Paul Thorn’s new album, Too Blessed to Be Stressed, is a slice of feel-good Southern blues-rock, Americana which will have you singing along, counting your blessings and smiling until the next time you get a chance to play it.
One of the songs is Don’t Let Nobody Rob You of Your Joy, where Thorn considers the trials of life on the road and the precariousness of not having a 9 to 5 job, but concludes that “I live by the words my grandpa always said Don’t let nobody rob you of your joy…” In the face of the difficulties that life throws at us:
Life is so short, none of us are here for long…
Step ut of the darkness, every woman, child and man
Open your window, let the light of life shine in
And don’t let nobody rob you of your job.
Dateline: September 24th 2014
Event: The World Tour of Belfast by Acoustic Earth
The long anticipated day had arrived. My mood was one of optimism as I was about to begin a new musical venture with my fellow singer songwriters Tony Floyd Kenna and Dermot Reynolds. Without hesitation we three stepped out boldly to our first gig together which was to serenade the diners At The City Picnic in Castle Street. What a pleasure it was to draw attention form the passers by who then came in to listen and eat. The atmosphere was great as the diners and staff applauded us and joined in with the craic! We were even fed by our hosts and the food was gorgeous. Thank you very much City Picnic.
Our debut gig was a success and it secured us another booking at the City Picnic for their big launch of live music events for their diners in October!
On a high we went on to the second part of our tour which was to play at the Society Sessions at the Belfast Empire. What a feeling to perform at this auspicious venue. Friends old and new turned out to see the line up and we were going to give them our best. With Tony and Dermot playing on top form and my singing voice in the best tune we gave a lively and entertaining show and the crowd showed their appreciation. Afterwards there was plenty of feedback too as to how much they had enjoyed it which is the best compliment they could give when they were hearing our material for the first time. We Were able to sit back too and enjoy the contributions of the Other artists on the line up so all in all it was a splendid night.
However this is not the end of the tour as on Thursday 25th we took ourselves down to my neck of the woods to the Beat’n’Track studio and recorded a selection of three songs for our first CD release which was to be called “Postcard from Bangor” by Acoustic Earth.
Tony is the master of getting the best from us all and we did every track in the First take and then they were finalised by our engineer for the afternoon Pete Pratt who did a great job for us.
All that as left to do was to take Tony and Dermot to the train station and wish then a fond farewell until our next meeting. Two days of bliss. Thank you.
Well today was another one of those days where I got up with a plan but without any preconceptions as to how it would unfold in reality. I have learned over recent years that this is the best way for me to have a contented day. The more realistic my expectations are the more content I am. I have always been so self critical, and took years to get over the perception that no matter how much I ddi I would never be the equal of others. That is such a bad attitude and it kept me in bondage to the notion that I had to be a people pleaser and always be whatever I thought other people needed me to be. It wasn’t always that they were setting the targets for me. It was just how I saw it because all through my early years I was discouraged from being the unique individual I am and made to feel I was ‘showing off’ or dreaming for too much.
Some may say that I am being way too open in what I am writing here but for me it is the sharing of my experience that may be of service to others. It may serve to warn them not to fall into this trap and be led off the good and true path that is the way they want to go. We all have skills and talents and to be able to use them to make a living, get job satisfaction and bring joy and peace to one’s own life and the life of others seems to be a fine purpose. By listening to one’s intuition and following God’s bigger plan for us, if that is what we believe in, we can have useful, fulfilled and contented lives despite what obstacles and hardships come our way.
That’s how the next few days will be for me. I have travelled to visit my sons and, after making the arrangements, some sad news came in that one of our relatives had passed away. We had made plans to do decorating, have a laugh and work at the same time and just enjoy being together but life happens. Our plans are now revised but they will still be made ‘on the fly’ as nothing is set in stone in this life no matter how much planning goes into it.
On Sunday night the pastor at church preached on our use of time in this life. He likened our three score and ten to the length of a week and each one of us can easily gauge where we are on that timeline in the natural scheme of things. I’ve already had a few reprieves to being called home early so I think my God still has things for me to do here on earth but I try not to take any time I may have for granted. I am glad I have refocused on seeking out what the Lord would have me do and He is showing me so much that I am overwhelmed by His generosity!
Doors have opened to me in the last year that only revealed what was behind them because I stopped letting fear be my master. I became bold again and this brought strength because I was once again praying and seeking God’s direction. I have made the acquaintance of so many good people who have helped me along my way and my only prayer for them is that they receive the love back towards them that they have shown to me.
So, once again, I am using the skills that I have been blessed with and this week so far I have been well organised and early for whatever I needed to do. The days to come this week may roll that way too or be completely ad lib but either way I will be thankful. My prayers tonight are for the grieving family.
It would seem that my choice of title for this blog is going to resonate throughout all aspects of my life. The theme chosen by a songwriting group that I participate in is also New Beginnings and I had no input in the suggestion of the idea!
Also I am being given artistic recognition by having my interpretation of a song by Tony Floyd Kenna, called ‘All the Colours’, included on a compilation CD. This will be commercially produced and be on sale so I feel very grateful for that opportunity.
I am working on a new business idea also that, if it comes off. will be a wonderful new beginning for me as it will be my first time ever really working for myself and doing a job that is combining my practical and artistic skills but I will say no more about that until it is ready for launch!
Well I am very happy to share my latest recording with the world. I loved this song from the first time I heard it and Tony was very gracious to let me produce my own interpretation of it. For me, this song is universal and the sentiment would apply to so many loves ones and even to my Creator -the One who made all the colours!
It is six in the evening and the countdown to a New Year has begun in ernest. So many resolutions will be made about how we will try to be more healthy, take more exercise or give up some addiction or another. I don’t want to sound preachy, or cop out either, but how many people ever ask God to show them the things they need to prioritize, give up or work on? I know I have fallen short often enough by relying on self to know what is best for me because so many times my greatest efforts have been dashed because they are misdirected. The way I can set myself up to succeed it to pray, listen for the answer and then act on it whether or not it seem logical, or favourable to me. I just don’t always know what is good for me so I need help and guidance and who better to ask than my Creator.
I have resolved to do better. not just next year, but in the next minute or hour as I am too well aware of my propensity to procrastinate. So I’ve had my tea and the only thing I need to do is go and visit my mum and show her how happy I am that I still have her around and that I love her. My action will speak so much more loudly than any words as I see her face light up as she sees me. I am all to her yet she makes no demands so I honour her as my God directs by offering up my time, companionship and love until the day comes when she and I are parted. It is a very small sacrifice for someone who has done so much for me and it is worth so much more to me than heading out to some venue to ring in the New Year with total strangers who will party on whether I am there or not.
God bless you all and may 2013 be everything you need it to be.
As this year comes to an end I can say, in truth, that I have been mightily blessed. I am of the fortunate persuasion that after bad things have happened to me I can work through them and move on into a positive place.
At the beginning of 2012 I was in a place I had never been before. Broke, poor health, no job and low in self confidence. In January I got a job, in July I had my garden redesigned and I had my sons and mum spend time at home with me for Christmas. During other times of the year I got the chance to collaborate in song writing and doing vocals on other musicians’ songs and went to Dublin to meet up with these lovely people from Ireland and the UK.
At this end of the year all that has changed and I am as humble and grateful for the lows as I am for the highs for I have learnt through them all. I could never have known any of this could happen to me and to be fair I am glad I had no fore warning for I may have either worried too much or never had the confidence to go forward with any of it!
I hope that as time goes by I will be able to share that life is going well for me and that the dreams and hopes I have will become realities. The main thing is that I want to do what I feel called to do and not just ride through life on a selfish track. I have known that path and it was really only lived from the position of fear and need to be in control. I know now that fear is a cruel master and one best left behind. Here’s to a life lived out in faith, hope and love!