The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

A Workout Gig

After just over two years I recently attended my first music gig since the start of the pandemic. I admit I was concerned about being in a sold out venue with at least 2,500 other music lovers singing and dancing. After what we have been through and how we so quickly got used to not mixing with others, touching others and dancing with strangers, what used to be the norm had become something of pure fear. I did wear my mask into the venue and soon realised that I was very much in the minority and once the show started, I didn’t see anyone with masks apart from a few staff.

The auditorium was large and airy, I had forgotten quite how large it was in the theatre. Once we had taken our seats the excitement was building and you could feel it amongst the audience. The most words I heard spoken all night was ‘I’ve not been out for two years’, we were all feeling the same sheer delight at being out at a Nathan Carter concert once more.

In the spotlight.

Claudia Buckley was the support act and this girl has come on in leaps and bounds since I last seen her in January 2020. Claudia has the most beautiful voice and a wonderful personality, she is well able to engage with the audience and sings a fabulous mixture of Irish country songs alongside old style country songs with a mixture of the newer country songs. Claudia had the audience well warmed up and happy awaiting the main event.

All the sparkles!

Next up was Nathan Carter and wow, was he on form and the band also. You could see how much they were enjoying being back on stage singing, playing their music and interacting with the audience. It was amazing to be there, to experience the sheer joy in the theatre from everyone. The staff that they were back at work, the band that they were out playing their music again, the audience singing and dancing and smiling and even the security, who try as they might could not keep people in their seats, from early on we were up dancing. It felt like freedom.

Talking about dancing, I have no idea what kind of jumping around I was doing but my Fitbit was convinced of the following…

It was a fantastic night, I think I was on a high for days afterwards. I did manage to get a few quick videos of the evening. Rather than be behind my phone taking photos and videos I decided to just embrace the whole show as it unfolded. Just like we used to. From what I could see around me, people tended to stay within the groups that they had attended the concert with. In the past we would have all joined hands and sang and danced but we were careful. I had antigen tests everyday for the next week and they were all negative. Bring on the next gig!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-4a2trg4SU

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/RzSAyod67S4

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Everything Changed

This made so much sense to me.

I seen this quote recently and it spoke volumes to me. Everything in my life changed, absolutely everything and yet here I am feeling more me than I ever did before. How does that even make any kind of sense? Yet it makes perfect sense. I’m still the woman I was before and yet I have emerged into a new me. I’m still emerging into a new me. I know we change as we grow, as we experience life, as life happens to us. Perhaps our values and our truth do not change, the core that is us as a person, that may bend and shape as we live through experiences and learn life lessons. But there is something about this emergence which has a feeling of this is the me I was always meant to be. That in turn makes me wonder if this new me was always hidden within, never daring to come out and in latter years when I was in my caring role, there was no time or space to come out.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

I have a sense of freedom, a real sense of freedom that I’ve not experienced before. Sometimes this sense of freedom is scary; that protective wall of having someone to ask about decisions you are making, someone to check that you are not totally off the wall in your thinking or in what you are about to do. My parents were fabulous soundboards. Even if I still went off and did what I was going to do, it was very useful to bounce my ideas off them first and I would take their responses on board before I made the final decision. When I was making my decision about giving up work to care for them, I had a meeting with their Doctor and told him what I was thinking of doing and why. I’ll always remember him saying that he could see both Mom and Dad within me. Dad in weighing things up, deliberating and making decisions and Mom as this amazing, wild, spirited woman. I think that is the most wonderful thing anyone has ever said to me and I love that I have their traits. Without me knowing or realising, they instilled strength and independence into me and that undoubtedly has helped me through the past couple of years.

I do of course have himself to bounce my ideas off and he is very like Dad in his thinking. He is a very logical and analytical thinker where as I go with the inner voice and ‘it just is’ so as you can imagine we have some amusing conversations when I’m discussing plans with him. However, he will point things out to me that I may not have thought of and he would never try to prevent me carrying out what I want to do, he just wants to be sure I have thought it through. He can see the pre-carer me coming through and also this new free spirited, I want to try loads of things me that is emerging.

Stay Wild Moonchild.

From school days there were always people saying I shouldn’t be singing and dancing around the place, I was too bubbly, I was wild, I wasn’t ladylike and I suppose the more you hear this the more you believe it. The negative words which affected my confidence for most of my life. Until you realise the issue isn’t with you, it’s with them. There’s a huge sense of freedom in this realisation and I have seen many a quote state that someone’s opinion of you has nothing to do with you but all to do with them. Sometimes I regret not having this new found confidence years ago but then again, perhaps now is my time to shine. Stay wild moonchild.

With love and sparkles xxx

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Evolving

As if I need an excuse to drink coffee…

Well, a bit like my city in my last post, I’ve been evolving too. I changed my website host to WordPress, because I love using it for my blog and decided it will be easier for me to update something I am familiar using. So my website for my music is https://dawnmaxwellmusic.com/ please check it out and let me know what you think. It’s very different to how I had built the website before and I like this new look. It has just come to mind that it ties in with one of the songs I have written and recorded ‘Fade to Grey’, perhaps that was no coincidence. I admit there isn’t much content yet on the website but I have plans for 2022 and hopefully I will be very busy updating the website with what I’m up to music wise. So exciting.

I have also changed the content to my FB music page. I love positive quotes and affirmations and I was receiving messages telling me that my daily posts, non music related, were very uplifting and gave people positive vibes in the mornings. So alongside the music, I’m continuing with the quotes, affirmations and all things sparkle because that’s just who I am. For some reason I was trying to keep the music separate and then it hit me, it is who I am so I need to just embrace it and bring it all along together. It may not fit for some people but it fits for me and if just one person gets a much needed lift or positive energy from a post then I love that. https://www.facebook.com/DawnMaxwellMusic So if you are on FB, pop over and give me a follow and join in with the positive vibes and sparkle a plenty.

Gratitude

I will take this opportunity to say a very big thank you to everyone who has supported me on my journey. The high’s, the low’s and the rock bottom. Although I encounter some very black, sad days that are hard to bear, I also encounter some very happy, make it happen, you can do this days. It’s amazing how a random comment from someone can lift you up and raise your spirits and give you confidence to believe in yourself. I am so grateful for you all and I feel blessed to have met you along our paths, online or otherwise.

With love and sparkles xxx

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

The Show Must Go On?

Well with everything that has happened and is happening in my life, the music has well and truly taken more than a backseat.  I think it’s probably in another vehicle, on another road in a completely different City to me – that’s how distant and disengaged I have been from my music.  Lots of very well meaning friends have said “get back to your singing you’ll feel better”, or “pick up your guitar and strum” you’ll feel better.  I tried. I didn’t feel better.  Music was a huge part of my life with my Mom and Dad, there wasn’t a day that there wasn’t a radio on, You Tube on, Keep it Country on, and all of us singing at one time or another during the day.  We loved the music.  My parents were so proud of me for following my dream but the dream doesn’t hold the same promise anymore.

My lovely guitar tutor on my first session with him recently suggested that we leave my usual genres of Country Music and Irish Music alone for a while.  It could be too sad for me.  So in order to get back to playing guitar and relearning the chords, we’ll try different genres.  Great idea!!  I did the same when I returned to my vocal coach and I sang some hits from the 1970’s. “Cherish” by Kool and the Gang.  “Native New Yorker” from Odyssey.  1980’s and a beautiful song from Sade “Smooth Operator” and a more recent hit from Bryan Adams “You belong to me”.  This was liberating and dare I say it, I enjoyed singing again.

I bought myself a new guitar book which has a range of songs within it.  I printed off some other songs from the internet which just happen to be Country…it would appear I can’t leave Country Music alone.  However, I am sitting a strumming this week for half an hour a day, the chords are returning and the tops of my fingers really hurt again as they harden up with the pushing down on the strings. (I have an acoustic guitar which has metal strings).

I returned to the choir recently although I sat in the back row and didn’t really sing out as my voice is still stressed, it will return in time.  I have lost a lot of confidence.  I know myself I am not the woman I was; confident, independent, fearless.  The trauma of the year so far has stripped me of me.  My confidence has been bolstered though when I looked at my You Tube channel Dawn Maxwell Music and seen that there has been a lot of activity recently with people watching/listening to the few videos I have on there. That made me happy.

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The new Guitar book. Some are way too advanced for me yet but looking through the book I can see quite a few that I do know the chords so I will have a go at those and yes, there are a few country songs in there!

I have been told by many people that if you are into your music, then the music will help you heal.  I’m beginning to think they are right.  If I take it slowly, not push myself, stay away from the songs that break my heart for now, maybe, just maybe it is time for the show to go on.

With love, sparkles and country music xx

Life Sparkles ✨

So Far.

So far I have managed to put one foot in front of the other everyday and keep going. Some days have been easier than others and some days I just haven’t done anything, because I just haven’t been able to.  I have become very conscious of looking after myself because I am all my Mom has.  I didn’t really think too much about self care before, Dad was here, he always knew what to do, who to contact and make the decisions.  Now Dad isn’t here, it’s all down to me and once you start thinking about that, it’s scary.

So far I have managed to get Dad’s memorial cards designed, printed and I have sent the majority of them out.  I have had a meeting at the hospital about the disgraceful lack of care my Dad received (I will blog about this separately).  The meeting really took it out of me, I was physically and emotionally drained, but it had to be done.

So far I have gone back to my music slowly.  I never feel like singing or picking up the guitar but once I do, I feel so much better.  Because I concentrate so much on what I am doing it releases stress and pressure for a little while and that feels good.

So far I thought I was doing well, coming to terms with things, not crying too much and then all of a sudden on Sunday night I had a huge outpouring of tears which came on suddenly and without warning.  Thankfully my man was here visiting and I could leave the room so that Mom didn’t witness these tears.

So far I haven’t done anything about the website I was putting together for my music. I have made a slow start to this.  With the website building taking place I will be downgrading my blogging plan here on WordPress.  I will still be blogging, I enjoy it and it helps me plus the wonderful fellow bloggers I have met on here which I certainly wouldn’t want to lose.  From July when I have the blogger plan I think any videos I have to share with you will have to be on the website.

And so far finally I haven’t really been up to that much.  At the moment I like it this way. I don’t want to have a full diary, or things planned ahead, I’m just not in that mindset yet. I want to take things slowly, to spend as much time as possible with my Mom, to plan my music and try to plan for the future.  As we know, the future doesn’t always go to plan.

A few photo’s of life over the past couple of weeks.

With love and sparkles xxx

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Tears totally out of the blue and when you least expect it.

Some delicious Irish Soda bread my cousin gave to me on her recent visit.

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Prayer is what works for me, it keeps me calmer, it soothes me and it makes me feel closer to my Dad, my Sister and all those who have gone before me.

And a little Snapchat to make me smile, take away the black circles and remove wrinkles 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Kylie means Sparkle!

Following on from the evening with the Home Free guys, I went to see Kylie.  I knew we were in for a sparkling show, there was sparkle everywhere…hats, t-shirts, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, face painting, I was soooooo underdressed.  Himself has been a huge fan of Kylie for a long time and I really like her music, especially as on her last album she went Country. When I go out.

It was a great concert, huge disco balls, great dancing, fantastic singing, wonderful stage settings and it was like one amazing party.  It was fabulous to be there to see such a global sparkling star as Kylie.  I always feel a little sad that she hasn’t found her soulmate, if the media is to be believed she has been let down in love.  I suppose you can’t have everything.

As usual, a few pictures and some quick video’s from the night, I wasn’t too close but I hope you get the idea of how the arena became a disco party.

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This is Resorts World just outside of Birmingham, next to the arena which I believe has changed it’s name yet again, now known as Resorts World Arena.  Resorts World is full of bars, restaurants, shops, cinema and a casino.  I haven’t visited there yet but it just looked so lovely on a clear moonlight night as we walked from the car park to the arena to see Kylie.

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The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Home Free.

Before life started to completely unravel on me last September I did manage to get out to two live gigs, on consecutive nights!!  Nothing for months and then two, one after another.

One event I was very, very, very excited about.  Home Free were in Birmingham. Regulars readers of my blog will know that my parents discovered these amazing guys on You Tube last year and we all became huge fans.  I was jumping around the room when I discovered they were visiting my city and I was so thrilled to get tickets.  The weather was atrocious the night they were on, torrential rain, fierce winds but you couldn’t keep me away.  I actually let out a scream when they walked out on stage, thankfully I wasn’t the only one that did so.  Oh my, those guys can sing.  It was pure joy from start to finish.  I don’t have the words to convey how fantastic I found this concert, I think I’m probably obsessed by them.  If you haven’t heard their voices check them out  Home Free on You Tube

I have a few pictures from the evening…of course.

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Jeffery Joseph East was the support and he is definitely going places, a pure voice, great lyrics and built a good rapport with the audience. Jeffrey Joseph East

 

Yes I was fairly close and yes I have my eyes peeled for the next time they visit Birmingham, I so want to be there.

With love and sparkles xx

Life Sparkles ✨ · The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Back to the music and other happenings.

I wasn’t at all sure about the return to the music just yet. I wanted to and I didn’t want to, if that makes any kind of sense.  Was my heart truly in it?  Would it feel the same? I’m glad I gave it a chance.  The singing released a lot of built up stress, pressure. It just came out as I sang.  I was careful what I sang though, it’ll be a while before I can sing certain songs.  It did me good to sing.

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I wasn’t as rusty as I thought I would be upon my return to the guitar lessons. This was a different release to the singing.  My mind had to concentrate so much on what I was doing I relaxed for forty-five minutes and gave my attention to guitar chords.  I’ve made a list of the songs I was getting good at plus the ones I wasn’t very good at, at all.  This is my list of songs to practice until perfect with a view to an acoustic recording session and hang on, dare I even think this…gigging.  I just need to find some time to practice!

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One from last Summer, it feels so good to be able to play a song on the guitar.

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The list!!!

It was Mom’s birthday recently.  I think she knew it was a special day and she did enjoy opening lots of beautiful cards.  She received some absolutely gorgeous flowers. We made it through another first without Dad although I have the feeling he was most definitely here.

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Himself has got into the habit of cooking something for me.  He knows that if he goes to the trouble of cooking something I will eat it. I’m very lucky in how he looks after me when he can get over here and that he is a good cook.

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Quorn Pasta Bake and it was delicious.

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Himself.

I started to do a bit of cooking myself too, for Mom.  I was very pleased with myself that I made her a quite acceptable leek and potato soup, go me! I’m going to try her with smoothies next.

 

A little gardening project for myself for the Spring and Summer, you see I am endeavouring to keep myself busy and do some things for me whilst the carers are here to help me with Mom.

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As we have had some fairly nice weather I have started to go for a walk around the block when the carers first arrive as Mom is usually still asleep so I can get about an hour to do something for me.  Usually it is taken up with administration but it does feel good to get out in the fresh air.

 

Spring blossoms out far too early yet still so beautiful.

And finally for this particular blog post, mixed emotions and note to self.

 

Pictures are my own and these last two quotes are via Pinterest.

With love and sparkles xx

Life Sparkles ✨

Automatic Pilot.

Well the weeks continue to roll by and I keep trying to make sense of things, adjust to this “new normal”. I still feel as if I have brain fog which is almost protecting me from the reality of losing my Dad although I feel reality is coming home a little more every day. Automatic pilot is wearing off, the tears fall and time is just flying by. I cannot believe we are into mid April already although I’m still a little behind on my blog posts.

I thought I’d do a “this is what I have been doing” blog post so that you can see I really am trying to deal with things, look after Mom and try to return to some sense of normal.

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Another “first” without Dad, we raised a glass to him and I hope there was one huge hooley going on in heaven.

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After telling me to start eating healthy and look after myself, himself rocks up with these little temptations.

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Aforementioned drinks for raising a glass or two!!

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Not traditional Irish fare for us for St Patricks Day – we had Indian instead.

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Signs of Spring.

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A “me time” cappuccino during a long overdue trip to the hair salon.

It’s the little things that matter the most.

Until next time, with love and sparkles xx

 

 

 

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

The Video Files.

As referred to on an earlier blog post, I had meant to tell you all about the excitement of making the music videos.  The build up, the amazing weather we had on the day, how things just seemed to work out perfectly and how wonderful my friend who was making the video was.  So professional, full of ideas, tricks and his schedule and project planning was spot on.  It was such a fabulous afternoon and I am so happy that I got to make that particular big dream come true.  Unfortunately life events took over and it is only now that I am endeavouring to catch up with my blogging.

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Trying out the dress for the video!

“How are things in GloccaMorra?” is a song from the film Finnian’s Rainbow and is something my Mom says to visitors to the house.  She wears a huge smile and asks “How are things in GloccaMorra?”  We heard Barbra Streisand sing a version of this song with a medley from the musical “Brigadoon” within the song, a verse of “Heather on the Hill”. I loved this version.  Getting a backing track was impossible so I had to commission one myself.  It was a difficult piece for the producer to replicate as it is an orchestral piece but he did an amazing job on it.  I recorded this song especially for my Mom and anytime we play it on You Tube she sings along.

I also made a video for the song “Summer Love” taken from the Neil Diamond film version of “The Jazz Singer”.  I love the melody to this song.  Imagine our surprise to be sitting on Friday evening in December watching the John McNicholl show on Keep it Country TV and for John to introduce me and play the video for “Summer Love”.  Oh my goodness how proud Dad was of me. It was an incredible feeling to see yourself on TV!!

I posted both videos on Facebook and I was overwhelmed with the response I received and the amount of views, this really is a dream come true.

Here is the link to my You Tube channel which I hope to update very soon.  I do have two recordings made last June when I made the other recordings which I haven’t uploaded yet.  Please give me a visit, I really do value your support.  Also below is the “GloccaMorra” video, would love to hear what you think.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVHLg_2erVoITLESQY5trTw