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A sweet live performance of “Unguarded Heart”, the title track from the upcoming record. Enjoy, and please like, subscribe, and tell me what you think in the comments! 

Lyrics:

You ruined my plans to have a plan for every word
the game that I played was a song you’d already heard
A new way of thinking, and my thoughts put to the test
Now nothing holds water, but its weight is of my chest

What is a fight, but the playing out
of the silent hurt behind what we shout about?
The radical beauty of the unguarded heart:
We come together when we’re blown apart.

Dreams I discarded because they never came true
I barely got started and of course I never told you
Now, no one can blame you for so kindly agreeing
Yeah, what it comes down to is, I bet everything on one human being

I’m strong enough to stuff it down
not brave enough to risk defeat
I follow rules but not the sound 
of the beat of my unguarded heart

My program of defense is:
fencing off my old pretenses
My reward for all my strategies is:
I am half awake and on my knees.
It’s a constant, every day
compromise the dream away 
If I can say, though I shake and stumble
I’m willing to have it all quake and crumble
To feel at peace, to have release
in my unguarded heart

copyright 2013 by Jonathan Brinkley, All rights reserved.

Gearing Up for CalifOregon Tour!

There are few things that make this troubadour as happy as being on the road, so CalifOregon here I come! Most of these are house concerts, and I couldn’t be more happy about that. If you or people you love live in any of these areas, I’d love to have you!

8/29 Portland! - Music in the Bathhouse https://www.facebook.com/events/155168414687591/

9/7 - Eugene, OR: Luna Larry’s Sanctuary - 85344 Forest Hill Ln, Eugene, OR 97405 (Workshop from 3-5pm, concert at 7:30) https://www.facebook.com/events/515232278558364/

9/8 - Coos Bay, OR: Location TBA

9/10 - Blue Lake, CA: Mad River Brewing
9/14 - Sebastopol, CA: House Concert with Kari*
9/15 - San Rafael, CA: House Concert with Kim*
9/16 or 18 Santa Cruz, CA - TBA
9/19-24 Volunteering at Symbiosis Gathering!

(Possibly a 9/25 Nevada City appearance… )

9/27 - Mount Shasta, CA: Silk Road Chai
9/28 - Eugene again! TBA
9/29 or 10/5 - PDX, TBA

As you can see, this schedule is still evolving, so please continue to check in on dates and locations! 

*Please email me at jonathanbrinkleymusic@gmail.com if you would like to attend these shows.

Pre-Beloved Excitement

I feel incredibly honored to be presenting my Creativity and Songwriting “Playshop” at Beloved festival this year! (For those of you who don’t know, Beloved is a “sacred art and music” festival that happens in the middle of a forest near the Oregon coast. Residing there with a couple thousand folks who share the intention of making a better world through love and divine expression—it’s one of my favorite things in the world.)

I have always felt that the songs coming out of me had a source other than me, and that I was simply an antenna that was somehow properly tuned. My wish with this playshop is to help tune others to their own creative frequencies. 

And as if the honor of presenting weren’t enough, mine is one of the very first workshops of the whole event, at 9:30 Friday morning. The feeling of privilege I feel for being among those who call in the intention for these three days of heart-centered revelry cannot be overstated. 

To those who will join me there, I cannot wait to play with you! To those absent friends: please celebrate wherever you are, because the gift of breath is truly worthy of rejoicing.

Dancing off into the woods,

Jonathan 

http://www.belovedfestival.com/lineup-workshops.php#song

"Unguarded Heart" is Nearing the Next Phase

I’ve been hard at work on preproduction and tracking for the new record. Many studio hours have been logged writing, arranging, and performing some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever made. Wait till you hear the results! We’re designing a kind of folk/pop/classical hybrid that gives me chills as I listen. I hope it does the same for you.

As most of you know, my Kickstarter campaign ended up raising about a third of the final cost of production. We are now a third of the way through, which means there will be another fundraising effort soon. (It’s worth mentioning here that anyone who has already supported this album is absolutely not expected or requested to donate further funds. You have been generous enough, and you will receive the rewards promised!) The absolutely awesome news is, we have three amazing songs almost completed that will go very far toward showing potential backers exactly what they’re contributing to, or pre-ordering. This is material that all of us musicians are very proud of, and we hope you’ll be excited to share it with your friends! Keep an eye out for links to the songs, coming soon…

The artwork for the album, by Cada Johnson, is also finished and will be accompanying the soft release of these three songs. I can’t tell you how extraordinarily beautiful this image is that she’s created!

So, that’s where things are. I am so grateful to all of you who have encouraged me and blessed me with your attentive ears. Thanks for being my global village!

Soundly,

Jonathan 

Presenting at “Beloved” 2013!

My friends, I am beside myself with excitement, because it has now been confirmed that I will be presenting a workshop at Beloved, my favorite transformational festival, happening August 9 - 12 here in Oregon! 

"Merging with the Muse" is a songwriting and creativity "Playshop" that I’ve developed to help myself and others open to the divine creative spark within us. The version at Beloved will be distilled from the comprehensive three-hour version happening here in Portland on July 6th, which you can see here: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/535690096488531/

I can’t wait to share this fun experiment with a larger audience! I feel so grateful to have this opportunity, and to be a part of the many beautiful offerings at this transformative event.
www.belovedfestival.com

Some Short Fiction for you.

I wrote this short story a couple of years ago for a contest, but never submitted it. I have now changed the title and submitted it to an online magazine. Hope you enjoy!

The Trick

by Jonathan Brinkley

The buzzing in my light fixture was not electricity. A frantic housefly was circling the inner realm of the once-white globe above my bed, zapping the rounded walls with irregular collisions. I imagined it trying not to look down at the putrefying pile of its brittle brethren, nestled at the south pole of the yellowed orb. After what might have been days of ceaseless struggle, it would soon join that funeral mound, despite its efforts. And despite my personifying of the hapless creature, I declined to care. He got himself in there, I reasoned dully; vacantly—let Darwin get him out. Besides, the grim trumpet of a forsaken fly was the perfect soundtrack for the drab panorama of my life that day.

I had occupied my forlorn efficiency in the Uptown Arms Apartments for two years, long enough to let the run-down dreariness of the place infect me. Of course, blaming the building was easy (We residents had a nickname for it: The “Up-in-Arms” Apartments). But, whatever had come over me, on some level I had chosen it, though that’s all I knew about it. I was just—dim. Had been for days.

And on the morning Mr. Fitzpatrick from downstairs paid me his little visit, I had been wallowing in that dimness for hours already, lying there awake, poring over every dun-colored surface which my varnishing gaze had worn all texture from long ago—trying in vain to wring a drop of meaning from my monotonous surroundings. Old Fitz himself lived in this tiny apartment before me, and I couldn’t help wondering if his eyes, too, had searched these tedious trappings for significance. 

Gerard “Hat Trick” Fitzpatrick was once on the comedy and magic circuit in Vegas, though it had been ages since he was intentionally funny. (Certain residents had contributed their own humor to his legacy with the moniker “Gerry-Hat-Trick.”) He was never well known, but in our neighborhood he was notorious. That was only since his dementia had set in, though. A typical day found Fitz seated on the tiny stoop outside the building, chain smoking, sweat-staining his white T-shirt, and trying to convince folks with kids to stop and watch a magic trick. Newcomers to this routine were quickly disappointed; he usually fumbled with an old half-dollar coin for a couple of awkward minutes before people lost interest, often mumbling condolences to their confounded and frightened children as they hurried away.

Fitz now lived down on the main floor, where he could get around easier and his caretaker, elderly as she was, didn’t have to lug the old man’s oxygen tanks up a flight of stairs. Since the move, he increasingly spent cooler days in the lobby, much to the vexation of all the residents. As seems to be the case with many eccentric old widowers, Fitz was constantly muttering complaints under his breath, mostly to his long-deceased wife, Claudia. 

As in: “Can you believe this, Claudia? Mail at twelve-thirty! Time was, you could set your watch by ten o’clock! I tell ya, Claudia, I might as well pack up and join ya tomorrow, way things’r goin’. Yep, cashin’ my chips in any day now, Claudia.” Sentiments of this sort were also Fitz’s most likely reply to any direct question. One just gets used to being called “Claudia.”

The landlady, as far as that went, was Patricia Garner. She and her ex-husband had owned the building for forty years, and she remembered Claudia Fitzpatrick well enough to know she had been the most vocal opponent of removing all the wrought iron balconies from the east side of the building. According to Mrs. Garner, they were rusted out and structurally unsound, not to mention unsightly. Mrs. Fitzpatrick, however, always thought she was trying to purposely devalue the property so she could get it all in the divorce. Mrs. Garner cried slander at every turn, but planted fifty rhododendron bushes on the grounds on the day her divorce was final. 

I didn’t care either way. That was long ago, and at the moment, the curtain of my easterly window was drawn and the resulting dingy quality to the light, like the fly’s futile thrumming, was quite complementary to my mood.

Bzzz….bzzzzzt…….bzzzzzzzzzzt!

The repetition was almost lulling. I guess anything becomes lulling when you’re only half alive anyway. My eyes began to droop, a seductive parade of  dreamy images fluttered behind their lids. I was drifting…

But then, so suddenly I barely registered the reality of it, Old Man Fitz was in my apartment. 

I watched in horrified fascination as “Hat Trick” Fitzpatrick, donning a top hat, sweaty T-shirt, and no pants, barreled into my room with the steam of a bull, crossing to the window and congenially chastising his dead wife.

 ”Jesus-ta-jokers, Claudia! It’s the middle of the day! You know, you’ll get ugly if you stay in the dark all the time!” 

I had no time to cover my eyes as he swept the curtain aside in a gesture too grandly dramatic for his age and frailty and thrust the casement windows outward. For a brief moment, I was certain Fitz was going to step out over the sill onto the non-existent balcony,  and in the moment after that, that’s just what he did. 

There was no instant of cartoon hovering, he was just gone. As the sounds of gasps and shouts form the street echoed in my ears, I bounded from my bed and sprinted to the open window where I froze, peeking fretfully over the sill. First I saw the dozen or so anxious passersby who had immediately rushed toward the building from the busy sidewalk. Then, there he was, one story down, Mr. Fitzpatrick sprawled on his back in Patricia Garner’s old rhododendrons, still bobbing lazily among the spry branches with a look of naked wonder on his face. After a moment of shocked stillness, Fitz noticed the crowd of onlookers gathered around him, and delivered a second surprise I’ll never forget: He slowly turned his head, actually grinned, then threw out a heavily scratched arm and shouted, “TAHDAAH! The crowd, and I, lost it. It was the first lucid utterance Fitz had made in years, and the first time in decades that an audience had stood in thrall to this man, laughing aloud and applauding with gusto. Noticing this, he smiled and exclaimed, “I still got a trick or two in me yet!” Another wave of laughter lifted the birds from a tree nearby.

But moments such as these are often fleeting. Fitz now realized he was in pain. He could not free his other arm, which we would later learn was broken. He began to bray and hoot loudly in his panic. He grasped repeatedly at his chest and finally found the small, off-white medical alert button hung around his neck, and began pressing it over and over, wailing like a toddler all the while.

By the time I made it down to the scene, an ambulance siren could be heard in the distance. I had a brief, stomach-clenching concern that someone might have seen me up there—might think I actually pushed him. But all eyes remained warily on the now whimpering senior citizen in the bushes. 

After the questions were answered and the paramedics were gone, with Fitz in tow and muttering to Claudia about the evils of hospital food, I took my leave of the babbling crush of the crowd and went back upstairs—to free that housefly, and put on some shoes. 

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