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 Stiggle at Timberwolves in Mars Hill. Mike is attempting to heal a depressed community through food, love, and deep faith. Entering Timberwolves from the quiet dusty road is like walking into another world: dreamcatchers and paintings of wolves hang on the wall, the music of Coldplay and John Mayer are playing, the unmistakable smell of freshly burned sage hangs in the air… and there is Mike behind the bar.
When you visit his restaurant, and I really hope you do, Mike will tell you about his mission. He will talk with you about authenticity, he will tell you about the struggles of the community, and how he hopes to change it, one meal at a time. What really struck me though, was how he interacted with every soul that set foot through the door—with complete attention, genuine concern, and a fearlessness about who he is and what he is doing. Where you would expect a restauranteur to be ingratiating and deferential, Mike is honest and “real.”
In getting to know him, I discovered the real reason I was there: to share a message—a message of hope, change, love, and utter faith that everything is as it should be. I am grateful to Mike Stiggle, his wife, and his employees at Timberwolves for everything they taught me.
As a bonus, I visited with a couple I had not seen in 35 years: family friends whose sons I played with as a child. They came from Houlton to see my performance. I moved from Houlton with my family on my 6th birthday, yet it has always stuck with me. If you visit Aroostook County, you will discover incredible hospitality… I rediscovered it this weekend, and I am grateful.
I am especially grateful to Rachel, my wife, and my two children for accompanying me on a 4-hour trip. Rachel and I imagined a life where we travelled together, doing the work we love, and that is exactly what we did. A great way to kick off the Chris Kemp White Summer 2018 tour.
If you want a nearer venue, I will be at Liberty Brewing Company June 9. Still too far? Come find me at Easy Day in South Portland, June 16 (with CatHaus) and 28, at Harborview Park in Portland as part of Make Music Portland on the 21st, and at the Thirsty Pig on the 23rd. More details at www.chriskempwhite.com.
If I am so blessed to see you at a gig, I will perform for you a song that I am really proud of. “It’s Never the Right Time” is about giving up excuses and embracing our purest desires. For me this means pursuing my passions: music and working with my hands. As of this month, I will have given up public school teaching, so that I can write, record, and perform music, repair and beautify homes, tune pianos, and a number of other ventures. I feel so strongly about this song, that I’ve entered into the International Song Competition. With that, I should offer a great big thank you to the bright, talented, and eternally joyful faculty and staff of Maine Connections Academy, with whom I have had the pleasure of working for two years.
More gratitude: starting this summer I will be doing some work with a fantastic contractor, good friend, and great musician, Eric Drew. If you want something built, and you want it built really well by an incredibly nice person, he’s your man. Give me a shout and I’ll put you in touch.
Speaking of ventures: if you’re looking for a unique, custom made, one-of-a-kind gift, I can write a custom song for you. Because sometimes words don't express what we want to convey to someone. Or we want to show them deep gratitude or love or just kindness with something incredibly unique and memorable. Have you ever wished that someone would write a song about you? What if they can? Music and lyrics tailored to your unique self or to someone you care about. Kind of like having a star named after you. If you are interested in having a one-of-a-kind custom song written and recorded to give a loved one, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out this questionnaire.
If I haven’t expressed enough gratitude already, let me offer one more big thank you to my soul partner, confidant, and best friend, Rachel Horton White. I am truly blessed by her wisdom and guidance, and I strongly suggest you look to her if you’re looking for guidance in your life, want to make a change, develop your intuitive gifts, break down barriers, or learn about your past. She works with individuals, offers workshops, and so much more. Find her at Soulful Work Intuitive Consulting.