After being “schooled” by Johnny Neal, former Allman Brothers keyboardist, and Adam Wakefield, himself a great keys player and vocalist, had an enlightening conversation last night at Neighbors with harmonica-ist, Gregory Hommert. We talked, in the space of about seven minutes, about finding one’s voice, relating to the public, surviving in Nashville, and setting your own artistic criteria. Generally,

I play well, I have all the notes, all the heady stuff, but I’m missing the stuff here (I point to my heart) and, well, here (I point to my stomach and, finally, my groin area). I mean, it’s all down there, you know, the lower energy. It’s sexual energy, is what it is. It’s the stuff they don’t teach in school, because they can’t, and they knock it because they can’t do it. And all this time I’ve been learning how to play tunes, and scales and modes, and transcribing solos, which is great, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been missing this vital element. And I know they’re right when they tell me something’s missing, because I’ve been experiencing this in other areas of my life, this lack of Lower Energy, and it’s not just in music, but it’s in all areas of life. And although I don’t necessarily need to take their word as canon, I’m still mature enough to see that it can help me. Yes, I know their type of music doesn’t necessarily fall into my territory, but I know where they’re coming from and want to incorporate that into my music. The squeeze, the whiskey, what Billy Joel calls the “leslie cabinet in the back of the throat,” that’s hard to do. It’s the hardest, because you’re taking this (Adam pointed to my heart) and wearing it on this (here he pointed to my wrist). You’re wearing your heart on your sleeve, and that’s the hardest thing to do. And I see the value in that, I really do, and I want to learn how to do that, because it’s part of this whole Lower Energy thing, this thing I’ve been missing, well, most of my life, and I know it’s not everything I want to do, but it sure is a big part of it!

Funny… I had to come down here to start to learn this shit.


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