Tag Archives: Indy

A Fresh Start

I won’t bore you with all the details, so I’ll skip ahead to my current situation, but to give some sense of time, I’ll start with this.

For roughly seven years, I’ve been trying to answer the question of what I want to do as a career. For a long time my dream was to be a full-time musician, but to get to the point where I could consistently make a living solely from my music realistically could take five, ten, or even fifteen years. Even after all that time there’s still no guarantee of where I would be financially. As a husband and hopefully a father some day, I can’t justify giving that much time to an unsure endeavor. That’s not fair to my wife, and I’m not loving her well by putting the pressure on her to provide financially in the real world while I play around all day in dream land.

let me make a brief aside. I don’t want this to discourage my friends who are pursuing their dreams of being a full-time musician or artist. I know many people who are making their dreams a reality. Be encouraged to press on if your situation allows or even calls for it. Everyone’s circumstances, personalities, ambitions, relationships, and a multitude of other factors are different.

With all that being said, I’ve decided to stop pursuing music as a full-time career, but I’ll never stop making music and sharing it with people.

I have other interests, so who knows, maybe a new dream with start to unfold for me. Hopefully it will continue to unfold as I begin the next chapter in my life. That next chapter is to go back to school. I’ll be going to Ivy Tech in the Fall. I haven’t decided on my specific focus at this time. It will either be motorsports technology or a general automotive route.

Some of you know I’ve been into motorcycles pretty heavily for the past year, but their are roots that go further back than that. My dad has been a high school teacher for the past 42 years. As technology has changed he’s taught things like drafting, wood shop, small engines, design processes, Autocad, robotics, and many others. I’ve been surrounded by this man and these things my whole life. In junior high and high school, my dad and I would watch the show “American Chopper.” We both loved to see the bikes go from concept to design to mock up to final assembly. I’ve always wanted to learn more about cars and what’s going on under the hood, but never really had the drive to take the time to learn. At the time, I was focused on my visual art and my music, since that’s what I wanted to do as a career.

I’m excited to finally learn about something I’ve admired from afar for so many years. I’m excited to find a career and not just another job to pay the bills. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about school.

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Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker

Who’s Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker? After this blog post you’ll be asking the greater question. Why have I never heard of him? If you’re ahead of the game and know all about Baker, then you’re either really into history, Indiana, or motorcycles.

I got my first taste of Baker from an IndyStar article published a couple weeks ago. I was blown away my this man, and even more so that he slipped under my radar for so long. Here are some facts I found interesting about Baker.

  • He lived in Garfield Park just a stone’s throw away from where I used to live when I first got married, and since moving, now only about a mile and a half away.
  • He won the first motorized race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909, which was a 10-mile motorcycle race. Side note: the first race ever at the IMS was a balloon race.
  • He also raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 1922 and finished 11th.
  • He made more than 143 attempts at a variety of timed, long-distance records. One of his most noteworthy transcontinental rides was in 1914 when he rode from San Diego to New York City in 11 days, 12 hours, and 10 minutes.
  • He rode and drove roughly 5.5 million miles from 1908 to 1933.
  • He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

These are just a few facts that sparked my attention. It just so happens that we are in the midst of the 103rd anniversary of his record-setting 1914 ride. He began on May 3, 1914 (today is May 4) and finished May 14, 1914.

I found a website that has Baker’s journal notes from his 1914 trip. It was such a wondrous story, I had to write a song about it. I just finished it today, so I thought I would  share the lyrics with you. I typically don’t like to share the lyrics right after finishing a song, but it seemed fitting.

Verse 1:
Headed East from San Diego
to the City of New York.
For a record-setting ride,
I filled my canteen to the cork.
The sand pushed me to the limit
as I pushed my two-speed horse.
With only a few paved miles laid out,
I would have to set the course.

Verse 2:
Spent the morning in the desert
at triple-digit degrees.
By the time I called it quits,
I rode a mile above the sea.
I worked my way toward the valley
full of bleached-white cattle bones.
Would this machine keep me alive,
or would it become my tombstone?

Verse 3:
Took all day to cross the river
that was swollen on all sides.
I looked for a shallow answer,
but learned the depth of my pride.
I had thousands of miles ahead
with no easy route in sight.
I worried about tomorrow
before I made it to tonight.

Verse 4:
Tried to not let the storm catch me,
so I mounted my machine.
With no time to stop for breakfast,
the thought of mud was my caffeine.
I rode atop the railroad ties
to escape the tough terrain.
“Clear the road: I am a-coming”
was the native-spread refrain.

Verse 5:
Made up my mind I would not stop
till I touched the city streets.
As my journey came to a close,
it all felt so bittersweet.
I came in strong though late at night
upon my seven-horse steed.
Little did I know that I’d be called
the pioneer of speed.

 

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Full-Time Musician

The title says it all. I’m officially a full-time musician. After being laid

off from my full-time job, my wife and I made the decision for me to

pursue my music. I’ve never done anything this unsure and unstable.

It’s like I’m in the ocean, and there’s no land in sight. I don’t know

which way to swim, if I’m surrounded by sharks, or if I’ll ever be

rescued. Right now I’m looking for land, for shallow water, for a boat,

and anything that floats. I’m not drowning, but a bit overwhelmed at

the moment.

Here are a couple simple ways you can be a life vest at the moment:

  1. You can like/ follow me on social media (links below). It might
    not feel like much but it means a lot.

    1. Facebook: to stay up-to-date.
    2. Instagram: to stay up-to-date with cool visuals.
    3. Twitter: to stay up-to-date with what the kids are doing.
  2. You can invite your friends to like/ follow as well.

 

That’s all for now. The game is afoot.

 

 

 

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Avenoo Blues – Song 2

My second song is about Indiana Avenue, and the music

scene during the early to mid 1900s. Blues was one of

the popular genres during the Avenue’s heydays. The

song is written from the perspective of someone who

knew the saloons, bars, and juke joints during its golden

years, which is why they are singing the blues. They miss

the greatness that once was. I also did my darnedest to make

it sound as if it was recorded during that time period. Give it

a listen here.

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Victory – Song 1

I can’t believe this is my first post of the new year.

On the other hand, I’ve been living my life more in

the real world instead of online, so I guess I can believe

it.

 

My most recent and exciting endeavor is my 10-week

music residency at the Harrison Center for the Arts. I’m

in the middle of my third week, and I have to write and

record one song per week. Each song must be placed-based,

so it has to be about Indianapolis in some way. My first song,

which you can listen to here, is about Lady Victory atop the

Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

 

This is my first attempt at recording all by myself, so it’s

not perfect but it’s a great learning experience. With that

said, it turned out pretty good. I definitely have a greater

respect for sound engineers. Make sure to give it a listen

and stay tuned for the next 9 songs.

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Life Update

It’s been almost a month since my last post. I left off

by breaking down each song of my new “LA” EP. I released

it almost one month ago, and then I fell of the face of the

earth. Sorry about that. I lost my job, was looking for a new one,

and the EP took a backseat. I’d like to play the EP at some shows/

house shows around Indy, but I’m still trying to figure out what kind

of instrumentation to use. Also, it would be great to get a couple

other people to play with me in order to add more layers.

 

Hopefully I’ll be posting regularly again now that life is becoming

a little more regular. I’ll have to play it by ear for now. Until then,

pick up my EP from raywyatt.bandcamp.com. It’s only $5, so get

yourself a digital stocking stuffer.

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Song 5 and 6 “Boss Angeles” and “LAX

I figured I would combine the last two songs

into one blog post just to keep it brief. I won’t

say much about “Boss Angeles.” It’s similar

to “City of Angels” but slightly different. “City

of Angles” is meant to be ironic, and “Boss Angeles”

is meant to be satirical. That’s all I’ll say about it.

Go ahead and listen to the songs, and you’ll see what

I mean.

 

“LAX” is the most uplifting, happy, and resolved song

on the EP. Every other song is full of questions, doubt,

darkness, uncertainty, and ends on an unresolved note

musically. This song has no questions or uncertainty,

just a sense of longing and waiting. But it’s not the kind

of waiting that causes doubt, uncertainty, strife, and

uneasiness. Like when you go to the doctor to have major

tests done, and you’re anxiously waiting for the results

for the results. It’s a waiting filled with trust, certainty,

rest, and patience. Like when you’re sick and tired of winter

and you long for spring. You know spring will come, the

snow will melt, the sun will come out, and the temperature

will rise.

 

This is the kind of longing found in this song. It’s the

resolution we’ve been waiting for the whole EP. The

peace we’ve been seeking for the previous five tracks.

Just as the first five songs long to be resolved and the

tension dismissed by the sixth, so to do our souls long

to be resolved, the tension dismissed, and wholeness

ushered in.

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Song 4 – “City of Angels”

With the title “City of Angels,” you might think this

song captures the beauty and highlights of Los

Angeles. I took the ironic approach, and decided

to cover some of the darker themes of Los Angeles.

Just to clarify, I don’t want to come off as if I’m bashing

L.A., because these themes and issues can be true of

any city. I also don’t want people to think the darkness

is “out there” somewhere in the city, but the darkness

spreads to you and me. It’s in all of us. We might think

our bodies are cities of angels, but when I look into the

heart of my city, I’m no angel.

The verses of this song point out the dark aspects of

L.A., but the chorus starts out affirming the “City of Angels”

slogan. The last line of the chorus ends with a hint of doubt

that maybe L.A. isn’t what he thought it was. Maybe it’s not

the “City of Angels.”

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Song 3 – “Los Angeles II”

This song is a bit of a continuation from the last one.

The individual is trying to deal with love, and trying

to deal with the implications of sacrificial love. Each

line starts with a question, and then makes a statement

based off his question. These questions reveal the man’s

doubts and fears of trying to love someone, and being loved

by someone. He knows his weaknesses and short comings,

and wonders if they will be too much, and will hinder him

from ever being loved.

It’s the fear we all have to some degree. We don’t want to

die alone, and go through this life without the love of at least

one person. It’s also the longing of being known, but also the

fear of being known. Will the other person use this knowledge

for my good or for their gain? Will this person be scared away,

or will they stay anyway?

It’s a song of questions, doubts, longings, inner agony, and

living through the unknown. Musically it’s repetitive and goes

in cycles. I don’t think I did this intentionally but maybe

subconsciously. This is totally how my brain works when I’m

looking for answers or struggling with doubts and fears. It’s

an endless cycle causing me to lose sleep and lose track of

reality. I get swept away in the monotonous cycle of questions

wondering when it will cease.

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Song 2 – “Los Angeles I”

My hope for writing about these tracks is to give the average listener

a peek behind the curtain, but not to tear the whole curtain down. I’m

a detail-oriented person by nature, so I’ll try to change my ways for this

post.

Is there a building in your town that you go past regularly, and you think

to yourself, “What a dump! How is that business still surviving?” Every

time you drive by it, the same thoughts come to mind. After many months

or even years, you cave in and decide to check it out. Once you step foot

inside, your bitter thoughts vanish, and turn to regret. You wish you would

have gone in earlier. It’s great! What a diamond in the rough!

Or maybe you experienced the opposite, where you thought something

was going to be gem, and it turned out to be a bag of coal.

Relationships can be the same way. You meet someone and gather your

first impressions. Those impressions expand and change over the next few

months, and after years of knowing that person those impressions will be

confirmed or repealed. Those impressions have been transformed along the

way into character traits, at least in your mind.

If the other person knows themselves at all, they know the highs and lows

of their character. With technology and the way relationships are managed

these days, we can easily leave people in the “impression zone” for a much

longer period of time before texting and social media came along. We’ve all

been informally trained in PR, marketing, sales, and photoshop. Our best

foot is always forward, and our blemishes have been clicked away with the

healing tool.

What happens if we slip? What happens if we face plant it, and we miss a

spot? How will people respond with the ugly truth of who we are? Will they cast

us out? Will we continue to be friends, dating, or whatever the relationship

may be? We’re going to have to end the relationship. Won’t we?

This is romantic love. The idealized kind of love we read about and see in the

movies. The kind where you feel good all the time. What if love is hard though?

What if we disagree more than we delight? How can love continue?

I would argue that these are the times when love is truly shown. It’s

not hard to love someone when they make you laugh, give you gifts, are easy

to talk to, and always see eye-to-eye. You can easily say, “I love you.” Do you

really love them, or do you just love the feeling you get from being around them?

The way to know if you truly love them, is how you react and deal with the hard

times. Do you still treat them with kindness and respect? Do you still serve them

and talk to them? Do you make attempts to right wrongs and see eye-to-eye?

That’s love.

I didn’t quote any lyrics or mention anything from the song, which might make

you think I didn’t explain the song at all. I did, I swear. I simply expounded on

the themes and thoughts that inspired the song. There’s your peak behind the

curtain. It was more of a long gaze, but I’m fine with it. I hope you are too.

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