A Mixed Tape Saved My Life 

Summer 1989: middle school hell over and preparing to enter my freshman year at a tiny rural Maine prep school (Hebron Academy; my mom taught there. . . not an actual “prep”). I had been living in Mechanic Falls for two years. I’m sure it’s nice now, but it was a rough place live out my awkwardest years. By the grace of God I started guitar lessons at Jack’s Music Loft at age 11, and sought shelter in music. Thankfully, I had summer camp to look forward. Since third grade, Pilgrim Lodge on Cobbosseecontee…

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Happy New Year! 

I’m pretty excited for 2019. I made some major changes last year. Now I’m ready to settle into them and see what happens. To review: 1) I left teaching—I had been a middle and high school social studies teacher for 6 years. It was great, but I was ready for a change; 2) I started doing carpentry—I’ve been doing repair work for years and wanted to do more. I have a lot to learn, but I’m now building houses (and furniture at home); 3) I played a mess of gigs—and I plan to play out at least once a month,…

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What am I doing? Why? 

I’ve never been good at elevator speeches. I have a hard time just answering “what kind of music do you play?” Even though I have a hard time explaining to others, I should know what I’m doing and why, right? 

Okay, then. . . here goes. Short answer: bringing people together. Long answer: music may be the oldest form of communication. Some anthropologists argue that music preceded speech among humans (See Music and the Mind by Anthony Storr). Just like birds communicate through song, people may have done…

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Giving is good 

. . . and not just because it’s the “giving season” either. Giving is part of an energetic exchange, a cycle of giving and receiving. It’s no coincidence that the word currency derives from the Latin currere, meaning “to run” or “flow.” Currency is more than just money—it is a medium of exchange—give and take. But money is just one form of exchange. There are many ways to give, and the more we give the more we receive. Share your gifts, receive what you most need and want. I recently wrote a song, “No…

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Pause for Reflection 

3 months ago I left teaching to pursue music and carpentry. In those 3 months I have played 12 gigs and worked close to full time building, fixing, smashing, and lifting. With the kids and all the plans that come with summer I have been busy. . . really busy, but not stressed; fulfilled. 

 

When we seek and carry out our outer purpose (what we do with our everyday lives) even the otherwise tedious chores are joyful. For example, every Tuesday (theoretically) I do the finances—a chore I used to put off…

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Inspired, not Envious 

Once upon a time, when seeing a really good new band, I might have been jealous or depressed, wondering why I bother to make music at all. Granted, I was a lot more sullen in my younger years. These days, I get really excited to see/hear good music, often getting ideas for how to improve my own songwriting or performances. I had the chance to encounter two new (to me) artists this weekend at the annual Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine (one really should attend at least once in their life, if not…

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Words and Music 

As a songwriter, I deal with words as much as music. Lately I have been feeling that the words struggle to match the power of the music. How can they? When Bowie belts “is there Life on Mars?” it’s not the query that prickles my skin and makes a lump in my throat, but the impassioned delivery, striking interval, and climactic music. You may be a poetry lover, yourself, but I am a music lover. 

 

Though I spent many years claiming to be a guitarist or bass player, I really am a singer. I love to sing and…

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Chris Kemp White Newsletter June 2018 

Gratitude.

I have been thinking a lot about this. Last weekend I took a trip to Mars Hill to play a gig. A long way to drive to play a couple sets to a small group of people. It went well—I was satisfied with my performance and the audience genuinely enjoyed themselves and showed their appreciation. But so much more happened to make this trip special.

A couple months ago, I reached out to venues on Facebook, looking for places that are friendly to original music. Right away I got a response from Michael…

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Unknown 

A month or so ago I wrote what seemed to me like a Seussian sort of poem called “Unknown.”

 

I used to know 
and now I don’t
The way to get to there

 

I try to recall
But think I won’t
Find it anywhere

 

I was found
But now I’m lost
And wander to and fro

 

Maybe I could make a sign
And go where
It says to go

 

And so I did
And off I went
In search of where I’m going

 

Along the way
Is so much more than
I ever thought of knowing

 

Coincidentally (or not), Rachel just read an e-mail to me from Trinity Esoterics: “Your…

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What is music? 

What is Music?

 

As long as I have been performing music with others, I have been aware of an almost psychic communication that occurs among musicians. Without words, cues, or even eye contact, the players know when the hit is coming, where the singer will take us, when to reign it in, and when to let loose. Certainly there is practice involved, and an intimacy and familiarity among the players. However, I believe four musicians who have never met and speak different languages could conceivably achieve…

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