Star Spangled Bull Riding Yellow Metal Dividers

 Dear All,

I sang the Star Spangled Banner last night at the opening of the Jackson Hole Rodeo.  In the same way the Center For The Arts Hootenanny venue was "world class," this last Monday night, singing to open the rodeo might be described as "class under a horses a__!"  'Scuse my "French," but there was definitely an interesting "juxteposition" in the two experiences happening the same week and being so different.  This is what keeps one humble, - and yet, there was a sweetness to the rodeo experience that was nothing I'd want to give up. I even offered to do it again next year!

     It was tense in the beginning as I made my way through the horse trailers, kids with cotton candy and cars.  I got to park in a special parking space and "Al" was waiting to take me to the rodeo ring. I was ushered to a place where the bull riders prepare to get on the bulls. All the guys were up there putting on their individualized leather "chaps," that looked like elaborate costuming to me!   The organizer had not been able to find a microphone stand, ;and, as I was playing my guitar to accompany myself, we would need to find another option.  I said, "Let's get one of the bull riders to hold the microphone for me."  So, that was how I met Levi: about 16 years old and full of "spit and vinegar," and the first young man who would be riding the bulls.  He said he'd help me out and I really think it was meant to be because his shirt had the same color of red as I had in my cowgirl fringed blouse!     

      After the little girls started the show riding their horses around the ring and galloping around with the flag, and after a prayer was said by the MC to keep the bull riders from too much harm, it was time for me to sing.  Levi escorted me like Sawdust Royalty to the center of the very large ring in front of the packed grandstands - I had to step around the horse manure. Then he took his hat off, and put the mic to my mouth.  When I sang The National Anthem, they cheered when I got to "...o'er the land of the freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!....." and all went well.

         I am presently putting the finishing touches on my brand spanking new CD, release date Setember 1, 2012 called "Western Stars."  This is the first CD where I have included cover songs as well as originals and I think it is my most professional product to date.  I've had to work very hard on every aspect  of it from recording to mastering to packaging.  Did you say I was now going to have to PROMOTE it?!  Oh fiddley-dee, give me time to breathe; I'll think about that tomorrow! I declare!

     The reason that I have never recorded cover tunes (songs written by other people that are well known) because the thought of figuring out how to "license" the songs and pay royalties and legally recording them was daunting.  I don't know why; it just seemed like a dark thick jungle with dangerous snakes with poisenous venom and "best I don't go there."  Friends, I'm starting to see a pattern emerge from several "flashbacks" of my life where I have limited myself because it seemed too daunting.

    When I moved away from my home town of Phoenix, AZ for the first time to Northern California, I was afraid of driving over the Golden Gate Bridge because of the "yellow metal dividers."  In my minds eye I would picture my car fender (yellow convertible VW with black top) accidentally hitting one of the metal dividers and the car richoteting across the bridge and flipping up and over the edge and falling upteen hundreds of feet into the icy waters below.  I could not make the drive myself over the bridge for several years - until I decided to move there because of the opportunity for my singing career.

    I remember standing on the top of one of the hills seeing all of the big hotels on the skyline: The Fairmont, The Marc Hopkins, The  Hyatt and many others.  I said to myself, "I'm going to sing there, and there, and there....."  I know, you are thinking, "How does a girl who has the guts to do extreme dreambuilding in a career in music, still have a fear of driving over a bridge?!   It was the YELLOW METAL DIVIDERS!  I'm embarassed to say that when I did end up investigating those dividers, I found out they were rubber!  I could have driven over them back and forth, back and forth like a cartoon and it wouldn't have hurt anyone.

    Back to the CD - the licensing process: where you have to find the composer of the song and pay royalties, etc.  I have written approximately  75 original songs in my lifetime and recorded five CD's - never a cover tune.  Yesterday I googled The Harry Fox Agency , and within 20 minutes I had licensed all the cover songs of the new CD and found out you pay $ .09 per song per unit recorded (if you make 100 CD's you pay $9. plus a nominal processing fee because they take care of paying all the royalities. That's it! 

    Maybe it is a good thing it seemed so daunting because in this process, I have become an enthusiastic  songwriter; but how many times have I let my fears limit me from doing something that would take me to a new level of life experience? Have you ever put off driving over the bridge because of the YELLOW METAL DIVIDERS? 

     I wonder what kind of mental process the Bull Riders have to go through to psche themselves into getting on top of that bucking, snorting, two tons of angry bovine?  I studied the process that Phillippe Petit went through when he did his tightrope walk between the World Trade Center and I actually saw Nik Wallenda recently tightrope walk over Niagra Falls   Having control over your fears appears to be the most difficult and important task  in extreme dreambuilding.    

     I want you to know that I am still working on my self-imposed limitations,  but I am a little less adamant about my "NO WAY!' stance when I remember the dividers and the Harry Fox Agency.  There are a few other examples I could give you: same plot different characters.  It is enough to make me remember that often quoted cliche' about fear as  really just: FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL. Once we find out the real source of our fears, they melt. And then we can claim our birth right to rein over our lives and enjoy living "o'er the land of the freeeeeeeeeeeee and the home of the brave!"



Lee Robert
"Cowgirl Jazz"


P.S. Normally, I like to include pictures with my newsnote.  My webmaster, Lonnie, is taking a much deserved vacation, and I haven't gotten over my techno-fear yet of mastering putting pics in the document the way I like them.  We have to be compassionate toward ourselves and the pace of our growth, right?



Lee Robert
"Cowgirl Jazz"

Leave a comment