I can’t help but think about my upbringing during this time of year. It’s where I came from. It’s why I’m here. It’s who I am. I carry that around with me. I think all of us do. My siblings and I are separated by distance. And as I watch my sibling’s children follow the same pattern I wonder where they will end up. I wonder where it is that they will call “home.”
I have always had a yearning to find home. My thought of “home” is the place where I grew up. It’s that place where there was always singing and music. It was something that we just did. It was the pattern of our lives. We evolved and expanded, individually and as a family. Inspiration and creativity always knocked on the front door. Sometimes it would come in and stick around for a very long time.
A dear friend gave me a new description of home a few years ago that has really stuck with me. “The truest home that any of us will ever have is the experience of being home within ourselves.” That simple thought had me thinking a little differently about the distance that separates me from those memories of home. Those memories of love, music, creativity and play, are in part, how that new song will find me. It chases me around until I pay attention and do something about it. It’s where it will take shape and wiggle its way into my heart. It’s where my voice comes from. Don’t get me wrong. Nothing beats the real thing when it comes to missing family and getting face-time and hugs from the DeFrange clan. But I think I get what my friend was trying to tell me. Because when a new song comes to visit, I get to go back there again. When I close my eyes and sing, I’m walking through the front door. And without even realizing it I am there. I’ve arrived. I’m inside. I’m home.
I've always wondered what it means when someone says they've come "full circle." As I get older, an understanding of this commonly used phrase shows itself to me. This year I've been focusing on my roots in music. I'm writing new material and revamping existing songs to represent who I am now, in this space and time. It feels smooth and easy, almost. This has been a surprise to me! I thought this would be like dragging my feet in wet clay. But I think what has happened is that now, I am truly doing my music for the pure joy of creating and expressing it. It's the true and authentic me. There is no agenda to try to fit myself in some other idea of what music should be. And if I create something that doesn't move me or feel good a day later, I don't feel obligated to finish it. Last year I sat down and actually looked at all the material I've written over the years. What a joy it's been to dust off some little gem of a song written a while ago and bring it back to me...give it new life and meaning. In some cases, I've revamped entire verses of lyric, chords and melody. It's a thrilling and fulfilling process to see and hear the transformation. Much like the cocoon and butterfly.
I've been collaborating with long-time friend and music buddy, Fred Tribuzzo. Fred has always been masterful on the bass but over the last 3 years has become adept on guitar as well. We've worked on my material on and off for various projects, but nothing has come close to the one-on-one collaborating I did with Fred back in our early years of playing music together. Except for now. The beauty of connecting again now is that he has also come full circle. Like myself, he's been looking to create, play and discover music just for the joy of it. In all those years that we've been in and out with our music connection, this is proving to be the best yet! Our combined years of collective music experiences has brought an extra magic and maturity with it. Fred's intuitive "knowing" of my music has always been uncanny. Now, that unspoken magic seems even more predominant and easy. I'm so excited at the thought of sharing this new facet of my life in the very near future...