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My summer so far, in one sentence...

After looking at the contract for The Voice I wrote a long nice goodbye letter to the exec casting folks saying that I'd be happy to work with them but the contract was unworkable, the truth being it was 55 pages of somewhere between sharecropperhood and slavery based on 2 lawyer's views, the more conservative of which called it “onerous”, the more passionate one saying he had never written “WTF, are you kidding?” in the column next to text in red ever in his life of reviewing any contract, noting too that I had about 4 business days to have this contract looked at before I stepped off of the plane in L.A. which made me think that NBC Universal is in the habit of gilding the future dreams of young artists that never had anything in their lives and lassoing them to a yoke so onerous and calling it a brass ring, even tho they do get a chance to collectively bargain once they make later rounds but by then various dies have been cast, and maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t even be talking about this because there was a non-disclosure agreement signed but seriously what can they really do to me now, like kick me off of the show?, right? but if they did sue me for this breach then that would be great publicity too, so yeah, I wrote and delivered the goodbye 2:45 Tues AM, then 10:00am Tues. casting director called saying they were happy to postpone contract signing and have lawyers hash, and I should just come so scrod it, I went, yes I did, to L.A. for 3rd round of auditions with the promise that their guy and my lawyer guy would jaw within the next week or so, and why not, see because all I paid for was parking for 5 days at Logan airport as they picked up the tab for everything else, and I interviewed, day 4 I auditioned, and that went about B+ thanks in part to allergy season making my voice clip a little right at that place where I do most of my work, so I did Change is Gonna Come again with guitar, but they only let you do verse chorus, then I did What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted with just the mic but I hate karaoke, which is what singing to a track is like for me, and for a moment I felt like I was some old Black dude with a big collar and a medallion and white loafers at the Holiday Inn, then came the 540 question multiple choice psych test and interview where we talked about his two-handed backhand, then the day 4 producer interview, then 3/4 of those that came out were brought to a room and told they'd "made it", but they'd know for sure of final “you’ll sing for spinning chairs” status within a week, so week and a half later while on break teaching at Rocky Mountain Folks in Lyons Colorado, talking to Mary Gauthier about the *ugh* side of some music stuff I get the call that they aren’t gonna use me on the show, and I figure because the audition was only kinda “B+”, right?, which, while a teeny bit sad, wasn’t really devastating as I have my late summer and fall back and freedom to make a jazz album and write stuff that NBC Universal would *not* own if I was to keep on with The Voice, so really, it was ok, and I wish Blaze and Robert- these nice kids, and I mean kids and their light, sweet, lovely, swoopy, post-Luther Vandross Gospel voices - both boys that I took aside during the last dinner before we all went home and told them that whatever happens to them both - these heavy set, under 25, unschooled Black young men from Mississippi and New Orleans, I grabbed them in bear hugs and brought their heads to my ear, and told them to read, and read voraciously, and continue to educate themselves, and yes these boys that were previously during the week joking and laughing with me that were now answering each directive I gave them with “Yes sir, Mr. Vance...Yessir, I promise....Yes Sir," in that Southern way that says that they are hearing from an elder, "Yes Sir," because I knew that as anomalous and as different as I thought I might be, I had a feeling the last cut before “singing for spinning chairs” wouldn’t be mine, I grabbed them and got all parental and loving and protective, I don’t know, maybe I had a premonition, maybe I saw some Ferguson future, maybe I was just really protective of these incredibly innocent Black boy-men and protecting them from some Missouri madness, well, I did it, whispering these loving commands right in their ears, then off to my hotel room to pack, fly home, play for a great impromptu wedding, back to my folksinging gigging life, a sold out show out at the lovely Guthrie Center in Great Barrington (MA) where my voice came back big time, then off to a brave, seemingly good as new post-flood apocalyptic Lyons Colorado to teach and now sit next to Mary who is lovingly indignant for me during this break when a news alert comes across her phone about Robin Williams, and I come apart, apart totally, thank God we were done teaching, as I wept through dinner, I wept till bed that night and wept more so to sleep, a feat I haven’t done since our first Standard Louise died, and while wobbly the next day, at altitude which doesn’t help, I managed to carry on, heartbroken, healing a bit thanks to Tibetan monks that were there at Lyons to heal the land, and thanks to one that offered to pray over me because my singing was important to them and they wanted to rid me of any pain, or maybe because the Tuuvan throat singing solo I took at the end of my final tune on stage, a cover of Randy Newman’s Louisiana, was either impressive, pitiful, or humorous to them, yeah, I’m hoping a little of at least two of those, as I did get an overtone, and maybe they knew too some portent of the future because you don’t always get the overtone when you’re fledgling at the throat singing thing, and that I’d need all my balls to be steel when the news came form Ferguson Missouri, and my heart needed both love and girding, my ever at the ready “told you so, racism is still out there” deck of, I dare use this offensive prop-word - race cards, but my mind to be open, because really, I’m thinking, if you know the climate and city you live in, and you wake up that day, and you plan on stealing cigars, and you do that and in the meantime you shove and potentially injure the diminutive shopkeeper and then tower back in his face threateningly, then proudly saunter out of the store, you might, just might, have in the back of your mind the simple karma math maybe that says that you are at greater risk of being shot a couple of times in the chest and head, yes, even a minute or an hour later, the chances are just greater, "but still," I say to myself, "how many times did you shoot that man"? yes, my mind open to all that and my partner’s lovely habitat garden, my casting about for my next model airplane project and searching for music for a fully “lyricized” tune, a day or two off watching old re-runs of The Fugitive, my IRS audit next Monday, and my general good being on this side of the flowers in her garden, and then so I truly do wish the best for Blaze and Robert and with a little star alignment and luck and this Friday’s oil change on my Caravan I’ll get better than just by.

updated: 8 years ago