Welcome to American singer/songwriter David Wilcox's blog!
David has released 16 folk albums over the course of his career. His newest CD, Reverie, will be released this fall. We hope you enjoy what you find here. davidwilcox.com
Well the flight from Chicago to Detroit went great. Any flight that lands wheels-down on the runway is a great flight. Now I’m across the street from the Ark at the Shalimar Indian restaurant. I’m feeling pretty blissed out about being able to travel through this March heatwave in the Midwest.
I’m seeing everyone smile on the city sidewalks. We are all pretty ecstatic about the weather. This is like vacation weather. It’s a little taste of spring inside late winter. Even if it snows again and we have to wait through the cold for the second spring this year, we’ll remember this time as a glimpse of the promise of summer. I am looking up at the budding trees and the beautiful glazed terra-cotta art deco architecture, and I feel like I belong because I get to play music tonight.
It is so cool to have a reason to be here. I have work to do here. I can encourage people to do their healing and reclaim their hearts from the pain of whatever they have been through. I can push for making the world a more alive and awake place.
Of course that’s an impossible goal, as it should be. Maybe the world won’t budge, but any good life purpose should be impossible. That makes for job security.
I am convinced that our hearts are made to heal. Instead of carrying around habitual suffering, our hearts can be cleaned of the hurt that we have lived through. Not only does this free us up to be more full of life, but the whole process can be enjoyable when we use artistic expression as our means of healing. My musical journey has been a simple practice that changes old pain into compassion and bliss.
For me, songwriting has been a discipline that I call cardio spelunking. It is a deep dark adventure to retrieve bright treasure, and it would be frightening if it weren’t for music being right there to hold the flashlight. Each time I feel a song coming on, I make the assumption that my heart is calling me to a place inside that has been waiting for me to come exploring. The rules of songwriting apply, but with a deeper purpose. I use my subtle musical discernment to follow the feeling down into the deeper layers where the clues to a bigger truth are found. When the intensity of the music interacts with whatever stored hurt I find, there is some kind of emotional alchemy that transforms painful memories into the finer elements of compassion and forgiveness.
As I harmonize words and melody, I keep trusting in what I feel, and gradually I craft a song that not only moves me, but actually moves me in the direction I want to go, because a song can transport me to a way of seeing this world - through the eyes of someone much wiser, someone further along. The feeling I get in a song sets my sights on what is possible, like being able to look down on a vista I haven’t even hiked to yet. When that happens, I have evidence that this higher perspective is attainable, and that gives me the determination to keep taking steps toward it.
When all this started, the bliss I felt in music was like an oasis in an otherwise barren landscape. Nothing felt as good as a good song did. I wanted more of that feeling. But when I tried to pump out more songs to quench my thirst, the well seemed to run dry - as if telling me that writing more songs wasn’t the point. So instead of making songs my goal, I asked music to teach me to navigate toward how I wanted the rest of my life to feel. These days I enjoy using the craft of songwriting like a hiker would use a compass. I know that it is not the destination, but it does line itself up with something bigger than the whole world, and I trust that alignment.
For me, it’s been songwriting. For you, it might be some other artistic expression that you love most. But when we study our deepest joy carefully, as if it were our heart’s treasure map, we discover that wherever we search, we are searched for. There, in the microcosm of our artistic discipline, we find the oracle of our heart, beaconing us toward our best future.