I felt pretty good, no . . . pretty damned good, about the band and my three performances last weekend in Niagara. Odd thing about the on-stage ear accident that occurred last year, necessity being the mother of invention, for months I found myself forced to devise new methods to safeguard my ears from the sound of my own singing voice, let alone a slammin’ combo just inches behind me. The ears had become so utterly raw and painful (known medically as hyperacusis) since that fateful night in Holland ten months ago when a crewmember unwittingly unplugged a live microphone cable and set off a blast in my ear buds that just about knocked me to the floor. For about ten seconds I heard absolutely nothing, as if I had gone completely deaf. In a few moments my hearing returned, but something felt different; just how different I would soon find out in the days to come.
For a time I walked a dark road not knowing what the future held. 2012 seemed to be an all-time low in regards to health, both physical and psychological. There was no escaping the constant drones, squeals and boiling tea-kettle whistles in my brain. Sleep was no friend of mine. But as I walked, and kept on walking that inward road towards hope and healing, despite the nagging voice of doubt, somewhere in the deepest darkest woods, I met with the gracious light of Providence—that sweet inscrutable light of Wisdom that took the time and effort to comfort, school and point me in the right direction halfway along the path.
My first mission was to grope in the dark and feel my way to the right doctor. Dr. Anthony Esau, a man who once homeopathically cured himself of terminal cancer was my final stop after many. I can’t say enough about his empathy and scientific, albeit unconventional, methods.
My second mission was to practice with specially molded attenuating devices in my ears for months, only hearing myself through the confines of my skull, my ears remaining covered and totally out of the picture. It not only comforted and steadied me, but in time I slowly discovered hidden treasures that lay below the shell of a singer’s normalcy and every day life. With constant practice I discovered a different relationship between the chords and the vibrations in my skull—alternative vocal techniques that could have only been detected through those subtle vibrations in my cheekbones, forehead and temples, not relying at all upon standard methods of hearing. These discoveries have added up to an amazing education and have made singing even more effortless and fun than ever, especially now that the training wheels are coming off. The details are a bit too mechanical to describe herein, but I will do so in the coming master class series I plan to offer next spring.
There is no end to self-discovery. It’s as limitless as the inner eye is able to see. Wisdom is out there—or in there, just dig, and dig deep, and go get it. Once again I have learned that the depth of inner space is no different than that of outer space. The stars in the night sky are no brighter and more plentiful than the stars within. Just how you reach them and penetrate the case-hardened skin of the accepted norm is the trick. The journey is a little bit different for every soul. There is no pat collective answer. We all have our own personal slants and particulars, but one fact remains applicable to all: never count Faith out.
I felt as though my chords had wings in Niagara. Less effort and more sound. It allowed me to not only better rise up to the occasion after so much time away from the stage, but just as importantly, take even greater pleasure in stepping into the spotlight—I mean, really being happy to be there. I guess I’m shamelessly gushing with gratitude. Can’t help it; I feel like a hand full of mush. All I can say is that I am thrilled to be back on stage in earnest again after having given only a few concerts this year.
I feel like a wide-eyed kid tossing and turning on the night before Christmas, in this case, anticipating the next few concerts in Ottawa, Halifax and Tokyo this fall—some southern cities in the US and South America in spring. To all those who attended in Niagara—to all those kind familiar faces, many of whom I know by first name: thank you, thank you so much. And now . . . on to the next.