table for one. a finale.

Thanks to my friends for attending the table for one. CD release “event” on February 20, 2017. It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad to share the music that I have created with everyone. Special thanks to Shannon Munn for opening Cannon Coffee Co. especially for the event and also to Douglas Steckle for shepherding me to and from the event and helping out. Both of you are amazing!

Thanks also to Cindy Schnaithmann for making the Cannon work as a venue and making the arranging of it so easy, despite the construction the cafe is undergoing this week!

As I came down from last night’s performance, I reflected on the journey that has been the table for one. experience.

Life is a constant evolution. table for one. documents a 7 year period in life where I dealt with my husband’s cancer, his transplant surgery, and then his death, followed by my father’s death one year later and the ensuing nervous break down…the past three years have been of reflection, healing and moving forward…and the songs in the table for one. cycle reflect that.

I realized after performing certain songs that I can no longer go back into the particular headspace and “heartspace” that they represent any further. While they are my creations and I’m proud of them in their own right, sometimes they need to be set free and exist on their own…as a marker of a particular moment in time.

being human. is one such song as is patient. Both have had their chance to be shared and the emotions therein expressed but my heart, mind and spirit are just not in them any more.

I’m happy that these songs can still resonate with people and that they will listen to them and gain strength and whatever joy they from them, however they are not for me any further. These compositions and recording belong to the world at this point. I will protect and guard them, however I will not revisit them as a performer.

I’ve also been able to use the table for one. experience to reflect on the writing for a CD, recording it and releasing it as a single project/object and realized that at this point in my career, it is not a sound artistic and financial prospect.

You may have noticed my Patreon page being mentioned earlier last week. This represents the next step in my career and musician and will focus on the release of musical items as they are created. We shall chat about this at a later date.

That being said, I still have a small stock of CDs left, so if you’d like one, please let me know and we’ll work it out!

Thanks for your continued support and patience!

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table for one. in conclusion

As the final chapter of the birth table for one. draws to a conclusion, I’m reflecting on how different my life is from the first attempts at writing sitting in The Brain on that fateful Art Crawl night after Larry’s diagnosis.

Seven years.  Seven.  Fucking.  Years.  Four surgeries.  Three deaths.  One nervous breakdown.  Five days of recording.  One album.  One life.

I’m far less angry.  I’m far less scared.  I’m far less impatient.  I’m far less tolerant of negativity.

Throughout all of this change, I have been re-evaluating my life and what it means to be me.  An old acquaintance used to say “Simplify and do everything.” as a joke, however this saying has summed up the past three years of my life.  As I jettison the trappings and detritus I have had surrounding me, the resulting physical, mental and emotional space is allowing me to focus more on things that are important to me.

As my life becomes simpler, I’m able to focus on more.  I’m also making important choices that have impacted on my happiness and health in a positive manner.

Seven years ago, I was close to four hundred pounds, having replaced my chemical addictions with food to medicate my unhappiness.  Seven years ago, I was so focused on my career that both my health and chosen form of expression (music) languished and suffered.  I was in my thirties with sleep apnea, high blood pressure, failing knees and ankles and pre-diabetic.

I thought I was happy, but truly the one light in my life was diagnosed with cancer and we focused on fighting the battle for his life.  Fast forward to now and I’ve survived the loss of my husband, my father, a beloved animal companion, been through a year of treatment for PTSD and anxiety, continue to battle my weight, keeping it down to a healthy level.

I am now hovering around two hundred pounds, eating a clean diet, drug and alcohol free almost thirteen years, breathing easily and most of my other health issues have resolved.

I am also writing further music that reflects a need to carry on, to learn and grow, as well as collaborating with other songwriters and music makers…my catharsis is complete – time to remove my life from suspended animation and continue moving forward.

Simplify and do everything indeed.

 

on questionid.

After my Dad died in November 2014, and my nervous breakdown that December, it was clear that I had pretty major work to do to get my shit together again.  After packing up my basses and other instruments and coming home from my vacation, I proceeded to throw myself fully into therapy.

I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.  When asked what the treatment options were, I proceeded with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing combined with working with cognitive behavioural therapy and for a VERY brief time, medication.  I spent a period of six months of intense self-examination and questioning my identity.

there’s a question that we must all ask ourselves one day,
and there is no easy answer.
an act of self-examination, a question demanding truth
with no correct response.

each time i ask this question, i get a different response,
each interrogation brings further confusion.
forcing me to evaluate my responses from the past;
leaving me further lost in a world of my own creation.

This last stanza is the truth.  Who I am depends on the day and how I’m feeling.  Some days I am pain.  Some days I am rage.  Some days I am love.  Some days I am fear.  Most days I am confused.

However I am not lost in a world of my own creation anymore.  That world was where I spent from age 13 to age 30, where I was medicated, often drunk and avoiding the old wounds, which continued to fester until 2010.

From 2010, the festering wounds were covered with the psychological equivalent of a flesh tone bandage…until it got ripped off over 2013 and 2014.

who am i?
no response to this simple question.
each person i ask has different opinions,
conflicting responses.
who am i?
further confusion building inside me;
every time i peer inside it changes
no simple answers.

I was discharged from EMDR after a year and discontinued my medications after a scare caused by a side effect of anti-depressants.  I am not anti-medications, however I know they don’t work for me.  I’d rather be able to think and feel, with the risk of having a meltdown every now and then, versus being a placid, potentially suicidal zombie.  This decision was made with full support of my medical professionals and with full knowledge of having to do some seriously heavy lifting as far as therapy and being real with myself.

i asked myself this question again today
and got yet another answer
i answered as truthfully as i could, cutting to the quick
leaving nothing to chance.

who am i?
no response to this simple question.
each person i ask has different opinions,
conflicting responses.
who am i?
further confusion building inside me;
every time i peer inside it changes
no simple answers.

there’s a question that i repeatedly ask myself.
and never seem to like my response.
an act of self-examination, forcing me to be true,
leaving me empty and confused.

The act of self-evaluation and forcing myself to face my reality, past experiences and history has been both horrifically challenging and frightening as well as enlightening.  As I peel away the layers, I am removing blockages that are preventing me from moving forward.  I couldn’t have written this music, I couldn’t have chosen to perform it, I couldn’t record and release table for one. and leave it open, vulnerable, to the world.

Yes, table for one. is as much a part of my therapy, recovery and healing as any of the psychological work I’ve done.  Having released it to the wider world has been both liberating and terrifying as I now have a wide open road ahead of me, free from obstruction.

who am i?
no response to this simple question.
each person i ask has different opinions,
conflicting responses.
who am i?
further confusion building inside me;
every time i peer inside it changes
no simple answers.

Yes I continue to struggle with my identity.  I continue to struggle with my ego.  I continue to wrestle with my past.  I continue to struggle with my future.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way!

no such thing as a free ride: budgeting for an album explained

I’m going to preface this with the fact that I’m happy, overwhelmed and honoured by the response to table for one., both the live show and the recording.  However, this is my response to the most asked question about this.
Well folks, it’s happened.  Less than 24 hours of being available online, I’ve had the inevitable requests for a free copy of table for one.
If this happens in person, the person asking will likely get a head tilt, followed by “the look” and then a brief and simple “no.” from me.
If you were going to get a free copy of the $10 download or the $15 CD, you would have been notified of it already – my next list is the folks who graciously pre-paid for copies of table for one. along with their tickets to the August 28, 2016 concert.  These folks should expect their email from me by the end of the day!
However, even as a labour of love, I cannot simply afford to give my music away.  And honestly, as it represents 7 years’ of my life distilled down into 10 songs, putting a monetary value on it hurts.   But it also represents a LOT of work and the accounting below does not include the hours of writing, rewriting, rehearsal, travel and administrative work necessary to produce such a document.
Keep in mind that I did this album as frugally as I could without resorting to doing it myself on Garageband, as I wanted to focus on the actual performances while an incredible professional focused on technical things like microphone placement and compression.
tableforoneaccounting-page-001
I’m grateful for the folks who have supported me, however I’d like to at least break even on this, so I can continue to afford to make music.  So, if I don’t offer you a free download or CD…this is why.
You will note that even on such a small budget, I still have quite a way to go before even recuperating the expenses of producing this album and why I’m equally frugal with who gets free copies of my life’s work.  I make music because I love doing it and I’m driven to do so.  I’m not asking for huge success, I’m hoping it will be at least self-supporting.

thinking thinky thoughts

Feeling interesting.  It’s funny because the lastest song is entitled “Another Man’s Dream” and it’s about moving out from under the shadow of my Dad, Larry and the people in the church who hurt me those years ago…

It’s kind of a statement/manifesto of self.

Once recording and promotion is done for table for one. there are the new projects already on tap.  Not the least of which will be a non-holiday Balderdash & Humbug collaboration.
The other Myke Hutchings works are going to be recorded and released as they happen to me.  The joys of not being tied to a project or CD release, and the realization that I don’t need to hit the studio unless I have something big, allows me to make on the fly and produce regularly.
Next step is refining what happened August 28th into something more concise and a little less traumatic for me and the audience.  Then taking the show on the road (albeit without four damned guitars) – I’ve heard that people elsewhere are interested and I’m more than willing to play house concerts or events if expenses can be covered.
I think my nervous breakdown in December 2014 was a good thing in hindsight.  I get that working as a sideman for another musician meant I would have only ever been the sideman and potentially another songwriting collaborator versus staring down the barrel of finally recording table for one. as an artist in my own right.  Again, evidence I can no longer live someone else’s dream.
A tough lesson to be taught and in all honestly a fucking brutal way to learn it.
At the same time, the band members have been fully supportive of me since, despite my letting them down.
I am constantly reminded how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.
You all are blessings in my life. I am truly grateful for your patience, kindness and support.

42 and counting

Douglas Adams wrote that 42 was the answer to the question which explained life, the universe and everything.
At 42, I can say that I have not been granted the wisdom and insight to confirm or deny this.
I’m still the same scared neurotic mess I always have been.
I’m just better at hiding it.
What a difference a few years makes.
I’m finally able to talk and write about this.  I guess a few years of psychotherapy and a better understanding that grieving is a continually ongoing and evolving process that changes and grows over time does make a difference.
If cancer had not fucked up our plans, Larry and I would have been on the cusp of celebrating the 2nd anniversary of our wedding (more on this later) and we would likely be in the process of going on a vacation.
But instead, I am on the cusp of 42, still a widower, still single and still sorting my shit out.
Single does not mean lonely (often) but it does mean alone.  However I’m in a far better place two years later.
Our plans had been to throw a 40th birthday party for me, so we could be surrounded by friends and family and enjoy the company of loved ones.  We had even arranged entertainment (in the form of a musician Mike Keneally and also a clown (Yup I was going to hire Mr. Rainbow to entertain at my own birthday!)- both of whom are very good friends of mine – so I could have everyone I love at my wedding).  In the middle of the shenanigans, there was to have been a surprise wedding wherein Larry and I were going to exchange vows and rings and reaffirm our love and devotion for each other legally and in front of our collective family.
However cancer had different plans.  I took the week of my 40th birthday off work and had a dumpster delivered so I could purge the house of items that were not gifted/donated/recycled or bequested.  It was hard work for me, physically, emotionally and spiritually, however it was very cathartic.
Last year, I can’t even remember what I did – birthdays have somewhat become a non-entity for me.  I suspect Doug Jones and I had dinner in and around that time and likely I had brunch/dinner with my family.
This year, I’m going to be at work as I’m drawing my time as a case manager to a close and am moving to a different role within my organization, in a different office.  I’ll be getting a haircut and going out for dinner with Doug to celebrate my surviving 42 years and my remaining clean and sober for 12 years.
But enough looking in the rear view mirror and let’s look ahead…

and now a commercial message

Hi folks!

As I approach the final stages of pre-production for my recording project “table for one.” I realized that the scope of the project had become slightly larger than I had initially anticipated.

What initially started as a simple song cycle about my experiences as a musician turned out to be more complex than I had ever imagined as I composed songs celebrating the triumphs of my husband’s recovery from cancer and then his passing from the ravages of that very same disease.

These days “table for one.” has both figuratively and literally taken on far more personal a meaning than establishing myself as a solo performer. During the writing process for this work, what initially started as a ten to twelve song cycle, has exploded into a thirty four song behemoth, which has since been pruned back into a more manageable and concise statement.

However there are a LOT of extra songs all of which have merit and deserve to be shared – however they just do not fit within the scope of “table for one.” anymore.
So in order to handle the following two major dilemmas:
1) Funding the production of “table for one.”
2) Allowing these orphan songs to be heard.

I am offering this to my friends and supporters!

Over the next year, while recording “table for one.”, I am also recording these orphan songs as well as a few other items ranging from cover songs that have inspired me to longer, more experimental works. I will be releasing these recordings on a monthly basis for you to stream, listen, enjoy and possibly even pay to download.

Starting April 28, 2014 I will post one of these orphaned songs for streaming and downloading from my Bandcamp site http://bloodwood.bandcamp.com/ at $2.00. If you like what you hear, you CAN pay more than $2.00 through the magic of bandcamp!

Every four weeks there will be a new release uploaded to Bandcamp.

You can also subscribe to the complete series of downloads for a minimum amount of $20.00. I will email subscribers when there is a new download available, complete with a link and download code to get your next song.

As incentive to this campaign, subscribers and those non-subscribers who have paid to download every song over the next year will also receive a free download of “table for one.” when it is released on April 14, 2015! Think of this as a “reverse kickstarter” where you get the incentives before the closing date! There may be even some surprise downloads during the next year in between the regularly scheduled downloads as a thank you to my generous subscribers (HINT HINT)!

For those folks who wish to pay more for their subscriptions or total individual downloads in order to support the production of “table for one.” I DO have other incentives for them as well!

$50.00 gets you the complete set of downloads of the individual songs, a download of “table for one.” AND a physical copy of “table for one.” on CD

$100.00 gets you the complete set of downloads of the individual songs, a download and CD copy of “table for one.” and a limited edition, hand bound booklet with lyrics, photos and other notes from the writing and recording of this project.

$250.00 gets you the complete set of downloads of the individual songs, a download and CD copy of “table for one.” the limited edition, hand bound booklet with lyrics, photos and other notes from the writing and recording of this project and an original piece of photographic artwork from me!

$500.00 gets you the complete set of downloads of the individual songs, a download and CD copy of “table for one.” the limited edition, hand bound booklet with lyrics, photos and other notes from the writing and recording of this project, an original piece of photographic artwork from me and a house concert at a date and time agreed upon by you and I after the April 14, 2015 release of “table for one.”