The Insight Timer meditation app gets my recommendation as the go-to meditation app. While I don’t use most of the app’s many features, the timer and its settings alone make the app worth using. I also enjoy receiving the early-morning reminders I set up to receive each day. If you meditate for any reason, you’ll find this app handy. Check out Insight Timer’s website for more information.
My dad passed away last month, and rather than list facts here—that he was born in Kentucky to a German sharecropper and his wife, that he grew to be a successful man with a wife and six children, etc—I mention his love of music. I am grateful to my dad for many things, but I am most grateful for the love of music that he passed along to me.
In the earliest days of our family, Dad had an electric guitar and amplifier, and he enjoyed playing for fun. We watched Johnny Rivers on television and listened to Duane Eddy records on the stereo, and Dad thought Chuck Berry was the greatest. When I was six, he taught me to play “Secret Agent Man,” “What I Say,” and the Bonanza theme song on guitar, and I played those songs over and over. He sold that guitar one day and never played again, but he bought one for me soon after, and I’ve been playing ever since.
I recall the times Dad drove me and my musical equipment around to practices. I remember him taking a vacation day to watch my band play in a school talent show. I hear him singing as he walked through the house, and when I’m enjoying a tune, I tap my foot like he always did. I think of my dad every day, especially when I play guitar. Life’s better with music. Dad taught me that.
The Jerrys played on Thursday Night Live at WZRD Chicago 88.3 FM on April 26, 2018. The 10-song set included new music from The Wind Cries Jerrys, covers of songs by Tommy James & the Shondells and The Kinks, and power pop songs pulled from the Jerrys’ catalog:
1. Be Yourself
2. Anna Marie
3. I Even Love You More Than Elizabeth Hurley
4. Ann Taylor Girl
5. New Wave
6. Hanky Panky
7. Space Cadet
8. Chicago USA
9. Every Girl
10. Where Have All the Good Times Gone?
Those familiar with the Chicago punk scene will recognize the drum head as the one used for Silver Abuse, as Robert Porche also plays with that band. Stay tuned for a new and improved drum head, as well as a possible live album later this year from The Jerrys.
Last week I attended the Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago. I enjoyed the conference, which was held at the Union League Club. Summit sessions focused on evolving and developing social media strategy, content creation and storytelling best practices, and video strategy and marketing best practices.
Presenters represented brands that included Microsoft, Walmart, Kickstarter, The Hershey Company, and American Family Insurance. Several sessions deserve mention for being better than the rest:
“Case Study: Best Practices for Storytelling when Working with Influencers and Partners” (Sarah Scroggins, Advocate Health Care)
“Lessons in Unconventional Innovation” (Ryan Riess, The Hershey Company)
“Predicting the Future of Social Media” (Ian Beacraft, Epsilon)
So, would I recommend attending the summit? You bet. The conference is a great way for social media and digital marketing professionals to get up to speed on what some of the big players in the field are doing to take their brands to the next level. I’m glad I went, and I got to meet some cool people besides–now on to all of those notes I took!
The Jerrys will play live at WZRD Chicago on April 26
My band The Jerrys will play live in the studio at WZRD Chicago 88.3 FM on April 26. I hope you’ll tune in at 10 PM Central as Robert Porche (drums, backing vocals), Jim Losby (bass guitar, backing vocals), and I play ten songs live, including songs from the newly released EP, The Wind Cries Jerrys.
You can listen to the show via radio (88.3 FM on your radio dial), via live stream, or via any radio app on your phone (TuneIn is available on Android and iTunes, and it’s free).
The Wind Cries Jerrys, a six-song EP containing all new music from The Jerrys, is now available on CD as well as downloads and streaming. From power pop (“Ms Wonderful,” “Chicago USA,” “Anna Marie”) to uke-pop (“Another Glorious Day”) to strummy goodness (“Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo”) to who-knows-what (“I Think About You”), it’s all here. Listeners compare The Jerrys to The Beatles, Boyce and Hart, The Who, Matthew Sweet, Tommy Keene, and The Shoes.
The first song on the EP was released as a free download last year: “Chicago USA” is the latest song about that city, as well as a tribute to “Downtown” and “I Know a Place,” both made popular by Petula Clark. Here’s the full track listing:
01. Chicago USA (2:33)
02. Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo (4:03)
03. I Think About You (2:59)
04. Ms. Wonderful (2:48)
05. Another Glorious Day (3:49)
06. Anna Marie (2:36)
Several friends helped out on various tracks, and I am grateful to Robert Porche (drums), Jim Losby (bass guitar), and John Oakley (lead guitar) for sharing their talents. They’re awesome.
As of this date, full digital distribution (iTunes, Spotify, etc) is still a few days away, but you can head over to CD Baby or the band website to buy the CD or download the EP or individual tracks. Get the latest from The Jerrys!
Just as Facebook replaced Myspace a decade or so ago as the top social media platform, it too will be replaced at some point. My guess is that somewhere someone is working on the aging platform’s replacement at this moment, and that’s good. In this writer’s humble opinion, anyway, the new platform is already overdue.
I’ll spare you the litany of things I dislike about Facebook or things I’ve tweaked over the years to keep the network appealing on a personal level (professional use is a whole other matter), but I will say that the thing that keeps me coming back is the ability to stay in touch with people and that any “value” added is extraneous.
With any luck, the new Facebook will be a stripped-down platform that doesn’t want to do everything but tie your shoes for you. Just your friends, just life, just things that matter. The platform’s creators won’t be out to replace YouTube or become your news and weather source or your town hall. They won’t run your friends’ posts through their algorithms or care how you order food, and they’ll know you don’t want to download more than one app to use their platform’s features.
Facebook has become the new Myspace. Like most people, I’ll continue using it to keep up with my friends and family, but only until the next big thing arrives. I’m ready for the new Facebook.
I started my new year off with a bang. Literally. I bought a new drum kit over the holidays: a Pearl Roadshow 5-piece fusion drum set in charcoal metallic. You’ll note the smaller tom is missing, with the larger tom in its place–I packed the smaller one away. I only wanted a four-piece kit, but the included hardware, cymbals, and throne made this set the one to get, and I’m glad I did. Nice!
The release date for The Wind Cries Jerrys, a six-song effort by The Jerrys, has been moved to early 2018. Originally scheduled to release this month, the EP took more time to record than I’d planned—backing vocals in particular. The good news is that, after recording 43 tracks during the past week, all recording has been completed, and it’s on to mixing and mastering. Here’s the track listing:
I Think About You
Another Glorious Day
Earlier this year, “Chicago USA” was released ahead of the EP and is available to stream or download. Check it out, and stay tuned for more music from The Jerrys.
I doubt I’ll have time this year to finish the next book I intend to read, so I’ve decided to go ahead and post this list of books I read or reread in 2017:
A Briefer History of Time (Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow)
Lord Foul’s Bane (Stephen R. Donaldson)
Loving-Kindness in Plain English: The Practice of Metta (Bhante Henepola Gunaratana)
The Illearth War (Stephen R. Donaldson)
The Power That Preserves (Stephen R. Donaldson)
The Wounded Land (Stephen R. Donaldson)
The One Tree (Stephen R. Donaldson)
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (Mark Manson)
I didn’t expect to be reading any fantasy fiction in 2017, but when my brother told me that Stephen Donaldson had written seven more Thomas Covenant books after the three I’d read long ago, I went for it, starting from the first book. Expect a few more by Mr. Donaldson on next year’s list.