Okay, so, actually it's early on a Monday morning, but oops, oh well. I spent this morning sending out invites to my show that takes place in exactly a week . . . . My good friend Benjamin Rumble designed this promo banner for me. Isn't it really cool? I just got done watching a good bit of the VMA's tonight. There were some pretty good performances. Those Jonas Brothers can actually sing and play instruments. I hope they'll be given room to grow creatively. It would be tragic if they were singing the same kinds of songs ten years from now. Oh gosh, Britney looked fan-freakintastic!!! She won a slew of awards without barely even trying. Maybe Mtv felt bad about her performance last year. Who knows. She certainly has a knack for getting a lot of the attention. Watching all of this got me thinking about how much the music industry has changed. All of it is so glossy and youth-oriented right now, and hip-hop is huge. It seems as if money is dictating the madness. Oh, I don't know. The skirts are skimpier. Rappers' jeans droop lower. Mens' jeans are skinnier. There is this insatiable need to take everything to provocative extremes. Well, I suppose that's what you call entertainment, but I miss the days when people were also allowed to be subtle and understated. I'm headed for another busy week of deadlines and preparations. Maybe someday I can hire an assistant. There's just too much to do. I'm just going to have to prioritize. I took some sleeping pills to make sure I get plenty of rest. They are kicking in right about now as I am yawning. I've got a bunch of goodies to post this week at WPR (Where Pianos Roam). Stay tuned. -g
I wanted to take a little while to pay tribute to something that has been a part of my life for many years now. Everyday that we live, we use all kinds of items that help us stay nourished, productive, alive, and even prosperous. Well, over the last nine years, I've had Delilah. She has been a consistent and unbelievably dependable force in my life. Without her, I would not have achieved all that I have accomplished so far. In case you are wondering, Delilah is my little green 1994 Toyota truck. Many of you who have known me over the years have seen me tootling along in this little chariot of mine. I cannot overstate how important it is to have reliable transportation. Delilah carried me through long road trips to visit my family over the holidays, through harsh winter weather, steep mountain highways, and torrential rain. She helped me lug all the gear I needed to take a bunch of kids out camping when I worked at Time Out Youth. In her steady hands, she helped to deliver my keyboard, amps, and other equipment to countless shows. She was my chaperone on dates that went well or sour--keeping a vigilant eye over her little love-seeking Asian. In her care, I cried, laughed, hung out with friends, and was able to truly live. I can still remember the many trips on I-40 traveling between Charlotte, NC and Nashville. I had the window down and my music up. Just me and Delilah out in the open road. I ALWAYS knew that I would get to my destination safely, and I ALWAYS did. Outside of the regular wear and tear, I did not have any major problems with her. She was also a very energy-efficient car. At the current high gas prices, it only took about $40 to fill her up, and this usually lasted me a couple of weeks. She gets incredibly good gas mileage on the freeway. On my last trip to Charlotte back in June, I spent only $60 traveling about 418 miles (according to mapquest) on the freeway. Do the math. Delilah is a badass truck!! In July, I did what I knew was inevitable. I had to let her go. An unusual set of circumstances brought about the chance to get a brand new car. This chance was offered, and I took it. I was able to sell Delilah for a very good price. In her honor, almost all of the money I made will go towards getting my new album "Seahorses" pressed and ready. She has a little thank you in the album's liner notes. I've known people who had the most awful, troublesome cars. Delilah was such a gargantuan blessing. She had the most wonderful Karma--my sweet green, chariot who will always have my heart. On the day I sold her, I watched her drive away in the delighted arms of her new owner. She turned at a corner, and too quickly, she was gone. I make no apologies about being so sentimental about a car. She is, by far, the most amazing car I have ever had. She reminds me to value what I have in my life. There was the finest gold underneath her green skin with diamonds encrusted within each scar. No, she was absolutely not just a beat-up old truck--but a fine, true thoroughbred in disguise. [caption id="attachment_180" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="So cute and pretty . . ."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_181" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Lovely."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_182" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Inside the carriage"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_183" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Smiling."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_184" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="On the day we said goodbye . . ."][/caption] I'm going to miss her and think of her often as I continue on in my journey through life. Goodbye, my friend. You hold me in your arms, always . . . . -g
Anticipation. Nerves. Excitement. Uncontrollable fits of random smiling. I experience all of the above on the day of a show. The feelings never get old. If it ever got to the point at which I lacked any and all feelings before a performance, I would probably quit. Nonetheless, it is always an exciting time for me. Tonight, I finally play my show at the Rutledge. This show has been booked for months, and the day has finally arrived. It's gonna be so much FUN!!!! People will finally hear some of my songs in the ways they were intended to be heard--with drum and bass. This kicks off a whole slew of shows to promote my forthcoming album "Seahorses" which is due out in November. I've been running my list in my head. My "list" being all the things I've learned from past shows. It's a good solid list of do's and don'ts. Most of it is internal. You might find this odd, but I also do a good bit of mental preparation before a show. I've learned that about 90% of what determines the outcome of a show is in the performer's head. If they've practiced enough, the actual material shouldn't be the problem. For that matter, you can practice a piece five million times, and you can still mess it up at the actual performance. I view a show as an intimate exchange of thoughts and ideas. In return for the audiences' attention and attendance, I give all that I have to give in return--a full throttle display of artistry and grace. Well, I must get going. There are still things to do to get ready for the show. By the way, while I was writing this post, I got a very random, but HUGELY awesome, surprise. I'll tell you more about it later. Have a flower!! (And think happy thoughts about me around 8PM tonight!!) HUGS!!! -g
As many of you know, I played my first show with a band on Sunday night here in Nashville at the Rutledge . . . This was my first time to play at this awesome venue, and by all accounts, it was a very good start to the promotional run for my album "Seahorses". David Sutton was on hand to play drums and Ben Wilson rocked out on the bass. They both also happen to be really good vocalists and helped me out with some harmonies. We played 8 songs--one of which was a cover of the Marvin Gaye classic, "What's Goin' On". It was so awesome to play with a drummer and bassist on stage. I don't know why I haven't done this sooner. Here are some more photos . . . [caption id="attachment_210" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="David on drums and Ben on bass!!!"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_214" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Striking a pose after our set."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_215" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Special thanks to my friend Dennis for taking some great photos!"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_216" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="My Mom and Sister at my show!!"][/caption]
Up next is my show at Cafe Coco on October 15.
By the way, on my regular Sunday post I mentioned that I received a random, but very pleasant surprise. Well, the owner of Loudhouse Coffee in Greenbrier, TN, contacted me on myspace (out of the beautiful blue) and asked if I could do a show at their venue. Well, after some scheduling negotiations, we've come up with a solid date. On Saturday, November 1st, we'll be playing at Loudhouse Coffee. I'll have more info on this as more details are hashed out.
Thanks, and I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!
So, last Thursday, I finally made it out to one of my nephew Tyler's football games. Here are some photos: [caption id="attachment_223" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="My sister Leth and my niece Lai at the game."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_224" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Are you ready for some football!!!!"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_225" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="The final score. Mt. Juliet Won!!! Yay! "][/caption] [caption id="attachment_226" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="My nephew Nacho (our little gangster) just chillin' with his sister."][/caption] My nephew's team from Mt. Juliet High School won with a score of 19-6. Tyler scored one touchdown and played on offense and defense through most of the game. That boy's got some serious skills, and I have a feeling his teammates feel very blessed to have him. Highschool football is definitely a step above the little leagues he's been playing in all these years leading up to this. The pace is so much faster, and the players are SO MUCH BIGGER. I couldn't help but be a little worried that he might get hurt. I used to change this kid's diapers and now look at him . . . (Oh, and isn't he a handsome devil?) [caption id="attachment_227" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="That's Tyler with our little family friend Caleb."][/caption] They grow up so fast. (Sigh) That game last Thursday was so much fun! I'm looking forward to proudly watching many more. This got me thinking about all the things that I did when I was young that warranted my family's presence in the audience. I really was not much of an athlete at all, but I do remember at least a couple of piano recitals. Those were fun. One day, my parents took me to a boy scout activity day in hopes that I might like it and want to join. I HATED it!!!!! I remember thinking, "So, ummmm, you want me to tie this little rope over and over again? WTF?". Needless to say, that day was my only foray into the world of boy scouts. I also danced in a couple of Filipino cultural events that they did back on the island. My mom choreographed and orchestrated these very elaborate and beautiful presentations of our native culture. (She was so good that the local Chinese community asked her to do it for them as well.) I can't remember too much otherwise. My older brother and sister were much more active. They even won 3rd place at this break-dancing contest looking like little Michael Jackson-wannabe-midgets. They were so cute. In any case, I think it's wonderful when kids do fun things do display their gifts and talents. It becomes even more special when family and friends can share in these priceless moments. Well, that's a wrap for another one of my Sunday morning posts. I hope you enjoyed the photos. This week I'll be starting a new series of posts entitled, "Gordon's Milestones". I'm using this blog to document my life in a variety of ways, and one thing I've been thinking about doing is writing about the most significant moments and accomplishments in my life so far. This will be an ongoing series since I hope to achieve many more milestones in the future. Look for the very first instalment this week. Thanks and I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!! -g
One of the primary purposes of this blog is to document my life. I got to thinking a few days ago that I really want to make a written record of some of the proudest and most memorable moments in my existence on this earth thus far. So, I've decided to start an ongoing series of instalments entitled "Gordon's Milestones". These entries will document the most significant moments that have made me who I am today and who I will continue to become. I now present to you the first instalment:
You down with SEP? Yeah, you know me!!! You down with SEP? Every Last homie!!! Okay, so, you must be wondering, what, for the sake of Anne of Green Gables, is the "SEP"? Well, I'll reveal this later. I really should backtrack a little to the point at which this adventure first started. Back in American Samoa--the tiny Pacific island I grew up on--, I went to a private Catholic Highschool for boys called Marist Brothers Highschool in a little village on the west side of the island called Malaeloa. Most of my family and friends would agree at the time that I was very studious. My nose was always firmly implanted in several books, and I was fully entrenched in the pursuit of academic excellence. On the first semester of my freshman year, I had achieved a straight A+ average in all of my classes. I had kept this a secret from all of my classmates, but luckily for me, the entire school faculty was very aware of my private relentlessness. [caption id="attachment_232" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Marist Bros. High--Home of the Crusaders!!"][/caption] One day, early on in the second semester, my science teacher asked me to stay after class to discuss something with me. She casually handed to me what looked like some sort of application. She said it was in fact an application tailored specifically for "minority freshmen students who showed outstanding academic ability". (These were her words, not mine.) Only students who fell under this humbling description needed to apply, and those accepted would be carried away later that year in July on an all-expenses-paid trip to study all the major branches of science at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Okay, so, drum roll please . . . the name of the program was the National Cancer Institute's Science Enrichment Program, otherwise known as the SEP. (Yeah you know me!!) This was a federally funded, nationwide program. Honestly, when she casually suggested that I apply, I thought there was no chance in hell that I'd get in. I knew that there would be several very exceptional and talented applicants. It was also not known how many applicants from my island would be accepted because they were taking applications from ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES!!!! So, I put the paperwork away. I had a month before the postmark deadline to send it off. Initially, out of fear of being disappointed and rejected, I was not going to pursue this, but over the next few days, I had one teacher after another casually asking about the application and encouraging me to go for it. So, finally, on the week it needed to be sent off, I went for it. I needed to fill out the darn thing, get a couple of teacher recommendations, include transcripts from my elementary school and for my freshman year thus far, and write an essay explaining why I deserved to go. My Mom drove me to the post office on the very day of the postmark deadline. I remember saying a little prayer before I dropped the envelope into the mail slot. As I turned around to get back to the truck where my mom was waiting, I vividly remember thinking that it's probably too late and that I missed my chance. Imagine my shock and surprise when the principle of my school came up to me one month later with a big fat grin on his face. He told me that my application was accepted and that I was one of only three students who got in out of all the applicants from the island. I could not believe it. Something like this had NEVER happened to me before. I didn't know that I would be on the brink of something that would change my life. A couple of months later, I was whisked away to Frederick, Maryland where I took up residence in the dorms of Hood College for an entire month of jam-packed activities. During the week, we took classes in biology, chemistry, and physics. The primary purpose of the program was to provide a science-oriented environment that encouraged minority students to eventually pursue a math/science field as a future career. The entire program was incredibly well-organized. It wasn't just about science. I had experienced many "firsts" on this trip. Here is a list of as many "firsts" as I can remember . . . 1. It was my first trip to the east coast of the US. 2. I had my first Subway sandwich. 3. It was my first time staying in a dorm (with a really cool roomate from Hawaii). 4. I rode on my first roller coaster ride. 5. My first visit to Washington DC--we went to the Capitol building, Lincoln and Vietnam Memorial, and all of the Smithsonian museums. There was probably one HUGELY siginificant thing that happened on this trip. It was the first time I can remember ever making real friends. Back in Samoa, I think I used books and studying as a shield. It was a safe pursuit that I was confident in. My classmates only ever related to me in an academic sense. I was the one to approach about homework or problem-solving, never the one to just hang out with. It kept me from really getting to know people and kept me very sheltered. Well, at the SEP, I had somehow befriended some of the most amazing people. We were all awkward teenagers who, strangely enough, all seemed like outcasts. We represented every extreme body shape imaginable, along with pimples, warts, and other lovely eccentricities. It was the first time I can remember being accepted as both a real person and a friend by my peers. This gang included Eddie and Teri from Texas, Becky from Virginia, Lori and Tulaga from Samoa, Jose, and a few other folks who I'm having trouble remembering. Of all the little groups of friends that formed, we were the most obnoxiously loud and carefree. I learned the true value of friendship at the SEP, and this changed me forever. It is a lesson I hold dear to this day. I look back on the SEP with the deepest fondness. Not only did I discover friendship in its truest sense, but it was one of the first times that I really started to believe in myself and to not doubt my own abilities. There is evidence that this actually happened. Click HERE to get a full official description. So, am I down with SEP? Yes. Always. -g
Okay. So after I did my weekly "Early on a Sunday Morning" post earlier today, which, this week, was just a rumination about the current presidential election race, I decided to take some time to get better acquainted with Sarah Palin--Senator McCain's celebrated choice as his Vice-Presidential running mate. I logged on to youtube and typed "Sarah Palin" with an open mind thinking I'll at least just be able to gather up more facts about where she stands and her political experience. Well, the first thing that popped up was this . . . [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8__aXxXPVc] Honestly, I was appalled. In that interview with Katie Couric, she displayed an utter lack of coherence. WTF? It's not as if Katie was aggressively interrogating and bullying her. She just asked some very basic questions. Nothing distinct, or even anything that makes sense, came out of her mouth. I later watched her interview with Charles Gibson and found much of the same. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I am honestly just appalled. At this point, she does not display the wherewithal and does not appear to have the knowledge base to know what to do if she were ever President of the United States. Mind you, I am not a political analyst or some learned expert on governance. I'm just trying to make sense of everything and understand these candidates as well as possible. I also came across a very interesting letter from a housewife and resident of the town that Palin used to be mayor of. You can read the letter by clicking HERE. Finally, last night Saturday Night Live opened it's show with a parody of the above-mentioned Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin. It is utterly hilarious. The scary thing is that it seemed more like a reenactment than a parody. Amy Poehler as Katie Couric was understated and purely brilliant. Tina Fey is dead-on as Sarah Palin. To watch this, click HERE. All I can say now is that I CANNOT wait to see the debate between Governor Palin and Senator Joe Biden, Obama's running mate, this coming week. It will be quite a spectacle. For now, Sarah Palin actually makes me cringe. I can't get myself to watch an entire interview with her. I just start to feel embarrassed for her. Would it be a crime if she were to just say, "I don't know."? In the interview with ABC's Charles Gibson, he asked her to share her thoughts on the Bush doctrine. It was clear that she did not know what that was, but she just kept going and going and going. Digging a deeper, abysmal hole for herself. Again, I am appalled and still cringing. I am hoping for a better future for us all then what this displays. -g PS--I generally like to keep my political thoughts private, but well, these are just things I feel I need to share. Our lives and our country will be under the care of these people. We owe it to ourselves to at least be informed. I encourage you to do your own research, ask your own questions, be discerning. If you disagree with what I say, then power to you. Just know that our lives and the lives of our children (my adorable nephews and niece included) will be affected. Be vigilant, seriously.
Ugh. I just sneezed five times. I'm not a quiet, gentle sneezer either. It's loud, thunderous, and almost obnoxious. It runs in the genes. We are a family of loud sneezers. So, I watched most of the first big presidential debate between Senator Obama and Senator McCain on Friday. To me, Obama came out punching and was aggressive from the start. McCain just sort of eased into it and progressively punched back more and more as the night wore on. There seemed to be valid points made on both sides, and they both are quite formidable. Honestly, I seem to be leaning more towards Obama right now only because I happen to agree with where he stands on most of the major issues--the environment, energy, immigration, abortion, same-sex marriage, and education. I guess I'm really looking for a change in direction and a new perspective. I have nothing personal against President Bush, but we've had 8 years of a leader who just doesn't really seem to know what he's doing. He seems like he might be fun to shoot pool with, have a laugh, and enjoy a beer with, but as the leader of the free world, not so much. McCain strikes me as very quirky, articulate, and smart, but I'm not convinced that he will present enough of a departure from Bush ideology and policy-making. I'm also not confident in his running mate Sarah Palin's abilities to help run this country and deal with the world at large. I'm all for a woman being president some day, but the right woman, just as we need the right man, is always ideal. I'm not sure at all that she fits the bill. In less than 40 days, we will have determined the course of our history over at least the next four years. These are precarious times. Gas prices are at an all-time high. Our economy is on the verge of a MAJOR crisis. We are still embroiled in an unfortunate war with Iraq. The list of troubling concerns is seemingly endless. Our next US President will inherit all of this. We will need someone with the courage and the wherewithal to take all of this on. The role of a President is a daunting and difficult one because invariably you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. You can be celebrated in one corner and flogged as the nation's whipping boy in another. The nation's chosen leader is also the occasional scapegoat. He will be glorified, demonized, smiled upon, and addressed with sheer disdain. There are people out there who have rough jobs (port-a-jon cleaners, proctologists, sewege maintenance workers, Disney Mascots, etc.), but imagine never really knowing if you're doing a good job and being under the scrutinity of an entire country of millions of people. It takes a special kind of person to handle all of this. In any case, I have been more intrigued by this year's Presidential race than I ever have before. Perhaps it's because there's so much at stake. Well, whatever the outcome, I hope he is chosen fairly and wisely by this discerning country of ours. I've stopped sneezing. Thank Goodness. Have a flower . . . Have a wonderful week!! -g
On November 24, 2008 at 7:30 PM, and after almost a year of meticulous hard work, Gordon Roque will officially unveil his first-ever, brand new, full-length album of music during his CD Release Party at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, TN. 3rd and Lindsley is one of Nashville's finest live music venues that boasts an amazing fall 2008 season of performers including Sonny Landreth, Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, Raul Malo, Leon Russell, Dunkan Sheik, Edwin McCain, Sonya Kitchell, Dar Williams, and many more. This event is a long time coming for this Nashville-based pianist and performer. Roque, who originally hails from the Philippines and grew up in the South Pacific, has long dreamed of creating a cohesive and emotive collection of songs that not only embodies his musical sensibilities but also showcases his poetic and narrative songwriting skills. "Seahorses" is a vibrant and eclectic debut album of 11 songs that, according to Roque, "each have their own character and voice." It becomes very clear upon the first listen just how varied Roque's musical sensitivity actually is. The styles range from the piano and trumpet bombast of "Villain" to the delicate and private reverie of "The Boy In the Room". Strings swoop and rhythmically sway in the lush and panoramic opus "Coral Sky" while old souls of Motown walk among the ruins in the acoustic guitar-tinged "Shadows Dance". While there is certainly much to hear on this album, there's even more to feel. Roque's baritone voice is genuine and expressive--ensuring the presence of emotion and immediacy in each cadence. In the song "Tears In Savannah", a grand piano and violins take a back seat to a vocal performance that is all parts sincere, raw, and heartbreaking. Cultivating power by way of restraint, there is a longing in his voice that is pure and unmistakable. For the first time ever, Roque will perform all of the songs on "Seahorses" at 3rd and Lindsley on November 24. It will be an unabashed, full throttle display of the emotion and the music that this album was built upon. Roque will be joined on stage by some of Nashville finest local musicians to help him mount a memorable show. Surely, it will be a performance not be missed. There will be more announcements and news to come as this event draws near. Please visit:http://www.3rdandlindsley.com andhttp://www.gordonroque.com for more updates and information on this event.
Hey Everyone!!! I just uploaded a brand new song on to my official myspace page. It is a song called "Shadows Dance". Dressed with acoustic guitar, drums, bass, and piano, it is a story about two lovers who met under a maple tree. The story evolves over years of time and continues even as the song ends. To hear this exclusive new track, just click HERE. Since it is now the month of October, I want to introduce to the world a brand new featured artist. His name is Aaron Kraten. With paintings that are bold and expressive, he is an artist who has a style and perspective all his own. The profile features an exclusive interview, samples of his work, and links to his website where you can purchase and view more of his work. To view the profile just click on this image: I hope you enjoy the profile of this amazing artist. May you all have a super sweet and fun-filled weekend. I know I will. -gordon