Sunday, January 24, 2010

See For Yourself

Here's another clip from the CSM V:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Excerpts from Notes on Community Supported Music Delivery V

If you've been following my blog for a while you already know about the community supported music (CSM) project, which is a way for people who are interested in supporting my work and hearing new music in it's raw form to give $30 and download new music quarterly. I thought I'd give you a glimpse of the CSM delivery that was just released. For more info about the CSM, go to

Excerpt from Delivery V Notes:
This is an eclectic delivery. The first two songs were written specifically for people over the holidays. The last three are prayers, part of an ongoing journey for me in exploring ways music and image relate to worship, prayer, and meditation.

I recorded these songs in an empty house in Ohio. This was a house my grandparents built. My family lived in it while we built our house. It is a space is full of memories, equipped with a great, old and badly out of tune baby grand piano (which sneaks unbidden into the recordings once or twice). I am nervous about how loose and unpolished these songs are, but I like the rawness of feeling. In this CSM I keep trying to capture the spark of a song that happens before it's full grown and tested.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More live art from the audience

This art was created (mostly) by nonprofessionals (and all) during my last show, a house party deep in the woods of Ohio ...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fear and Pressure Patterns

Several recent conversations helped me see a pattern in my life that, if it could change, would make a big difference in my relationships, my confidence, and my effectiveness. As is usually the case with these things, seeing the problem clearly brought me hope things could change. Hope has been followed by a process of gradual change, punctuated by small leaps forward, and requiring help from others.

So here's the pattern:

A situation arises which requires my action.
I begin to engage it.
The way I engage it frustrates someone else.
They react (in small or large ways).
I begin to feel trapped, scared, hopeless, angry and pressured to somehow fix things. Quickly.
I react: usually I disengage, capitulate, or lash out, often without even realizing what I'm feeling.

Nice, eh? And you all thought I was so mature. :) Or, if you know me well you're shocked that I'm just figuring this out now. So why do I act like this? How did I get into this pattern?

Some of this pattern, I think, I learned by osmosis from observation and being in situations where people handled conflict this way. Also my personality which loves freedom and connection (two things threatened in these situations) plays into it. I'm a first born with the tendency to take responsibility for things that are not my responsibility. I also think self-protection is a natural human response which is operating in a twisted way here.

How can this change?
Somehow trust must replace fear, courage and hope are needed to withstand the pressure, and the pattern needs to be broken. The key ingredients for me in this so far have been the sense that God is working in me and that this isn't something I can or have to do alone, perspective from people who know me, and some new skills/practices I'm developing.

What skills am I learning?
1. To check my internal state when I'm going into a situation that requires my engagement or leadership. I take a couple minutes to ask myself "am I trusting God? Do I have hope? Am I afraid?" I am beginning to take the state of my heart as a real factor in the situation, rather than something to ignore. I'm not very good at this yet, but I've seen signs of progress already even as I muddle forward.
2. To pay attention to the kind of feedback I'm getting from people. If others are reacting to me it might just be that I'm bringing a new idea, but it might be that they are picking up on my fear or pressure and are feeling pushed or manipulated.
3. To get perspective from people who love me -- I've described this pattern to several friends and they sometimes recognize the pattern when I don't. Seeing it allows me to get in the fight at least.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Years Eve Concert and Art

Did my first full concert in quite some time in Ohio the last day of December. It was great to try out new songs and play some old ones with a great band made up of super vocalist Kimberly Glick, bassist virtuoso Toby Hazlett and the drummer I've known longest (from my very first band) Joel Geiser. I played three sets, and enjoyed sets by Kimberly Glick, Annie Yoder and Carrie Yoder. Great evening, great to be playing again, fun to have parts of it recorded, and good to see art incorporated into the evening as well.

We had a contest -- people drew pictures during the concert and a small, non-biased panel chose the winner who received a free years membership to my Community Supported Music group.

I'l post more art and some music from the concert soon. The piece included here is by an unknown artist created at the concert.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Six good lines from the Avett Brothers

Okay so I was wrong about
My reasons for us falling out
Of love I want to fall back in

My life is different now I swear
I know now what it means to care
About somebody other than myself

I used to say just let em fall
It wouldn't bother me at all
I couldn't help them now I can

- the Avette Brothers

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Miracles Part Two

Was talking to a friend last night and he went off about how Christians sometimes try to be encouraging rather than facing reality

Monday, January 4, 2010

Getting Snowed In

It's cold in Virginia and it has been for a while. We were gone when the blizzard hit but we still can't get in our driveway, so we park out by the road and walk on thick, crusted snow to the house. At night the snow is bright enough that you can walk through the woods without a flashlight and not trip.

The holidays were a good time of engaging family, playing my first concert in about three months, and catching up on some of the work that fell through the cracks in the flurry of the last couple months.

Outside it's beautiful and cold, in the room where I write it's chilly, and I'm glad to have had a couple weeks free of major new initiatives to catch up and settle a bit, sort of like being snowed in intellectually and creatively.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Music & Art: Looking back and forward

Did you miss...

Two inspiring 2009 recordings I briefly met this year but look forward to getting to know better in 2010:
Aaron Strumpel: Elephants (10 songs), he took a knife and scraped the grime off the Psalms.
Bon Iver: Blood Bank EP (4 songs), his voice and the arrangements are exploratory and polished in all the right places.

The Farewell Concert recording: There are still a few copies of the special edition available.

Got 99 cents to spend? Search JRL or Jonathan Reuel on itunes, amazon, etc, listen to clips and download a song. From the comfort of your own chair.

Still in the Christmas vibe? Download or order "Our Christmas Project," a strangely good compilation of local Virginia artists playing traditional or original Christmas songs in support of Our Community Place, a grass-roots community project involved daily in the lives of the most marginalized people in Harrisonburg, serving up three meals a day to anyone in the world, in addition to education, fun, friendship, shelter, recovery and community.

Looking forward:

New music from me: Join my community supported music venture and hear new songs soon after they're written. This is a great little group of friends and music lovers whose support and feedback I value highly.

New Art: Visit Christa's site ( or join her community supported art initiative.

New resources: I hope to get some exercises and charts available in the next few months for those of you wanting help tracking your creative journey, inner life, spirituality and community building. You know, little things like that.