february 21, 2013
it began with the usual winter hibernation.
off the road, not shaving for a few weeks.
weeks turned to months and my baby daughter was loving playing with the growing beard so much i let it stay a while longer.
before i knew it i had myself a bona fide mountain man beard, playing shows with a decidedly hairy face and enjoying the shock on people's faces when they realized it was me underneath.
my wife, beautiful partner in life, didn't mind. so i stayed the razor and before i knew it the beard was off to scotland on the mind blowing bronach adventure with me. and of course the beard felt very at home in the highlands. here was born "dark angus of the outback", courtesy of "gentle jamesie" (of the glens).
despite having to be introduced as a whole separate entity, the beard never bothered me. and so it lingered as the months went by.
i have been likened to/mistaken for abe lincoln, grizzly adams, ned kelly, a civil war general and, among other things, a homeless man - and enjoyed all the personas.
several months ago i felt it was time to say farewell to the beard, and to find a new home for the endangered birds that had taken up residence within.
it was around that time that i had the idea for a video shoot. the beard had a mission. it was to go out in style. little did i know it would take this long to fulfill said mission.
but here we are. and this evening former band mate dez ryan stewart will lead a merry gang of us from a new york subway station to a classic barber shop and back. and along the way, i will say goodbye to 15 months of beard ...
february 28, 2013
a week down the line and i'm still getting a kick out of actually seeing my face again. the shoot went well, tho with dez coming straight off the back of another 40 hour shoot and our camera man booked for an early morning job, we had to get much done in only a few short hours.
midnight thursday i found myself on my back in a barber chair, somewhere in brooklyn, with a camera directly above me and alex the barber performing his magic with a straight razor.
by 2am we were back out on the streets under a clear sky, getting some vocal and bagpipe shots.
it happened to be below freezing so i wasn't really feeling my new face. but we got most of what we wanted before the camera lights finally died.
and now, dez gets to work on the footage. so, we shall see!
i'm happy to say my little ones recognized me on my return and weren't the least bit perturbed. my 21 month old daughter just held my chin in her little hands and said wistfully, "beeeeard. all gone. all gone."
here we are, 14 days into another new year. incredibly interesting times we live in. a world of distraction. smoke and mirrors everywhere. what are we to believe? i believe in my two incredible children and i believe in helping them be happy and strong and free.
i've been reflecting on the past in this time, as one does, with a view to rolling forward powerfully. gave our song 'purple haze' (one from the heart of my brother hamish) a listen the other day. not quite the same as a trip to oz, but very evocative for me nonethless. and so when leila asked me what song we should have for the next 'free music friday' i looked no farther.
spent a couple of hours looking at a sky full of stars with milan the other night. learnt a couple of new constellations. very thankful to be in a place with a clear sky. it's always a good way to appreciate the big picture and to step outside oneself for a while.
we played a benefit concert last night for a local lad battling leukemia. the response from the community was incredible. makes me all the more glad to be in a place like this in times like these. power on little man.
after our set i stepped outside with drewski to once again contemplate the night sky. like milan, drew knows his stars. the picture can indeed be quite large.
i've changed my point of view a good many times since the days on the farm. and i no doubt will again. being a dad is by far the most potent, challenging, inspiring and motivating point of view. as i envision 2013, year of the snake, i feel some rather large changes acoming.
for now, i am still bearded. incredibly bearded. how did that happen, you wonder? i ask myself the same question. i've been mistaken for many people this past year - ned kelly. grizzly adams. jeremiah johnson. a homeless man. the list goes on. my mother is horrified but my baby daughter loves it and that has been reason enough to stay the razor a while. but the beard does now need to be introduced as a separate entity when i meet someone new. and that is sobering. but the beard does have a purpose. a mission. and that mission shall reveal itself soon now. patience my friends.
as the new year unfolds, i give thanks for those around me. family. band mates. the brother team. and all of you who continue to support us. may we all have a happy and exciting 2013...
long has it been since i've written here.
so what inspires my return? one word. scotland.
i am recently come home from the land of my ancestors. weary but inspired.
hard to believe it took me so long to get there.
grateful for the situation that took me there. a tour with 2 bus loads of fans with my band mates dalbo and drewski and our favorite band to jam and hang with - albannach.
an intense, jam packed week.
grateful too for drewski's wonderful folks, william and karen, who kept the bronach caravan rolling with nary a bump in the road ...
amazed at how easy a time we had. how respectful everyone was to all the band members. i know we were all a little nervous as to how it would go. seeing people at shows is one thing. living with them for a week on the road is another. i'm happy to say it was a great group of people and i hope everyone's memories of the time are as pleasing as mine. i truly enjoyed getting to know many of our bronachers, hearing their stories and thoughts on the tour.
this land is overflowing with fascinating history and i felt privileged to have albannach's jamesie as our tour guide and often my own personal historian. he drew me into the magic of the land even more with his words and his passion.
highlights? the far flung places like iona, the isle of the kings. jamesie had mentioned we could get any kind of weather but to pray for a still clear day. and that we had. bright blue skies. and topaz colored water surrounding.
here lie buried the kings of old. alexander, malcolm, macbeth. it's history and importance dates back to the ancient pictish kings. a place that has always been recognized as magical and powerful. st columbus built the original iona abbey here in 536 and it remains a place of worship today. my brother hamish asked me "is it the knowledge of momentous events that have taken place there do you think, or is there something truly special to the place itself?" i would say both are true, and one enhances the other. certain places are simply powerful. there is an energy and a peace on this isle that cannot be put into words. a very different land, but often in scotland i was reminded of the peace and mystery of remote australia ...
the stunning desolation and remoteness of mull. the ferry ride from oban to mull and then to iona. the weather held until we were about to leave mull, when an impressive hail storm had us ducking for cover.
later that evening as we drove to glencoe the rain came. before us a double rainbow formed and we drove right underneath it as we came upon glencoe, a place of sorrow and great beauty. quite the contrast. site of the infamous glencoe massacre.
we even had a flurry of snow as we pulled into the inn at glencoe for our first show of the tour.
four seasons in one day ...
the dark ruined castle that was the campbell clan stronghold, surrounded by water and a long sweeping approach of marshy ground, mountains all round. this was on the first day. it was quite impressive seeing our tribe of people strung out, winding their way up to the dark walls of the castle. jamesie had strode out ahead to make sure the approach wasn't too swampy. every step of the way my interest and passion was fueled by this man's knowledge and love for his country ...
the drive along beautiful loch lomond with jamesie's running history of the infamous rob roy as i struggled to keep my eyes open after three flights and almost no sleep for two days. my horse growing up was called rob roy. he was quite the beast too ...
sunset on oban harbor. i've seen quite a few amazing photos of this evening, all of them postcard material. the drive from oban to glencoe was stunning. jamesie regaled us with some clan cameron history along the way, and again, my feelings of connection to this land grew. the only dampener on my romanticized vision was talk of the little biting 'mites' that feast upon the unprepared in the summer. cheeky little buggers ...
the imposing grandeur of stirling and edinburgh castles. the haunting beauty of the ruined abbeys.
bannockburn, site of king robert the bruce's defeat of the english. here, on a cold and windy morning, jamesie spoke to us all for a good fifteen minutes off the top of his head about the bruce ...
the exquisite detail and mystery of roslyn chapel. jamesie and i like two school boys snapping our illicit shots when the staff weren't looking ...
the flowing beauty of the lowlands, home of scotland's most famous writer and champion of his country's history, sir walter scott ...
regrets? not taking more photos. a well deserved spanking from my wife for this. consolation knowing so many others have so many great shots. this country is overflowing with riveting history and breathtaking scenery. we saw so much yet there is so much more ...
the only time i felt a degree of unease was visiting the massive floors castle, home of the duke of roxburghe and his family. every room full of impressive treasures and antiques from down the ages, including a room full of stuffed dead birds from around the world and an eerie collection of costumed manequins. this one man commands an incredibly large estate close to the english border, including his own private three miles of the tweed river, a golf course and hotel. he employs a vast number of people, including some two hundred tenant farmers. it all felt incredibly feudal to me. the magnanimous lord of the land, what what?
final day of the tour was my birthday. apart from home with my family, i couldn't think of a better place to be. much celebration ensued, especially with william's birthday being the next day. my father's also.
albannach presented me with a traditional pewter drinking cup, called a "quaich", engraved with the words ...
A Cameron Came Home
suffice to say i was quite touched. planning to christen it next year in the highlands with my father, another cameron long overdue for a visit ...
before the lads and i flew home we had ourselves a day and a half in the studio with albannach. six songs recorded. quite the marathon. and what an enjoyable experience.
i found myself feeling quite proud of everyone, working so quickly. one or two takes to get everything down. no egos, just pleasure in each others' performances.
and much hilarity.
i find myself laughing a lot in their company, one of the reasons i keep coming back for more. the more we laugh the better we feel, do we not? it's amazing to work that hard when you've had very little sleep, fueled by the high of the journey we just took together. jamesie and i decided this project should be built around what we have been playing together live and be a mix of our two cultures, a blending of the tribes as it were. we've still plenty of work to do - some more tracks to record, mixing and comparing notes across the miles, cd artwork and planning - but the heart of the project is there and beating, awaiting release.
all i can say is, how celtic and tribal can you get?
speaking of tribal my beard is getting quite long. i must say i felt quite at home in the highlands ...
so much history and beauty in such a small country. but it doesn't seem small. it feels vast and mighty, a land to lose yourself in. a land to return to ...
my daughter is three weeks old today.
yes, i have a daughter.
a peaceful, tiny, perfect girl.
she has an adoring, proud big brother.
feeling very blessed and happy to be home.
i am amazed again at the way being a parent
makes me become more.
just had my first long weekend away since the birth.
llewella thrived. i survived.
what a wonderful response tho, in costa mesa.
we were back at the first ever celtic festival we played.
16 years down the road. and quite the road it has been.
i look forward to a busy summer.
being in the garden with my family.
and playing shows all over the country.
a time of change it is. and more change coming.
i suspect things will look quite different come the fall.
i suspect i will look quite different come the fall.
any day now
i become a dad again.
and asa a big brother.
the little bloke has me smiling and laughing,
and changing my point of view. a lot.
and that's the medicine i want.
so glad to be home in this time.
just being with the family.
tending the garden.
we have a deer proof fence this year,
so we're planning on having a lot more veggies.
keeping the business rolling along too. thanks leels.
amazing things are happening in this time.
20 years since i came here from oz,
with my 2 brothers,
and BROTHER began.
yes, it is quite the time...
we have a busy summer coming.
our busiest since we became 3.
i will enjoy it all very much.
but for now, there's a new human coming ...
today, 2 years ago,
my son came into the world.
changed everything. got my heart to expanding exponentially ...
meanwhile, outside, there's a world on fire.
can't imagine what people in japan are going thru.
can't imagine what people in the middle east are going thru.
earthquake, tsunami, rebellion, more war,
another crazy celebrity, a royal wedding. what now?
divide and conquer. yes, it's all a distraction, n'est-ce pas?
and yet, more every day are waking up. seeing thru the illusions.
the sun sets. the sun rises. and i'm talking to myself again.
oh, my god. oh, my god. oh, your god. let them talk, shall we?
drew's here. time to be making music again.
anticipating my little boy becoming a big brother soon.
truth and sanity there.
and today? happy birthday little matey ...
as the uprising continues in egypt i think back on our time there
and try to reconcile what is happening with my memories.
warm and friendly people everywhere we went.
an incredible mix of the modern and the truly ancient,
which seemed to highlight the humility of the people.
crazy taxi rides in cairo, straight out of an indiana jones movie.
rich, bustling markets filling the alleys and squares of beautiful buildings
many centuries old.
finding the bargains with my sister and brother in law, ahmed.
the pyramids. words don't begin.
riding horses around them with our dad, big dave.
the big fella perched up on his steed, looking mighty uncomfortable,
stirrups way too short for his long legs.
a far cry from the farm - my last time on a horse, at seventeen.
the ubiquitous hustlers, selling everything from camel rides to souvenirs,
priceless antiquities all.
visiting a place of abject poverty in alexandria,
playing music on the street there.
being welcomed with open hearts and beaming smiles.
table and chairs brought out onto the streets,
and a big pot of tea to share with us.
communicating without words.
the happiest children in the direst circumstances,
following us like we were pied pipers,
smiling and dancing til the end of their neighborhood,
where they shouted and waved goodbye.
and of course, the military presence.
most obvious when we went to do an interview
at the government run radio in cairo.
the only radio in cairo. with heavier security than the airport.
but in spite of all the oppressions, the people were inspiring.
may their will and their good hearts triumph in the days ahead.
thinking of the people of egypt,
with a million or more people on the streets as i write.
our time there a few years ago was truly magical.
an incredible place. wonderful people.
the memories make what's happening all the more real.
my brother in law's family is there in cairo, a part of it all.
the stories we hear are astounding.
of the multitudes shunning violence,
but remaining resolute in their stand.
protecting each other against the government's agents.
doing their best to thwart false flag outrages.
a human shield around the cairo museum.
christians and muslims worshipping together en masse,
protecting each other.
my sister's brother in law, shot in the head with a rubber bullet.
miraculously okay. others not so fortunate.
the words of percy brysshe shelley come to mind.
written in 1819 after the peterloo massacre,
the poem they are from is said to be the first modern statement
on the principle of nonviolent resistance ...
rise like lions after slumber
in unquenchable number.
shake your chains to earth like dew
which in sleep had fallen on you -
ye are many, they are few.
and another year runs it's course.
more shows than last year
and more again coming in 2011.
i still marvel that BROTHER is now a 3 piece.
i never would have imagined.
but here we are and it feels damn good.
we captured the new sound on a live album.
happy with that but ready to be in the studio again.
a good few shows with the 2 piece in 2010 too.
tribal trance experimentation.
and with drew on his way west soon,
many more angdrew shows to come ...
interesting times we're in.
i was thinking of reading 1984 again.
but it seems i don't need to.
it seems we're living it.
being a dad, this is on my mind.
where are we heading?
was it ben franklin that said
he who forsakes freedom for safety deserves neither?
but fear not. BROTHER is watching you too ...
getting on the floor and laughing with my son.
walking in the snow with him
as he watches it fall for the first time.
imagining him being a big brother.
these things are real,
in a world that feels quite unreal sometimes ...
but i feel a powerful year coming.
it will be what we want it to be.
and we want it to be happy, do we not?