Category Archives: Family

The Twin Towers of Truth & Trust

Unfortunately, our Country and the World has recently had to endure the commemoration of the 15th Acknowledgement of the Atrocities which occurred on September 11th. Our Hearts continue to go out to the many families who’ve had to be reminded yet again – and embrace the pain of their magnificent losses.

Perhaps like You, Lori & I watched a significant number of documentaries that retold stories of Bravery, Heroism & Self Sacrifice in various moments of crisis. Interwoven within these tales were also a growing analysis of Skepticism, Controversy & Conspiracy which explain that we do not have All the Facts, nor have we indeed been told the Entire Truth concerning this Incredible Tragedy.

Amidst the Irony of these Painful Ceremonies is the blatant, crude and destructive political campaign season we find ourselves in, where it seems that the Twin Towers of Truth & Trust have likewise been destroyed, long before a plane – or a missile – crashed into the World Trade Center.

If We are forced to Choose, for the Highest Office in our Nation, between the One Who Lies the Least, it’s no wonder why America suffers from a Deficit of Reliability Worldwide- If & When Our Government Leaders, Present & Future are Unwilling to Stand On and Speak The Truth, then it’s clear why it may take decades, or longer, to rebuild the Tower of Trust.

Furthermore, if we as individuals find it difficult to Speak Truthfully, In Love, to our neighbors, next door, at work, in church, at the mall and/or online, we emaciate the right to accuse any leader of decimating the public trust.

Truth & Trust are Towers We Must Build Together.

 

I was listening to no music while writing this blog.

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Insanely Committed…

Twice in previous posts, I cited instances where I’ve needed to Discontinue a Project and a musical relationship; in the former, prematurely; with the latter, after enduring several difficulties I choose never to repeat. So Today I turn my attention to those Areas and more importantly, People, to whom I’m Insanely Committed and from whom I thankfully receive the same devotion. Yup, this does double as an appreciative “Shout Out” to them!

The Vision of SounDoctrine with members past & present. Despite the various iterations this experiment has taken both on stage and in studio since 2002, I keep in regular contact with over 95% of the guys and gals even as life has moved on.

Phil The Beat is not just my brother in law, he’s my BROTHER and his faithfulness In & Out of Music has been 24/7. Janis Jones, whose star shines brighter with each passing day remains forever the First Lady of SD. She’s ready to sing at a moment’s notice, but deeper still, she’s a True Friend & Sister I’ve known since fourth grade. We’re on this journey together.

Jim Couchenour, Songwriter Extraordinaire, always carries a Ballad in his Pocket and Warmth in his Heart. Dynamic Brothers Cliff & Nate Barnes are the initial thread in the SounDoctrine fabric and remain a huge part of the future thought. Frank “Alowishus” Walton, Mitch Lawrence and Dylan Waters each carry brightly lit torches alongside me as Brothers and into SounDoctrine‘s tomorrow. Big Ups to Janet Write, Tara Amill, Paul Douds, Rob White, Rick Young and Michael Austin – each just a text away.

Chris “Thumbper” Rhodes. Enough Said. If You Know Me, You’ve Met Him.

Jerry Thompson, with whom a near decade of intense brotherhood, transparency and integrity weaves thoroughly through our journey. I can’t imagine being involved in anything personally or professionally where his wisdom, advice and influence doesn’t weigh in heavily. Iron Sharpens Iron.

Michaela Write absorbs my obscure, abstract musings and tries (hard) to put some order to them so I may get the work done. She’s more than an Executive Assistant; she’s a Little Sister who both challenges & inspires us to keep the train on track.

While my focus here was toward the EntreMusicianal area of my life, I must confess, I have the best ‘day job’ in the world, along with the best ‘boss,’ Bishop David L. Thomas and the spectacular team and congregation of Victory Christian Center, where I serve as an Associate Pastor. The Life Lessons, Love & Leadership are immensely foundational to Whom I Am & All I Do.

My Heart & Soul To My Lori Lynette (talk about Crazy Love) and All My Devotion to Our Daughters Tejai, Nia & Ayana. I’m Tremendously Blessed. What More Can a Man Ask?

 

I was grooving on The Crusaders’ “Unsung Heroes” & “Second Crusade” while writing this.

 

Stay in Your Place!

You’re Not Allowed to THINK for Yourself
To have Your Own Opinion
To come up with Your Own Way of doing things
To go against the status quo
To QUESTION Established mores

Who do You Think You Are individualizing Your Own Platform, Forum & Community?

You’re Not Allowed in here
You Don’t Belong with the rest of us
You Don’t Measure Up
You’re under Dressed
You Don’t Understand how we do things
You Are Not the Right ColorAgeWeightHeightStatus

Who Told You You Could Rise Above, Excel, Prosper or Gain Advantage?

You’re Not Allowed to Persist
To Climb Your Own Tree
Farm Your Own Land
Pick Your Own Path
Build Your Own Dreams

Who Gave You Permission to Live Your Own Life?

Stay In Your Place!!

I was listening to Chaka’s “What Cha Gonna Do For Me?” on Vinyl as I wrote this

 

Dated VS Timelessness 

Dated chases Fads, Trends and the Latest Fashion

Timelessness contains Innovation, Creativity & Will

Dated is based on Beats, Loops & Sampling

Timelessness maintains Harmony, Natural Rhythm & Melody

Dated fluxes Gossip, Heresay & Innuendoes

Timelessness sustains Truth, Principles & Wisdom

Dated vacillates Fame, Fortune & Fears

Timelessness breeds Encouragement, Wealth & Security

Dated is Upgradable Technology 

Timelessness is Ever Expanding Imagination that can’t be Bottled, Bought or Sold

Dated are One Hit Wonders

Timelessness is Music that transcends Generations

Dated is Hatred 

Timelessness is Love 

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The Simple Seven

Living deeper into this new year, some of us may already feel overwhelmed and are sliding away from the myriad of goals we confidently set before the ball dropped.

The key to preserving our self esteem is refocusing our ‘be‘ away from our ‘do‘! Sticking to Who We ARE, Our Character, Principles & Values help Guide & Train Our Activities. We then Accomplish More and Avoid More of what hinders Us!

I’ve broken 2016 down into Seven Simple Steps:

The Four Legs that Support My Life:

Man of God: Absolutely Everything Emanates from My Faith in God and My Discipline as a Follower of Jesus Christ.

Marriage: I Am Husband & Father, First & Foremost. Every other Life Event takes a secondary (and third) priority to My Wife & Daughters.

Music: The Paradigm which I Experience & Express My Life & Personality.

Ministry: I Am Called to Serve Personally & Professionally, My daily Occupation is to be used of God to serve my fellowman spiritually, emotionally and practically.

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I Embrace These Three Areas which govern every Activity I Participate in:

GENEROSITY: Purposefully & Strategically Giving of My Time,  Talent & Resources to People, Processes and Projects who and which would not  otherwise have exposure to what I can help bring to their  situation.

LEARNING: Continually Increasing My Level of Absorption to Experts of  Spiritual Growth, Finance & Personal Development Sharpens My Saw, Lifts My Lid & Helps Increase My Influence and Broaden My Platform.

LEADING: Concentrating on Maximum Effectiveness in the People  & Areas I am Blessed to Have Influence Multiplies My Impact and the Legacy I Strive to Leave in the World.

Hopefully you have adopted a similar structure upon which provides an incredibly firm foundation for your future as you navigate 2016!

As I am writing this, I am listening to Online Station: FBRN Red Bowl in Arlington Texas, who’s playing the Top 100 Jazz Tunes of 2015. They were kind enough to include SounDoctrine in the List. At This Time I don’t know where we are, I tuned in late, but they are on #52, so either I missed it…or we’re getting closer!

Peace & Blessings!

Jere B

 

 

Stubbornness is A Virtue 

As I write this post, I am only minutes away from returning from the burial of one of my dearest friends – my ‘soul sister’ in fact,  Heather Tiree Hynek. For the last Six and a half years, I have had the distinct pleasure to journey with her, husband Aaron and daughter Violet Grace, whom the doctors said she should abort, before undergoing aggressive chemo treatments. She refused to abort Violet, took on the chemo and various surgeries and valiantly soldiered ahead. On last Tuesday, Heather won her battle once and for all.

I have gained a greater perspective on life through observaton and walking alongside Aaron & Heather. As their Friend & Pastor, I was graced with an access all areas view of how they chose to live out their faith, transparently and single-mindedly through every high & low, tear & smile and every optimistic & disappointing medical report. As I watched, prayed and held their hands, I grew.

Heather Hynek was a Stubborn Woman. Completely Headstrong – and I mean that in the most positive, adoring way. I teased her about it while admiring her for it. Often Against Doctor’s Orders and sometimes amidst frustration to Aaron’s wishes, she dogmatically determined to Live Life on Her Terms, Confident in her Lord and His plans for her. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Enviornmental Science at Youngstown State Univeristy, in class, while taking treatments and facing surgeries. She would Google and study the diagnosis she battled and the treatments she was being described. Her pragmatism increased her life span of the doctor’s original six month sentence to Six Determined Years.

All EntreMusicians stand to gain much through the Virtue of Stubborness. Confidence, Endurance, Perseverance & Faith in the face of Intense Oppositon, Pain, Fear, Confusion and Dissolution means that You Win, Even When You’re Buried. Your Accomplishments, Character, Spirit and the Legacy You Leave Live On. No One Can Take Away Your Achievements nor the Indelible Mark You Make in History and On the Word.

So Fight, Valiantly. Second Guess the Experts. Learn All You Can &  Apply All You Learn. Grit Your Teeth. Hold Your Loved Ones Close as Frustration Accosts You, But STAND FIRM & FIGHT!!

I Thank Almighty God for Heather, a heroine whose life set yet another remakable example.   

   

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The Opportunity in the Obstacle

Obstacles are a Regular Diet of Every EntreMusician’s Life. They are Unavoidable, often Unpredictable and always present hidden Opportunities. Along with the stress that comes with Each Obstacle are Moments to Choose whether to Freak Out, Give Up or Turn Bitter in the process, instead of Zeroing In on the Possible Benefits this Obstacle offers.
I Must Admit that I have done All of These. 

Call it Age, but lately I’ve forced myself to stop and answer the question “What Does This Mean?” right at the crest of every perceived Obstacle. Whether it’s Lack of Resources for a Certain Project to downright Opposition while Carrying out a Goal, if we can Quell our Emotions, have a Team pow wow, or do Personal Introspection to Ask Ourselves the Meaning Behind the Obstacle, we create a Clarity that Allows Us to Better Focus on Acheiving Our Accomplishments. 

In Fact, What I Am Learning Most about My Most Recent Obstacles is that they were more about ME than the Thing, Person or Situation that presented itself. If I Did Not Plan or Execute Properly, I Invited the Obstacle. If I Do Not Adequately State My Goals or Explain to My Team Expected Intentions & Results, I Should Expect Obstacles. 

But What if I Did Do All of the Above? What if My All of My Ducks are in the Provrbial Row? I Immediately Stop Asking ‘How’ this Happened and ask ‘Why’ Questions- which are More Personal and Less Technical. Obviously, a Personal Lesson is Attached and I Need to Open Eyes & Ears and Learn The Lesson.

I Have Not Been Able to Overcome Every Obstacle. Often, I’ve had to work Underneath, Beside & Through the Obstacle. But the Perspective I’ve gained from being “Up Close & Personal” with the Adversity has drawn out a greater degree of Creativity, Perseverance & Wisdom that I would not have gained otherwise. Additionally, Some Obstacles have brought Absolute & Generous Blessings to My Family & I – Opportunities I Would Have Never Walked Into had I just stood there and cursed the blasted thing! 

Many of Our Greatest Opportunities Are Disguised as Obstacles. This Thought does not Minimize the real pain each can bring us, but the Hurt doesn’t have to Harm if we look the Issue dead in the eye, analyze it for what it is and formulate an appropriated response, all the while gritting your teeth and buckling up for the interesting journey ahead.

I’ve been Very Intentional to not discuss specific experiences here, as there are More than Many and I’d be here till Next Thursday trying to explain a few! Like any other EM, I’ve Blundered & Blown It, but Because I Am an EM,     I Learn and I Move On…

Keep Your Head Up!

I wasn’t listening to any music while wrting this, but Jon Thomas & I just collaborated on a track called “Maranatha” that I’m gonna finish tweaking as soon as I post this!

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Who? Not What!

Days ago I gave a profound piece of advice to a very good friend of mine. Almost immediately I had to turn around and apply this same counsel to myself! My Friend is a major EntreMusician with tremendous talent who is an incredible help and has been a major thrust in the success of my projects for the past nine years. Being a confidant, we often vent our mutual struggle of navigating multiples simultaneously. This time he was up to bat and Words of Wisdom flowed out of me effortlessly as I text’d back: 

“You need to sit down and DECIDE just who You Really Are. Are You an Entrepreneur, Teacher, Studio Operator or Business Owner? Your Challenge is that You are Fantastic at All of These, but You are Not an Expert in Either of These. Until You Become an Expert at One of These, You Won’t be able to Breathe Life into Any of These! You Must Identify First WHO You Are – and Not Just What You Want to Do – and WHO You Are will determine What Needs to Be Done.

I sounded (and felt) like a Guru Prophet.

15 minutes hadn’t passed until these same words began radically challenging me (read that as a euphemism for kicking my own butt!) A Born Multitasker, I must confess a subtle pride in identifying myself as a “Follower of Christ, Husband, Father, Songwriter/Producer/Musician, Pastor, BIble Teacher & Student, Blogger and oh yeah, I’ve Acted too!” But whittle me down to the core and it’s tough to get out of bed some mornings! 

At the End of the Day, Month or Year, it all comes down to WHO I Was/AM. And at the End of My Life, it’s obvious I won’t be known for even half of these things – so I need to constantly Center my Concentration on Absolute Strengths, which are Not Rooted in Titles or To Do Lists, but in the Values, Character, Faith & Principles I espouse.

For Example, this Songwriter/Producer/Musician handle. I am a Songwriter at Heart. This is Who I Really Am.      The function of the Producer is to articulate what the Songwriter needs to convey and will often call upon the Musician to quantify the Songwriter’s expectations. While not being the best Musician, the Producer may need to utilize technology or call in better musicians to ensure the story is told exactly as the Songwriter intended. Thus, the skills of my internal Producer & Musician exist to serve the purpose of my Songwriting first and foremost. Composing Better Songs Must Remain My Continual Objective. Yes, both my Producer & Musician do get calls for outside projects, but stay with me!

Knowing WHO You Are will ALWAYS Tower far above What You Do. When faced with a myriad of possibilities and options, first consult WHO You Are and the motivation to proceed (or not) will decide autonomously.  

Your Thoughts?

I was listening to Bernie Worrell’s “Blacktronic Science” as I wrote this

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You Will, Will You?

Among the most curious moments I encounter as an EntreMusican are the amount of people, specifically fellow musicians, who spend most of their conversation talking about what they will do – or are engaged in – or about to start and nothing ever comes from it. If you should inquire weeks, months or even years later why they haven’t moved forward, there’s Always an Excuse or a New Villain to blame….

Most are Brilliant Musicians, but won’t leave their Black Light Basements filled with Recording Gear to enter the real world of Engagement. There’s Never Enough Time, and/or Opportunities and besides, the system is rigged so that industry gatekeepers make it next to impossible for them to access. While some (or all of this) may be true, these same artists pacify themselves with hollow words that never manifest.

Of that bunch, practically all of them are critical complainers, angry at EMs who’ve moved beyond the precipis of procrastination and have embarked on the journey of our dreams.

I generally listen quietly, but once I can’t take anymore I begin to ask these questions…

If you say You Will ________________________________ (fill in the blank), then Will You take the next progressive step and pick up the phone, make the call, send that text or email?

If You Say You Will, Will You – Do Every Single Thing it Takes to complete Your task? Will You Learn How to Say “No”  to Timewasters and become radically focused on Your Goals & Priorities and Plan Responsibly? 

Will You Do What You Say You Will Do?

How have you answered these questions? The World is Waiting!

I was listning to Dave Grusin & Lee Ritenour’s exquisite “Two Worlds” while writing this.

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Complete!

There are various elements about a great song which make it genuinely complete. There’s the tempo, time signature, tension, harmonic structure, melodies, motif, counterpoint, bridge, refrain and dynamics that after diligently weaving together, cause the composer to declare its readiness to world.

Interestingly, the arrangement of the song matters not. It could be sparse or complex. Neither the song’s instrumentation do little to thwart its perfection. A great song can be performed with a bucket, toy piano and a hairbrush!

So goes a great marriage. You don’t need much money, the finest house, car or similar trappings for your life together to be genuinely complete.  As long as your tempo is aligned, you walk in harmony, properly prepare for dynamic tension and appreciate counterpoint, your marriage will weave countless beautiful melodies that resonate through your home, your children and theirs. You build legacy.

I have been blessed by God over the last 20 years to compose such a marriage with my beautiful and precious collaborator, Lori Lynette. We have enjoyed a wonderfully curious and growing friendship that has produced three incredible daughters and a flourishing ministry of creativity in each of our lives. I couldn’t imagine what the last 20 would’ve been like without her smile and laughter fueling my soul nor can I imagine the next 20 without being able to look deep within her brown eyes. God made sure my life was complete.

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart!

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