Blog Archives

*NEW* Song: “Over & Over (It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way)” – Song Blog

Finally fed up with waiting for the “perfect time,” I’ve decided to jump back in and start sharing some of my book of songs as best I can. First up: “Over & Over.”

The lyrics in this song (copied below) are some of my favourites from anything I’ve ever written. They came pouring out of me, all at once, on a Sunday morning in August of 2015.


At the time, I had a lot of turmoil going on in my life, but for the first time in many years I had just returned to my family’s original hometown the day before, to take part in an annual event where I performed many of my songs. I went alone, and enjoyed the drive there and back, and the experience of the event itself. I felt completely at peace with my own company, perfectly content to meet and visit with all kinds of people – some I knew, most I didn’t – as they came along. It was one of those kinds of days that plays like a movie in your mind while it’s actually happening.

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Something clicked in me that day, as if I knew I’d finally arrived at a point where I was comfortable inside my own skin, no matter what was going on around me, I could trust myself to be true to who I really was, go my own path  make my own choices and hold on to that no matter how stiff the challenge might be. Perhaps that sounds simple and obvious, however my observations are that many (most?) people are just doing what they’re doing because they see so many else people doing the same thing. And often, what those people are doing is whining and griping about their lot in life while they do absolutely nothing constructive to change it. Victims.

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Looking back on it, I really appreciate what this song seems to be saying on my behalf. It’s probably not an accident that it reflects so much of what I believe very deeply, including a reference to Einstein’s definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Song Blog, Vol 2: “Over & Over (It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way)”
(c) 2015 Kevin Bulmer Enterprises
Written by Kevin Bulmer (SOCAN)

LYRICS:

When the tide begins to turn
It’s only natural
One can resist
Or even brace against the flow

There is no favour when it comes
To meeting gravity
The push and pull, the light and dark
We need them both

Holding your ground
Defending ego, chasing average
Clench and compare
With every other tired cliché

But there remains the thread
Of heaven’s possibility
Follow the light, however faint
And it won’t fade

Over and over
We think that we’re sober
But we keep trying to kill the pain
Deflecting, expecting
The results keep infecting
Insanity’s calling again
A tragically comic refrain
It doesn’t have to be that way …

There is no easy explanation
Of the obvious
Or why the simplest things elude
In every way
Relentlessly chasing what’s sitting right in front of us
To become carbon-copy popular cult slaves

Over and over
We think that we’re sober
But we keep trying to kill the pain
Deflecting, expecting
The results keep infecting
Insanity’s calling again
A tragically comic refrain
It doesn’t have to be that way …

Out go the lights
When the truth shines too bright
So the fault is assigned out of fear
But the face on the wall
In the mirror, tells all
It’s the only consistent thing here
And it always follows everywhere …

Over and over
We think that we’re sober
But we keep trying to kill the pain
Deflecting, expecting
The results keep infecting
Insanity’s calling again …

Over and over
We think that we’re sober
But we keep trying to kill the pain
Deflecting, expecting
The results keep infecting
Insanity’s calling again
A tragically comic refrain
It doesn’t have to be that way …

 

To visit the “Song Blog” page, please click HERE.

No Schedule Man Podcast: Episode 9 – Mike McCurlie (MJM Media)

Kevin talks with Mike McCurlie of MJM Media, a marketing company that has created thousands of audio and video commercial productions for some of Canada’s best businesses over more than 35 years. A lifelong musician, Mike’s stories and experiences are certainly unique and interesting.

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In this conversation, Mike covers everything from his love of music to the formation and history (and a bit about the future) of MJM Media and everything in between, including an extraordinary (but true) tale of how he spent part of his life living in a treehouse!

Mike also gives some terrific insights on marketing, why using music effectively makes a message so memorable, and how marketing has changed over the years. The tidbits he provides should prove valuable to any business looking to get their message across and stand out in today’s market.

To access Mike’s Blog or to see any of the videos or other content referenced in the discussion, the best place to start would be to go directly to the the MJM Media page. All their social channels are clearly linked from there.

 

The podcast is now available for streaming, download and subscription on iTunes, as well as on our YouTube channel or SoundCloud page.

Special thanks to Allstage for their support of the No Schedule Man podcast!

Podcast Episode 4 – Chad Price

I sure love being around creative people, and it was a treat to spend some time with Chad Price recently. Chad’s stories are a box of treasures for any aspiring songwriter!

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I took this picture of Chad from the side of the stage at an event last November.

In the fourth episode of the No Schedule Man Podcast, Chad and I discuss how he first discovered and tested his talent for writing and performing, who his major influences were, reaching out to Producer Bill Bell, recording his first full-length CD, “In This Dream” and his most recent single, “Honesty,” the songwriting process and what’s coming up in 2016 and beyond. Chad also does an acoustic rendition of a song that will be on his forthcoming new album, which he hopes to release some time later this year.

Chad sang a new song as part of our podcast conversation.

Chad sang a new song as part of our podcast conversation.

The podcast is now available for streaming, download and subscription on iTunes, as well as on our YouTube channel or SoundCloud page.

 

No Schedule Man Podcast: Episode 3 – Rose Cora Perry

In this episode, I catch up with Rose Cora Perry, who took part in my “Celebrating Hope” concert in November of 2010. Through the conversation, Rose discusses the origins, highs and lows of her first two bands (Her and Anti-Hero), the disappointment that followed their conclusions and the personal development that followed. Rose also talks about how her solo acoustic CD, “Off of the Pages” came to be and the personal and professional processes that have led her to where she is now, having put together a new band and nearing release of her latest project, “Onto the Floor.”

Me and Rose circa November, 2010.

Me and Rose circa November, 2010.

This podcast is available on our YouTube channel, and it can also be accessed and downloaded on our SoundCloud page.

Lyric Slide: What Says Love?

Earlier in the year, I took to the notion of creating little image slides with a lyric from songs I’ve written, mostly as a means of sharing some of the work that has not yet been recorded. It’s been fun to work on them and observe how individual lines from songs can be interpreted all on their own. I’ve been posting these on my Twitter and Facebook and thought I’d start to share them here periodically. Please feel welcome to copy, paste, send or share, or comment with any feedback. Thanks!

This lyric is a powerful question from a song called “What Says Love.”

03-08-15 - If it ended tomorrow

Result Infatuation

I’ve recently come to realize something about myself. When I am fully engaged in activating a process, I feel quite content for the most part. But the moment my mind wanders to just about any perceived measurement of progress, my heart rate speeds up, my breathing gets more shallow and a sense of self-judgement begins to kick in. This seems to apply for home, work and recreation.

Result infatuation?

I’ll come back to that.

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I wrote recently about the challenge I find I have of balancing between planning and acting. And my creative mind loves to wander around in the abstract, dream, set goals and visualize. Ironically, it tends to do that most while I am going about the business of taking action. Doing things and being fully engaged seems to stimulate other inspiration.  The trouble is, those ideas inevitably end up manifesting into a sea of Post-It notes and other “to-do” reminders. But when I stop planning my act and am engaged simply with acting upon my plan, I feel stress-free.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I will often feel overwhelmed before I even begin, simply from the sheer volume of thoughts and ideas constantly passing through my awareness and accumulating at an impossible rate. Alternatively, once I pause my process to check sales numbers or revenue reports, or gauge response to a social media post, or even look at how many things I’ve done around the house versus the “to-do” list I had set out for myself earlier, I seem to instantly begin judging how I could be doing better.graph-841606_1280

And yet, intellectually, I know that the cure for this stress is to simply dig back in again. Choose one thing and take action. See it through to completion. Then choose another. And repeat. Simple, right? But how long do you allow yourself to enjoy the drive before you pull off the road, check the map and set a plan for where you’re going to stop next? I confess I sometimes wait until I run out of gas, or the engine seizes. And neither of those metaphorical ideas are healthy to either planning or acting.

And … why is there even a need to plan and act when you’ve experienced that real peace seems to be best achieved by getting quiet and still and feeling genuinely present and grateful?

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It’s quite remarkable to me. I find thinking about doing a thing far more stressful than actually doing the thing, no matter what that thing is. I sometimes wonder whether any other people are similar to me in this regard, because I don’t see many of my colleagues wrestling with the same mechanism as what I’m trying to describe here.

At least I am aware of it now. That’s come from many years of exploring practices like mindfulness, meditation and, quite simply, self-love and acceptance. I will keep working on it. At a deeper level, I’ve known for a while that the moment I assign any expectation to something, I seem to end up disappointed. I wrote about it with a rock song lyric I call “Crushed,” which has been kicking around since 2008. It goes like this:

I recognize the notion and it’s hitting me hard again
Never would suffice to take it slowly
I’m laying down the hammer but I feel I’m the nail again
Rigid, driven, beaten down and lonely

We started innocently with intent to behave
But quickly, curiosity will tend to accelerate
By and by, anticipation makes you a slave
Cause we want
And we crave

Crushed by the weight of expectation
Determination hanging over me
I never intended to be
Crushed
Result infatuation

Simple fascination suffocating me
I never intended to be crushed
It’s too much

Result infatuation. I love that line. And I appreciate it more now that I feel more of an observer to that lyric than a protagonist. But there still, clearly, is much more work to be done on mindfulness and staying present.

If you have any similar experiences and thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

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 …

 

The Courage to Get Started, and How My Own Words Have Come Back to Inspire Me

I’ve often heard it said that the greatest thing you can do with any goal or quest in mind is simply to begin. Just having the courage to start is a grand achievement. A willingness to try means being open to the possibility of failure, and/or being available to the responsibility success may bring. Each is scary in its own right.

Once started, the next great challenge in moving forward can be managing the unique mix of knowing when to roll up your sleeves to do the work and when to take your hands off the wheel so that the energy created by your efforts can take you where you need to go (as opposed to where you initially think you need to go). Just as it takes a lot of courage to begin, it requires a lot of guts to be able to get out of your own way once you’re going. The good news is that, once you’ve done those two things, the journey can be very rewarding.

I guess I'd like to be a better man  I guess I'd like to feel less afraid  I guess I'll take a breath whenever I can  I'm often feeling just a little out-weighed (Song: “One More Run,” 2000)

I guess I’d like to be a better man
I guess I’d like to feel less afraid
I guess I’ll take a breath whenever I can
I’m often feeling just a little out-weighed
(Song: “One More Run,” 2000)

A few months ago, I wrote an article about my re-introduction to the world of social media, and Twitter in particular (you can read it, HERE). At that time, my intention was to start activating various online platforms (including this site, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn), to represent the many facets of what I do for a living and for my own enjoyment. With Twitter, I began by trying to share a variety of content, representing my marketing and business interests, while also referencing material I’ve read that’s inspired me along the way. And from time to time, I would also share a lyric line or two from songs I’d written. I kept at that for several weeks and then just watched for responses.

Initially, the song lyrics I would share were only from tracks that have been recorded and are available online or on CD. But that’s a pretty limited representation of what I’ve written over the years. And so, when I started to run out of “new” material to post, I started combing through volumes of older lyrics that have never been recorded. When I did that, something interesting began to happen.

A good guess, or destiny?  The right place or ...  The wrong dream? (Song: “Right Place, Wrong Dream,” 2002)

A good guess, or destiny?
The right place or …
The wrong dream?
(Song: “Right Place, Wrong Dream,” 2002)

After I’d posted a few of my own unpublished lyrics, I began to receive responses from people online. It was somewhat strange at first to see people marking something I’d written – but never recorded – as “favourites” or “re-tweeting” them out to their followers. People began to send me messages asking if I had written the things I was sharing.

Never did I imagine I’d ever gain anything back from some of the songs in that way. I had always just assumed that a song had to be “finished” and recorded in order to be worthy of sharing. And these aren’t even really songs I’ve been posting. They’re just individual lines that, for one reason or another, have stood out to me as worth sharing. But, after having the initial courage to get started, and the wisdom to let the process become what it wanted to, I’ve found it incredibly rewarding.

Twitter Feed

Another thing that this process has given me is a growing catalogue and timeline of my own thoughts. After I’d posted lyrics for a few months, I began to scroll back through my own Twitter feed, feeling very much gratified at what I was seeing. Previously, all these thoughts and lyric lines have existed only either in my head or in binders squirreled away at home. Now, many of these observations are available to anyone who would like to see them, and it’s been rewarding to see some people respond in a positive fashion. It’s been equally (if not more so) gratifying to revisit my own words and reinterpret them with the perspective I’ve now attained.

Meantime, a similar approach has not yet gained any real traction on Facebook, and the full, recorded songs that are published on YouTube have not seen much traffic. Nor, however, have I given them much promotion, but I’m admittedly surprised to find Twitter the most rewarding of any of the other digital places where I’ve invested my time so far.

Let's sail up to Complacency and cannonball its port (Song: “A Pirate’s Life,” 2003)

Let’s sail up to Complacency and cannonball its port
(Song: “A Pirate’s Life,” 2003)

So where do we go from here? I’m not entirely sure.  But at least I got started, and am now enjoying the journey.

I also want to say thank you to all the very kind people I’ve heard from on Twitter. The feedback has been a lovely thing, and has stoked the fire for me to want to explore the possibilities of my own creativity even more.

Poll: Deja Vu or Bilge Rat Blues?

I’d love your feedback, please.

The new EP, released in February 2014

The new EP, released in February 2014

For months, I’ve been thinking of creating some sort of music video for the songs “Deja Vu” or “Bilge Rat Blues” from this year’s “Solo: The Return of No Schedule Man” EP. Though either one would be very much homemade,  I think it would be a lot of fun to work on, particularly if I could get my kids involved.

My question is, Which one to try first? (Note: you can listen to the tracks, below)

Thanks for voting!

Haven’t heard the tracks? Here they are.

Deja Vu:

Bilge Rat Blues:

Happy Anniversary, No Schedule Man!

Four years ago today I achieved a goal I’d held for at least a decade: to complete and release a full-length CD of my own music. It was June 26, 2010, when “No Schedule Man” was finally released with a concert at the London Music Club here in London, Ontario. Much has happened since then. And looking back, I feel proud of myself for seeing the goal through to completion, and I’m glad I have those songs recorded in some form.

At the CD Release show

At the CD Release show

It took me almost a year and a half to finish the project (I documented the whole process with a weekly journal. All the entries can be found HERE). At the time, I was not enjoying the accomplishment as much as I’d been hoping to, as I was truly hurting with sciatic nerve pain caused by herniated discs in my lower back (which actually caused a two-week delay in releasing the CD). In fact, just one week after the CD release show, I decided to cancel the rest of the appearances I had booked for that summer because I was just in too much pain and wasn’t enjoying myself at all. Partly because of that, I never really felt those songs got the push they deserved.

Shortly afterwards, many significant life changes took place, including a divorce, change of address and change in career, all of which happened pretty much at the same time. In the face of that, playing the songs from “No Schedule Man” quickly fell down the list of priorities.

CD Artwork in development

CD Artwork in development

For the better part of two years after all that, I didn’t even really look at my guitar, let alone go anywhere and play. My mind was only on being with my two boys, keeping myself healthy and learning what I needed to learn from the life changes that had taken place. To that end, I feel grateful for the lessons I’m not sure I could have learned any other way. But there was always a part of me that felt bad about watching “No Schedule Man” sit and collect dust.

Eventually, the urge to start creating and sharing music bubbled back up. But it was different this time. There was much more patience, and even hesitation, to move forward. As I’ve written and talked about before, it was really my oldest son, Eddie, who nudged me to start working on music again, and so last summer I recorded a handful of new songs that became the acoustic EP, “Solo: The Return of No Schedule Man.” In the process of getting ready to release that collection, I went back and started rehearsing some of the songs from the original “No Schedule Man” CD again and thought, quite honestly, that there were some really good songs just sitting and waiting for me to pay them some mind again.

The new EP, released in February 2014

The new EP, released in February 2014

Now that “Solo” has also been released, my guitar is mostly quiet again, at least for now. I’m still not sure where all this fits in the scheme of a guy who makes his living as a Marketing Consultant and Radio Account Executive. But when I burden myself with trying too hard to make sense of it all, I think back to the lyrics of the “No Schedule Man” title track and remember that “No plan is all part of the plan.”

The idea of control is really a fallacy. Change is inevitable, and this present moment is truly all we have. So I strive to be more like the character I created with “No Schedule Man,” to the extent where I’ve since adopted it as a kind of “brand” for most of the things I do, and hope to be.

No Schedule Man, the character, doesn’t aim to have. He simply wants to be.

It was pretty cool to be able to put this in the CD player. Still is!

It was pretty cool to be able to put this in the CD player. Still is!

One day, I’ll give those songs the attention I always felt they deserved. In the meantime, I can look back and feel proud that they even exist in the first place, and feel emboldened about my ability to navigate through whatever changes and challenges may come from here. With that in mind, I wholeheartedly encourage you to explore and celebrate your own creativity as well, in whatever form that may be. I did, and I’m glad I did.

Happy Anniversary, No Schedule Man. I’m better for knowing you and am curious to see where we set sail next.

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