Monthly Archives: November 2015

Song Blog, Vol. 1: “Broken Breath”

Well, I’ve finally jumped into something new. I’m calling it the Song Blog. It’s all explained, below, and on the new Song Blog page, which you can find in the drop-down menu under the “Kevin’s Music” menu item. It’s all explained below.

Up first, a song called “Broken Breath.” You can hear it and read about it, below, or skip all this and jump directly to its page by clicking here.

Enjoy.

– KB

Song Blog, Vol 1: “Broken Breath”
(c) 1997 – 2015 Kevin Bulmer Enterprises
Written by Kevin Bulmer (SOCAN)

I decided to start my Song Blog with “Broken Breath” because it’s a track that has come up in a unique way and has been referenced often in recent times. It’s been performed publicly at a few different events but has never been shared other than that. And in fact, at the time of this writing, I am scheduled to perform the song tomorrow at an event in support of the Southwestern Ontario Lung Association. I wanted people to be able to have the chance to hear it.

Lyrics:

When the lights go out in our younger years
All the demons dance so free
The night can be so frightful
Leave the door open for me

In the haze, a child will seldom understand
Just as seldom will they care
They think think they cause is not important
If the consequence is there

Won’t somebody help me?
I can’t breathe
The pain that’s in my chest
Has me at it’s mercy
Please, won’t somebody make it go away?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can do?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can say?

Now suddenly you’re thinking of
Maybe sending me away
They’re gonna take me from my home
But it’ll serve me well some day

Unconvinced, you packed my suitcase
And gift box full of toys
They were only a distraction
But you didn’t have a choice

Won’t somebody help me?
I can’t breathe
The pain that’s in my chest
Has me at it’s mercy
Please, won’t somebody make it go away?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can do?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can say?

The years go by and now I sleep
For hours, unpeacefully
Awake again with broken breath
I wonder what will become of me …

Won’t somebody help me?
I can’t breathe
The pain that’s in my chest
Has me at it’s mercy
Please, won’t somebody make it go away?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can do?
Ain’t there nothin’ you can say?

About the song:

In 1997, I was heartbroken over my favourite band, Extreme, having broken apart. To that point, I’d listened mostly to their music and other bands of that time (Saigon Kick and Thunder were two other favourites of mine from that era). But as the back half of the 90’s progressed, I entered into a heavy Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle phase. And I took great interest in their more morose, introspective material. In particular, it wasn’t the anthem-like arena party rock I liked from Springsteen. I was a “Nebraska” guy. I loved “Ghost of Tom Joad.” Those songs spooked me good. I loved them.

Naturally, I wrote some darker-sounding material at that time. I specifically remember wishing I had a song that featured a vibe similar to Springsteen’s “Shut Out the Light,” a brilliant track that tells the tell of a Vietnam veteran’s inability to re-acclimate to his life after returning home. In the chorus, he sings, “Oh Mama, mama, mama, come quick. I got the shakes and I’m gonna be sick. Put your arms around me in the cold dark night. Hey now, mama, don’t shut out the light.”

I am in no way trying to compare myself to Springsteen, of course. But “Shut Out the Light” most definitely was the original inspiration that got me writing what became “Broken Breath.”

Read more about “Broken Breath” by clicking here …

About the “Song Blog:”

Inspired by my favourite musicians, I began writing songs in the early 90’s. Since then, I’ve written hundreds of them but have only recorded, released or publicly performed a handful so far. I’ve struggled to decide what to do with the others.

I don’t write songs to try to become a hit songwriter or to impress anyone or be a “star” or anything I like that. I write them because they sometimes just seem to “show up,” almost as if they’re being channeled from somewhere else. As such, they reflect my own ideas, thoughts and opinions, and I’ve never felt that formula was one meant for any kind of mainstream consumption.

When a “channeling” happens, I just write down, hum or play what I’m feeling. Often times, that turns into a song. Other times, it won’t. It could be I get a little bit or a piece here and there, like a lyric line or a melody idea. And I’ll save those just in case, but for the most part, if a song is to become something I hold on to and treasure as a part of who I am, it usually comes to me fairly complete within 15 minutes to an hour or so, and then it’s just a matter of tinkering after that. And that tinkering sometimes goes on for years. I’ll forget about a song for a decade and then come back to it. It’s fun.

Read more about the Song Blog by clicking here …

 

Show Up. Look Up. Cheer Up.

I really like going to my gym. I love to be around the positive energy. Regardless of what someone’s age, gender or physical condition might be, I have always figured that if a person has made the effort to go to a gym, they have made and acted upon a decision to try and do something positive for themselves. I respect that, and I very much like being in that environment. And I’ve often found that all it takes is one other person to offer an encouraging word to make my entire day.

Still, there are times when I just don’t feel like going. And I’m keenly aware that when I put it off for more than a few days, my sense of well-being suffers noticeably. Despite that, I encounter times when I don’t feel I have the juice to go and put enough effort in to get something out.

On days when I do overcome the “blahs” to end up completing an exercise routine anyway, I feel so much better. And yet, working out my body, I’ve found, is not the only tangible benefit I can take from choosing the treadmill over the couch.

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This past weekend, I found myself in the midst of a particularly busy stretch of days. I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, I was rushing from one event to get ready for another that evening, and quite frankly felt somewhat overwhelmed mentally. I certainly did not feel like pushing up any weights or running any considerable distance on a treadmill. But I ended up at the gym anyway.

Once there, I did not even end up doing much exercise. I had a serious case of the “blahs.” I jogged for a little while and tried some stretches and yoga poses (and I use the term “yoga poses” very loosely. Recklessly, even. But I’m trying to learn). Satisfied I’d at least justified the change into workout clothes, I then decided to sit in the sauna for a little while to do a mini-meditation before getting myself cleaned up and on with the rest of the day.

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Now for a quick aside: I’ve always been very comfortable speaking in front of crowds, or delivering a radio broadcast or even singing and performing in front of people. But whenever it would come to very standard, idle chit-chat with passersby, I have preferred to be left alone for as long as I can remember. I’ve since changed, but I had to force myself to change. It is coming more naturally to me now, but I had to make the choice to look up instead of down and to say “hello” instead of nothing. I’ve always been somewhat puzzled by the tendency.

On this day, I admit I thought I’d be happy to be left alone for a few moments. I was still mentally tired. I didn’t feel I’d put in much of a workout. And I still had many hours of busyness ahead of me yet before the day would be out. I’d have been pleased to just sit there and sweat.

That’s when an older gentleman of Portuguese decent came into the sauna and sat down across from me. In years past, I admit, I’d have perhaps nodded a polite greeting and then continued to stare at the ground. But I’ve changed. For the better.

Instead, I looked up and asked, “How is your day going, my friend?”

His body language changed. Instantly. Visibly. His shoulders relaxed. His face smiled. His eyes brightened.

He said, “Oh, good, good! And you? You are good?”

He and I began to chat, and although his English is a little broken and my Portuguese is non-existent, we managed to have a very pleasant conversation just the same. We talked about weather. We talked about soccer (which I know little about). We talked about hockey (which he knows little about). And we talked about how much better we each feel if we make the effort to come to the gym.

We also talked about how much we each appreciate the other being willing to talk.

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I ended up leaving both that conversation in my visit to the gym feeling exponentially better than when I had gone in, and it had nothing to do with lifting weights or spin classes. It was simply because of a genuine few moments of pleasant interaction with a person from a different culture and generation than me. In the time I was talking with that gentlemen, not a single thought about anything else occurred to me except for engaging in conversation with him. It was freeing and relaxing, and I continue to be amazed how it really does not take much to brighten not only someone else’s day, but your own in the process.

It’s worth considering. Whether you’re at a place to do a workout or to buy a bag of groceries or to sit and wait at the doctor’s office, everybody else there with you is struggling in some way too. It costs absolutely nothing to smile and have a pleasant word. Why not? More often than not, you will benefit directly from that by way of good feeling anyway.

When I go to the gym, I feel good. Many times, it’s because my muscles feel harder.

Other times, it’s because my heart feels softer.

Where’s My Newsletter?

I recently was talking with a good friend and business associate, Steve Stefanidis, the co-owner of a great business called “Liner Guys” here in Southwestern Ontario. Always one to shoot me straight, Steve surprised me that day by asking, “Hey, buddy – where’s my newsletter? Did you take me off the list? What’s up??”

Busted.

Earlier this year, I set a goal for myself to complete and distribute at least one email newsletter per month. I mentioned as much to my humble base of current subscribers. And while I’m aware I’ve failed at that pursuit, I believed I was the only one who could possibly care. So, while I was diverting my energies to other things, I let the newsletter slip.

Bless his heart, it turns out Steve was paying attention. I’m lucky to know him and grateful for his support. So although I may have temporarily slipped off track in getting that newsletter out, I’m okay with it because I’ve been able to do so much else. I told Steve as much and, of course, he voiced his complete support.

The search for balance between planning and acting continues to be a challenge for me. I like to feel as though I’ve thought things through, and am following at least a little bit of a roadmap. But I sometimes allow my need to plan my attack to attack my plan. Some call it paralysis through analysis. And I have so many creative thoughts and ideas floating through my consciousness at any given time, I still struggle with the balance, and I know it.

So I’ve not stuck to the discipline of submitting a regular blog, or of putting out a monthly newsletter, though I still aspire to both of those things. But I have been doing better at acting, and getting into the game, being more involved, meeting more people and enjoying life much more. I just haven’t been taking the time to write it down and share it regularly. So far.

This blog will serve as a little bit of “catch up” so as to recognize and thank several people and organizations that have been a part of the journey this year, and to take a brief look ahead to what’s planned for 2016 and well beyond.

We call ourselves "The Three Amigos."

Always my first priority. We call ourselves “The Three Amigos.”

Since my last newsletter went out, I have fulfilled some key personal goals. Most importantly, I’ve remained rigid in making sure that quality time with my two sons is my absolute top priority, and I’m pleased to stay that has remained the case. Eddie (12), Jaden (9) and I enjoy and celebrate every single moment that we get to be together. This past spring, summer and fall have bubbled over with wonderful experiences, great time with family and friends and all sorts of shared activities that have already become wonderful memories. I know that when I reach the end of my days, I’ll not regret investing my energy into a single one of those moments.

Clearly, Eddie loves VOLBEAT. I do, too.

Clearly, Eddie loves VOLBEAT. I do, too.

Highlights of our recent times include a second Daddy/Eddie excursion where the  younger Bulmer got to go on stage yet again with one of our favourite bands, Volbeat, at a concert in Oshawa in the spring; celebrating Jaden’s birthday with the 3rd annual playing of what he calls the “J Cup” ball hockey game; time spent visiting with family at my mother’s family cottage over the summer; and all the many very simple times of just engaging and playing in our community. I recall one weekend in August in particular where we whiled away almost 3 hours at a community pool and enjoyed more laughs than just about any other time through the summer, just by being together and enjoying the day.

At Count's Kustoms in Las Vegas. It was a thrill to be there!

At Count’s Kustoms in Las Vegas. It was a thrill to be there!

I also managed to visit Las Vegas for the first time, with my sweetheart, Caroline, at the end of May. As we’ve both been so immersed in raising kids and nurturing careers and other interests, neither of us had been on a trip far enough to make air travel necessary in many, many years. For so long, it seemed like the kind of thing only “other people” did. But this past spring, we managed to do it. And in the process, we got to be a part of a live concert filming featuring  my forever-favourite band (Extreme) and visited many places, including the locations of a couple of my current favourite television shows, “Counting Cars” and “Pawn Stars.” It felt like an achievement to get there and spend a few days seeing new things with someone I care about so much.

I started writing songs because of these two guys, Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt. Clearly, we had good seats at their Las Vegas show. I took this photo with my phone.

I started writing songs because of these two guys, Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettencourt. Clearly, we had good seats at their Las Vegas show. I took this photo with my phone.

In July, I moved into a new house. That was a long time in coming and a sizeable project to tackle by myself. Much of the thought behind occupying a new space of my own was to set up an area equipped for capturing creativity, whether it be musical or otherwise. I’m still getting things put together the way I like them, but all my guitars are now out and available and I’ve felt brimming with creative energy ever since I began to feel settled in the new place. The process has been a major step forward and one that I believe will contribute greatly to my desire and ability to activate and share my creative pursuits in the coming weeks and months. But for a significant amount of time, just getting there took up most of my extra energy.

When work has to happen during Amigos time, the boys just come along.

When work has to happen during Amigos time, the boys just come along.

Professionally, I’ve enjoyed my busiest year in my work as a Marketing Consultant at Bell Media Radio. I love and respect the people I work with and deeply appreciate the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful people in both private business and non-profit groups in our community. It seems that I learn something from just about everyone I encounter, and I do my best to make a positive contribution for them as well.

Another goal I had at the outset of the year was to become more involved in doing MC and performance work and, as a result, be more visible and active in the community. I have been able to do that, and have enjoyed every second of it.

In August, I returned to my family’s original hometown of Wallaceburg, Ontario, and had a wonderful time performing my music and visiting with people at WAMBO (Wallaceburg Antique Motor and Boat Outing). That day was one of the highlights of my summer, and it led to being invited back a few weeks later so that my music could be featured for a week on their local radio station. I was able to take my kids with me for that, and we shared in a terrific day, feeling the heartbeat of the place where my parents (the boys’ grandparents) grew up. It was a joy.

With Jaden in Wallaceburg by an iconic mural of the old lake boat, "Superior."

With Jaden in Wallaceburg by an iconic mural of the old lake boat, “Superior.”

In September, I hosted the first anniversary event for my good friend Mike Mulligan at his business, Moving Forward Rehabilitation and Wellness Centre, along with my friends from March of Dimes Canada. That evening was enjoyable and inspiring.

With Mike Mulligan at Moving Forward Rehabilitation and Wellness Centre

With Mike Mulligan at Moving Forward Rehabilitation and Wellness Centre

A couple of weeks after that, I served as MC at a fundraising comedy event to benefit the Rowbust Dragon Boat Racing Team, which is comprised of breast cancer survivors in my community. One of the team members is a good friend, and I was thrilled when she asked me to participate to help them raise enough money to make the trip to Australia next spring to defend their WORLD Championship title that they earned in Italy in 2014. The comedy night was a blast, sold out to the doors with approximately 400 people on hand and a great lineup of very funny comics that included Lamont Ferguson, Danny Martinello and Scott Belford. All of them were terrific.

With Connor Wilson in Tillsonburg. We had some laughs over this picture, and our hardly-noticeable difference in height.

With Connor Wilson in Tillsonburg. We had some laughs over this picture, and our hardly-noticeable difference in height.

Just a little more than a week ago, it was a pleasure to MC and perform my song “Broken Breath” at a concert and fundraiser benefiting the Southwestern Ontario Lung Association at the Lion’s Auditorium in Tillsonburg, Ontario. The event, organized by Sarah Pratt of SEP Productions, was headlined by the very talented Tyler Shaw, and featured a lineup of terrific artists including Daniel Hamm & Stacy Evely, the Brooks Academy of Dance, Char Kelly, Chad Price and Connor Wilson. Out of everyone, I spent the most time with Connor, as he and I instantly got along well. His set of acoustic country music was terrific (his cover song renditions were great but I liked his own songs best). I also was happy to spend a little bit of time with Chad Price, who absolutely blew me away with his performance. If you enjoy the likes of Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, I would strongly recommend giving your ears a chance to hear Chad. He is a wonderful talent and I was proud to get to know him, and it occurred to me that I truly enjoy spending time around creative people like him.

I took this picture of Chad Price from beside the stage. What a performer he is!

I took this picture of Chad Price from beside the stage. What a performer he is!

Coming up, I’ve been asked to MC an event supporting the Brain Injury Association of London and Region this Saturday night and I am very happy to be doing that. I will also be appearing again this year at the Lung Association’s annual “Festival of Trees” Preview Night at the Covent Garden Market in downtown London, Ontario, on Wednesday, November 25th.

Beyond that, I have been working hard to set a schedule that I can stick to for sharing more songs and creativity on a regular basis. It all sounds easy when I think of it, but it takes time, desire and commitment to actually make it happen. I’ll try. My ultimate goal is to have done enough of it so that I’ve built a bit of a base of work and experience by the time my boys are older. But for now, I’ve not yet found anything nearly as rewarding as being fully present and engaged with my kids while they’re young.

Eddie took this picture on Thanksgiving weekend. No effects were put to it, but it accurately sums up how I feel when I'm with my kids.

Eddie took this picture on Thanksgiving weekend. No effects were put to it, but it accurately sums up how I feel when I’m with my kids.

That said, Eddie and Jaden are my two biggest cheerleaders. And I believe I’m just about ready to announce a commitment to trying to achieve something that has been a dream of mine my entire adult life, something I don’t want to get to the end of my days and wish I’d tried. It’s something that Eddie in particular really wants to see me do. Stay tuned for that one. I’ve been tip-toeing to the edge of the airplane on that project for months (years, even) and can see myself figuring out how to open the chute on the way down. I just haven’t had the courage to jump quite yet.

But that’s coming.

So now you’re up-to-date, thanks to Steve, though I still need to get this into the form of an actual E-Newsletter. And if you’d like to join that list, you can do so by clicking HERE.

And, hey – at least you know you won’t get spammed.

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