reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the people who love you into being. [k.s. friday]

grateful songbox 1

“all of us have special ones who have loved us into being. would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are….ten seconds of silence.”  (mr. fred rogers)

he brought it up on the trail.  the movie we had recently seen.  not an action thriller or a mystery.  just a movie about a man who changed the world.  mr. fred rogers.

quietly hiking on the trail, he broke the walking-arm-in-arm silence, “i’ve been thinking about all those people.  those people who loved me into existence.”

what could you possibly be more grateful for?  that trail of thought found us yesterday morning and wove its way into all day, skirting along the edges as we cooked, back into the center on facetime, at the table with wine glasses, in a late night text out of the blue.

the people who love you into being.

mr. rogers got more specific, ” from the time you were very little, you’ve had people who have smiled you into smiling, people who have talked you into talking, sung you into singing, loved you into loving.” what kind of legacy do you have to be known for this kind of wisdom?  it changes everything.

the people who love you into being.

we spoke of these people on and off all day and late into the night.  there was a moment i could feel shadows that were cast by any of those we talked about falling off, light covering the shadow.  reasons.  seasons.

the people who love you into being.

too many to list.  too many to remember.  we backtracked and stood still in our memories, telling stories and finding wonder as names – and the dear picture of that person in our mind’s eye – spilled out of us.  a wealth of being-makers.  every one of them a builder in the construction of some piece of us, like a giant box of tinkertoys or lincoln logs or even crayons.  so much  potential.  a wildly wide spectrum of color and characteristic, texture and depth. profoundly moving.  a tiny bit of shake-up.  both.

the people who love you into being.

ten seconds.  nowhere near long enough.

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GRATEFUL from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 


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bridge. [k.s. friday]

bridge song box copy

“when one door closes another door opens.”  how many times have you heard that?  people fail to address the hallway in-between.  ahh….that hallway in between.  full of mystery.  full of questions.  full of wondering.  full of not-knowing.  it can be freeing; it can be torturous.  bridging from now to next.

two to three months after my big brother died, my sweet momma continued to have nights when she could not sleep.  she would rise from bed and go down the short hall to the bedroom that served as her office.  in that short walk, she would pass the entrance to the living room.  one night, as she passed the living room, glancing in she saw a depression in the very top of the recliner, the way it looks when someone is sitting with their head against the back of the chair.  this chair…the very one that my brother sat in so many times in the last months of his life, close to the front door so that he didn’t have to go too far and become too tired.

my momma, not given to fanciful imaginings, decided to walk into the living room to find out why the headrest of this chair gave the appearance of someone in it.  she came around to the front of the chair and found my brother.  he was sleeping in the chair and did not stir while she stood there.  she never said a word, just silently watched for a couple of minutes.  her heart full, she quietly walked to her office.  an hour or so later, when she was ready for bed, she walked back down the short hall, this time glancing in to the living room to see if the headrest was still shaped as it had been, if my brother was still there.  the recliner had returned to its normal state.  my brother was no longer there.  she went to bed and slept, her time in the hall of grief a little lighter, a little less encumbered, a little less painful.  mysterious, full of questions, full of wondering and not-knowing.  freeing and a little torturous.  but moving into next.

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BRIDGE from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 


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(it is) as it is. [k.s. friday]

AS IT IS songbox copy.jpg

ken calls this my MUSH album.  he is an amazing producer and i feel fortunate to call him my dear friend as well.  he produced 14 of my albums and, although one of my albums and a few vocal singles were done in nashville, now i can’t really imagine any other recording projects without him.

MUSH stands for made-up-shi* and is aptly named.  this album came at a really inspired time for me.  artists have their highs and lows, inspiration-wise, and this was one of the highs.  i’ve mentioned the story before, but i’ll short-story it here again:  i had a list of titles – titles i wanted to use eventually for compositions; i carried a notebook and scraps of paper everywhere i went.  i had this list with me as i recorded two other full-length albums in nyc at yamaha artist services.  in-between recording the two other albums, i would choose a title and play it.  simply play it.  my heart is laid out in the tracks of this cd; every title was meaningful to me, every piece tells what it means.

AS IT IS is the title track so it’s interesting that i gave over the melody line to a flute, the only piece on all of my albums that has a flutist playing.  it’s also rare for me to step away from the piano and, in the production-post-initial-recording phase, play a keyboard.  but life is like that. you have to give over sometimes.  the texture changes.  the melody isn’t yours to own; sometimes you are support staff.  make peace with it.  it is as it is.

AS IT IS:  life.  we are right here…where we are supposed to be in this part of the journey…the best time is now.  simply because life is as it is. (liner notes)

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AS IT IS from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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unfolding. [k. s. friday]

unfolding song box copy

“…and whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should…” (desiderata by max ehrmann)

when i listen to tracks i have recorded i can either picture the time i spent writing at the piano or the time i spent in studio recording.  this piece drums up the same image; in a time of pronounced inspiration and the transferring of much emotion into music, this was simultaneously written and recorded at yamaha artist services in nyc back about 15 years ago.

even then, i could see the willows-bending-in-the-wind characteristic of life – it will unfold as it should, despite our best efforts to stymie it or change it or enhance it.  and so i loved when ken, my truly amazing producer, added a bended electric guitar line, arching and buckling, flexing around the melody line, a musical painting.   even now, and i suspect as will always be, i try to be that willow, bending as the wind takes me, allowing the universe to unfold.

“unfolding: trying to trust that life is unfolding the way it should be” (liner notes)

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UNFOLDING from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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grateful. [k.s. friday]

grateful song box

8. grateful (5:31):  for all the blessings, the joy, for life itself.

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GRATEFUL from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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longing. [k.s. friday]

longingSongbox.jpg

i first wrote and recorded this piece while i was working on the twin LET ME TAKE YOU BACK albums.  performing the tunes of the 60s and 70s made me feel wistful; memories flooded every note.  i’d remember dancing to a song at a prom or listening over and over to another in my room in the basement.  they made me picture the windows rolled down in my little blue vw driving on the open roads out east on long island and they brought me the sweet smell of warm sand on crab meadow beach with my red round ball and chain transistor radio.Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 4.44.47 PM  they had me thinking about the songs coming from my sister’s room and the songs my big brother would play on his guitar.  so it wasn’t a stretch to write a piece that was all about longing and reminiscing and memories, stories that were deeply set in my heart, times that had gone by.  later on we orchestrated this piece for the album AS IT IS.  i still associate it with the twin retro albums; the cello line gets me every time.  it makes me want to take out all my photo albums and set up a white sheet in the living room to watch the carousels of 35mm slides my poppo called “film funnies”.  longing.  indeed.

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LONGING from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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peace. as it is. [k.s. friday]

peace song box

i distinctly remember recording this.  i was at yamaha artist services in nyc and it was winter.  the word “peace” was on a list of words i wanted to use as titles for pieces.  “peace” is a big word for me….i’ve talked about how there are peace signs and the word peace all over our home and it was no different when i wrote this.  the trouble with writing and using a big word is that you feel an imperative to make it count.  there is a kind of heavy emphasis on this choice to use THIS word as a title – that you write well enough to support such a big word, that you do it justice, that it FEELS what the word feels like.  it’s super-charged with self-induced pressure.

but the moments i spent composing this were extraordinarily special and i was wrapped in a cloak of peacefulness and love.  it is not a complex piece of music; it has a repeating theme and, like a song with lyrics, returns to that theme again and again.  like statement-question-answer-lift-statement-question-answer-lift structure.

“it’s fine” ken, in his infinite wisdom, orchestrated this so my heart weeps with gratitude each time i listen.  cello lines and strings and french horn pull the simple melody out of the place of simplicity and reach, for me, a depth of being.

every artist has compositions that are their favorites, the ones that really express who they are. maybe it’s because i can so distinctly remember initially recording this.  maybe it’s because i remember being back in the studio in chicago with ken as he tracked the other instrumentation.  maybe it’s because it’s THAT word, the piece with THAT title.    regardless of the reason, THIS is one of mine.

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PEACE from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood