Roughly thirty or more years ago in a small performance hall at the University of New Mexico, called Keller Hall I had a huge misunderstanding. Although I had been a musician, a guitar player and a singer songwriter I was not formally trained. I had some music theory and some instrument lessons, but I was undisciplined. My dream was to become a music major, and my first year at the University of New Mexico exposed me to the wider world.
Keller Hall performance stage at the University of New Mexico
I had never heard of musical juries and didn't understand how they worked. But I knew about recording music, and having written several songs with the backing of my church friends as we finished our high school years I was eager to be recorded. So when I heard that student's juries were able to be recorded I signed up without realizing the context even to the point of bringing my band, Eclipse along with a drummer, bass player, violin player and singer!
To the credit of the assistants and staff, while they tolerated the misunderstanding and completed the recording, they did make it clear that this wasn't how they normally operated. Jury recordings are meant to capture a more pristine acoustic instruments and not a folk rock band. The recording was made with two microphones mounted on a tall stand at the front of the stage. The result was distorted when we played loud, and yet it was a record of our sound at the time, and my songwriting as it was.
This experience had all but faded into wherever memories and experiences fade into until 2022 when a received an email. It was one of those, "you may not remember me, but..." emails. The email arrived from Tim the younger brother of a friend of mine who along with a few other younger kids in the church formed a small fan club. I do remember them making tapes of our performances. I did not realize the impact on their minds and lives. Tim, explained that he is now a grown man and that he has been playing guitar for years and how my music has stayed with him and stimulated his creativity.
In fact he had grown to love heavy metal guitar music and he had been working on a version of my song that he had created! I was astonished to learn how my music had meant to him!
Tim had also digitized the full set of recordings from tape of all the songs we recorded that day at Keller Hall. When I listened back to these songs I was flooded with emotions and memories. I decided then and there to create a project to bring these songs back to life and to give myself permission to rewrite and reimagine each piece. I feel that this is a conversation across time with my younger self to understand myself better and to examine how I've grown as an artist and a person. To learn more follow this link to listen to recordings past and present from the Keller Hall Project!