Talent inspires me, even if it eludes me.

I grew up, of course graciously and humbly, surrounded by talent.  My entire family is talented, and I was so fortunate to be able to sit for years and take it all in.  I used to try to insert myself into it.  "Yeah guys!" I would say, "Let's make a band!"  All the time not realizing that when they said, "Let's make a band!" they weren't talking to me. Don't worry, I eventually got the hint that music was not where my talent resided. But growing up, my brothers were just natural musicians and singers, and my sister had the singing voice of an angel. They were encouraged by hearing my dad sing and play guitar prolifically and amazingly. My grandmother was a music teacher and chior director as well. We grew up in an environment, a legacy of music. It brought us together. 

Some of the earliest memories that I have were of sitting on the floor in our living room listening to my mother's old record collection, including a Jackson Five record she had cut from the back of a cereal box when she was as little girl. We must have listened to her single of Ode To Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry 100 times in a row. And then there was Ray Stevens. I don't remember the album, but I remember Along Came Jones. Another one we wore out fully. And of course, the recollection of our musical adventures in from of the old record player would scarcely be complete without our Brucey Baby. My mother had a bit of an infatuation, strictly musical of course, with Bruce Springstein in his Born in the USA Glory Days.  We would listen to those old records for hours on end. We were rapt, and we were tansported. My love for music is abiding and I come by it honestly. 

My grandmother, Jo Ann Marchbanks; my Memaw recently passed away. Here are Memaw and Pepaw. She is missed greatly and our family was and is rocked. But in specific application to this blog, there were a staggering number of people that she had touched, and influenced and made their lives better, mostly through teaching them and sharing with them her love and talent for music. She was an amazing woman, with an amazing talent, and her life touched so many. One of her chior students told me that he would not be the man that he was today had it not been for her turning his life around through youth chior when he was in high school. I was so touched by this. I realized, as a person who has some compulsion to create, and make something for the world to experience, that she had this same compulsion. And through her being faithful to it, she created, and taught, and encouraged, and shared the music in her heart with others. And more than that, it made a huge impact. It changed lives. Music, through the heart of the people that share it with us is powerful. Art has meaning, and people are power.

But what I would really like to talk about now is one of the most musically talented members of our family, my brother Paul. No seriously, here is Paul and his lovely wife Lacy whom he somehow tricked into marrying him. Paul has a surprising ammount of photos of him online that you find quite quickly when searching for Paul Marchbanks in Google because my brother Matthew (no seriously, Matthew) Okay, for reals, he also tricked a quite lovely young lady named Casey into marrying him; is a very talented photographer, and took quite a lot of photos of Paul while they were in college together and afterwards as well.  It makes Paul looks like a vain person, and it makes me laugh.

But silly pictures aside, Paul is incredibly talented, and the thing that kills me is that I think he is not trying hard enough to promote his own music, and I think that he is wasting immense potential. You see, Paul works as a meter reader for Atmos Energy, which made this list for 2012. Musician did not make this list. Let me tell you about Paul, just a bit. He graduated college with a bachelor's degree in music business recently, and his wife is continuing her education in Dallas now. Well Paul figured he needed a job to pay the bills, and he did. But from experience I know, that when you get yourself into that sort of situation, with everyday that passes it is harder to get out. Paul is digging himself into a trap that could be one lifetime deep. I have done the same thing, and I don't want my broski doing it. 

So I have decided that you need to hear Paul's music. It is available on CD Baby right now. I am trying my ass off to get him to make it available on Itunes, but he hates publicity, so he hasn't done it yet. But in an attempt to give him some exposure, I have made the entire first album available here for free and all I ask is that if you like it, please give him some love. Also check out his Myspace music page. Yes Myspace is still up, and actually pretty okay for bands and stuff.  

In short, I spent a long time honing a skill that I have a burning passion for and compelling desire to be involved with, that I had to completely abandon since I needed a job to pay the bills. I feel like a partial, incomplete human. I want better for my brother. For all of my brothers and sisters. Hell, for everyone. I think that my brother Paul may have been put on this earth to make music, and he isn't doing that because he is reading gas meters for money. I want to do everything in my power to help him, and if this is it, fantastic!

I will make his second album available as soon as he gets it done, but in the meantime, please enjoy Birds Say Names.