Friday, August 28, 2009

3 MILLION Views!

You've got to check out this video by piano player Jon Schmidt doing a mix of "Love Story" by Taylor Swift and "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay. Joining Jon in the video is Steven Sharp Nelson who has played cello on a few of my CDs. I told my wife I'd give a limb to play the cello like he does.

So this video has nearly 3 MILLION VIEWS. Million!

Do you want to know what is just as cool? Jon is including a few songs on the new benefit CD released next month. I ain't kidding you! Want to know how you can get your hot little paws on a copy? Click HERE.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Barfing Buddies

After dinner on Monday I told Mel I wouldn't make it through the night.

I knew there was no chance I would make it until morning without barfing. My stomach was churning and I knew there was no way around it. It was inevitable. Finally at 9:40pm I grabbed for the garbage can and up came the beef stew. (I'm sorry. That was too much information. You didn't need that visual. Sorry.)

Then guess what happened! I was walking to the bathroom to empty my garbage can and my 6 year old Danica darted out of her room and spewed right into the garbage can! I didn't even have time to empty out my own vomit before Dani was adding hers to the wreckage. (Footnote: I got another one for afterward.)

We spent the rest of the night together taking turns throwing up. Suffering brings people closer together. We were barfing buddies. We spent the day on Tuesday hanging out on the couch complaining to each other and watching Nacho Libre, Spirit Of The Marathon, and Elf together.

Not that I would EVER want her to have to suffer like that, but if we had to be sick, at least we could be sick together.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Throwing The First Pitch

Saturday night was a special one for our family. A few days beforehand we got a phone call from the school that Jackson read the most books out of everyone at the school over the summer. Because of this, the family got tickets to the last Roadrunners baseball game of the year, and Jackson got to throw out the first pitch!

We were all so excited. Jackson loves to watch baseball and go to the Roadrunners games so this was quite an honor. There was a downpour a few hours before the game so we weren't sure they would even be able to play.

It turns out that Jackson's first pitch was the only pitch of the game. After this, they delayed the game for an hour hoping the dark clouds would pass. But when it started pouring again, game over.

It was such a cool experience for him to be able to do this. Definitely a proud father moment. Good job Jackson!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Running For Charity

My friend Paul Cardall is sick. This excellent husband, father, and musician is in desperate need of a heart transplant. Paul has been my biggest mentor since becoming a musician and I had to do something to help him and others like him.

I wanted to let you know about a charity team I’ve set up for the St. George Marathon with a fantastic group of people at Intermountain Donor Services. They coordinate all the organ transplants in the state and provide education at schools and fairs about the importance of organ donation. This is definitely a life-changing organization.

I’d like to challenge you to run a “virtual race” with me called the DOME (Dixie Organ Marathon Event). Your race fee (charity donation) could be:

$10 ~ Shadow Runner: I don’t want to run but would like to contribute.
$26.20 or more ~ DOME Virtual Runner

For contributions of $26.20 or more you receive an EXCLUSIVE PIANO CD featuring Paul Cardall, Jon Schmidt, David Tolk, me, Marshall McDonald, and Michael R. Hicks. This will be sweet!

For more info and to donate, visit or email me at .

Happy Running!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Photography Tricks

I spent a good chunk of the day at a photography workshop today. I feel pretty comfortable with landscape photography but wanted to learn more about portrait photography.

Emilie, the photographer, has a way of making color jump off the page. Check out the Photo by Emilie blog to see some of the amazing tricks I learned today. I'm excited to get behind the camera and start using these.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Free Coldplay Music

I want to introduce you to a little slice of free happiness. Coldplay has made their live album "Left Right Left Right Left" available for free download. Seriously! Free!

Old fans and people who haven't heard Coldplay before are going to dig this album. This is one of the best live CDs I've heard. Click on the cover for the link to download the music. Free.

I'm going to claim that Coldplay stole a page right out of my playbook by offering an ENTIRE CD for FREE DOWNLOAD. Copy cats. After you've got Coldplay's music, click on this CD cover for another free album download. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

One Crazy Museum

One of the more unique places we went in Washington DC was the Hirschhorn Museum, part of the Smithsonian Museum network.

The Hirshhorn is a modern art museum. Generally I’m not much for “modern art”. I don’t understand why a painting that looks like it was done by a three year old is considered a masterpiece. And I don’t get why a bunch of recycled garbage that has been arranged into a shape should deserve recognition in a national museum. “Modern art” is usually pretty lame.

But the Hirshhorn modern art was sweet. Most of the exhibits were slightly strange which clicked for me because I’m, well, slightly strange.

One of my favorites was this huge guy sitting in the corner. You can see his size in comparison to me. But you can’t sit too close to him or an alarm goes off. And how do I know that an alarm goes off? Because, well, I set the alarm off. Then a security guard on the other side of the room gave me a dirty look and I backed away.

Another weird display was this leg popping out of the wall. We read that the sculptor was so precise that he actually used his own leg hair when making the “art”.

Art that looks like a goat went swimming in a bath of paint and then was thrown up against a canvas isn’t art. I’m sorry. It’s just not. But if you can make a leg pop out of the wall my friend, that is art.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Video of A New Piano Song In The Works

I haven't written any music for many, many months. Composing and arranging the music for the Believe album was a challenge that seemed to suck my creative juices for a while.

Then something happened last week. I started hearing music in my head (not to be confused with the voice in my head that tells me to eat lots of cheesecake).

This isn't usually the way I write music. It isn't too often that I start hearing a song in my mind that I need to sit at the piano and work out. But it happened last week. I couldn't get this song out of my brain.

When that happens, I sit down at the piano and record the parts of the song that come to me. I just record it with a small camera or tape recorder because if I don't, I'll forget it. And it's never a whole song. It comes in pieces. So I record what I have, then leave it to percolate for a few days or weeks.

So here is your glimpse into my process of writing music - a video of a song on the day it was born. This is square one. The finished product will me tweaked, modified, and built up. But this is the most exciting stage for me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Missionary For Running

Tonight I realized that I sound like a missionary. A relative was talking about weight and out of my mouth popped "Come running with me in the morning!" I find my mouth blurting things like that every once in a while when someone is in the midst of a problem or dilemma.

There is no pill that can maintain weight, improve sleep, increase energy, decrease depression, and boost self-esteem like running can. Who doesn't need a little help with one of those?

It got me thinking why in the world I would try to convert someone to the religion of running. The fact of the matter is that most of the time the actual act of running isn't too fun for me. It's really hard. Sometimes it's downright miserable.

But then I realized....that's why I've been drawn to running. For the pure challenge. For the sense of accomplishment after knowing I've really pushed myself. For the knowledge that I went a little farther than I thought I could.

I've heard that some people run because they plan out their day or solve the world's problems as their legs carry them along. This isn't the case for me. I'm usually only focused on either
1) Preventing myself from bursting into tears

2) Focusing my mental energy on not puking, or
3) Avoiding curling up in fetal position in the middle of someone's driveway.

But the fact that it isn't easy brings all of the rewards from running.

I want to bring you to the waters of running. I know. I know. Your knees hurt. You're not a runner. I came up with all the reasons why I couldn't do it too. See some of them here. But I swear to you - if I can do it, ANYONE can. So....want to come running with me in the morning?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Birthday Cake Bonanza

In all the craziness of the last few weeks I neglected to make a post about one of my favorite annual traditions: birthday cakes.

Kylee's birthday is July 8th. Danica's is two days later on July 10th. Jackson's is two days later on July 12th. So each year, Mel lets the kids pick what they would like for their birthday cake. And then she makes it! She rules.

We then spend the next two days begging family members to take some of the cake so as to prevent my children from having a sugar rush that would induce dancing on the ceiling (God bless Lionel Richie).

As depicted in the following photograph, Danica chose a Belle cake, Kylee chose a puppy cake (I know - I had a hard time figuring out how this was a puppy also), and Jackson chose a Mario cake.

I'd appreciate if you'd begin taking notes at this point. My birthday is in December. My preferences would be:
  • A Bruce Springsteen cake
  • A Glenn Beck cake
  • An Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite cake
  • A Scarlet Johansson cake
  • A Big Mac cake
  • I'd prefer to avoid a Lionel Richie cake