So stay tuned for much more to come, and have a great day!

Patrick

 

Sorry, Wrong Number

10.24.2018 So you didn’t win the big lottery. Many are disappointed, but how many are actually surprised? I’m certain that countless hours of conversations were had this week about people’s plans on how to spend the nearly one billion dollar cash payout. I overheard several such conversations myself while out shopping, and I had the same conversations with my wife. But here’s the thing…how many of those goals that were set while dreaming of the big prize now have to change? Seriously, while you’re not likely to earn anywhere close to a billion dollars between now and the end of your life, why do your goals need to change? Okay, let’s evaluate this. Your goal to buy a multi-million dollar mega-yacht can’t stay, but why not a smaller boat? Or, was it really your goal to just get out on the water, or to travel, or just to host friends? Keep your goal. Change the how, or more likely, change the specific what. Today, is the time when people will either dejectedly slip back into their ordinary routines, or will take the flame of inspiration that was sparked in the last couple weeks and begin moving in the direction of their dreams. Spend some more time this week and give some thought as to what it was exactly that caused you to identify those now out of reach goals, then just modify them so that you can reach the same end. Everyone wants peace, security, happiness, and friends. None of those things take much money. As a matter of fact, those things can be had with little to no money. So there’s something to think about. Take a look around today at what you have, and realize that you are far more wealthy than the vast majority of our neighbors across the planet. We can still live within our means and give generously to help others find peace, security and happiness, all the while being the best kind of friends.

Here’ an action item. Why not post some things you no longer need on Need Free? It’s fast, free, and easy. You’ll be helping someone in your community, and helping us as well. Not sure about it? How about just stopping by the website and taking a look around.

Thanks for your support, and have a great day!

Patrick

 

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