Wednesday, May 30, 2012

5 Decisions Away

I want to talk about inspiration today. Sources of inspiration can vary wildly, and one of my favorites comes from a very different outlet: Hoarders. In particular, Extreme Cleaning Specialist, Matt Paxton. I'm a member of the Possum Posse, a snarky group of fans of the show that light up facebook Monday nights when the show is aired on A&E. People comment in real time and it really has taken on a life of its own. I enjoy the Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque shout outs more than the show. (You might recognize me as the bright green box.) The lead picture is some fabulously bad Photo Shopping by yours truly that I shared with the Posse around Christmas time.

Anywho, back to Matt Paxton. He and fellow Clutter Cleaner, Cabell Hatchett, have a podcast called 5 Decisions Away. Check out the link and it's also available for free download on iTunes. While it can get a bit raunchy at times, the prevailing theme is one of second chances. The podcast might not be for everyone, but I really do find inspiration in the life stories Matt and Cabell share, along with some of their amazing guests.

Last week, the guys sat down and talked music. (episode 31 if you'd like to take a listen) By far, it was my favorite episode. For those that have been following my blog, you know music is a big part of my life. For those that are new, thanks for checking this out! I'm a photographer/graphic designer for a local weekly newspaper with a passion for concert photography. I'm still figuring out my path to be able to do what I love and make a living out of it. I'm not there yet, but I've been making some pretty strong steps in the right direction. I know that it's a struggle and takes a lot of guts, and that's why I enjoy listening to 5 Decisions Away. I'm able to listen to other people tell their story and it pushes me to keep going, to keep trying, to keep taking chances.

I could talk music all day, but I thought it would be fun to pick out my Top 5 songs and share them with you. Matt and Cabell talked about the power of music, how it can bring you to a different place just by listening, and I couldn't agree more. The five songs I selected are the songs that mean the most to me and inspire me. A more detailed explanation is below. The playlist can be found over on the music player on the top right of the blog. If you've reached this post a little later in the game, other songs might have crept up above them, so here is a separate link where you can listen.

1. Girl Waiting by Hotel Lights from Girl Graffiti: My readers know how much I adore Hotel Lights. Darren Jessee, the drummer from Ben Folds Five, is the front man/songwriter. He crafts hauntingly beautiful songs, and this one paints such a vivid story. The line: "She feels so free when the record's playing" really speaks to me and I think hits the point that Matt and Cabell were trying to make about music taking you to another place.

I've been fortunate enough to bring my camera along to two Hotel Lights shows. I want everyone to know this band, they are truly talented.

2. P.S. You Rock My World by Eels from Electro-Shock Blues: This entire album is a brilliant masterpiece. It chronicles the tragic loss of E's entire family, really delves into his pain and longing, yet still manages to find the bright spots in all of this. That alone is an inspiring story. Whenever I'm down or in a bad place, I will put this album on, feel my pain and let it go. The line: "How a careful man tries to dodge the bullet, while a happy man takes a walk" kills me. Every. Single. Time.

The Eels will always be one of my top bands and I was amazingly fortunate to snag some great shots on their tour last year.

3. It's My Job by Jimmy Buffett from Coconut Telegraph: Matt Paxton, you have excellent taste in music! He's spoken before about Jimmy Buffett, and although he didn't play any in his selection of songs, I'm taking care of you. Bubba was one of my first loves in music and was the reason I wanted to become a concert photographer. I've always found inspiration in this song: "It's my job to be different than the rest, and that's enough reason to go for me...It's my job to be better than the best." And to Matt, I think the lyrics: "It's my job to be cleaning up this mess" all but screams you! Say what you will, but Jimmy Buffett has a pretty good philosophy to life and it still hits home for me.

4. The Only Way by Gotye from Like Drawing Blood: This one is purely personal for me. Every time I hear this song, I will think of the picture I took. I felt like with the previous bands I had shot, I had great position, but for this concert, I was stuck shooting between some tall people. Wally has an amazing energy in his live performance, and I really latched on to that. This is exactly why I go to live shows and want to do this. I live for moments like the one below.

Sharing that picture and a few others with the band and fans was an absolute pleasure for me. It was really a defining moment that made me realize: even in a bad position, with a wrist injury and not my best equipment, I could still get amazing shots. Gotye's been getting a TON of airplay for that other song, but he has an impressive catologue of music. You're going to be hearing a lot from him.

5. In Your Own Time by Keane from Strangeland: Keane is my concert for the month of June. Their latest album has been growing on me slowly, and it has some amazing stand outs. This song is one of them. It's my current inspiration. I'd quote lines from it, but the whole thing is perfect. Keane has a knack for writing epic anthems. I can't wait to sing along with the rest of the crowd at the Beacon. Two more weeks!

So there you have it. Let me know what you think; I love comments! Come up with your own set of songs and feel free to share them with me. Be sure to check out the rest of my blog for more concert pictures, photos of the week, a fun series of macro eye pictures and whatever else happens in my life. Thanks for stopping bye!

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