Singers…Songwriters…and Dreams

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No matter where I go, there’s always a song in my head.  Sometimes it’s one of the songs my husband and I have already written and composed for our Indie duo Gypsy Vin Rose, but more-often-than-not, it’s an entirely new tune that comes to me at any time of day, no matter what I’m doing.  Many times, I dream these new songs – just small tidbits for me to go on – and if I’m lucky enough to salvage a clip when I wake up, I will quickly make a recording (no matter how bad it sounds in the early morning hours), scribbling down any lyrics I can recall.  With time and effort, a lot of tweaking too, I will have a new song if I dedicate what is needed to my craft…for such an accomplishment to ever be heard by others.

Facing all the restrictions of a next-to-nothing recording budget, a toddler screaming her own verse in the background while we try to practice, the lack of equipment and zero time to dedicate to our craft (because we are still keeping afloat with a regular job). I often feel helpless as I see our dreams falling by the wayside.  Still, the songs in my head won’t let me give up – the dreams I dream won’t let me quit on Gypsy Vin Rose.  The fire is still there inside of me…on a low, but steady, flame.

Last night I dreamt of Bob Marley, he didn’t speak, but I could hear him anyway.  I knew his thoughts…I knew his feelings.  He wanted me to keep with it, he wanted to help.  I just wanted to be where ever he was, but he somehow just kept disappearing.  I searched, but he was gone…and I felt alone…desperate to find him once more.  I’m not sure what to make of that dream, but I enjoyed being where I was; lost somewhere in the dream realm.

I believe that dreams are symbolic; never meaning what most people might think they represent.  I know last night’s dream doesn’t mean I’m thirsting for the man himself, but…rather the music and the freedom of expression for which he sang, for which he stood.  He was a good man, I believe.  I wish I could’ve known him.

Still, there are dreams like this one…that keep me going, when it comes to the songs I write and compose.  I remember past performances, when I was flying solo as an artist, before I met Nico…my husband and the other half to Gypsy Vin Rose.  I always felt more alive…more like ‘me’, on the stage; even if I was mostly singing the songs of other artists.  But I was never prepared at the right time; and most artists know…timing is everything, talent is a must, but luck plays a very big role as well.  The time I had a radio interview, but no CD’s ready to offer, always comes to mind when I think of being prepared for anything…everything in music.

I also think back to the time I met a big-time Sony Record Producer backstage at one of my musician friend’s concerts.  The producer – his name was Rob – asked me for a demo, but like always…I wasn’t prepared.  But he was a very nice man…and he thought I had the look, the image, so he offered me his business card, scribbled some contact information on the back – confessing that he never does business when he’s drinking – and we parted ways.  I guess most folks might think I’d never hear from him again, but I did.  The sad thing was that we just kept playing phone tag, until…I guess he just gave up on me.  It just wasn’t meant to be at that time, is all I keep telling myself.

Deep within my very being, I know I should never give up, no matter if I am on-up-there in years now, no matter if all the odds seem to be stacked against me…and GVR.  I look to the bright side, forever the optimist, and cling to the fact that I have been able to pick up the mandolin at my age, and actually learn to play it; composing my own songs after barely a few months of playing.  That, to me, is reassuring!  Knowing, already, that when it comes to recording our songs…we have that down too, since Nico discovered when he recorded his instrumental composition of The Journey in our van, that Hippie Van Studios has great acoustical sound…and no toddler screaming in the background.

The dream keeps the music alive with us…within me, the songs just keep playing in my head, and my heart still races at the thought of being up on stage…performing once again.  But, I have to admit that the best part of that waking-dream is…I know the next time I am up on stage using the talent that He has given, I’ll finally be singing and playing…my very own tune.

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Playing the Sunset Celebration in Key West

So…we’d set-up to play the Sunset Celebration on Mallory Square there in Key West.  We’d never done the ‘street performer’ gig before, so we had no idea what to expect.  After being directed into a nice spot near the water’s edge, we began belting out a few of our tunes; not sure if anyone was listening at the time.

I have to admit, without any sort of amplifier or speakers, it was all I could do not to strain a vocal chord to two.  But we managed to get through it all just fine.  In fact, Nico did wonderfully and seemed to fit right into that sort of scene.  With my soft voice, I can’t be so sure anyone ever even heard me, much less have an opinion.

But there was one man who did seem to have something to say, and a few folks stood close by listening as best they could while we sang the sun into the ocean.  The nice man told us “You have great spirit.”  We took it as a compliment since he and his wife had been listening to our show for quite some time.  Click on link below to see hightlights from our performance on Mallory Square.

Video:  ‘Flaminco Sunset’ by Gypsy Vin Rose

All in all, we had a great time–it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I wouldn’t change it for the world!  And the next time we head back down to Key West and the Florida Keys, I look forward to going back out to Mallory Spuare and singing my heart out…once again.  After all, I have nothing to fear…and nothing to lose.

.V..

GVR

www.gypsyvinrose.com

 

Off the Grid in The Florida Keys

We’d lost all track of time or day by the end of our first week in The Florida Keys.  Sugarloaf Key had proven to be a perfect landing spot for our little family; our old rig a welcome sight to practically everyone at Lazy Lakes.  I had the feeling that most folks didn’t know quite what to make of the ‘Hippies’ in the classic Volkswagen Westfalia Van.  I was proud of Peniki…beyond measure!

So we’d survived Publix Market that first trip to Key West; never to return again.  Winn Dixie had proven to be our grocery store of choice on the island.  As for short ‘beer runs’ and other necessities, we biked on over to Kickin’ Back Market a few miles up from Sugarloaf Key, or just made a quick jaunt over to the KOA Campground Store…right next door to Lazy Lakes.

We had fallen into a laid-back routine by our second week in the Keys:  I fed the fish right behind our camp-home every morning, Nico had his regular visits from friends for guy talk out by the street or sittin’ around our little abode.  And even though it had been our intention to ‘rough it’ while we were on this adventure, it seems the kindness of others had lavished us with a few of the ‘finer’ things of camp-life; furnishing us with a TV hooked up to cable, fans, and a few chairs we’d really needed, freshly caught Mahi Mahi steaks, and some of the best company I believe we’ve ever shared.  I really was loving life in the Florida Keys.  Still, in my deepest subconscience…I knew, we would soon be returning to the rat-race to welcome our first Grandson into this world.  If only, I thought to myself often, we could have everyone we love in one place…this place, I would never have wanted to be land-locked…ever again.

All in all, we stayed a full 3 weeks in the Florida Keys, and loved every minute of it!  After that night at T.J.’s barbecue, we were destined to sing our songs on Mallory Square, for all of Key West to hear at the Sunset Celebration.  It was an entirely different gig for us; an unforgettable experience I’ll forever cherish.  I met a man who made an impact on my life; a fellow, much more seasoned, street performer.  His name was Dr. Zeaus (spelling?), though I cannot recall his real name.  I hope someday I can remember.  Either way, we had an interesting conversation about life and the way people aren’t allowed to live the way they wish anymore…in this day and age.  How we both feel that folks are no longer really ‘free’.  I’m sure our beliefs would be met with much opposition, but to each his own.  Right?

Needless to say, Nico and I took Gypsy Vin Rose to the Sunset Celebration on Key West and the evening was truly magical!  Just as the sun was setting, we sang our hearts out; one of our favorite original songs ‘Time’.  The music…the moment…the bit of money we made from passersby…the memories made…the much-appreciated words of a stranger “You guys have great spirit.”  I’ll never…ever forget such words of encouragement.  Still, no one was ever more encouraging when it came to our music than our friend T.J.  And even though the CD we left him with was still just a rough-cut, live and unedited, he loved it just the same as if it were our polished studio work.  It was real!  As we know GVR must always stay!  To us, our songs need to flow like the water, remain free as the wind: that is the voice of Gypsy Vin Rose.  To us…anyway.

As for our thoughts on Key West, besides that first bad experience at Publix, we took rather well to the island life and the Conchs thereabouts.  Riding bikes, snapping pics, fishing, kicking back with friends, swimming, touring and lunching on Key West, and singing at the Sunset Celebration.  So many things about our three weeks in The Florida Keys, not to mention the wonderful new friendships we’d formed, are memories I’ll always treasure.  And because there is still so much to tell, I couldn’t possibly cover it all in one sitting.  I invite you to keep posted.  The adventure is just beginning!

 

 

 

Travels: A VW Westy & Hippies at Heart

Day 22 In the Florida Keys:

Woke up….packed up a partially set-up camp, deciding to leave and explore Key Largo.  Gotta find a WiFi signal soon.  A little while later, stopped at a little sandwhich shop near the Publix Market and used the internet there.  We met a few nice folks–Kim the shop clerk and Brent the owner of the shop.  I got Kim’s FB info and we decided to keep in touch.

Had initially planned on heading to Big Pine Key to camp for a few days; at least until we went and checked the only available spot at Breezy Pines RV Campground.  It was a ‘no go’ there!  Bad energy and too many shady looking characters.  We ventured further down…closer to Key West, even though it was late in the day.  I’m glad to say, after much fear we would end up w/o a spot for the night, we landed at Lazy Lakes on Sugarloaf Key.  This is a happy and peaceful place to be.  Love it here!

A Volkswagen Westy & Hippies at Heart: Saint George Island, Florida


Day 17:

Had breakfast and got ready for a nice day at St. George Island Beach.  ‘Loaded up the bike trailer to the limit, and we were off!  Fun…fun day!  ‘Found a Pirate’s Booty of seashells!  Yayahhhh!!!

Headed back to camp and started a campfire to grill Bratwurst sausages.  While the fire was stoking, I headed out to buy ice from the camp-hosts and ended up meeting Rob’s wife Anne.  Nice lady!  We ended up chatting for over an hour and meeting other passersby out walking their dogs.

Later that night, Nico played guitar for Nixi and we settled in…after showers.  It had been a good…good day.  Lovin’ every minute of St. George Isle!  No words to describe…

A VW Westfalia & Hippies at Heart: Grayton Beach to St. George Island, Florida


Day 16:

Met a nice couple from Gainesville, FL this morning who bought a copy of our CD (First one sold!!  Yay!!!).  Huck told us that he’s a native of New York State and his wife Leah is from Colorado.  They had two sons, and they were there at Grayton Beach SP on a family camping trip.  Nice people!  I hope they keep in touch.

We finally hit the road at around 2 PM (Ugh!!), leaving Grayton Beach headed East on 98.  It was a nice drive with no complications.  Yay!!  ‘Arrived at St. George Island State Park after passing over a three-mile-long bridge and snapping a few pics of the lighthouse there on St. George.  While we were stopped at the Ice Machine, an older couple pulled up in a golf cart wanting to snap a pic of us; the Hippies in the VW Van.  Too Kewl!

Arriving at SGI SP, we paid for a couple nights and set to work on camp.  ‘Met camp-host Rob West from Pennsylvania while buying firewood for our campfire-to-be.  Settled in for the night after setting up rig and cooked a bit on the fire.  Turned in at a reasonable time…for a change, but didn’t get much sleep (for a good reason, this time).  Nico and I made up for lost time.  Yayah!

Not bad for a day’s work!  We were lovin’ St. George Island so far.

A VW Westfalia & Hippies at Heart: Grayton Beach State Park


Day 15: 

Finally…time to sit still and enjoy the beach.  We paid for 2 nights, and boy…was I ever glad we did.  Nico loved it at Grayton as well.  The beach was a wonder of white sand and perfect waves.  We surfed as much as we possibly could on a surfboard with ‘no wax’!  Whoooaaa!  Slippery when wet!  Lemme tell ya!  But…even still, we had a blast being kids again!  It seems having a little one in our forties has brought a bit more of the kid out in the both of us.  Gotta love that!

Even though this particular day was rather a blur of fun, surfing, exploring, biking to the beach and around the park and such; even a bit of foraging for wild blackberries…growing beside the park road, it was just what the doc ordered.  By day’s end, I actually felt fulfilled and rested…all in one.  And while Nico had gone to take a shower, and baby slept soundly beside me, I found my Zen and wrote a song; singing the tune into my Zoom recorder…just so I wouldn’t forget what had come to me.  It’s an upbeat…beachy…reggae-ish kind of islandy sound.  I can hardly wait to get the music right on it so we can record.  The day was  a success…if only for that reason, though there were so many more reasons for a girl/Mom/Wife to feel blessed.

Happy…Happy Day at Grayton Beach State Park.  A wonderful place to see on Florida’s Gulf Coast.  I know we will visit again.