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Inspirations… and gifts…

July 10, 2016 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

My newest project – “Shadow of a Crow”  is nearly, officially done – and I”m just shy of sending off the final mixes and graphics to the replication company…  this is a huge milestone for me…  It’s been one heck of a long haul…   getting this crow – off the ground.

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But despite the overload of all that… I’ve continued to be besieged with creative thoughts, insights and interests.  My life boat’s been getting swamped… yet I’ve still found the time to nurture family & care for my home, flower & veggie gardens… ride my bike – and hike with the dog…  Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.26.50 PM

but I guess it’s all these things – that are an endless spring of inspiration for me… like candy for my mind.   I have been sent running – to write down and capture… the slide show of images and impressions that flash through my mind…  things that – if they’re not grasped right then and there…  will dissolve into heedlessness…  and be left behind in heaps of forgotten diversions… at the close of unremembered days… in never to recall again memories.

So, in simpler terms:   I write this stuff down – fast.

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I view these images of inspiration that I’m shown… as Divine rewards from above.   I believe that there are favors like this -given to everyone…  but it’s only those who open their eyes, open their hearts, soul & minds and embrace these ethereal gifts… that will be able to recognize / acknowledge them.

So… not to change the subject… but with the confirmation of the autumn “Apple Festival” at Kirby’s Mill – looming in the -not so distant future – again, for me and the band…  I will be unveiling a lot of my new songs from the new cd…  (wow… I almost said ‘album’…  how retro).   I will be bringing these new songs out… which… even as I write this, it makes my heart pound… with what?  Anticipation?  Fear?  Butterflies?

A lot of you ‘know’ me… from all the posts I put up on Facebook… but it’s not really anything ‘personal’…  not really what I hold deep within…  maybe just images of beauty,  or things I observe and choose to share…  but  my songs and how I express them – is like baring my soul.   It’s like being exposed – in a way,  that I’m just not totally comfortable with.   I rarely let people in…  and can honestly say, there’s not many who truly know me.   Some THINK they know me… but they don’t.     Just because I dance to the beat of my own drum…  some people think they have me ALL figured out.  I long ago realized, that others – more often than not – just don’t get it… or me…  and that’s fine.

“Life’s been good… and life’s been not so good at times… but I can’t say it hasn’t been interesting.”  That’s what my Mom always says.    (Here’s me & my Momma)…

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Momma taught me a lot…  but mostly to hold onto faith as best I can, and search for the silver linings in all things.  I have learned to hunt determinedly for silver linings…  and a lot of times, I’ve had trouble even finding the stars shining in the blackness of the nights…   At times I’ve wondered – why the heck I even bother… because sometimes it just gets to be too much, but I am not a quitter… never have been…  and I’ve made it to the other side of the obstacles… of what ever the mountain was at the time… whether from my own determination, or loved ones aid…  and I’ve looked back and been grateful that I found the strength to do what I needed to do.   So I keep gratitude within me…  and look for the goodness around me.  That’s what I dwell on…  not the bad stuff.   I forgive the bad stuff… but I don’t forget it.  I just keep my focus on the beautiful things… and let those beautiful things – define my life.   Maybe that’s why I’m a little nervous about my songs coming out… because  this is what’s on the cd…

Well… that’s all for now.  I’ll be posting the date for the cd release party – as well as liner notes and such… Tuesday…  exactly WHAT Tuesday,  I don’t know yet…  TBA  🙂          xoxo  Jennifer

 

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Fixed a broken heart – in February

February 27, 2016 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

The cold depths of these late February days… have become unbearably drab… and the winter has completely & wholly lost any appeal that it once held for me.   Although I’ve always loved winter – I can honestly say – I am MORE than ready – to move away from this coldness.

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I guess my heart’s just not into Winter… this year.   But I have an odd heart…  I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve… with the ability to hear, feel, see, and sense things said  (or not said);  done (or not done)  very deeply…  and it goes straight – like an arrow, into my heart.   So perhaps a life time of absorbing the incessant impacts,  is what broke it?    So 4 hours of cardiac surgery – has hopefully repaired, what all these  ‘head & heart”  experiences – have done…   Is this the cost of thinking too much?  Of being a writer? A poet? Artist?  Creator of songs? Melodies?  Prose?  Who knows… All I know is I take everything to heart… literally and figuratively.

So, I had to take a big, step back…  and began re-evaluating my life.  And in this mental, mining excavation, discovered that there are things I once believed to be true and real…  but upon closer, quiet, inspection and careful dissection… found these things were actually – counterfeit.  Things that I believed – melted away like morning frost, that rests on a field…   Yes, it was real… until the sun came up… and then… it doesn’t hold up to the test.

There were things, once important to me… that fell away… bit by bit, one by one… like Autumn leaves… until I came to the realization that they held no value… and were merely poor imitations of the truths I sought.   For I unearthed things that I had overlooked – and upon more careful attention… discovered  ‘diamonds in the rough’  that hold a lot more meaning and worth – than I had been lead to believe…  Thus, I stand corrected, older, and wiser.

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And on this path, I’ve learned to pick my battles… and when to be silent.   My feelings don’t always need to be expressed…  nor understood – except by me.   And taking the path of least drama… is always tons easier….  but I can never overlook – that the “hard right… over the easy wrong” – (though not always easy)… is always the best choice.

I’ve come to realize,  that there are things that deserve a greater degree of patience – than I had given.  So, all in all… there’s a lot of changes… but  I am content with cleaning the rubbish… and I’m growing accustomed – to this new outlook – and so very glad I can move onward & upward.

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So… with my broken heart – well on the mend…   I’ve put the cold winter behind, & set my sights on Spring.  I’m gathering the seeds for the gardens I am going to cultivate…  and I’m ok with the realization that I’ve accumulated a LOT of compost… both from my kitchen – and from my life.   Instead of wallowing, regretting or being remiss…  I’m taking all the “useful” refuse…  and tilling it…  changing it into better, useful, cultivated compost… to grow upon.   Think about it…  <3

 

 

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Mid-Winter’s… dream… or… reality?

January 24, 2016 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

I may be jumping the gun a little here… but I think it might be safe to say… that the last bit of recording I need to do – on this latest cd “Shadow of a Crow”…   IS… DONE …  F I N A L L Y!!!!!    Had a few (always fun) days with Tom at Wizmak this week…  and we got the last tracks down.

Now, the rest of this project is in the capable, masterful, very skilled hands of Tom… who’s a creative,  intuitive artist…  and he has my unfailing, total trust.  I just have to wait for him to make the magic happen.

Despite the impending projections of a winter storm…  I called Mom… and she was ready to head north in a blink.   I roared the diesel down her long driveway, where  she was packed & waiting at the door.   We stuffed in some sleeping bags, a big bag of good munchies… and lots of warm clothes – and hit the road – North.    Mom rode shot-gun on the long drive… and it was – as always – lots of fun!

The miles flew by – as we listened to music,  talked, laughed and explored new roads.  Even with a mountain of work ahead of me,  it was easy to enjoy the scenic views on the way up into the NY Adirondack mountains.   Weaving, climbing and rambling along those narrow, back roads…    I stole quick glimpses of the houses and barns along the way… but mostly watched the road… hahah…   But we had fun chatting about random stuff…  and just enjoyed the journey.   I’ve got the best Mom in the world.

I always feel safe with Momma… and her whopping –  5’4” – mighty-woman-self.   She’s an awesome co-pilot, and always brings God along on our adventures…  who unfailingly keeps us safe on our trips…  And as much as I grumble… I’m glad…

The roads were clear, with only a smattering of snow here and there…   Hit a few snow showers,  but it was just enough to really make the red barns and green, tin roof buildings look bright and cheerful against the blue skies.

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We did get a bit nervous on the steep, somewhat frozen road to the place we stayed for a few days…  I was very glad to be able to shift that old diesel into 4WD and get it up that icy, snowy road.  Made me a little nervous… (maybe it was the huge drop off on both sides of the road?)  but the truck handled it all perfectly.

Being greeted upon our arrival – by big, barking,  more than intimidating dogs… who fiercely approached the truck when we pulled up to what I like to call,  “the Man cave”.  The dogs kinda rattled me a little… as I’m a little bit more than afraid of big, angry, barking, bristling dogs.    But we walked calmly to the door… (despite the fact that I wanted to run… I know you don’t run).  But once we got inside – we SLAMMED that door tight!  Was really glad to find a nice stack of dried fire wood & kindling set by the woodstove… so we got a big fire blazing in no time…  got our things set up… then… popped open a bottle of wine,  and ripped open the bag of gummy bears…  Gosh, does it get any better than this?

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So… that was totally off track, (but why stop now?)   The next day we set off for Wizmak for a productive day.  I was happy to get to listen to all the tracks Tom added to the recording.  Some new bass tracks,  and even some BANJO… (yup!!!! Banjo – go figure!)  but I loved it.

We brain stormed over various ideas…  added some final harmonies and just had to wait for the final – (not scratch) – Native Flute tune – that Phil was gonna put down the next day.  Phil came in on Friday and he put the track down beautifully…   we were really happy with it.   Boone, the devoted, ever present, ever watchful – Border Collie… came along – as always… my ever inspiring… studio pup!  🙂

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So the last tune, with Tom on Guitar… and moi -on Mt. Dulcimer… came to life…  the name of this tune is still to be determined…  but as of now… it’s being called… “the Weeping Radish”…  it’s a long story.

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So…  now begins the work of figuring out the cd cover & graphics… which will be in the capable hands of “Original Abbie”  http://www.originalabbie.com/about/

So we’ve still got lots of creating ahead.  Abbie did the graphics for my 2nd cd… “Melodic Isle”…   and I’m excited to see what she comes up with for  “Shadow of a Crow”.

So… in the closing of my chapter – on this project… musically… feels like I’ve reached, a huge mile post.  It’s been a long… long journey… with a LOT of stumbling blocks & obstacles along the way.  But suddenly there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, and I’m optimistic that this will be the best cd yet…  and I can’t help but smile.

So… with tired elation… Mom & I set off for home a bit earlier than we initially planned,  in hopes of beating the snow storm that was bearing down on us at home… the Jersey shore was gonna get slammed… so we wanted to get home.   We did… just in enough time to get a few groceries, get 4 or 5 loads of fire wood in,  and have oil lamps and prep incase we lost power.   I was very happy to just hunker down for the long, winter’s nap.  Big pots of hot, strong coffee, and lots of quiet time to calm my thoughts is exactly what i was looking forward to.

The storm “Jonas”… did hit us hard, leaving us with about 2 1/2 feet of snow…  and deeper drifts are laying here and there.

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But, I can’t lie.  I love it…  and really don’t  feel too inclined to dig out yet… but you can BET your boots… I dug a path ASAP – to the hot tub!  🙂   I’m a Nordic, snow girl at heart!  <3    Get me in that 101* water… so I can make snow angels?   YOU BET!

I’ve been a snow – loving – bunny… since the beginning of my time, outside with my German Shepard, “Riffi”    I could never get enough time, outside in the snow.

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Even last March… a friend calls me – and she has a time share in Ottawa… it’s -19* below zero, with a windchill of -28*…  She says.. “Do ya want to go?”  HECK yeah!!!!!  Give me an hour to get my stuff together, and I’m there!   We snow shoe’d across the lake,  and cross country skied… it was AWESOME!   All my other friends were headed to tropical lands… cruises to warm, sunny islands… me?  I’m headed north!  🙂

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So here I am… snowed in and thrilled about it.   The project… is pretty much wrapped up… and strangely enough… my sights have already begun turning to new song ideas, new melodies, new creations of all sorts of natures… Idk if it’s the snow, or the crystal blue sky… or the frozen, ice laced branches, or the near purple-blue hue cast on the snow outside…  but I’m near bursting with new ideas that are banging so hard around inside my mind already….  and I just have to smile.  I am so happy…   there’s just not enough hours in the day – to do everything I want to do…  I am so filled with gratefulness.

I am glad to be home… by the warm fire, with bread dough rising to have with dinner tonight… a nice bottle of hearty, red Merlot -in the wine rack… my fiddle & mandolin… a piper who’s (without my help… shoveling outside right now) and I’m just SO enjoying the quietness…  Nothing but the crackling of the fire… and I totally enjoy being still…

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Below… a link here for Original Abbie… who’ll be doing the graphics & dealing with the disk company… on this next project…   She’s an awesome Graphic Aritist… amongst her other many, art classes & talents.  Love my Abbie girl.  <3

So… happy snow days everyone!  Schools already called…  and the words “No school!”  is echoing happily!  🙂   Enjoy the quiet days!   xoxo  Jennifer

 

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2016… Looking forward with rambling insights & optimism…

January 5, 2016 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

Well… 2016 dawned… and unlike most of the New Years Eve partiers out there… watching fireworks, cheering, toasting while sipping fancy drinks, and dancing with wild abandon…  I opted for the quieter side… watching a few good movies,  curled up with my dog on the sofa and happily shared a bowl of popcorn with his ever-wagging eagerness.  So I woke up,  to greet 2016… in the dim grey light of the morning… bright eyed and bushy tailed.

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A few weeks before Christmas, I decided… being the true, proverbial Archer – to set my sights on some new targets & goals for the long winter ahead.   I’m one of those -who, if I’m not active… I start to get a bit cranky.  The faux winter weather we’ve been having, has been a bit more than dreary and cold, so my ‘go to’  outdoor activity, being the long miles of road cycling,  has been placed on the back burner for awhile.  I loathe the indoor trainer… and find the “hamster wheel’ feel of it – pretty unbearable…  just not that kinda girl.

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And as for kayaking… passion #2… I’m a bit more hopeful.. seeing as the bay isn’t frozen yet, and the unusual “winter” temperatures have kept this – remaining on the horizon still, as an option.  With the occasional warm day here & there… and my trusty Kokotat, dry boots & gear… I can make kayaking… an unexpected, delightful possibility for sure…

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And then there’s the gym… and the allure of the Arc machine’s promise of a good, solid, cardio workout…  But the mobs of “resolution-ites”  who will undoubtedly be flooding the gym, in hopes to enthusiastically approach their new year’s goals…  have daunted my desire to even go near the gym, and cringe away from being any part of that kind of scene.  But I know if i give it a few weeks… they’ll fall by the way-side…  melting away nearly as quickly as they appeared…  leaving the dedicated ones behind…. like a surging tide… and the wave of giddy, hopeful,  stylishly outfitted optimists… rushing their way in, with churning power… tumbling, crawling feverishly onto the shore…  then, seconds later…  to quickly retreat back…  leaving in it’s recoil… the scattered shells & sea glass devotes… who remain for the long haul…  still on the shore.  Haha… wouldn’t Dylan Thomas roll over in his grave… cringing at that analogy…  sometimes I just crack myself up.

So… with these options pretty much not conducive to a good solid, day-to-day work out right now…  and knowing that although I’ve been told, I make fiddling look like an aerobic activity… it’s just not enough, nor what I need…  so I’ve turned my sights to a new…. hmm… passion – is it?    Hot yoga.

Before the new year rush,  when everyone else was out frantically holiday-ing…  I gave this Hot Yoga a try… and being the “all or nothing” – addictive kinda character I am…  I did it again,  and again…  and I think I can fairly certainly say – I’m hooked.   It’s certainly not the high end, hard core, physical activity I’m generally drawn to… but it’s delightfully challenging in the stretching… especially when added with the cerebral focus and joining of mind & body that I love.   I was blessed with “Gumby genes”… so the bending & stretching is just a great personal joy I truly like… And a ‘real live’ class… sure does beat my old Rodney Yee dvd’s hands down…  as much as I love him.  The open minded, meditational edge also appeals to me tremendously.

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I know I think too much… and tend to be a high intensity type person…  So when faced with the situation to clear my mind,  focus on my body, and stretch my muscles out – in heated, enveloping temperatures… that make my pores leak like a sieve…  I grab onto it.  I love feeling like I’m cleansing myself of toxins at the same time… I think too, it will put me in a beautiful frame of mind and body for Spring – so I can climb back on my road bike… as soon as the weather gets more amiable for getting back to my cycling.

So, does this introspection…  and seeking to refine my fitness levels, while enriching self awareness…   change me?  Does it make me a better person? a better fiddler? a better writer?  better singer? a better anything?    That’s wholly & completely up to me.    I know in order to utilize the benefits of  these passions,   I need to be as deeply balanced as I can be…   and in finding that balance – I will find the ability to calm and expand my mind so I can write and open the channels in my heart to create,  and clear the junk away so I can expressively play my fiddle, guitar, dulcimer & mandolin…  and pour my purest, best self – into all things… and hopefully – in that way… I can be better…

Note:  This is not a goal to be  “the best”… oh no.    That’s never my goal.   I don’t compete… plain and simple.  I don’t compete with anyone else… and trust me,  there’s not a living soul – who can compete with me… worse or harder than I compete with myself.   My goal… is to just be – the best I can.

So I guess, in examining the gifts I’ve been shown – and given – this year…  and knowing that giving back – is oft times… the best part of the reward…. I can honestly say,  in retrospect… that I have done my best this year… for friends – new & old, strangers and family alike… many times, without hesitation.  If I thought it was right, or good, and I believed I could do it… I did it.   Whether it was to lend a hand,  give support, or of myself – I tried my best… and… though I’m not gonna dwell on this…  as I know, I need to become better at it…  and some who know me, and are reading this…  won’t believe it… but I have held my tongue and said nothing – more times than not…  especially when I really wanted to cry out in frustration, aggravation or anger… I can say…  I did not.

So in conclusion… gazing back through all of this, I ask myself… what have I done?  What have I achieved?

I’ve reached farther into seeking fitness.  I’ve learned when to hold on, and when to let go.  I have recognized things I should have done – and things I shouldn’t have done… yet hold no regrets.  The list could go on and on, and I think I’ve written enough today…   But mostly, I learned this year,  that the heart is an ever expanding, endless plane… and when you let yourself  go,  and you give yourself over to love…  “to love with a love that is more than love” (Edgar Allen Poe)  and then… sadly, you lose that love… it feels unbearable…  but I’ve learned – with patience & by keeping the heart open…  that a wonderful, new love – a love even greater… will flood into that empty space – that was left in your heart.

Love – is fluid.

It will come flooding in – if you allow, and fill the spaces in your heart.  So if you focus on the beautiful, the joyous, the good, the kind, the gentle, and the loving things that surround you… then that is what you will receive…  love is everywhere… you just have to look…

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End of 2015… wrapped in gratefulness…

December 20, 2015 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

It’s a wonder… how this Christmas season – has snuck up so fast… and try as I may… I can’t seem to fathom… that Christmas is now… just 4 short days away!!!    Yet, gratefully… my shopping & wrapping’s nearly done… cookies are done (though disappearing rapidly & will probably have to be re-done) & the prep for all of it… has – pretty much – been accomplished.

So I have had the time – to actually pause & enjoy the festivities…  and taken time to absorb not only the true meaning of the season, but all the joy that goes along with it.  I spent a lazy afternoon getting Philip “up to speed” on many of those old, traditional, Christmas tunes, which sound so pretty on fiddle & pipes,  and we’ve been having fun bringing them out – and playing them at St. Stephen’s Green Public house… where we still play on Tuesday nights with the band.  It’s such a wonderful gig… & going strong every week – for whew…  almost 10 years now.  It’s long become a home away from home for us, and everyone’s like family… patrons & staff alike…  it’s a blessing we never take for granted.

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So I guess… what I’m saying is, I’ve had time lately, to truly consider what a marvelous year it’s been, all in all.  Sure, there were some rough patches… and even some scary stuff… but overall it’s been beautiful.

I’ve had time – to play lots of fiddle, dulcimer and mandolin… which are some of my greatest joys…  I love teaching fiddle lessons…  probably more than anything else… and have a slew of some of the finest folks – students – around…  and I know I’m a driven teacher, and I push hard… but I try to keep the lessons insightful, inspirational & fun… and it seems they’re always brimming with laughter… hah… always laughter…  🙂fiddlelessons

and  then, there’s all those glorious afternoon that were captured this past year…  getting together with musical friends – to play tunes on the porch on balmy days… which was just more than wonderful. Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 11.44.30 PM

I’ve also, joyfully…  had the freedom to travel with my little camper… and have flown away…  camping up and down the east coast,  roaming up into the mountains,  down into the valleys, and rambling in those stretched out areas – in the lands that lay in between.

I have spent some wonderful moments each day, writing a dear friend,  far away…  and each day we touch base… and it’s a great kinship.  I’ve also reunited with a very special,  long lost friend as well… and that has been… just a beautiful re-conneciton… and she always makes me smile.

This year… I’ve learned to find time for those who are dear & important to me… and treasure the time I have right now with those I love, & with those who I truly enjoy spending time with… though… I feel great remiss however… over those other dear friends, whom I have not… but 2016 is a new year… so I shall try harder…

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I paused & listened to night sounds of the forests… a very beautiful, simple thing to do… and something that many folks overlook… I learned to figure out bird songs… so I could tell who was singing… even if I couldn’t find the bird in the trees…     I lay on the soft, mossy ground… and watched tons of meteors… as they filled the night sky, slicing through the black velvet night.   I kayaked with the seals…  I was given the gift of glimpsing so many amazing birds… jokingly calling them all eagles… hahah…  and basked in the glow – of endless… breath taking sunsets,  that were made even better, because I shared the view with Philip and a few precious, beloved friends.

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So… sure… these are all simple things…  but things that made me feel blessed.  Even goofy stuff… like… the devoted, non-stop gaze of my constant shadow… “Boone” the Border Collie…   who’s either at my feet… or in my face!  He hears my keys… and he’s at my side… saying “LET’S GO!!!”   and in the truck faster than lightening… riding shot-gun.  I love him so much!

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And I am so very grateful… for the frequent alighting… of the muse of inspiration – that has been moving within me… deeply grateful for the gift of words and ideas… that seem to just spring into my head… & flow out of my fingertips… almost faster than I can type.   Then… the hardest part… are the melodies that come springing out of my dulcimer,   fiddle,  guitars… even Native Flute… and we’ve had some really productive time in the studio this summer and fall… with Tom White, our producer…  who never fails to amaze me at how he weaves my creations… into an amazing tapestry of sound…  (and is teaching me how to use Protools)… which is cool  Love that!   I know the new cd… “Shadow of a Crow”  WILL be out in 2016.  Just had 4 last minute songs I begged Tom to add… so it slowed us down… aGAIN… but at this point… what the heck?

So  2015  –  has been a good year!  And I’m gong to try and be more diligent with this blog… haha…  I have been lax… I know…  but I’ll do better this year!  I’m on Facebook… and you can also follow me at https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.mylod

Wishing everyone, a beautiful holiday season… what ever your holiday may be…  Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and holy – new year to come…   And one last thought… be good to yourself… live everything to the fullest….  laugh and enjoy ALL the things that life brings you… because tomorrow’s never a guarantee.

Joyfully,   Jennifer

 

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