Once A Musician Always A Musician

If you’ve been following my posts you’ll know that I’ve been going through a metamorphosis of sorts.

Like when the caterpillar feels the itch to allow the butterfly to emerge.

All you can do is surrender. Well, you don’t have to — but it makes it much easier.

For the first few weeks of 2016 I didn’t touch my guitar unless I was teaching.

I sang around the house when moved to sing a song, but did no vocal exercises (singing is a muscle).

I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t fall into the pattern of thinking I really had to do something with my music.

I mean, commercially. You know, make money from it.

Because for me, it’s just not working. The drug is not doing it’s thing.

If you know me, you know that I’m the master of discipline and perseverence. Going after your dream, being courageous and consistent, etc. All that stuff is child’s play for me.

That’s not the issue for me. It was coming to the realization that it’s just not what I want anymore.

 

Sometimes Dreams Change

It’s like suddenly realizing the shoes you’re wearing are too tight.

Or the person you’re “in love” with is just not loving you back, man! Get over it. Walk away. Move on.

Know what I mean? The wisdom to know the difference.

So it’s been interesting and disorienting at times waiting and allowing the “butterfly” to emerge from the caterpillar.

I’m getting glimpses.

And I’m now practicing a bit. 4 or 5 days a week is all I’m allowed. No more than 20 minutes on guitar and about 40 minutes of singing each day.

Just bare minimum to keep in shape.

And have fun. No commercial agenda. No putting pressure on myself.

 

What I’ve Been Up To In The Meantime

Previously I also talked about how I enjoy the idea of teaching about spiritual tools, techniques and realizations.

Stuff for people who are looking for that.

How to meditate, develop awareness, access intuitive faculties, more creativity, peace of mind, less reactive, more patient, etc.

And of course, to realize God. God being a word or pointer that I’m using in this context. You can use Source, Divine Intelligence, The Tao, etc.

I assume this is going to take some time to develop. I just want to follow the impulse to discuss these things and see where it leads me.

Meanwhile, I still need to earn a living, so…

 

Psychic Impressions

I’m still teaching music lessons privately and enjoying it very much. It’s very rewarding to work with the people I’m working with.

Helping them develop their musical gifts and interests.

I’m also still helping Mary with her Zumba and Yoga businesses however I can. This can be at class when I can make it, or brainstorming with her over coffee in the morning.

I’m also helping Mary with her psychic business. Because I’ve been interested in and studied tarot cards and astrology since my youth, it’s a natural fit.

In the past, I never felt doing readings professionally would be something I could ever do.

But Mary has been doing it since she was a teen. Both because of her gypsy heritage and her natural (and awesome!) gift at it.

She’s been training me over the past 10 years, and I’ve now done hundreds of readings both over the phone and at parties/events.

I really used to resist at doing readings too much in the past because I had a lot of pride in my abilities as a musician.

Not to mention my “guysho” (non gypsy) upbringing making me feel less than authentic.

But now I find I’m enjoying it.

And I can help people with my psychic impressions (how’d I develop that? Born that way plus many years of meditation, working with crystals, Reiki attunements, etc.) intuitive insights and common sense.

By the way, we all receive psychic impressions. It’s really just the developing the ability and confidence to “catch” them.

 

Music

I just want to close out by saying I know that somehow music’s still very much in the picture. I just don’t know how it’s going to fit in with my life yet.

I do have a new song that I’d really love to record. It’s constantly playing in my head and giving me goose bumps. It’s called “Empty Hands.”

As a writer, that’s when you know you’ve written a cool song that will connect with people.

I’ll keep you posted.

Let Go And Let God part 1

This is Part 1 in a series.

I had been so inspired with my guitar playing recently.  I’d been practicing and thinking about it virtually non stop since early fall 2015.

And this after playing most days of my life since my teenaged years. Self taught.

And of course, I’ve been teaching guitar professionally for 22 years now.

I also majored in guitar at one of Canada’s finest music colleges. Graduated at the top of my class.

After graduation, I did a bunch of things guitar related. Played in cover bands, original bands (lots of girls!), solo gigs at conferences and weddings (nice pay!), started my teaching biz.

Played a thousand open mics. Literally.

Not to mention that last year (2015) I finally was able to produce an EP of 5 of my songs of totally professional quality.

This is no easy task — even though home recording is so accessible. To learn the engineering and then use the equipment to get professional results is a formidable task.

With some help and mentoring (Thanks Gary!), and lots of practice over the years, I was finally able to do it in my small home studio.

I also had support from many of you who are reading this too — by pre purchasing the CD “Hey Mary Hey.” Thank you 🙂

This is all just to say that guitar and music has been a big part of my life and my goals.

A few weeks ago, I decided to google a service in GTA (Greater Toronto Area for those not familiar with Toronto, Canada — or T-dot for short) to fix a minor issue with my guitar amp.

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Fuzz Pedals

It led me to a guy in the suburbs who builds his own amps and guitar pedals from scratch. All based on the gear in the late sixties and early seventies.

Point to point hand wired amps, germanium transistors in the fuzz pedals instead of silicon. Vintage.

The stuff that created the magic tones of Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and other “guitar heroes.”

The amp, pedals and guitar one instrument of only wood, steel and glass.

I was intrigued and inspired by his concept when we chatted over the phone. So I decided to go to his shop and check out a germanium fuzz pedal.

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Frustrated Geniuses

The day before I was scheduled to head over, he called me up to confirm. We ended up chatting a bit more about the music business and being a musician.

He said something completely unintentional that hit me like a ton of bricks.

He said something along the lines of “Yeah, like those frustrated geniuses that think they need to suffer for their art. They’re still really trying to make their music work.”

And I thought “Is that me?” And this question continued to work it’s way into my consciousness for the rest of the day.

And while I slept and dreamt that night.

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The next morning, a Monday, I was “dazed and confused.” I didn’t know what was happening to me.

I was able to function, but I was just going through the motions. I felt disconnected from my usual surroundings somehow.

I decided it was some weird temporary thing and that the best thing to do would be simply push through with my original plans as best I could.

I drove out to the burbs and met Steve. The guy who builds amps and fuzz pedals, etc.

I tried his pedals. Sounded great, but I wasn’t excited because I was so zapped out from not knowing what was going on.

“Was music even my thing anymore?” I kept asking myself silently.

I saw how Steve had a young family (a couple of toddlers), a nice little house and a rack of guitars and gear.

He basically played for fun, and while I was there another dude showed up to pick up a Marshall amp that Steve had fixed up for him.

I decided to get the fuzz pedal in the hopes that I was just in a temporary delusional state — and that my “normal” inspiration and confidence would return.

I handed Steve a wad of cash after the other dude left (after he handed Steve an even bigger wad of cash).

I thought “Wow. Steve’s just treating it like a hobby. And look at the money!”

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Money

Ok. Money. A hot issue with everyone.

Everyone is either chasing after it, or they have an aversion to it.

Or some “driving with the brakes on” combo of the two. But we all need it.

note: Money is also a cool tune by the above mentioned Pink Floyd. It’s in 7/4 time.

In the past, I had mixed programming regarding money. I grew up in a middle class home where money was not the problem.

The problem was an abusive father. Physically and mentally.

I don’t want to get into that too much other than to shed some light on things.

And there may be readers who have similar issues and they can benefit from my story.

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Because of the relentless pressure from the relationship with my father, I decided to leave home at the tender age of 17 and I ended up on the streets of Toronto.

This lasted for a little while until I was able to start getting work, etc. I was directed by a compassionate hostel worker to a social worker who helped me.

I was able to use their phone, get a resume typed (yes, typed!) up, etc. Feel some acceptance for who I was.

Others in my family (uncles, cousins, etc.) were even upper middle class and a couple were even rich.

I saw that people weren’t necessarily happy, therefore money wasn’t the source of happiness.

Nothing external is. External things reflect our happiness –or unhappiness — back to us.

Or they are simply neutral and we project our stuff onto it.

Toward the end of high school, I  thought that when I did earn a living, I at least wanted to do something I enjoyed.

Not just for the money. Something I could feel passionate about.

So part of my programming came about as a reaction or rebellion to the way I was brought up.

I was kind of anti money. Definitely as far as the “keeping up appearances” kind of having money.

Plus, starting on the Toronto streets (hanging out in the Eaton Centre and Salvation Army drop in centres to stay warm — very tough at Christmas watching the shoppers) and scratching my way up from there — well, let’s just say I missed more meals than your average college student.

Besides the rebelliousness toward money and the WASP (white anglo saxon protestant) status quo of my family, I also developed “poverty consciousness.”

I began to believe that I was less than others. I didn’t deserve.

I formed these false beliefs from my first years being on my own with little to no support.

After many years of working on myself and various issues, I think I’ve made some great progress.

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Changes

In the areas of health, I’m doing great. I’m full of vitality and regular exercise is an installed habit.

I don’t smoke or drink and have no trouble sticking to a healthy diet.

I’m also with my soulmate. We’re going strong coming up on 10 years now.

We’re a team and to me she’s absolutely the most fascinating and incredible person. And of course, very beautiful!

We’re wiser and stronger and more loving together.

I’ve managed to survive for the past 20 plus years with not much more than a guitar, my musical skills and my understanding of human nature.

But now I’m not certain where I stand in relation to my musical journey and goals. A major shift has occured.

Read Part 2 Here.

CBC Radio And My Music

Success!
Success!

If you’ve been following my story for a little while, you may remember that one of the main catalysts that propelled me onto my current path (with a brand new CD) was CBC Radio. (For any international readers, CBC is the Canadian version of the BBC in the UK).

At that time, (I thought) I was content to simply write and record my songs with the intention of eventually licensing them to film and television.
My wife Mary had been playing some of my songs in her Zumba class — and the response was terrific.

After several enthusiastic people from her class suggested CBC to me, I finally got the message. That’s how the cards laid out to inspire me to reach out to CBC.

Back in the late fall of 2014, I got in touch with the head of the CBC Music Resources Office, Mark Rheaume. Mark got back to me. He is such a genuine and cool guy. He always got back to me straight away — and with helpful and clear information. A very supportive and great contact for me in the music industry.

He’d listened to a couple of my tracks and he told me that they would definitely fit with many of the shows carried by the CBC. However, he also suggested I have an album — or at least an EP — this way, my story would be a little more compelling for the people who had the shows.

So I thought, “Why not? Ok— I guess I’m making a CD.”

This of course led to an impromptu fundraiser  and my EP of 5 songs is now complete. It’s available in my store as a physical CD with cool artwork or on i-tunes.
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Update: CBC Radio and My Music

Mark got back to me recently regarding the status of my music. It’s now officially uploaded into the CBC music library. Woo-hoo! Step one accomplished.

Mark also gave me the contact info for all the relevant CBC radio shows in the country who can possibly use my style of music. He suggested I contact the shows in Toronto and encourage them to play my music. The shows also need to play Canadian artists —  that can definitely help my cause.

I will keep you posted as I move forward with that!

Another cool thing is that if I ever broaden my base of operations beyond Toronto and play other towns and cities, I will have the contact info for the producers of the radio shows in those towns!
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Other Related Articles

How Songs Happen

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WonderWoman

I’ve got a new song named “WonderWoman.” 

It’s the most rocking song on the album — definitely not for Zumba this time 😉  More of a driving your car kind of song. I literally have a TON of important musical influences — but this song is probably due to early David Bowie along with my bluesy side. I listened to a lot of Bowie at one point during my late teens.

I wanted to have a few different flavours on the album — but still my brand. I think I managed to do it.

Click here for a brief video clip of me laying down some guitar tracks on Wonderwoman.

Here’s a screenshot of my mixing board for WonderWoman.

Wonderwoman by Davidson Yeager
Davidson Mixing Wonderwoman

The drums are being recorded and mixed in Los Angeles by my co producer Gary Gray as I write this. Kristen Rose is on drums again. If you’re reading this after mid April 2015 or so, you’ll be able to sample my new song WonderWoman right here on the homepage 🙂

Thanks for sticking around!
Davidson

How Songs Happen

Where does a song come from? How does it come to be? Well, I don’t know for sure how songs happen so I’m not gonna try. There are plenty of books explaining the technical side of things.

I am going to relate a cool story about my most recent song, though…

I had a seed of an idea for a song over Christmas holidays.

So I fired up my recording gear and laid down some basic tracks.

Rhythm guitar with a drum loop and some vocals.

After having some fun jamming, I promptly went on with whatever other things I had going on that day.

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained

Soon after — perhaps even that same evening — while brushing my teeth before bed of course — I had a melodic motif pop into my head. The words were “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

This became the title and hook of the song. People tell me they can’t stop singing it! An idea that popped into my head from the nonlinear quantum “womb” fully formed. All I had to do was nurture it along until it grew, cut the umbilical cord and send it out into the world.

Over the next several weeks I spent up to about 80 hours (perhaps more) refining the idea and my musical arrangement.

When I had what I thought was a pretty decent mix, I sent it to my man Gary Gray in LA. He got back to me with some constructive criticism. Not always easy to accept at face value — but it can be helpful to have outside opinions.

At times, Gary challenges me to dig even more out of myself than I thought possible.

He said it was reminiscent of the soul music from Philly and Motown in the 70’s.

Over the next few days as I proceeded to make some of the changes and tweaks he had suggested, I pondered where indeed had the song come from.

It hit me the other day. Brushing my teeth… after breakfast this time 🙂

Black Magic Woman By Fleetwood Mac?

The other influences were “Black Magic Woman” by Fleetwood Mac. Yep. Some cool trivia for you. I absolutely love Peter Green’s guitar playing and songwriting!

I also love the later version by Santana with the latin vibe. I researched and found out that the intro to Santana’s version was featured on a song called “Gypsy Queen” by an artist named Gabor Szabo.

Very cool! There just so happens to be a character in my song who is a Gypsy Crone. You’ll hear it in the song when you listen 🙂

Some other influences became apparent to me as well. As a guitar nerd, I’ve studied many masters over the years.

There’s definitely some “soul jazz” flavour on this song. Guitar masters like Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, etc. come to mind.

Note: from this point on I’ll simply refer to it as NVNG (Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained)

The song itself is based on a 12 bar minor blues structure — guys like Albert King with his great song “As The Years Go Passing By” is an example.

There’s one more important musical influence. I have a strong connection to the Roma culture through family. And I love their music. So I put a few touches of gypsy flavoured notes in the song. You can hear it mostly in the intro, the guitar solo and the outro.

Besides the gypsy character in the lyrics, there is a definite philosophy being addressed in the storyline.

It essentially suggests to open to receive inspiration, and then take action on that inspiration without being attached to the results.

In the east this is outlined in texts such as the Bagavad Gita, and is also quite apparent in the teachings of Jesus.

Here in the west, some call it the Law of the Farm.

Wow! It’s really cool to analyze one of my songs like that. I never would’ve consciously realized a lot of these points had Gary not mentioned to me about the Philly soul vibe.

I was conscious of a few of the points of course — I ain’t just thrown’ sh&t against the wall here and hoping it’ll stick! Lol

Take a listen and see for yourself. If you enjoy it, please feel free to share with friends.

Thanks for sticking around 🙂

 

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Black Magic Woman by Fleetwood Mac

 

Update On Fundraising For “Soul”

Soul-CoverArt- Davidson Yeager  copyDavidson Yeager

HI Everyone,

Hope you’re all doing well!
Just touching base with you to give you an update on fundraising for my CD.

We managed to raise $900! Thank you 🙂

Even though my original goal was 2k,
I’m super happy with the results though. Why?

Because I’ve been able to get “commercial quality” recordings done on my own at home (no easy task!) — this enables me to keep the costs low.

 

First Official Release

Since it’s my first official release, I simply want to get the record sounding great and get it “out there.”

I’d love to have all the bells and whistles such as live musicians in a really cool studio somewhere with a really cool record producer and money for a publicist, etc. Who wouldn’t?

And I could quite possible raise more money with the correct approach and reach that 2k. But I don’t think I’d finish the record! I’ve learned that fundraising is a job in and of itself. Touring/performing and recording are probably best done separately. Fundraising requires it’s very own focus.

I’ll look to do more of that with my next recording when I’ve got a stronger foundation built. We’ll see what the Quantum Universe has in store for the seeds I’m busy planting 🙂

 

 5 Songs Not 6…

I have made one tweak — and that is the EP will have
5 songs instead of 6.

After speaking to some industry people, it makes more sense. Many people release EP’s with only 3 songs nowadays.

3 songs are completed, 2 on the way.

I’ve already paid for the final 2 to be mastered and polished by my man in LA with money from the fundraising. I hope to book a session drummer as well.

I should then have enough left to get the CD’s and artwork manufactured. If I’m lucky, perhaps even a decent little video production for one of the songs to promote on YouTube. You’ll help me by sharing it with friends when the time comes, won’t you?

 

Bonus

BONUS: If you know my wife Mary, the artwork is courtesy of her! It’s one of her paintings that hangs on the wall in my studio 🙂
See it at the top of the page.

Wishing you guys all a great week — thank you for your coolness!
Davidson