“The spotlight sweeps across so fast”

I just came online to do my “Monday before the big show” presale ticket push, and the first thing I saw was an announcement that the mother of one of my young students – a local music supporter, wonderful person, and friend – just passed away from complications from her recent surgery.  I’m in shock.  And so sad for her daughter and husband.

Steph Bailey’s daughter has been a voice student of mine for a couple of years.  Steph always sat in on lessons and did social media on her tablet or phone while we sang American Authors songs.  Steph was always upbeat and, until recently, was a regular on the local music scene.  She even sold tickets for me, for our first AEG show, and she booked my band a couple of times.  But the best thing about her was her amazing ability to bounce back from anything.  She took everything in stride, was always encouraging, always had something nice to say.  It is going to take a while to sink in that she’s gone.  It was so sudden.  In fact, I talked to her just two days ago because she couldn’t make the lesson because of mountain traffic.

The shortness of life has obsessed me my entire life.  In fact, there was some song out in the early 80’s that went something like, “and now you’re getting older, and older, and older, and now you’re getting older still.”  That song is a nightmare because it’s how I feel about every second and every day. We are all just little ants on an enormous timeline.  Our short lives are illuminated briefly by a spotlight sweeping across this timeline.  We’re alive for just a split second.

The good thing about this obsession is that it has led me to not waste my life.  I constantly ask myself if I am doing what I most want to be doing.  Not in a hedonistic, instant-gratification way, but in a big-picture way.

And this awareness also helps me appreciate the good things going on around me – because things tend to end without warning.  Even things that you felt were permanent.  When you know that whatever thing you’re enjoying will end, you appreciate it more.

So that’s why we’re going all-out with the next show.  Because you never know… it could be the last one.

It shouldn’t, but you never know.

tickets ]

“Take It In” is a song I wrote about this sentiment.  Now, I’ll dedicate it to Steph Bailey, one of the brightest and most upbeat people I’ve ever known.

You can hear this song by clicking through the audio player at the bottom of the page.  It’s the fourth song.

behind those pretty hazel eyes,
she flashed a pretty secret smile
it got him hooked, so he just looked and took her in

they snapped no summer photographs
to prove that they had loved and laughed
they just drove the open road and took it in

road trip west, golden crest into burning leaves
holding hands, changing plans, wanting to be free
lonely nights when nothing’s right
dust into the wind

just remember you were here….

the spotlight sweeps across so fast
it’s dark too soon, nothing lasts
so let it seep into your skin while you can, take it in

try to feel it deeper yet
if it marks your heart, you won’t forget
don’t be afraid, open up and take it in, take it in

take it in, take it in
just take it, take it, take it, take it in

driving east, pedal pushed, to the rising sun
the windows down, music up, and the heater on
everything behind is gone, left inside a dream

so remember what you’re feeling now
the light, the heat, the love, the crowd
we’ve never been right here like this before
and will not be again

so take it in, take it in
just take it, take it, take it, take it in

the spotlight sweeps across so fast
it’s dark too soon, nothing lasts
so let it seep into your skin while you can, take it in

try to feel it deeper yet
if it marks your heart, you won’t forget
don’t be afraid, open up and take it in, take it in

running through the sprinkler on the lawn in the Phoenix desert sun…
cruising Central Avenue high school nights in Dad’s red pickup truck…

the drive to the other side of the world not knowing how you’d eat or live…
sitting on that dock wondering why you couldn’t seem to give…

that solo trip to Sonar fest, white alleys of Ibiza town,
adobe walls and narrow streets cooling off so much when the sun went down…

that French guy you stayed up with speaking Spanish with til way past dawn,
the one you loved and lost and still can’t get your mind around!

take it in… take it, take it, take it, take it in