Hello….how are you? Have you been alright?

 

Wow…what a few months.

If it seems like I’ve been away or like things have been quiet it’s because things have been more than a little busy…tumultuous even.

Quick rundown: I had a brief health scare that turned out to be nothing I can’t manage, nothing tooo serious. I quit smoking, and I hurt my back (again).

I’ve been drowning in school work, but the end is in sight to the point that I was able to take part in commencement. I even got to visit New Hampshire to visit the university campus. It was awesome!

 

 

I have to say, the Irish pub there in Manchester, NH poured me the most beautiful pint of Guinness I’ve ever had!

 

 

 

 

My home continues to be a hive of activity with Young Master Oliver evolving from a tiny baby to a not-so-tiny kid.

He’s stretching out, his weight redistributed and what was once a chubby adorable baby is now a lean, incredibly active little boy who lights up my tired, broken soul even when I think I’m about to drop.

How about them Astros?! My son and I greatly enjoy each evening as we cuddle up for bed and watch what might be my favorite incarnation of my beloved Astros. We even managed to go to a game with my dad a couple weeks back and we’ll be going again in June and July!

As far as music goes well…me personally I’ve not had a ton of time to write or record, save for a demo I posted to SoundCloud a couple weeks back. It’s called “Drink to Forget” and you can check it out here: https://soundcloud.com/jason-r-becerra.

I still hope to do proper recordings and work with some of my friends within the Houston music community with final mixing/mastering to release my first EP hopefully by year’s end but if there’s something I’ve learned over the course of this year it’s that I have to be careful about placing deadlines on myself.

With a baby and a house to run and a full-time career and everything that comes with all of that, it can be more stressful than anything to try and set deadlines.

One thing is setting a goal and striving for it. Another thing is setting a deadline and stressing about meeting it and then feeling awful because you missed it. Right?

So as of now, my plan is to finish up these last few weeks of school assignments and then take a nice break from everything. I want to take a month or two, or three and just relax knowing I don’t have weekly assignments to turn in, no research to do, no frantic weekends scrambling to write term papers…and more important than all that I want to enjoy what I’ve achieved.

People tell me all the time that they don’t know “how I do it.” They tell me how commendable it is to get a masters degree while working full time, raising a baby, serving as the operations manager for a household and trying to do something with my little Cathedral Records project and writing professional pieces for www.jasonrbecerra.com and LinkedIn.

So while I’ve never thought much of it and don’t typically stop long enough to congratulate myself, I think I want to do just that. I think I want to kind of sit around and see what it feels like to feel successful, like I’ve accomplished something.

But not for too long mind you. Hopefully by the fall/early winter I’ll hole up in the Cathedral and sift through songs and begin the process of making proper recordings with polished lyrics and arrangements. At that point I’ll be making phone calls to see who wants to help mix/master and then we’ll see.

I think it would awesome to do a digital release and have a few LPs pressed.

As for performing…I don’t think I have it in me to do it extensively but if the opportunity arises to share a bill or take part in a series of shows in a cool intimate storytelling setting then I may just jump on that…once Oliver is old enough and I don’t feel guilty about not being around for bedtime. We’ll see. Again…my new thing is trying not to put artificial, unrealistic, or stressful deadlines or expectations on myself.

That doesn’t mean I want to be lazy and remove all goals but it does mean I want to do a better job of managing stress and how much I take on at once.

Anyway – in the next few days I’ll be publishing what I hope will be a very well-received article about the one and only MIEARS! She was kind enough to take some time out of her incredibly busy schedule to discuss a variety of topics related to music, life, the universe, and everything.

Shortly thereafter the promised album review of The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl. I’ve listened to it several times on 180 gram vinyl and it’s just excellent. I’m fascinated by the technical undertaking involved with making that record what it is and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with all of you.

Also, I’m putting my thoughts together regarding a look back on the Singles film and soundtrack. That album is essential listening for me and I seem to listen to it at least monthly.

Chris Cornell’s death has hit me harder than most deaths…his, Robin Williams, and Prince’s deaths have really impacted me.

I’ve been unable to really put pen to paper about it all in any formal way but I think it’s time I did…for my benefit more than anything.

Finally, support your favorite musicians and get out to live shows when you can.

MIEARS just announced a gig at Eleanor Tinsley Park on June 4th. That should be a great start to these incredibly hot and sweaty days of summer. Her EP continues to make for an dynamic and impactful listen. If you haven’t listed to “Who Will Save You” then make that top of list.

I just found out Ian Moore is playing Main Street Crossing in Tomball TX of all places! Mark your calendars, August 18th.

All of us outer-loopers love to talk about how none of the great bands come out to the ‘burbs…well, The Glass played Spring’s 19th hole a few weeks ago and Ian is hitting Tomball. TOMBALL!?

Raquel Cepeda played Katy not too long ago. KATY!?

We can’t expect these artists to come back to the ‘burbs if no one shows up to see them play right? So let’s do our part.

So that’s about it for now.

Until next time folks…

Be Well and Kind,

Jason

 

C’mon son, I’m taking you to make a phone call

Many years ago when I wore a younger man’s clothes, my family moved to Miami.

Without going into tremendous detail, it was what appeared to be a can’t-say-no-to career opportunity for my father during a time when there didn’t seem to be a lot of options.

I vividly remember my father sitting me down and telling me the decision to move was essentially up to me. I was still in school at the time and in a very…complex…relationship with a girl and he was sensitive to taking me away from her and from my schoolmates so soon before graduation.

This was a heavy piece to lay on my young shoulders and I did something I’ve tried not to do since…I lied to my dad.

I told him my school meant nothing (that was the truth) and that the girl and I were just friends and it was fine. (BIG LIE). I told him it made no sense to stay here when he had the opportunity he had waiting for him in Miami.

So we left. We sold the house. We found homes for our pets. We packed up a U-Haul and we were off.

There are so many bits about those final nights in Houston that stick out. Our oldest dog, Sasha, she was blind and deaf…couldn’t control her bladder. We didn’t want to put her to sleep but she couldn’t be placed with anyone and we couldn’t take her. She died two nights before we were scheduled to leave.

The night before we left the girl and her family came over to say goodbye. We walked around the block….held hands…made our promises. One promise I made was to call her the second we got to Miami to let her know we got there safely and to reaffirm that we were going to do the long distance relationship thing.

The next morning came and we were off. When we arrived we moved into a hotel for a few days while mom and dad found a place to live.

They found a great house in Cutler Ridge, a little bit south of Miami itself. It took a few days to get from the hotel into the house, get unpacked etc.

I hadn’t made my phone call yet.

Another memory that sticks out is when we were unpacking; we were listening to WAXY 105.9, at the time an oldies station. Sunshine Superman by Donovan came on and dad was lying down on the truck’s loading ramp. He looked up at my mom and said “Honey, remember this?! We’ve come full circle!”

There was a joy and a love in his voice. It was great to hear as my mom sort of looked at him with this look she gets when my dad gets mushy or overly nostalgic. It was a classic mom and dad moment.

We got the truck unpacked and my mom made my favorite. She was quite in tune to the fact that I had not had a decent meal in weeks and was fading away. I tried to eat. I really did but I couldn’t even take a bite. I went to my new room and put some Beatles on and just sat there.

I hadn’t made my phone call yet.

My dad popped his head in my room and said something I’ll never forget as long as I live.

“C’mon son, I’m taking you to make a phone call.”

He knew. We never spoke of relationships…particularly that one….but he knew.

I got in the car and we drove to the convenience store.

“Open your hands.”

He poured a giant pile of coins into my cupped hands and walked off to buy a pack of smokes.

“Take your time.”

I made my phone call.

Sobbing through the telephone line, there at a pay phone in Miami, we talked and reassured one another and reaffirmed our promises that only young lovers who don’t realize the impossibility of such promises can make.

The operator kept breaking in to say “please deposit 25 cents” and I desperately kept feeding coins into the slot until both my pockets and my soul were bare.

I made my phone call.

Things didn’t work out the way any of us had hoped. Dad’s can’t-say-no-to career opportunity didn’t pan out.

We ended up moving back to Houston.

The girl left me. She said I had ruined her plans by moving back. She had intended to just stop writing until I gave up on writing her.

Dad ended up having a fantastic second run with a different station here and the rest is history.

While things didn’t happen the way we thought they would…or thought we hoped they would…they did turn out ok and I guess that’s the lesson.

Just because things don’t turn out the way you think they need to doesn’t mean they didn’t turn out right.

And always remember…where ever you go…move to a new town, a new job, a new relationship…you’re going to arrive there with everything you packed. Your baggage stays with you until you decide to unpack it and dump what you don’t want anymore.

Know when to let go I guess.

I have the best dad ever by the way. I guess that’s really the whole point to this. That trip we made was a great time despite the tragic emotional and financial turmoil.

There’s no one on earth I’d rather deliver phone books with and no matter what’s going on with me, I know my dad is and always be there to “take me to make a phone call.”

Thanks Dad. I love you.