Thursday, July 25, 2013

The #JURT rocks on!


  WOW it's been a while since I've posted here, and a lot has happened since!  First off, thank you to everyone involved in The Search for Good Tour.  It was a smashing success, so much fun, and, I'm gradually realizing, truly life changing.  I see the world as a much better place now than I did, and it was an honor to tour with everyone.   Thank you for being a part of it.  From jamming with hospital patients (and being blown away at their talent!), to lurking in the NYC subway system with my guitar and watching humanity, it was a fascinating, exhilarating, exhausting, and way fun trip.  It was great to visit with folks, go bowling (thanks, Vliet fam!), listen to the stories, and see all the Good in the world.  I can't wait to hop on the rails again!

  Also, dropped the new album on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, etc etc:  Here it is!

But - the really big news is - I'm guest blogging about our tour over at Positive Impact Magazine!  I'm honored and flattered, and I'd like to share the series over here, too.  The tour has made it to some music blogs and websites (like ReverbNation, Dotted Music, and JTV Digital!), and while my musician readers might find the info helpful, the series for Positive Impact is about finding kindness, light, and all the stories from the road.  You know, stuff we can all use, regardless of our walk of life.  I hope you enjoy the series!  Here's part I.  And - THANKS AGAIN!  I've got some catching up to do with the blog here, so you'll be hearing more from me soon, and I hope to hear back from you!  

A Tangible Currency - Part I of the #JURT 
Welcome part I of a series by musician Josh Urban, with stories and insights from a recent music tour to find the Good in the world.

Many life changes happen in a flash, yet are disguised as ordinary events in the course of a day, played by unsuspecting actors, almost as a cosmic joke from an invisible casting department.
  One of these lessons hit me in the face recently.  I’m a rock musician, but one of my side “gigs” is a DJ. Through a strange series of events, I’ve found myself the host of my Classic Radio Hour show, where I bring my speakers and other sound equipment to assisted living communities and nursing homes, setting up to play Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, and other hits from a bygone era.  I sit at my DJ table, and join the appreciative audience in listening as I spin the tracks of old.  It’s quite moving to see people soak up the songs of their prime, and to hear their stories after the show.
  One day, however, things took a different turn.  The show was at a larger facility that, in addition to housing seniors, hosts an adult day care center.  The mix of audience ages can create an unusual dynamic.  One of the younger clients of the facility (let’s call her Sally) loves to dance to a favorite song that I have for her each time (the track is decidedly not Frank Sinatra.)  Sally is standing in front of the room, as is her custom, dancing joyfully and charmingly off beat to the song, the personification of the fierce happiness that music brings us, no matter how “different” or “normal” we are.
  “Mildred” was sitting in her wheelchair, and was probably having a hard day.  Perhaps she was in a lot of pain, sad, or lonely.  Whatever the cause for her discomfort, she was not enjoying the song, and was certainly not enjoying Sally’s dancing.  ”Stop it!  Sit down!” she shrieked.
  You could almost see the wind rush out of Sally’s sails, as her shoulders rounded, her head bowed, and the dancing stopped.
  I’m sitting at my DJ table thinking the (not so) articulate though of “Wowwwwww. Uh oh, this isn’t good.”  It was then that I realized, in the midst of all of my pondering life, building a business, hustling with marketing, and once in a while, wondering what really mattered:  how tangible, important, and immediate, kindness is.  
  Everything turned out as OK as it could.  I helped Sally find a different place in the room to dance, the music continued, and Mildred kept scowling.
  The scene stuck with me.  Life boggles my mind, and while I have a moral blueprint with which I live by, I have very few answers.  The moment in the community room showed me a rare example of a tangible currency – kindness – or lack thereof.
  I was in the process of booking a music tour to support a new album I had recorded.  I decided to build the tour around the theme of Kindness.  Flip on the news, and one is bombarded by the very un-kind acts of a select few, while most of the world just tries to get through it’s day.  I wanted to change the narrative a bit (and still do), and hopefully train myself to be more kind as well.
  The resulting journey found me traveling by train along the east coast of the United States, playing in hospitals, cancer centers, street corners, subways, and other places that didn’t have a lot of music.  I was looking for the ordinary heroes, small acts of kindness, and the people, sights, and sounds that rock the world.
  Over the next few blog posts, I will be sharing the stories of my journey (The Josh Urban Rail Tour, or #JURT), and the lessons presented to me along the way.  I hope you can join me – it would be great to have you along for the ride.
All aboard!