Audio commentary of my first CD "Unlock".

(3.3 mb download)

Hi, this is Dan speaking.
I'd like to tell you about my first CD called UNLOCK.

Maureen initially came up with the idea of incorporating my music with our creative endeavors.
So we pondered about it for quite awhile until one morning while watching "Sunday Morning", they had a special about Sting. Sting talked about his music being similar to a labyrinth.
That clicked my mind into writing a song about a labyrinth that we were planning to make at Maureen's Center sometime in the future. Now whenever I am anxious, nervous, or up tight, I listen to "Unlock" and it calms me down and forces me to relax and "regroup" my thoughts and fears. Hopefully you too can experience the same when you listen to it.

The second song, "Companions" is a personal song to my wife, Maureen. I wanted to tell her how I feel about her....and that we are companions in this journey of life. We both put our input into this song  and it is true, in that we do spend most mornings on our swing with our cup of coffee. And we do take walks together often. I surprised her by adding the sounds of birds in the middle of the song. I thought it was appropriate. What do you think?

The third song, "Barbara" was written in barbershop style using my own 4 voices and finished in four hours. The lyrics wrote themselves on my paper and the melody just laid itself down like a leaf floating to the ground. I wish all my music was that easy to do.
I wrote this song for our friend, Barbara. One day when we were listening to my music she jokingly asked, "When are you going to do a song for me?" I thought nothing about it until after a couple of days when I was thinking about a new song and I said to myself, "I have to write a song for Barbara!" As soon as I got those words out of my mouth, I sat down and wrote the lyrics. What a high that was!  Wish they were all that simple.

The fourth song, "Masks" was made in the same time frame that we did Maureen's video "Magical, Marvelous Masks". I created a song to go with the video and I called it "Masks".
I have heard from several people that they really like that song because they could all relate to it. Maureen and I often talk about the masks that we wear. We both are trying hard to be real and realize that each mask we wear is a part of ourselves and we need to have different masks for different occasions just to get along in life.

The fifth song, "One more time" was a very interesting one to write. My initial thought was just to write a love song, nothing personal. But the further I got into the lyrics, it just came out a bit different than when I started. I think it still is a love song, but a love that went wrong. And now all he wants is one more time to pretend. Maureen probably doesn't want me to say this, but she gets a bit embarrassed listening to this one because it could be construed as something personal and private. Do I have your attention now? Well, I'm here to set the story straight. This is not a real life story. I made it up! Now, every time that we play it, Maureen and I will look at each other and just smile, knowing that others may read into it more than they should.  It's kind of funny.

The sixth song, "Ode to my daughters" is unlike the previous song, in that it is a real story about myself and my two daughters. I have a hard time saying what I feel when it is so personal to me. So I wrote a song for them and tried to convey what they mean to me. This song is in four part harmony when, in years back, I was creating a lot of Barbershop style music and I did this one in that style.
Just a note to tell you that when my daughters heard it for the first time, we all had a good cry. Nothing more needed to be said. It's getting easier now....not easy..... but easier now, to show my feelings.

The seventh song, "Why me Lord" was made because I wanted to convey the fact that we can't always control what happens to us and that randomness in life just happens to everybody. But we each can feel a bit better when things like that happens, if we could all just open our heart up to others, and empathize and try to take some of the pain away. We each are capable of letting our heart sing and be thankful, in spite of all the crap that goes on in the world.

The eighth song, "She's our sister" is another real life song, in that I wanted to thank my sister for her graciousness whenever I visit her back in my hometown. This was a fun song to make and here again, I told her my feelings, that I have never voiced to her before. And the 4 voices doing the vocals in the song are all my voice.  If you didn't get that the first time, you'll understand it more if you listen to it again.  I used to be in a barbershop quartet.  So I know a bit about harmonizing.  So I wrote the song and sent her a CD. I later got a phone call from her thanking me for the song. She asked me a few questions about the song and after talking with her awhile I realized that she didn't get it. She didn't know that the song was personally for her. After I told her, she interrupted me and said, "Now I'm going to have to listen to it again." "I didn't have a clue that it was about me." Well, after a while we hung up and about 5 minutes later she called me again and told me that she had listen to it again and it made her cry. Weeks later she tells me that she can't listen to that song anymore. It's too personal and she breaks down too easily. After a few more months, I did get an email from her thanking me again for telling her how I felt and that it was great to tell her before it's too late.
Just a side note here: My family of 7 kids were raised to show very little emotion, but as we are all getting older now, I think we are all letting our guard down more with each other. That sure is nice to see.

The ninth song, "Wrinkled" was another personal song that I thought I would throw in. It's just a funny, carefree song with a feeling of seriousness to it. It was just a fun way of questioning what I am worth.
"I get no respect", I'm sure you have heard that phrase before. I thought I would write a song about that for myself. By the way, Maureen initially bid a $1000 for me, and I said, "Is that all?  We have a laugh about it from time to time.

The tenth song, "Fantasies" was fun to create. I wrote it when I was sitting on the bank of a river, looking up at the sky, and just thinking about what makes me happy. I thought about a rainbow, with all the bright, intensified colors, and I remembered one time when Maureen and I saw a rainbow, it looked like the end hit the ground. We both looked at each other and thought the same thing. We jumped into our car and went for it. And we did find the end of the rainbow. We stood right there in the middle of it and both our mouths dropped. I'll never forget that feeling. You hear about people seeing the white light at the end of the tunnel. How about the white light, and multiple colors? Unreal! And it wasn't a fantasy either! It just made me wonder what is truly real or unreal in this life. If you ever get the chance to see the end of a rainbow, go for it! You won't be disappointed. All we need now is that pot of gold!

Well, that's it for my first CD. I hope you like it....and drop me a line when you can and give me some feedback.
Bye for now.


Audio commentary of my second CD "Connected".

(3.6 mb download)

Hi, this is Dan speaking.

I'd like to tell you about my second CD that I just finished.
You may read along if you wish or just listen or just hang up and do something more important right now.

Anyway, making this CD was quite a process, in that a lot of things happened during that time period, both good and bad.  You'll understand more after I explain the music.

Sometimes music and words just come to me and I have little problems putting them down on paper. Other times, it's like pulling hair trying to get the words and music just right.
Maureen's my sounding board because she usually is the first person to critique my songs. When I told her that I just completed my second CD, she was surprised that I had done all the songs already.
She couldn't remember listening to them all. It went so fast. I did do quite a few songs in one of the weeks. I just couldn't slow down. Too many things happening, and too many thoughts all at once.
It's fun and challenging when that happens, even though the experiences are not all that fun sometimes.

This CD is called "Connected" because a lot of the music is about connecting to anyway that you want to think about it.
Sometimes an emergency connects people. Other times it's just an email that connects you.
Whatever the case, I keep my mind open.  I try to anyway.  And.... sometimes there's a song in it.

Many times when Maureen and I are experiencing something I'll say, "That should be a song!"
And if it sticks in my head for awhile, I'll sit down and think about it some more and if something doesn't come right away, I'll write it down and look at it later.

Sometimes I'll create the music first, then add the words later because I want to get the mood down first. Other times the words are right there.  Then I'll add the music later.  I don't know which is better, but it's challenging both ways.  So...I try to do my best anyway, either way.

The first song, named "Connected" came about when Maureen and I were talking and I complained that we needed a simpler life without all the hassles.  I bet you don't relate to that, do you?
But then we got to thinking that we wouldn't affect anyone else if we just stood back and not got involved in anything. We figured that we are all connected by a spirit or whatever you want to call it.
And what we do affects someone else, somewhere. We usually don't know it at the time. Maureen gets a lot of responses from her retreat students on how the class affected them.
So she gets first hand experience like that, more than I do.  Anyway, I wanted to say that in my song....that we are all connected in someway.

The second song, "Persevere" I wrote I day after reading all the bad things in the newspaper, you know....the wars and the killings, and just a lot of bad things happening to all sorts of people.  What a drain on my mind!
I thought, there must be some good somewhere out there. But we have to have patience and try our best to make something good happen in this world, because if we all try, I really will get better.

The third song "Temptation", I wrote after receiving an email from one of my buddies in the service. He mentioned that he was on a diet now and he reminded me that when we went out one time for pizza,
he ate a family size all by himself. It was really uncanny that he remembered that 35 years ago. So I told him "That sounds like a song!" and I wrote it and emailed it back to him in a couple of days.
I never heard how he liked it or if he liked it or not.  Hopefully he didn't take it personally.

The fourth song, "Pheasants" was a particular fun song to make, because my grandsons are involved in it.
One day while they were visiting us, I told them to think of a real story about themselves.  So they looked at me funny and said, "What?"  And I said, "Yea, tell a story about yourself, what happen to you?  Something that both of you were in, and I'll try to make a song from it. So I wrote their story down word for word and later made this song.
I sent it thru an email to them and they called me shortly after, and they were really excited on the phone and they said it was a lot of fun listening to it. The boys are about six to eight years old.  Just think all the real stories that you can come up with in your own lives. Maybe it would be worthwhile to get them down on paper.  Who knows?  That's up to you.

The fifth song "Be ready" happened after a major bridge collapsed here in Minneapolis, MN in July 2007. So far 8 people have died and 5 more are missing in the Mississippi River.
Maybe it's our age but a lot of times I'll tell Maureen before she goes on a trip. "If I don't see you again, have a good life." and she'll say "You too!"
We all have to be ready to go at any time. And I suggest you think about it too before it's too late. Just be ready. Maureen says this song really is sad to her, and I felt that way too when I wrote it.

The sixth song "Humility" happened after I thought about a saying that I keep in my billfold and I quote, "The one who thinks he is humble enough is usually the one who is not." (author unknown)
I've kept this saying for most of my adult life. I guess you'd say that I could relate to it, especially when I feel boastful or the opposite....humble. Maybe, somehow it has helped me in my life, although Maureen accuses me of acting like a know-it-all sometimes. Not me! Right?  Anyway, I always wanted to do something special with that saying, and with this song I made it happen. And it was very therapeutic to put my experiences in words. My feelings are real in this one and it's getting easier to be honest with myself. And I hope that it continues.

The seventh song "Talking Trees" is another real-life song that I got from talking with one of Maureen's students who stayed at the retreat center for several days. She was there to make a Coddle Popper™ out of clay. So I wrote this song with her in mind, especially since Sunday was her birthday. I surprised her and gave her the CD as a present. She gave me a big hug and really thanked me. And we all hoped that she can fulfill all her goals using her talking trees and her Coddle Poppers™ to touch children of all ages. That was really a fun song to do.  I like to do those kind of songs.

The eighth song "P-nut" has another personal story attached to it. We haven't owned too many animals in the past and I sure didn't want another dog. So this stray dog found my daughter Renee and she took her and cleaned her up and tried to get me to take her because she couldn't have more than one dog in her apartment. But I said, "No, I don't need a dog to tie me down."  But that night at 4 in the morning I wrote this song about my experience that I had that morning. I called Renee at 6 o'clock and left word with her that.... ok, I'll take the dog.  I still have her......and she is slowing me down.  When you listen to the song, you'll know what I mean.

The ninth song "Grudges" was made after Maureen and I were talking about "Chips on our shoulders". We all have them from time to time and anyone who says they don't, must be a God or something. Anyway, this song tells about grudges that we have and what kind of feelings there are when we have them. As far as I can see, there is no good reason to hold on to grudges....or chips. So why do we? This song investigates those feelings.

The tenth and last song on this CD is more of an upbeat song.  So maybe I should change my voice right now.  (I didn't want to end it on a negative note) How's that?  So I wanted to do something very simple and fun. What came to mind was that both Maureen and I don't play enough. We're both so busy trying to do something that relates to our business, that we simply don't play enough. So I came up with this song called "Let's play".  I wrote the music first, then I gave it the words, which was very challenging.
I hope you like it, simple, that is. And........maybe you too should play more often.

Well, that's the end of my spiel.
Talk to you later........Bye

Audio commentary of my third CD "Secret of a Good Life".

(3.1 mb download)

Hi, this is Dan speaking.

I was thinking one day about all the things that I'm thankful for.  Then all of a sudden all these negative feelings came into being and I couldn't stop thinking about them all.  I realized that my whole life has been this way, switching positive and negatives off and on again like a switch.  I can turn on the switch, but the light doesn't stay on for very long.  Have you ever had that problem? How can I keep this light glowing longer?  My first song came out of all this thinking and I named my third CD the same name. 

The first song "Secret of a good life" is a personal one for me. I'm not a happy person a lot of the times and I wish it was easy to change that, especially when I'm around the people I love. I think of the negatives before the positives and it usually creates a barrier. So this song came out of my thoughts about how I deal with other people and what I need to do to change. I need to show excitement over all the possibilities that come my way, instead of wallowing in the midst of my troubles. When you think about it, being excited and cheerful creates a magnet to others. Let me say that again. When you think about it, being excited and cheerful creates a magnet to others. Did you feel the magnet that time? Personally, I need to turn on more magnets. Maybe if I practice more...............

The second song "Mirror" was written as good thoughts came into my head.  It just turned out to be a love song to Maureen.  It didn't start out that way.  I just wanted a happy-go-lucky kind of song.  And I ended with a "lucky me" kind of song.  I hope Maureen likes it because, as of this writing, she hasn't heard the song yet.

The third song "Cheating" hit me personally when some friends of mine intentionally tried to see how much food they could fill their bowl at a carryout.  Some actually doubled their takeout at the price of one bowl.   Now the question is:  Did they even think they may be ripping off the owners of the takeout?  By the way, it was a game to them and you lost if you didn't come out with more than you should have.  (I was embarrassed to be part of the group)  In fact, it bothered me so much that when I got home that night, I wrote the lyrics to this song.  If they ever read this, and you know who you are, I forgive you, if in the future you just try to ask the question, "Will it hurt anyone by doing this?"  Then let your conscience be your guide.  I'm not without any guilt either, and I'm trying hard to always ask the question for myself.

The fourth song "Worry" was a very emotional story.  My daughter and her family were visiting us when southern Minnesota was hit hard with flash floods.  She lives in that area and decided to leave and go back home.  So this song is about my emotions when I didn't hear from her for a long time.  The next day I read the newspaper with all the bad going out of control because of mud slides, floods taking out portions of the roads, etc.  The worry over your children never quits in times like those.  I was so relieved when she finally called me and said that she was ok and there was no problem getting home.

The fifth song "Alone" came after thinking about all the poor souls out there who have hurt each other in one way or another.  It has to be hard to reconcile at times and if we can't, we go away with all our tears and heartaches.  It's a very sad song and my wish is that no one has to go through any of it!  If you have a special other, my advise is to remember the word "special" because they were at one time, weren't they?

The sixth song "A Bad Trip" is a unusual song in that it was originally named "Remorse" and I didn't have the intro and the ending lyrics to the song.  I was writing about the attitude that some people think you should always take what you can get out of life and not give anything back.  Selfishness and the lack of remorse is all around us and we can fall into that pit too if we aren't careful.  But when I got through with the song it sounded like I, personally, was giving the go ahead to feel that negative way.  When I played it for others, it got such a negative response that I realized that someone could take the song as "truth" and use it against others or fuel their own flames.  So I then added the beginning and ending verses to clarify things.  Words can be very powerful so we all have to be aware of the potential impact it may have on others.  It's really hard to express oneself clearly enough so there's no misunderstanding.  I guess that's called good communication, right?

The seventh song "Honey" was a hard song to do.  I threw it away and rewrote the lyrics 3 times.  Maureen said the first cut was like a documentary on honey bees, and she was right , but I thought my grandkids would like it anyway because they have honeybees.  But who likes to hear a documentary more than once?  So I tried to do a double play on the word "honey".  It was certainly a challenge.  I hope you like it and I hope the double meaning comes through well for you.  I liked the end result.

The eighth song "Tone" came about after Maureen said, "Quit yelling at me!"  She has said that quite a few times in the past and I've usually responded with, "I'm not yelling at you.  You've never seen me yell at you."  Well, in her mind I was yelling at her because of the tone of my voice, and not the loudness of my voice.  So I started to investigate what happens with just the change of the tone in your voice.  It's not a pretty picture!  Then I remembered the times when others have used a negative tone with me without yelling.  It's easy to do!  Kids and dogs pick up our tones very easily.  The good dog trainers don't even have to raise their voice.  So this song tells what may happen with just the tone of your voice.

The ninth song "Listen" was a fun one to do.  Maureen has always said I am not a good listener, and I agree with her.  I want to help so much that I but in or give my opinion before it's requested.  So I wrote this song to remind myself to shut up when someone asks me to listen to them.  I bet most of you can relate to this one.

The tenth song "Sleepybaby" was written when my niece had her baby shower.  I thought I'd try my luck at a lullaby.  I made a CD especially for her and I saw her after her shower.  She was very appreciative and really liked the song.  Her mother fell asleep on the rocker during the song. (Could it have been the lullaby or ??????)

Well, that's it for this CD.

Till next time......Bye

Audio commentary of my fourth CD "Hope".

(Stay tuned)