Welcome: The Beginning

so.......i am at heart a maker of songs. along the way comes alot of things that inspire my life's work. with some positive push by the closest of friends i bring you this spot for sharing with you the world and my birdie-isms. this is a hope you are all well and wondrous...here we go....love, birdie busch

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Behind Every Gold Record is an Average White Band: reminiscing about a gift of yesteryear on my birthday.

When I finished my first official record my dear friends and helpers gave me a present for my birthday. It was my record, under glass in the official archival manner, shining with a plaque commemorating it. It looked much like the ones I'd seen in the studio we recorded at, where the house engineer, Shelly Yakus, had some of his gold records he'd done with Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks hanging on the wall. But don't think this was a very slick studio. This studio was a converted auto garage in the swamps of New Jersey behind Somer's Point. It was more like a musty outdated rancher-home coke-den of sorts. Mavis Staples had just recorded a record there the year before, and was playing to very under attended rooms before the Jeff Tweedy collaborations boosted her back into the public eye and people began appreciating again what she never stopped doing. The Dixie Hummingbirds had recorded one of their last albums their with Levon Helm on drums and Garth Hudson on organ. The place was an incubator of passionate people just as much as it was for mold.

And that gold record? I was informed by a belly laughing Devin, who produced my record, that my fancy LP under glass was actually an Average White Band record he spraypainted with metallic paint on the roof of his place.

This week my birthday came around and I sat down to collect some thoughts, I was extra aware this week, mostly because I really honed in and decided that for my birthday I was gonna appreciate, I was gonna try some new things, and I was going to make music, lots of music for people to take in and take along with them in spirit.

I reached out to Devin to check in and say hi, he's en route to Budapest to learn a mobile recording technique and work on a project of international musical collaboration. He mentioned the gold record. "Remember that thing?" Yeah, I did. Perhaps going to Budapest sounds very jet-set, but for Devin I'd say it's more a 1,000 ton wagon led by ants that got him to Turkey. He is one of the hardest working passionate people I know, and at his age, perhaps there are more expected milestones to be had, but in his own way he is carving out his own peculiar life.

Milestones. I think perhaps at some point I lined them up in a pyramid and kicked them all into the river.  I think that there are many ways to live and every one of them has beauty and balance. I hate sometimes that I have a hard time organizing for much more than playing music and ensuring I can continue to do so. Something that still makes my hands clam up is when I have to explain to relatives at a holiday party what I do, knowing I could never quite reveal to them truly how passionate and in love I am with my life, when all they may be seeing is that this 30 something year old women is working behind the counter of a tea shop. And I realize that this can be perhaps just as much self projection as relative inspection and I'm working on it.

Another birthday thing I did was list my current fears:

Fear One: That I will not be able to keep playing music.
Fear Two: That I will not live up to my potential.
Fear Three: That I will dissapoint my parents.

So I guess when one worries as such it is best to get into an old church van with no AC and head to play music for strangers? The somewhat assaulting breeze whipping about makes you feel like you are on the high seas and the sound of the engine is very much akin to a motorboat. All conversations become exaggerated over the noise. You still only end up hearing mostly reactions if you are a bench seat away, like whooping laughter or the sight of vibrating of shoulders. I sit in the back, lean into the window, and just let that soothe me. This is family. This feels the same to me as when I would be in the station wagon and my dad would play Willie Nelson cassettes. But see, I heard those cassettes in a certain way, a way that I couldn't shake.

And here I am. Here WE are, at 2pm on the Merritt Parkway with everyone else asleep but me and the driver, doing accounting in the notes section of my iPhone trying to justify how we can keep getting to these places to make this music. But then we get onto another stage, setup all our equipment (so much equipment!) and do something we feel so mysteriously compelled to do and I just can't imagine cutting this out of my life, I can't convince myself to extract what is perhaps to me my favorite thing. And I have alot of favorite things, like looking for shells on the beach, drinking tea alone, cooking soup. Songs are where I can gather all of them into the fold.

We played shows this week for many people. For a 15 year old girl who sat mesmerized by our feet and I knew the experience was perhaps effecting her whole path much in the way early experiences with music did for me. Other shows we had families out in the sunshine of a late summer afternoon, on blankets looking over their children dancing in front of us with peaceful eyes. Last night a woman who wrote poetry in tandem gave it to me at the end of the night on ripped out wire bound notepad paper and I tucked it into my jean jacket breast pocket. We were introduced with recitations of prose from Siddhartha and closed out shows with disintegrating melodies of songs that never existed before we made them ourselves.

But the record I was gifted about 8 years ago perhaps fortuitously let me know how hilarious and somewhat bastardized life was gonna get sometimes. It was gonna show me that yes, there are milestones, all kinds for all people, and while there is a grain of truth and honor to each one, there is also an average white band record underneath the veneer, metaphorically speaking of course. Or in my case, not. But the intention is real and it is loving. My friends made that for me as their way of saying, "Hey, we already believe in this, we are golden". We are musicians, we're a scrappy bunch. Resourceful.  Bound for strange times. Able to withstand long journeys both physically and spiritually with our ear always perked for the laughter amidst the roar of the wind. I think Mavis, Levon, Shelly, they all knew this. And I guess through my own living so have I and so I go....Love, bird

(the poem gifted to us at Mauchunk Opera House)

Monday, July 15, 2013

The House of Love: Where does violence fit in our lives?

yesterday i was working at the tearoom and beyond the foreground of happy friends and tea revelers i saw a young couple walking briskly down the street through the window yelling in each other's faces in a side-swiping manner akin to two sparring race cars. i followed them with my eyes and watched the man forceably throw her over a line of bushes. i ran out and started yelling at him in expletives that he in no way has the right to hit her, to which the girl thankfully and sheepishly agreed and walked quickly off one way as the man the other. he got into a car, sped off, and with my adrenaline pumping i went back into the calm of the shop.

an hour later i received a phone call on the store's landline. it was the man apologizing to me that it had happened. i was reticent to accept an apology, for it seemed perhaps an attempt to quell any calls to police, but also an attempt to dispel the occurrence through words not action. i tried to let him know that it was not an apology i wanted but for him to consider how the future should hold for him a non-violent possibility and he seemed annoyed he had even called. i was imagining the girl finding herself around the corner, literally and figuratively, and hoping that both of them in some way at some point could find it in themselves to reject this violence from their lives. that may be long off. but when it happened, whenever the first time was for them, the trust between them was changed forever.

violence is like a nuclear bomb dropped on trust and the comparison leads me right into thinking about something that i've wrestled with in my psyche as a human on this earth: that in my core i believe so truly that non-violence is the most holy of paths. it's not even something that i want to argue or debate over tables, Facebook comments, chat rooms, board rooms. i feel in my heart that trust in my life has only been able to develop to its most holy place through unabashed, some might say naive, over assuming our kindredness more than differences peaceful process. this feeling has made me feel quite strange here. i don't know where to place myself and this feeling. when i look at a photo of my grandfather in a leather bomber standing in front of a world war 2 fighter plane i look into the frozen moment's eyes and get lost, wondering what feelings swirled in their minds? am i an ungrateful brat or a child of god? or both?

violence. is it all of the same place? or can we justify fighting to get to a non-violent future? or is violence just always shape-shifting? and is it strange for me to assume what works in the microcosm of my life will work for a world at large? but if violence is involved, trust to me never feels fully realized or gained. this perhaps has come to be one of the most conflicted contemplations and spiritual journeys of my life.

and now getting back to that moment yesterday. i hope that the man who called, albeit perhaps more subconsciously, called because he saw the eyes of the community and he looked back into them. i hope he saw that more than punishment we want to see change. and not only change for her, but change for him. because life is a long dark endless night if you think violence has a place in the house of love.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

avenues of sadness and the alleyways in between.

This week was peculiar. A week in which a best friend went to the hospital to discover her immune system was that of a chemo patient with no concrete reasons as to why just clinical conjecture. Each blood test that came back was a cross off of relief. Meningitis-negative. HIV-negative. A week where I found two $100 bills in the street in a way that felt serendipitous, a universe token to give to an amazing artist  waitress friend to help alleviate some stress for missing shifts due to said sickness. A week where I got to open up for one of my favorite bands in a beautiful venue because I persevered to make it happen. So it seemed in keeping when I found the dresser. The 1930's Bakelite handled, inlaid wood beauty. I kicked my old dresser yesterday morning at its brokenness. I've been kind of balancing the drawers on nails inside it and when I open the t-shirt drawer the jewelry drawer falls down into the dresser and the scarab that rests in the top of a pewter box I have falls out. Sometimes I just wait a few months to place the scarab back into its indentation knowing it'll just happen again rather than gluing it.  I made the decision I'd try and get one at a thrift store that afternoon. But instead another lovely token.

Today I went to see Howard the guitar player from the Dixie Hummingbirds with Mr. Huff in a home in Germantown. He is the only original existing member. Huff was with me to revel in the joy of the dresser find, and remarked I'd probably be one of those guys with a pick up truck with stuff hanging out the sides if I could. And as we drove further west on Germantown Avenue he asked if we could visit Howard. Huff, while 89, has not had to succumb to such a place, but he doesn't have eyesight to drive, so he's been sorrow stricken that he can't visit Howard to keep him company. Howard, whose wife passed away in the two years he's had to be there, calls the place an avenue of sadness. It is somewhat crushing to visit a musical legend in such a place, whose mind is still so acute weaving elegant thoughts, with visitors few and far between, while being on the short leash of an oxygen tank. But it is also transformative when you breakthrough the confines, when you pull off the avenues and seek love any way you can. It leaves you with that kind of day that you go home and sew those buttons back on your shirt finally because your head is clear as a monks. Mr. Huff handed him a crumbled selection of bills that amounted to about $18 dollars and Howard took it like it was a golden pirate's coin, their eyes locking and holding back tears that seemed the perfect cocktail of both happiness and disgust for how things can end up.

It was a peculiar week. But one that I felt better to go through, an affirmation, a meditation. I am ever more aware that life is best when lived knowing that there is so much that is unpredictable but also so much that is not. We will build our lives through love and meet the hardships together, and through our intentions the mystery will rise to our occasions and acknowledge us with gifts.