I hope everyone on my mailing list have found their way over to this weblog. I have some new information to pass on, and as I stated before, I do not intend to send out any more emails. Also, this "blog" is for anyone to use - you don't have to be on the mailing list to participate. So if you just stumbled in on this while wandering around the Internet, feel welcome to participate!
First item of business: After last weekend at the De Oro Mine Company, I have decided that I do not want to play any more shows this year. This means that any future shows that you may have been invited to are cancelled. I'm doing this for a number of reasons; one, I could play my ass off at one of these shows, and who would notice? None of you were there, were you? So why bother? Two, even though my arthritis is under control and no longer affects my guitar playing, it does hurt me a lot to haul around 3/4 ton of musical equipment, set it up and tear it down. After a 2-gig weekend, I can hardly walk for two days afterward. And the small amount of money I make on local bookings is just simply not worth the pain. Reason number three, I'm used to playing for a concert audience that knows my music, pays attention, listens, sings along, etc. In bars, all the people want to seem to do is drink, play pool, cuss and show off. A garage band is all the entertainment they need. People don't even seem to dance any more like they used to. And the fourth reason is that this is a good time to break away from my old routine and begin working on the next evolution of my music. Now that I have received all the pieces for my new digital recording studio, I want to set it up and begin recording some of the best music possible - something that hasn't been heard since the likes of St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band! If I can come up with a nice product, I can hopefully reach a mass market, and then I will be able to have the kind of budget necessary to play the bigger shows. I'll even be able to hire someone to haul and set up my equipment so I can remain "pain free!" This has to happen sometime, and I think I am ready to reach for the next level. If I don't make a clean break from the old ways and just "go for it," then it will never happen.
I do have some plans for the meantime. As I reported earlier, we sadly lost our drummer, Dave Dinsmoor, last month to heart disease. (If you haven't seen my memorial tribute page yet, go to tomsmerk.com/dinsmoor and learn more about this remarkable person.) Dave will be impossible to replace, so I'm not even going to try. I would have to go to New York, Las Vegas or Nashville to find a musician of that caliber. I think that I would instead like to play some gigs with other bands. One band in particular has approached me with the idea, and I think it would be fun to go out and play "their" songs for a change. I look forward to having a lot of fun doing this.
I also want to begin to thank the Lord for the talent he has given me. He has convinced me that I may be wasting my talent by not following what he has in mind for me, so I plan to devote a lot of time to writing and performing praise music. The timing could not have been better, because over the last few weeks, I have had several conversations with an old friend and professional musician, Pastor Howard Kischassey. He wants to become more active musically, and he has a "circuit" of gospel performances that we could participate in. I hope to see something nice come out of our discussions. Who knows, some day you might see me up there in your church singing and playing guitar! I’ve thought about this before, but I’ve never gotten the call. Maybe I wasn’t good enough. I believe that my present singing and guitar playing are the best I’ve ever done, so last Saturday, I heard the Word “It’s time.” I haven’t been following the praise music scene, but I have seen and heard some excellent entertainers in this genre. I’ll have to study the music for a while, and then see what I can contribute. I imagine that the style will be the same as I play now, which is sort of a country-folk rock with a pop beat and an occasional blues/jazz feel. Of course, I wouldn’t mind doing some of that great old-time bluegrass gospel music with the fast pickin’ and the great harmonies!
And then, hopefully (keep your fingers crossed for me), I'll be back sometime next year on a new concert tour promoting my new CD, with a brand new kick-ass band and an awesome stage show! Stay tuned to this blog site, because I'll tell you every step of the way how it's going!