Monday, March 11, 2019

Feeling My Irish Blood

I often tell the story of how I’ve long had a passion for Irish music even though I didn’t know our family had Irish blood. My mother was a genealogist and loved researching our family’s history. She had just found out a month before she passed in August of 2015 about an ancestor, William Bell, who came directly from Ireland. She corresponded with a woman who was researching common branches of our family tree and had  found details of his life from Ireland and a picture of his headstone in Potton, Quebec, Canada, dated 1739-1816. I helped my mom process the picture so we could read the dates (the headstone was mossy and indistinct after 200 years.) My mother and I were so excited to find out we had Irish roots on my her side of the family in addition to our Welsh and German roots. We hope to do more research on him and others in our tree to follow in her footsteps. So when you see me reveling in an Irish ballad or pub song and proudly walking in the morning with my blackthorn shillelagh walking stick you’ll know I’m celebrating my heritage and feeling the Irish blood in my veins. It burns with passion!

——

What have I been up to?

Last Saturday I played a 100th birthday party that was an absolute blast! The birthday girl was full of spunk and fire, and the feeling was infectious. Happy Birthday, Elnola!

Sunday was Cuchara Chapel and all the wonderful folks of the beautiful valley up there. I couldn’t find a song to fit the message, so I wrote another expressing unity called “Part of All.” Here is the Chorus to get a sense of it:

And if I am part of all, I understand
I forgive myself, and let go demands
I am here to love, I am here to live

I even got a little choked up when I sang it. I’m a bit of a softy as I grow older, but the song expresses some very personal truths for me as well. Big surprise, huh?

——

What am I up to this week?

Saturday 7-9 I’m playing a concert in Florence at the Bell Tower Cultural Center. This is a St. Patrick's Day event featuring Celtic dancers for the first hour and me doing Irish music for the second hour. The dancers are fantastic young folks who really stomp the rhythm out, and for my part I do a mix of well-known and obscure tunes you can sing along to or tap your toes. It’s a wonderful show I’ve gotten to participate in for several years now. I’d love to have you if you want to come out and celebrate your inner Irish!

Sunday I’m heading up to Denver to play for a birthday party for a good friend I haven’t seen in several years. It promises to be a fun time, and my sister will even be there!

——

That’s it for this week. I’m busily trying to finish my taxes and getting ready for my show with Ken Saydak in April and my shows with Dennis Mills at the Royal Gorge Bridge this summer. Be good to each other, and as the Irish say, “Slainte!” (To your health!)

Best,

Tom

——

Details this week:

Who: Tom Munch
What: playing for St. Patrick’s Day in Florence, CO
Where: Bell Tower Cultural Center, 201 East Second Street, 719-784-2038
When: Saturday, March 16, 7-9 pm

Monday, March 4, 2019

Addled

We spent a lot of time organizing again yesterday in the basement after we had a mini flood last weekend and decided to put everything on the floor in or on plastic containers to get them off the floor. That meant going through equipment boxes I’ve saved in case things needed to be shipped for repair or sold. This is similar to when I wrote about cleaning out my closet, but with the equipment I had other quandaries that kind of addled my brain. Before I get rid of a box I have to decide if I need it to sell the equipment and if the equipment is better off being donated or recycled. This starts a consideration with some pieces because they are all interrelated. If I get rid of a tape deck do I need to make sure I don’t have tapes that need to be digitized? If I get rid of an old laptop do I need to wipe or destroy the hard drive? If I get rid of a mixer do I have other equipment that goes with it like mounts and accessories? I did this with a bunch of boxes, and I have to tell you that my brain doesn’t jump through the contortions this takes like it used to. You wouldn’t think that what I do for a living would be so complicated, but I think I made it this way because I used to enjoy the complexity. I guess the lesson is to either not make things so complex, or clear everything out every so often so there’s no residue and confusion. And I don’t want to leave things behind that at some point should just be bulldozed into the earth. Maybe that’s the metaphor for what I need to do with all the complexity - bulldoze it into the earth! But a deep breath and an awareness of why I’m here and what I’m doing is all it takes to center me and get me back on track.

What have I been up to?

Friday night at Bistoro was a another stellar evening with good friends and a great time. I so enjoy these folks and this venue!

Sunday's Online Concert was full of New Orleans and Irish music for Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day. It was so much fun!

What am I up to this week?

Saturday I’m playing a private party for a 100th birthday that should be a blast! I’m looking forward to it.

Sunday I’m back at Cuchara Chapel for another morning of mountain views and a little spirituality. So enjoyable and rewarding. Come out if you like!

That’s it for this week. Be good to each other and have a great Mardi Gras!

Best always,

Tom

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing for chapel service
Where:  Cuchara Chapel, 16400 CO Hwy 12, Cuchara, CO
When:  Sunday, March 10, 10:00 am

Monday, February 25, 2019

Grief

This morning’s Cuchara Chapel was about letting go. I even wrote a song for it that I would like to share sometime. The gist of it was that we are more than our thoughts and feelings, and that if we learn to view our feelings as something we can experience and let pass we will be deeper and more peaceful people. The example Reverend Eileen used was the sudden passing of her beloved cat Toby recently and how she dealt with the shock of his illness and the quick decision she had to make to put him down. And that led to several thoughts about grief after the service that I’m still thinking about. I find grief a curious thing that I’ve never learned to deal with in a way that I feel right about. As a performer I have usually not been able to take time to grieve. I’ve always had to put on a show soon afterwards where I needed to smile and be present for the audience. I’ve never felt worried about those I lost, so I have been okay with the loss, but I still feel that I should have had more grieving. Maybe the floodgates will open one day, and I’ll be inconsolable. That would be okay with me. I don’t have guilt, but I just feel that I want to cry more. If I don’t that’s okay with me too. I often say that my spiritual path has led me to feel that everything will be okay, and maybe that’s what makes me feel that the lack of grieving is okay too. So if you see me someday with  tears streaming down my face you’ll know why. But if you see me with a peaceful smile you’ll know why too.

——

What have I been up to?

I already told you about playing for Cuchara Chapel last Sunday. It was a wonderful service that was followed by a lovely get-together afterwards with several of the folks from the chapel. Oh, my song is simply called “Letting Go,” and the chorus goes:

Letting go, letting go, let the feelings ebb and flow
I am not my thoughts and feelings, I’m letting go

——

What am I up to this week?

Friday 6-9 I’m back at Bistoro in Pueblo for my regular first-Friday gig. It’s such a wonderful place with so much love for friends, food, and music. I feel very fortunate to have it in my life. Please come if you can. Better make reservations if you come. We had to turn away a lot of folks last month. 719-696-9672

Sunday 7-8:15 MST is my first-Sunday online living room concert. I have enjoyed doing these for the past year. This time out I already have some special songs planned, and I’m sure I’ll do some Irish songs for St. Patrick’s Day and also some Mardi Gras songs since it’s just two days later on the 5th. Please join me if you can. I’ll make sure it’s a free concert this month. concertwindow.com/tommunch

——

That’s it for this month. Thank you for your friendship!

Best always,

Tom

——

Details this week:

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing
Where:  Bistoro, 109 Central Plaza, Pueblo. 719-696-9672
When:  Friday, March 1, 6-9 pm

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing a concert from my living room
Where:  online at https://concertwindow.com/tommunch
When:  Sunday, March 3, 7-8:15 MST

Monday, February 18, 2019

Judging

I’m struggling with something today that I often confront - judging others and their situations. It’s such an easy thing to do, and it’s so ugly. In my heart I believe we really are all equal and intertwined to the deepest levels of science and spirit. In that light I have understanding for all people and situations, and I know that judgement is unjustified. We all are just making our way with the level of awareness of our situation we have attained so far in our lives. But in the moment my first inclination is to think bad thoughts and say unkind things about those who think, say, and act differently than me, not to mention those who look different than me. When I find myself with these thoughts of judging others I try to rise above the moment and up into my belief that we will all one day understand how intertwined we all are down to minutest bits of science and spirit. It doesn’t have to be this way. I just have to remember my beliefs.

——

What have I been up to?

Last Saturday night at Walter's Brewery was loads of fun! When I arrived there were only about 3 people in the place, and I was worried it would be a slow night, but friends soon flocked in and made it great. Thank you, friends! I’ll be back March 29th.

——

What’s up this week?

Sunday I’m back at Cuchara Chapel at 10:00 am to hear Eileen's great message and play some tunes. It is a real pleasure to get to participate in these services with the people of the Cuchara Valley. If you’re up for a drive come on out to see the valley in the snow and get a little spiritual recharge.

——

That’s it for this week. I’ve been back in writing mode a bit of late. I know that many of you have said I should be writing songs in the vein of what I write in these mailers. I’m trying to do just that! More on that as I move along. From today's thoughts, how about a song called “Science and Spirit” or something to that effect?

Best,

Tom

——

Details this week:

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing for chapel service
Where:  Cuchara Chapel, 16400 CO Hwy 12, Cuchara, CO
When:  Sunday, February 24, 10:00 am

Monday, February 11, 2019

Spring Cleaning in February

My wife Jen and I spent time today going through my stuff in the closet and my dresser we call my “cowboy cabinet.” (We call it that because it has what look like cattle brands up and down its surface.)  I like to say that I don’t need much to be happy and that anything I don’t really use I get rid of, but I’m also sentimental and have trouble giving up things. That said, I’m also very “out of sight and out of mind” with most possessions once they’re gone. In fact as I age I can completely forget about things that were once important to me. But as I go through things I have all kinds of memories that surface - shirts that I remember wearing to weddings and special events, shoes and boots that I wore to a dance or favorite hike, t-shirts from places we visited or which were given to me. Then there are the things I haven’t used in years that I hold onto just in case I need them sometime. It’s crazy I tell you how we can over-rationalize the simplest things. And I know in the long run it doesn’t mean anything, and I yearn for the days when I could fit everything I owned in the back of a car. But today I made some good decisions, and it made me weigh things that trigger deep thoughts in my brain. It’s always interesting to me to watch how we work things out in this life.

What have I been up to?

I sent out an update mid-week last week that Cuchara Chapel rescheduled my performance to February 24th, so I just had my schedule of nursing and retirement facilities last week.

What am I up to this week?

Saturday night 7-10 I’m back at Walter’s Brewery Taproom for a fun evening of my music, good beer, and good friends. We had a great time last month, and I’m really looking forward to this time. I was a little too loud last time trying to ride the energy in the room, and this time I think I’ll turn down a little so it’s a little more intimate. Come on out if you can!

What’s on the horizon?

I scheduled my dates at the Royal Gorge Bridge for the summer. I’ll have my friend Dennis Mills from Cuchara sitting in on bass for most of the summer for a little more sound and variety, and we may add a third player a few times too. I really enjoy playing with Dennis, and I hope you can make it out sometime this summer to hear us on the south side of the bridge up the hill. The dates I’ve scheduled are:

June 3, 10, 17, 24, 25, 28
July 1, 3, 8, 15, 16, 19, 22, 29
Aug 5, 12, 13, 16, 19, 26, 30
Sept 2

All days are 12:30-4:30.

That’s it for this week. Be good, and I hope to see you soon.

Best,

Tom

Details this week:

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing
Where:  Walter’s Brewery Taproom, 126 Oneida Street, Pueblo. 719-542-0766
When:  Saturday, February 16, 7-10 pm

Monday, February 4, 2019

What are Music and Dreams?

In case you hadn’t noticed, I spend a lot of time pondering things philosophical and spiritual.  The greatest mysteries to me are music and dreams.  I can have all kinds of theories and beliefs about science and death and spirituality, but I can’t fathom what music really is or dreams.  Music is many things - mathematical in its relationships between notes, rhythms, and frequencies; emotional in it’s ability to move us to tears and laughter; and even spiritual when it goes beyond all understanding.  But there is magic beyond this in music that I cannot explain, and I’ve read all kinds of studies and articles trying to explain it.  I’m just thankful to be involved in it.  Dreams are kind of the same thing to me - analyzed but never truly understood.  I find dreams to be both comforting and disturbing.  I’ve even asked spiritual gurus about dreams, and they confessed to not really knowing what they are either.  Some say they are the brain working out things from our conscious lives.  Others say dreams are communication with the other side.  I don’t know if I’ll ever have an answer for myself.  So I guess I’ll just go on enjoying music and dreams.  What do you think of them?

What have I been up to?

Friday night last was a packed house at Bistoro with lots of wonderful folks and friends.  It was so much fun.  I went the full three hours without a break because I was enjoying it so.

Sunday was my online concert up against the Super Bowl (or the superb owl as one person called it.)  I had a pretty good crowd, but I messed up the online setup so that it was asking everyone to purchase a $1 ticket to listen.  As such several people got booted out after a few minutes if they didn’t want to put in a credit card.  I heartily apologize if this happened to you.  I’ll make sure I double-check the setup before I start from here on out to make sure that doesn’t happen again.  I have three choices - free show, pay what you want, or ticket, and I’ve always set it for free show or pay what you want in the past.  Anyway, it was a fun show with some originals, some love songs, and some Buddy Holly songs since it was the 60th anniversary of his death with Richie Valens and the Big Bopper.

What am I up to this week?

Sunday I’m playing for Cuchara Chapel again 10-11.  I’ve really been enjoying playing this beautiful little chapel this winter.  Eileen’s messages are always right on target, and the songs I’m getting to play for special music are becoming favorites.  Come on out if you’re in the area and would like to see the mountains in beautiful winter splendor with a bunch of good mountain folks.

That’s it for this week.  I’m setting dates for the Royal Gorge Bridge and several other venues now, so I’ll have lots to talk about in the future.

Best,

Tom

Details this week:

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing for chapel service
Where:  Cuchara Chapel, 16400 CO Hwy 12, Cuchara, CO
When:  Sunday, February 10, 10:00 am

Monday, January 28, 2019

Pushing Buttons

I’m thinking this morning about our personal motivation and how others motivate us. In history others have used all kinds of things to motivate us, and we use these same things ourselves. I try to be my own person and unaffected by others, but it doesn’t always happen that way. We are all intertwined, and a certain amount of shared feeling is part of being in this world. But we don’t have to get wrapped up in these feelings and especially fear. It’s a trap sometimes, and it’s often the way others try to motivate us. A peaceful mind is brought by the realization that fear is usually about things that never happen. I’m often reminded of that quote from FDR at the beginning of World War II - “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Others can use this fear to manipulate us into doing things against our best interest. Everything works out in the end, I believe. I have always carried a peace inside me from deep down. There is a knowing inside us that defeats fear. It comes from love, and holding onto that when others try to push our buttons with fear will carry the day. Believe it.

What have I been up to?

A week ago Friday was a wonderful night at Walter’s Brewery Taproom. So many good friends came out to enjoy the evening, and although it was a little loud we all had a good time. I look forward to the next go-round there on February 16th.

Then the following Sunday was a nice time at Cuchara Chapel for service. Reverend Eileen gave a great message on dealing with conflict, and I got to sing the Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch song, “I Can’t Wait.”

What’s up this week?

Friday night 6-9 I’m back at Bistoro in Pueblo. I’m meeting some new folks here as well as good friends going out for a fun night of food, company, and music.  Come on out if you can. Joette and Pellumb have some yummy new items on the menu that I really want to try!

Sunday night 7-8ish MST is my First-Sunday Online Living Room Concert.  I’m up against the Super Bowl, but I’ve heard there are quite a few folks who’d rather not watch the Patriots in the Super Bowl again, so if you’re one of them or if the game has turned sour by the time I start, then please tune in to concertwindow.com/tommunch for an hour or so of music from my home to yours.

That’s it for this week.  I just got dates for the Royal Gorge Bridge this summer, and I also booked a house concert in Colorado Springs all the way in September of 2020 with Gabrielle Louise, so there’s always something going on in my world.

Best,

Tom

Details this week:

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing
Where:  Bistoro, 109 Central Plaza, Pueblo. 719-696-9672 (Number is now correct!)
When:  Friday, February 1, 6-9 pm

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing a concert from my living room
Where:  online at https://concertwindow.com/tommunch
When:  Sunday, February 3, 7-8:15ish pm MST

Monday, January 14, 2019

Empathy

I was at a couple parties interacting with folks yesterday, and I was reading the room and getting to know people as I was talking to them. I was amazed at the variety of experiences people had. And then I was reading a friend’s life story this morning. The places he’d traveled and the things he’d seen were simply amazing - sorrows and joys. We never know what another person has gone through and what they know. We tend to think everyone has the same experience as us, but everyone has had their own troubles and triumphs. Taking care in knowing we’ve all had a life that has shaped us in our own ways on this journey should guide us in our every interaction. I’m fascinated to know what others have gone through in their lives. I feel a oneness with everyone ultimately, but I know they have faced their own set of circumstances to make them who they are today. I will try to keep this in mind as I go through my day. I appreciate you, my friend.

What have I been up to?

Cuchara Chapel had to cancel the service last Sunday because the snow was already 17” by Saturday noon with no end in sight. I think they had at least 30” by the end of it. That worked out okay because I wound up with a cold and fever that knocked me out from late Monday to part of Thursday. I also picked up an anniversary party on Sunday afternoon that would have been difficult timing if I would have had to rush back from Cuchara. It’s amazing how everything works together.

What am I up to this week?

Friday 7-10 I’m back at Walter’s Brewery Taproom. We had so much fun the last time I played here, and I’m really looking forward to it again! Please come out if you can.

Sunday I’m back at Cuchara Chapel 10-11 if the weather allows this time. It’ll be great to see the valley with so much snow.

That’s it for this week. I did book Walter’s February 16 and March 15, so in addition to first-Fridays at Bistoro and first-Sundays on Concert Window online that’ll be a good rotation for a couple months. I have some other special events like the Bell Tower in Florence on March 16 and another Crunch and Munch with Ken Saydak at The Merc in La Veta on April 13.

Best,

Tom

Details this week:

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing
Where:  Walter’s Brewery Taproom, 126 Oneida Street, Pueblo. 719-542-0766
When:  Friday, January 18, 7-10 pm

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing for chapel service
Where:  Cuchara Chapel, 16400 CO Hwy 12, Cuchara, CO
When:  Sunday, January 20, 10:00 am

Monday, January 7, 2019

What Causes Illness?

I went to bed after my online concert last night feeling a little chilled and a little sniffly, and it made me think once again about what causes illness. I read and listen to a lot of different science news and studies, and so I know a bit about the mechanics of illness. But I also know from the studies that there is a component of illness that is in the mind and spirit as well. We can make ourselves sick from stress or a host of other things in our lives that make our immune systems weaker and more susceptible to whatever bug is hanging around. Our world is full of examples of those who made themselves sick and those who made themselves well. Eating well, exercising, and getting good rest are very important, and sometimes supplements seem to help too. But our outlook on life and how we deal with stress is worth bearing in mind as well. So when I feel a little puny my curiosity is always spurred to know what caused it in me this time. Just a little food for thought this morning. I wonder what the next study will add to our knowledge of this.

What have I been up to?

New Year’s Eve at La Plaza Inn was a wonderful time. The trip down was a little spooky with slick roads and folks in the ditch on both sides, but once I was there I was greeted by kind people who knew how to make the holidays special. The food was great, the decorations were beautiful, and the music and fun were flowing.

Friday at Bistoro was grand as well with good food, old and new friends, and a warm feeling with the music that couldn’t be beat. I love these folks and this place!

Sunday for my online concert I did some old country and western songs from the beginnings of country music. I didn’t know if folks would like this choice of music, but they really did. I like doing different things, and these songs are close to my heart.

What am I up to this week?

This week will be relatively quiet with mostly my normal nursing and retirement schedule 2 or 3 gigs a day which I thoroughly enjoy. It’s great to give back to the community.

Sunday 10-11 I’ll be playing at the Cuchara Chapel service again. I’ve really been enjoying the folks and message at the chapel, and I’d encourage you to come up for a mountain outing and a nice uplifting message to start your week if you can.

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll be back at Walter's Brewery in Pueblo if you’re looking ahead. Have a good week!

Best always,

Tom

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing for chapel service
Where:  Cuchara Chapel, 16400 CO Hwy 12, Cuchara, CO
When:  Sunday, January 13, 10:00 am

Monday, December 31, 2018

End of Year Thanks

I’m looking back like everyone does as I approach this New Year’s Eve. This year has been fairly good. I got to see a lot of friends and family, and I got to play in some beautiful places for some wonderful folks. Of course, the fires in the forest around here put a damper on several places I would have played, and I’m so sorry to those who lost so much. Life will always keep us guessing and appreciating what he have - including each other. I had a couple health issues which made life a little interesting for a while - nothing serious, just growing older. Our pets kept us active and happy. My writing went well, and I’ll be ready for the studio this fall.  I also love writing these blogs for you all. Through it all this life continues to be an adventure of living and loving that is beyond great. Yes, there are grey moments mixed in, but I’m glad I came, and I’m glad to have you alongside for the ride.

What have I been up to?

Christmas was a wonderful time with family and good food and drink. (Thanks, Jim and Karen!) I hope yours was too.

Saturday was a private 85th birthday party with several model railroaders, so I got to dive into some of my favorite train songs. Happy Birthday, Charlie!

What am I up this week?

Tonight (Monday) 6-9 I’ll be playing at La Plaza Inn in Walsenburg for New Year’s Eve dinner. The weather looks like it will be a challenge down south, so I’m in hopes that everyone’s travel will be safe. If you’d like to come please call 719-738-5700 for a reservation. It’s sounds like a wonderful evening.

Friday 6-9 I’m at Bistoro in Pueblo for first-Friday dinner. I’m looking forward to starting the new year with good food and good friends. Please come out and enjoy the energy of the new year. Call 719-299-4769 for reservations.

Sunday 7-8ish I’ll be doing my first-Friday online living room concert once again. I’ll be starting the year with favorites that I hope everyone loves. Please tune in to concertwindow.com/tommunch if you can.

That’s it for this week. I hope you had a good year and are looking forward to ringing in the new with excitement and joy.

Best always,

Tom

Details this week:

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing for New Year’s Eve dinner
Where:  La Plaza Inn, 118 W. 6th Street, Walsenburg 719-738-5700
When:  Monday, December 31, 6-9 pm

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing
Where:  Bistoro, 109 Central Plaza, Pueblo. 719-299-4769
When:  Friday, January 4 7, 6-9 pm

Who:  Tom Munch
What:  playing and singing a concert from my living room
Where:  online at https://concertwindow.com/tommunch
When:  Sunday, January 6, 7-8:15ish pm MDT