From the recording It's Still A Party- Featuring Teresa Alves
On Dec 24th 2020, I received a call that my mom had been taken to the hospital. After some tests it was confirmed she had suffered a stroke. One moment she was bustling with holiday spirit (her favorite time of year), and the next she was straining to say my name. I headed up north to help her recover in whatever way I could. The question was, “What kind of light could I shine on this tiny hospital room with my mom who wasn’t exactly verbal?” My next thought was “Music”. That’s what my mom and I have always had in common… I packed my “Roll away keyboard”, Guitar and Ukulele. The plan was, whenever it felt like there was time to fill, I’d take out one of my instruments and see if it could lift her spirits. It wasn’t very long before I realized that although I’m sure she enjoyed my company, she was remarkably positive and resilient in the face of this unknown challenge. You never wish for disparity, but it is truly in the depths of it that you see the inner workings of a person. The resiliency of spirit, the surprising strength that we as humans can carry. I was inspired… After spending the new year with her in that room I asked “Do you wanna kick off 2020 with a new song?” She lit up. She loved creating, especially music… I pulled out my Uke and a chord progression immediately poured out. She had so much to say, but speaking for her at the time was difficult. Through an inspired game of charades we rescued the words gripped by her circumstance. “The song” was written over the course of two days. Once completed, we were determined to get my mom well enough to record this baby in the studio. Over the next month she made such a miraculous recovery that one of the nurses was arranging for her to be a “speaker” in aiding others going through the same kind of rehabilitation. The day before her discharge from the hospital she suffered a second stroke… Further testing revealed these strokes where in fact caused by a Glioblastoma. Brain cancer.
The next six months were a rollercoaster of unbelievable peaks and breathtaking descents. Immediately following the removal of her tumor (a miracle in itself) she took encouraging steps forward. As with most Glioblastoma patients, the current numbers reveal that treatment is more about managing time. Deep down I know my mother knew what she was in for but never let on to any sense of “giving up”. Whether that was for her, for us, or both, I can’t say… What I do know is she was as strong as anything I’ve seen. She fought, cried, laughed, painted and sang while her children took care of her… This song we wrote in the hospital, the one and only song my mom and I got to write together became our family credo. Whenever things got tough, whenever one of my siblings would turn the corner, whenever it was a Goddamned celebration, my mom, my sisters, my brother, I would sing it’s chorus…. Two months before her passing I thought it appropriate to bring my equipment to my sisters house where we were caring for her. I set everything up so she could sing out from her bed. She nailed it and made me promise to make this a “fully produced recording filled with horns, percussion, bass and guitars”… This recording is my gift to her, hers to me, and ours to you… When you are in a rough place, whenever you find yourself at the top of a mountain, if you are lucky enough to be living and loving it to it’s fullest, then “It’s Still a Party”. ❤️
Much love and music,