About my father 

I want to share a few thoughts about my father. Before I do, to put it in context, I feel blessed and supported that my parents brought me into the world and raised me. They are truly good people. I've told them both and meant it, that I won the parents lottery.

My father was a difficult man. He was a perfectionist and obsessive compulsive.  He spent his entire life fretting about worst case scenarios and  anxiously preparing for them. As a result they never happened, but he also never got to enjoy any lasting peace.

The only time I ever saw him at peace was the few hours straight after a good medical test result. He would allow a brief celebration before going straight back into worry. He was also happy working in his garden.

From my perspective, his expectations were never met for long. He quickly became restless again. I felt he loved and believed in me deep down but that I also let him down.  He did not understand my love for music, especially music that wasn't commercially successful. Falling short, for him was labelled often as stupidity. That hurt; it sometimes even still does.

Despite these mental chains that bound him, outwardly in his career he was a successful man. He was also the funniest person I've ever known. He was proud of me, of us. He sacrificed enormously for his family. I loved and miss him terribly. How can all of this be true at the same time? Yet it is.

Human beings are complicated. Life is not easy. There is no perfect family. I am still trying to work all this out.

 I'm also trying to understand the suffering on this planet. Most of it by innocent animals and people at the hands of cruel or ignorant people. Especially right now. And I can't. I don't know if I'll ever be able to get my head around it.

This was not the blog I meant to send. I spent this week working on another. But I wrote and re-wrote it until it lost all of its spontaneity...  because I wanted it to be perfect. That made me think of my father. I got that from him and really have to watch it. So I wrote this without thinking too much and I'm sending it instead.

Please stay safe out there and be kind to yourself. 

Love

Elizabeth  

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Here's some music - 

A song for anyone else who also has questions : Middle man  

For some much needed comfort and  peace, here's one I made with Paul AdamsInhaling Stillness  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anita. Jealousy. 

 

I'm thinking about a friend I met when I first moved to Sydney. Her name is Anita Thomas. She played saxophone, I played trumpet. We used to play jazz songs down at Sydney Harbour.  The thing about Anita is to this day, she is one of the most inspiringly inclusive people I've ever met. 


The most extreme example: One day a guy started chatting to us. He seemed a bit hyped but harmless, a bit seedy, lonely. Then he told us that he had literally just finished a  20 year jail sentence, as in the day before. 'What did you do?'   'Murder'. 


 And the next bit sounds nuts but Anita didn't blink; she gave him her phone number. NOT because she was interested in him. She wanted to make sure he had a place to stay ( She didn't mean hers... even so, I laughed myself stupid after and teased her mercilessly for about a decade.) 
But that was totally normal for Anita. She helped people no matter who they were - a truly open heart. Yet; if you meet her, she's not naive, not a pushover. She's even kind of a hard ass in some ways. But her philosophy is so simple. Until someone shows ugly behaviour, she doesn't judge. Everyone is the same. 

 

So meanwhile.. now in the world, deep ugly stuff is bubbling to the surface. It's shocking. 
People who before seemed quiet and unassuming suddenly "can't wait to blow all you haters to pieces". They give vivid violent details. And they're not joking. Others are now proud white supremacists (the ugliest one of all). 
Where has it all come from? I realise it was under there hiding all along. That is worrying.  And it made me think of Anita, the straight shooter. There was never anything to bubble up.

 

The photo: At a quartet gig once at Wonderland,  Anita forced me onto the KIDDIE's rollercoaster. She is the one with sunglasses. I've never been so scared in all my life. 

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 Finally, totally unrelated, here's a new song I videoed at my window. Jealousy   

Please take care out there. If you  enjoy what I'm doing, please subscribe to my Youtube channel! 

Wow. What can I say. 

I'm under no illusion that more than a handful of people will ever read this. But some kind of mental shift happened in me so I'm going to write it anyway.

The shift is partly a result of the horror that's happening all over the world lately and in America this past week. America feels personal because it's been like a second home to me. Paul and others I care about are there. It's heartbreaking,  though I sense some upside. At least, as issues are now out in the open, change is feeling more and more inevitable. But I've posted enough lately about politics so this blog is a bit more personal.

Basically, life suddenly seemed incredibly short. I quit my job at the supermarket just before the virus, which turned out to be the best decision I ever made apart from taking the job in the first place. It got me out of debt and changed me probably for the better. I loved my co-workers and didn't mind the actual work. I had a boss who screamed though, a lot. And I felt totally expendable too, which I was.

One of the back dock delivery guys and one of the hardest working people I've ever met, reminded me early on that he and I were just a number to the company and never to forget that. And I wasn't that happy but it's not a bad company. This is true of almost all giant corporations. Whenever a boss was cruel, and a few were shockers, I'd remind myself they were just a number too. One pushed me too far once and I told her. But again, others were truly inspiring people. I've written songs about all these experiences good and bad and can't wait to record them. 

So it may not be the most practical decision but after eight years I'm putting music first again. And life feels suddenly more simple. It's continuing to sink in that pleasing others is impossible. Music is an anti-depressant and is probably the most helpful thing I can contribute so I need to do it. This time around I'm a bit less naive though; this is the real world.

And the real world is currently quite ugly. Music though, like nature, animals, children, art, and a soul, is still a pure place. 

So right now while I'm setting up to record, backing up files yesterday came with a huge highlight. I found a pile of lost lyrics for my Mountain song which I can now assemble and see if the missing chorus I've been waiting for is in there. I also found the song about the old lonely guy who won the lottery (true story).   So this is it for me for right now. Wherever you are, please hang in there and stay safe.

Hello at this crazy time. 

I hope you're doing well during this rocky time. 

Here's my news. Since we locked down, I've sadly done NO horn playing because the park where I practice is still full of people and I'm in an apartment so I'm waiting for people to go back to work..  

So  meanwhile I'm honing songs, pretty much all and every afternoon (and staring out the window). Which is a lot more fun than it sounds, actually it is keeping me sane. Here's a rough song video ..  I hope you enjoy!

By honing, I mean basically taking 10 songs and stripping them back to bare bones, getting rid of props, distractions, extra notes. The plan is that when nothing is left except the song itself and the story can really breathe, I record it. Maybe my priorities are all ass about, but this is something I always dreamed of doing and never had time until now. 

It also comes off the back of a painful lesson.

In 2018 I decided to record my 5th album at home, instead of a studio for the first time, with someone else overseeing every aspect. I was excited. I've always loved being part of the recording and producing process. Paul Adams, who does this brilliantly ( here's an example), was and still is, excited too. He helped get me set up. 

I worked on it every day before I went to work. But my mistake was this: because it was fun, I assumed it was also easy. So I went down the rabbit hole stubbornly, happily, on my own and a year or so later, thinking it was close, I finally heard it for the first time in a room on proper studio speakers. 

Straight away I could hear it was wrong. Too busy, too much, tangled.  I didn't even know how or where to start fixing it.. it would be like untangling a giant knot of wool. It felt like hitting a wall -  an excruciating let down. I ate humble pie.

(Paul says it's only a mixing issue.. still unconvinced, but it will be great if he turns out to be right.)  It hurt like hell for months and I still can't quite face them yet, but I learned from it . 

 I have HUGE respect for musos who create great listening albums from their living rooms. So here I go now with 10 different songs just in case I turn out to be wrong about the other lot. This time nothing but the BARE BLOODY SONG. That's it. All I know is it feels right, I'm still excited, though hopefully in a more sober, flexible, open minded way this time and I've got nothing to lose.  

#simple #recording #songs

Life's twists and turns 

In 2013 when I realised I'd need to leave Sydney I was unhappy, angry, and totally burnt out with exhaustion (see my last post ). Leaving and making drastic changes was my only choice at the time but it didn't feel good. The unhappiness then turned into depression which didn't really finally fully budge until I returned here a few months ago.

Apart from the song writing, which I did to feel better, everything else I gave up – horn playing, gigs, ambitions, all my friends and social contacts. (Even now I get socially burnt out very very easily and have to be super careful).

So fast forward and this week's Valentine's gigs in World Square as you can imagine were a surprise and proof of life's unexpected twists and turns. It was one of those opportunities we've all experienced that happen out of the blue and seem meant to be. It was a pleasure to prepare for, to get back on the horn, and felt weirdly as if no time was lost, in some way some things might have been even better, plus I had all these new songs to play. While I no longer have the expectations and attachments I once did, this chance to play for others again for the simple love of songs was a dream and so much fun.

Big thanks to Coles at World Square, to Malulee (in the rose wreath) who put the whole event together, and everyone who came down especially.

 

 

Boy, what doesn't kill you.. 

Everyone has a story, and we don't know what others are going through.  Situations and people are almost never what they seem, from the outside.  

My own life has been through a massive amount of upheaval in the past few years.  So many changes I won't go into (we all  have our share of challenges, I'm not special! )  but the hardest issue I had to face was that I'd clung to music so hard and for so long it was all I knew. I was drowning, not only emotionally but worse still, truly, financially. (When one day you realise you can't afford a coffee or to go to the dentist, you finally learn that money CAN actually make a person happier).  My experiences and travels as a musician have been wonderful, full, varied, no regrets. It's been a fascinating fortunate path. But as many musician may tell you it can also be a never-ending uphill battle of many thousands of unpaid hours practice living literally from gig to gig. I was constantly on the verge of a stomach ache wondering how to build upon and nurture the gigs I loved so much to do.  I worried to an unhealthy degree about my age and how I looked. Which sounds crazy but at many venues, how you look is as important as how you sound. But the worst worry by far was money. Not having financial freedom is also socially very  isolating. You can never meet anyone 'for lunch'.  

I also tried way too hard to please others (my own fault and foolishness, but again the stress was real nonetheless)  - my agents, musicians, the audience, everyone.  Not musically so much, I was too stubborn that way, focused, but in every other way. We all try to hide our  stress, put on a happy face, well I did. That is part of being professional. But everything slowly became intolerable.  

I was eventually forced to start again completely in a different city, circumstances and for the first time in my life give music away altogether, give up my gigs (which hurt like hell) , let it go, forget it,  boo hoo, get over it, get over myself, get a job. I was bitter, twisted and angry, still am occasionally,  to a degree I can't describe, at 'God' and others around me but deep down ME most of all. I felt like a fool, a joke, embarrassed, ashamed, a failure and occasionally still do. But, it was what I needed to get over myself, stop being so precious, really look around.

A few years later, to cut a long story short, things are slowly feeling better, different.  I have ironically been writing songs more than before because it seems to keep away depression, which I plan to record.  The songs I write now  are different.  Maybe more fun? I'm not so precious.   Music is something I like doing, not my whole life anymore. I have so much further to learn and grow still,  but my perspective these days I think  is healthier.  I am slowly rediscovering the romance of trees, a more simple, spiritual outlook and the magic that got me into music in the first place. I work with and meet  inspiring people at my job.. I feel so grateful for that job, the people I meet each day, every single one of them has a story, and the songs that I write now for fun and to be alive. 

 

 

New Year thoughts 2017 

A year ago I went for a walk, wondering what 2016 would hold. I saw a huge tree and suddenly realized I wanted to be more like that -  deep roots, and huge branches rising above everything that may happen, but also bending with it all. To be stronger and more anchored - 2016 was going to be the year of the tree!  I tried to be more tree like.  Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes not. But I'm sure it was meant to be  - there was so much upheaval this past year it's still hard to believe. Not only personally, but for almost everyone I know,  even politically (Trump?  really???)  .  I had some  depression,  couldn't  face socializing, stayed off social networking, worked a lot, walked a lot, wrote a lot of songs.  It was a tough year but  in a strange way it was right. A couple of months ago  I  started feeling  better, a spark again.  So many people are going through their own upheavals.  2017 is a new beginning. The energy does feel different.  If last year was the year of the tree, this is the year of the P - to be positive, proactive, productive. I wish you a most inspired and  peaceful 2017!   

 

Happiness 

 

It is a tricky  balance to find, that between making music and promoting it, which is what The Bridge is about.  We make our music  to be shared and heard by others, yet my favourite music is made only for the pure joy and privilege of making it.  I always have to be careful not to forget  that because when I do, I can fall into depression. We live in a world run by social networking and a million distractions on the internet.  I long always to get back to the real things. These past few months I've been playing a game where I say to myself  'If I HAD to write a song about THAT right there in front of me now  - eg  that hotel, or customer,  this situation, my old third grade music teacher -  what would it be'.  This game is making me very happy.  It always sounds lofty somehow but it really is true, happiness is in the doing. 

Things that seem meant to be 

I do think some things that happen are spiritually meant-to-be. (hearing Steve Winwood's If You See a Chance yesterday right when I did, was one) This was another, in Chicago last weekend. Paul Adams tells this better than I can -
 
"Something pretty amazing happened the other night on the streets of Chicago. One of those impacting moments. Elizabeth and I heard a guy playing trombone on the corner. He sounded great. Sensitive and articulate. I passed him by, but then crossed the street to listen. We had a long talk after filling his case with gratitude. He spoke of his time with Sonny Rollins and others. His gigs dried up..h...e had lost some front teeth in an accident and it diminishes his playing. But, his twenty five dollar pawn shop trombone sounded warm and perfect. He lives in a place with no electricity. He builds a fire to warm his dog and cats and when too cold, he and the animals ride the back of the train all night to keep warm. He is not bitter. As a matter of fact, his "vibe" was very sweet. He seemed to have no resentment for the folks walking by ignoring him. A ZEN busker.

Elizabeth related as music had some years ago stopped supporting her. She was cooking once a week to save money, eating the same meal each night and buying nothing. Socializing became too awkward. The only job available was in the meat department of a supermarket.. she's a vegetarian.

She and I felt a deep connection with this man. I felt as if I had known him forever. I spoke to him of a conversation I once had with the great singer Minnie Riperton's dad, and what spirit he had despite difficulty. The guy's eyes burst open the size of silver dollars with a smile a mile long and asks, "you knew my dad?!!??" I was wacked. I asked, "Daniel Riperton was your dad?" He said "yeah, that was my daddy." This was Minnie's brother Ray. Small world. We shared stories. I told him about crowd funding, and he said he is so out of touch he doesn't have email. We exchanged info and I hope he gets an email address through the library or friend. All three of us felt a very deep connection. It felt like a moment that was meant to be." 
 
 
 

Happy New Year to you 


I love new years, especially the idea of leaving behind habits or heaviness and moving forward in a lighter way, hopefully having learned something good too.. everyone experiences life differently, and for me, to learn from the past and realizing new things is always exciting - I hope to be less rocked by what is outside my control,  more grateful and at peace. I can at least say I feel this happening more now than when I was younger.

The last couple of years for me have been full of change, as I had to face an ever widening gap between my music and the financial expectations of life. Last year I got my first ever 'real' job, in a supermarket, which has been equally terrifying and exciting and probably the biggest learning curve of my life so far. I scrub floors and shelves, get up at 4am to pack bread, crush boxes, serve customers, stack shelves, unload and sort pallets, learned to use a cash register and other machines.. which is not complex but for me,who only ever knew life through music, it's been huge. I knew I would miss the gigs but this has  helped me grow in ways I needed to and given me a whole new experience of people and the world.

 I don't know why life puts us where it does, but some things are inexplicably right. I don't know what lies ahead. I have an album coming out early this year. Whatever inspires you to jump out of bed and whatever you are passionate about, I wish you a 2016 rich in THAT !   

lyrics ! 

Lyrics are such an enormous part of a song to me.  As we are putting the last finishing touches on my new album at the moment, one of the things I've been looking forward to, is sharing all the new lyrics on a page here.  Some people have been asking me about lyrics, until now they've only ever been in the cd artwork .. so here goes ! I'm going to do all the albums while I'm here, so I start today with this one, Beautiful Spiders.  

 BEAUTIFUL SPIDERS

written by Elizabeth Geyer   /  all copyrights  reserved

From their webs the beautiful spiders wait and watch

As Cupid walks out between bride and blush

and wife and lot

They can't see the web from their dreary lives

And they can't go alone

Beautiful spiders by their sides

And there's nothing so true as a spider in love

Que Sera Sera, they're taking them out as they run with their hearts

Tagging their prey in a moment of lust

Remember me when spiders' desires turn to dust

 

Spiders forever clean the slates

They lick up the icing and leave all the cake

From one who swore they had their last spidery chance

well I'm under their spell from the very first dance

Beautiful spiders on the run

the last few tweaks to truth's final draft and they're done!

The picture is big so mark my words

We spiders taste sweet

Just ask the birds.

.

From Both Sides Now 

13/10/15
I wanted to share an older song today. This is a cover of Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now from my first album. Recording is thankfully more low key these days and booking that studio and everyone for two days back then was one of the most terrifying things I ever did. There is no greater high than making music with musicians you are truly in sync with. But I have always been drawn to the intimacy and simplicity of playing piano and singing solo too.. it is kind of therapy. https://www.reverbnation.com/elizabethgeyer/song/3533683-from-both-sides-now

Gospel - comforting, simple, wise 

I have new appreciation for the old gospel songs.. especially the lyrics, which weren't intellectual or clever but full of simple wisdom and comfort. They were more spiritual at their core and if you really think about it, 'goin down to the river to pray', laying your burden down, with the great lines sung over and over, 'ain't gonna study war no more', those songs have all the answers for the human race.. if only we could all live by them all the time.. I guess that's why we're human!

Technology 

There are some good things about being technologically way behind. Life is simpler, not having to keep up with the latest of anything. There is less noise. I don't know or care about apps (yet) because my phone can only do calls and texts. It has one game called CITY BLOXX. The trouble is, every ten years or so I think you have to catch right back up or you literally fall out of the human race, which I am on the verge of right now. There is something revolting about getting excited about anything that is obsolete after six months. But I am kind of looking forward to getting a smart phone with a good camera and VIDEO. Life will be a wee bit easier. Are they still even called smart phones? Maybe that is a bit last week..

Touched By An Angel 

Does anyone remember that tv show Touched By An Angel?
I am not a religious person. I do like the idea of a church though, based on some of the core Christian messages of love, peace, forgiveness but one that doesn't judge or try to convert others. Instead it would embrace them as equal, born in their own skin, gender, faith and sexuality so long as they aren't hurting anyone based on 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'
A church that doesn't concern itself with whether anyone is 'Christian' or 'non Christian' or going to 'Heaven' or 'Hell' but instead went back to the basic loving core values of Jesus and others ( but back to the actual values themselves) who live by them.
A church that is not a giant business empire, interested in your money.
A church that doesn't take every word in the bible so literally or get so legalistic.
I have yet to come across such a church myself but Touched By An Angel celebrated all I am talking about and I know there are others who feel the same. Music to me IS a form of worship, prayer and gratitude to God. It's just not a religious God!

album cover 

Hey I am wondering if you could please help me :) We are trying to choose an album cover and it's down to these two. Which one would you choose and why? You can answer here, or you can email me at elizabethgeyer@ihug.com.au . Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

my first koala 

ok, this is a pretty bad photo I know. But see that dark blob in the middle of the tree? That's the first koala I have ever seen in the wild. I saw ten today. It's slightly embarrassing that I've lived in Australia my whole life and never seen this before, and all along it's been a two hour walk from here. The koala was all I hoped too - big round fuzzy ears, looking around sleepily. Very cute. A very good day!

 

 

Bruce Lundvall 

I am very sad to hear that Bruce Lundvall just passed away. I never met him in person. But two years a friend saw Bruce being interviewed on a TV show about Eva Cassidy, After watching the show he tracked down an email for Bruce and wrote to him about my music and how much of an inspiration Eva Cassidy had been to me. To our amazement Bruce not only got the email but phoned Paul the next day and asked if he could send him some of  my music. After he received the album Bruce called again. He seemed to be genuinely excited about what he had heard and wanted another album.   Over the next year, as we started recording my new album, Bruce became a kind of 'champion' to me , a human angel if that makes sense. Sometimes he would leave a phone message just to say he was still listening. When I went to America I was finally able to meet Bruce myself over the phone and we had a couple of very long conversations. I was so nervous, knowing this man signed some of the biggest music names in the world including Norah Jones, Herbie Hancock, Willie Nelson and countless others. Even  my trumpet hero Freddie Hubbard!

 But my nerves faded. We talked  about not just my music but his life and  everything including what a tough time he was having with Parkinson's disease. He was already losing some of his independence. Still he continued to  try to help, playing my music on his radio show and said he would try to get me signed.  He also loved  the three new tracks we sent him. We planned to get to New York to meet in person, but unfortunately ran out of time due to recording. Sadly my album was not yet finished and Bruce's health was deteriorating badly by then. Even his speech was difficult. Contact  became limited this past year as he had moved into assisted care.

  It's still magical to me that someone like Bruce  reached out as genuinely and often as  he did. I didn't know Bruce for long, or arguably even very well. But from our conversations it was clear he lived for music and somehow hadn't become hardened in his heart by a whole lifetime at the top of the music BUSINESS.  I'm only one, but he has been a light on my own musical path. But all of his phenomenal musical achievements aside, more than anything, Bruce struck me as a good guy - humble and genuine. Who deeply loved music.

the definition of luxury 

There is a new song in me, I have  a strong feeling, that is busting to get out, and today I actually get to do that.  Life is simpler than it has been for as long as I can remember, and if I had to define 'luxury', it's not money but time. Sure maybe money can buy time but it just as often seems to end up buying more things and a complicated life. Luxury I think is time -   to write songs and in my journal and to listen - to music, God and others when they are talking, to read, walk, be present. It's incredible to have a new album almost ready to go, to be able to think about future albums. The internet, which I curse when I see the whole world on their phones instead of talking to each other, on the flip side also means I can share this new music soon with others. I'm so grateful for this time.

the unknown is exciting 

I am excited. Why? I don't know. The future is unknown yet again.  I am excited about the unknown, what is possible, change, travel, music. I am missing the gigs but  I've never felt closer to who I always wanted to be, making the music that is most exciting and romantic to me.