Monday June 4, 2018 - The Desire to Help 

As you may have heard there is a big fire going on in my old stomping grounds in northern New Mexico that started in Ute Park and spread into Philmont Scout Ranch and toward Cimarron. I immediately wanted to know as much as I could about it from all sources on the web, on Twitter, and on Facebook, and to use that information to help ease others fears. I’ve always felt the desire to help when I could, particularly with fire and other natural disasters. I don’t know exactly where that desire comes from, but I know it’s a good thing. There is a natural kinship that we all share - almost a knowing that we need each other and are ultimately one with each other. This comes out in times of trouble. We tend to think that people are selfish and look out for themselves, but I believe just the opposite - we are unknowingly but intimately intertwined down to the smallest elements of spirit and being, and this compels us to help each other. When all pretense is stripped away we gain an awareness of shared purpose. I think it’s grand, and I cherish this. Sometimes it takes a natural disaster to draw this out of people.  

What have I been up to? 

My online concert on Sunday was a blast. I did a bunch of songs in tribute to Philmont where the fires have been this last week. I so enjoy doing these although sometimes I get a little flustered watching messages come in and choosing songs to play. I just don’t multi-task like I used to! 

What am I up to this week? 

This is the first busy week of the season.  

Monday and Tuesday 12:30-4:30 I’m at the Royal Gorge Bridge playing on the south side stage by the bridge. I’ve always loved playing for the folks who come to the bridge while enjoying being out in the fresh air and next to that awesome chasm. Come see me if you happen to be at the bridge.  

Thursday 6:30-8:30ish I start the barbecues at the Yellow Pine Guest Ranch. This has been such a wonderful place to play and enjoy the friendship of the folks of the Cuchara Valley for so many years. If you’ve never been, it’s Texas-style barbecue held in an old rustic barn with all the fixin's. I do lots of old favorites, and folks even get up to dance on the old barn floor as the evening progresses. It is SO much fun. If you’d like to be part of it, call 719-742-3528 by Tuesday for reservations.  

That’s it for this first week of summer. I hope you are enjoying your summer already, and I hope you feel the joy of helping that I spoke of above.  

Best always, 

Tom 

Details this week: 

Who: Tom Munch 
What: playing and singing 
Where: South side of the Royal Gorge at the Royal Gorge Bridge on the stage just off the bridge 
When: Monday and Tuesday, June 4 and 5, 12:30 pm-4:30 pm 

Who:  Tom Munch 
What:  playing & singing at the Barbeque 
Where:  Yellow Pine Guest Ranch, Cuchara.  719-742-3528 
When:  Thursday, June 7, 6:30-8:30 pm

Monday, May 28, 2018 - Value of Hard Work 

I just came in from trimming more trees. I have done this at the house and at the cabins for many days this season. It’s hard and tiring work, but there is a satisfaction from doing physical labor that is hard to describe. Part of it is a pride in accomplishment. This is short-lived since yard and tree work is a constant necessity. Part of it is thankfulness for having the physical stamina and able body to do the work. As I age this becomes more and more relevant.  Part of it is a feeling of stewardship of the natural world that recognizes the need for guiding and shaping and cohabiting with other living things. I cherish this. This life is interesting in that it requires constant maintaining of so many things from physical well-being and mental sharpness to relationships and even houses and cars. I’ve said before that part of me longs for things to be done. That will come someday, but for now I know that much of the joy in this life comes from the doing and the journey. That circles back to the value of hard work. It reminds me that I know I’m alive when I’m fully engaging in this physical existence - feeling every muscle and breath. Take a deep breath and feel your existence, my friends. It’s grand to be alive! 

What have I been up to? 

I’ve had my regular slate of nursing and Alzheimer’s facilities as well as a couple private parties since I last wrote. I even spent some time in the mountains preparing for my nephew's wedding.  

What am I up to this week? 

Saturday I have a private birthday party for an elderly friend. I love doing these.  

Sunday 7-8ish I’m doing my first-Sunday online living room concert at concertwindow.com/tommunch. I haven’t thought about what I’m going to play. I have a long list of favorites that I haven’t gotten to yet that I will draw from if I don’t pick a theme. This time of year my mind always turns toward the mountains as I contemplate spending time in them again, so mountain songs are always fair game. We'll just see where it goes.  I like the spontaneity. Please tune in if you can.  

I guess that’s it for now. Next week starts the busy season for me, so you’ll be hearing from me more often.  

Best, 

Tom 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch 
What:  playing and singing 
Where:  online at https://concertwindow.com/tommunch 
When:  Sunday, June 3, 7-8ish pm MDT

Monday, May 14, 2018 - Gearing Up and Taking Stock / Rundown of Summer Gigs 

I’m getting ready for my busy season of the year and taking a deep breath while assessing myself. I’m feeling pretty good for the most part. I’m tuning up my diet and my body to face a busy summer. All my musical equipment is well-worn but working fine. Let me tell you what I’ve been up to and then tell you about some of the exciting gigs I have this summer. There will be more than I have listed, but this will give you a start if you’d like to plan to come hear me.  

What have I been up to? 

My First-Sunday Online Living Room Concert a couple weeks ago was really special. I ended up doing a lot of jazz standards with a few folk and country songs thrown in for good measure. I so enjoy getting to play for friends all over the world.  

I also got to play a 90th birthday party for an old guitar buddy of mine. He wasn’t able to make the party, but we shot several videos and celebrated in his honor. Happy Birthday, Paul! 

What’s up for summer? 

Weekly 

Mondays and Tuesdays June through August 12:30-4:30 most every week I’ll be playing at the Royal Gorge Bridge at their entertainment stage on the south side of the bridge. I haven’t played here regularly in a few years, so I’m really looking forward to being out in the great outdoors and playing for folks from all over the world. http://royalgorgebridge.com/upcoming-events/ 

Thursdays 6:30-8:30 each week June through August I’ll be playing the barbecue in the rustic barn at the Yellow Pine Guest Ranch in Cuchara. This is a great place with a storied past and good eats that I always look forward to. http://yellowpine.us/ 

I’m hoping to be appearing maybe weekly at Bistoro in Pueblo. We’ve talked several times, but we haven’t put anything on the calendar yet. https://www.facebook.com/BistoroPueblo/ 

Non-Weekly 

First Sunday of each month 7:00 I’ll continue my online concerts. concertwindow.com/tommunch  

June 16 I’m playing Concerts on Top at the Red River, New Mexico, Ski Area. This is a very cool and beautiful spot for music. https://www.redriverskiarea.com/events/things-to-do-in-summer/?c=2&m=20180601 

June 27 through July 14 I’m playing several times for rafting scouts again at 8 Mile Rafting on their way to Philmont Scout Ranch. These gigs aren’t open to the public, but I like to mention them because they are worthwhile and a big part of my summer.  http://www.blueskyadventures.net 

June 30 I’m playing for my niece's engagement party. Congrats, Laura and Josh! 

July 7 I’m playing a concert at Philmont Scout Ranch during the dedication of the new digs for the Philmont Staff Association. Time is TBD. I always love playing for the folks at Philmont. https://www.philstaff.org/2018/04/building-dedication/ 

July 21 my nephew is getting married in the mountains in New Mexico by our cabins. Congrats, Eric and Katie! 

July 27 I’m playing a private party in Cuchara. I love playing for the folks down there, and I quite often play these kind of outdoor parties. This one I’ll be sharing the stage with my friend, Dennis Mills on bass.  

July 28 7-9 I’m playing and DJ'ing the dance for the La Veta Fire Auxiliary in Cuchara. I don’t DJ much anymore, but I love to help out these folks for a great cause, and I’ll be playing some tunes interspersed with the recordings. It’ll be fun! http://lavetacucharachamber.com/calendar/la-veta-fire-protection-district/?date=2018-07-28 

July 29 2-4:30 I’ll be playing a concert at the Feed Store Amphitheater in Westcliffe. I’ve played this venue several times now, and it is a beautiful location in the shadow of the Sangres with some great folks. Please come out if you can! http://www.westcliffefeedstore.com/FS/home.html 

August 3 6:30-8:30 I’m playing an outdoor concert at I Love Lucy’s RV Park in La Veta. They have a lovely stage where they put on a series of summer concerts that are really fun and not to be missed. http://www.lucysrvpark.com/ 

August 4 noonish I’m working on arrangements to play the Huajatolla Heritage Festival in La Veta again. Details TBD. https://www.huajatollaheritagefestival.org/ 

August 18 6-8:30 I’m playing an outdoor concert at Deerprint Wine and Bistro in La Veta. I got to play for these folks last winter inside and really enjoyed their vibe. http://www.deerprintwine.com/index.php/events-calendar/monthcalendar/2018/8/- 

As I say, there’ll be more, but that’s what I have scheduled right now.  

I hope you are well and happy, and I do hope to see you sometime down the long and winding road.  

Best always, 

Tom

Monday, April 30, 2018 - Music and Life 

I’m sitting here this morning contemplating what the function of music is in life. It is so intertwined with my life that I find it hard to separate out from who I am, but it might surprise you to know that I don’t play music on my days off very often. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it and feel compelled to play, but more that it just doesn’t occur to me to play. If I have a new instrument in the house then I quite often will pick it up and noodle with it, but to sit and play for my own enjoyment or to practice just doesn’t happen very often. I really can’t explain it. And music does so many things for the brain and for the enjoyment of life and shaping of attitude that I know I could benefit from more of it. I've been reading a book called “The Brain's Way of Healing” by Norman Doidge. The final chapter explores some very interesting ways that music affects people. I won’t go into all of the fascinating examples, but one passage that sticks with me and gives me pause to think is that “when the brain is stimulated by music, its neurons begin to fire in perfect synchrony with it, entraining with the music it hears.”  Also, “it turns on the reward centers of the brain, which increases the production of dopamine, which in turn increases feelings of pleasure and motivation.” Playing and singing music does this to an even higher degree because it involves even more of the brain in the creation of the music and the synchronization of the hands, mouth, and integrated parts of the body required to play and sing. It’s amazing! And I’ve said it before, but I believe that music is just plain magical. Knowing how it stimulates the brain just reinforces this belief even more. I’ll leave you with one more quote from the book - “this invisible art reaches places in the heart and mind that nothing else can touch. It is indeed a very mysterious medicine, especially for those who want concrete explanations of how things work.” And now I think I’ll pick up the ukulele and the Indian flute and make some music.  

What have I been up to? 

The gig at Cat's Pourhouse a couple weeks ago was really fun. I haven’t played a sports bar environment in a long time, and it was a gas to rise to the energy level of the room and ride the wave. It was intoxicating! I hope to do it again sometime.  

I also had a 95th birthday party that I didn’t write about last week that was great. It’s so much fun to dip into a family for an afternoon and help them celebrate with music.  

What am I up to this week? 

Sunday 7-8ish mountain time I’m doing my First-Sunday Online Living  
Room Concert again. I haven’t picked out a theme yet, but I may do something completely off the wall. At least that’s my inkling right now, so tune in and join in the excitement at https://concertwindow.com/tommunch.  

What’s on the horizon? 

The summer is shaping up to be a crazy one. Check my schedule on my website at http://tommunch.com/calendar. I’ll be at the Royal Gorge, the Yellow Pine, Deerprint Wine, Lucy's, the Feedstore Concert Series, Red River Ski Area, Philmont, Bistoro, Cuchara, La Veta, and so much more.  

That’s it for this week. Thank you for your continued support and friendship, and I hope to see you Sunday online! 

Best always, 

Tom 

Detail this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch 
What:  playing and singing 
Where:  online at https://concertwindow.com/tommunch 
When:  Sunday, May 6, 7-8ish pm MDT

Monday, April 16, 2018 - Pain Is Interesting 

I’ve had an interesting last week or so. I’ve had a series of medical procedures and a fall on the ice that have made me remember what it’s like to deal with weird pain. We all go through pain in our own way - it’s just part of growing older. What always amazes me is the different and new ways it comes on. When I was a kid I found pain fascinating - sometimes pinching myself just to see what it was like. Then the first time I had to go to the doctor there was that question of what kind of pain it was - “a stabbing pain, a throbbing pain, an aching pain,” etc.? And “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much does it hurt?” I learned over time to just tolerate pain. We all have it, and no one likes to hear someone else complain. But this week I got an interesting pain.  During a leg vein procedure (I have venous insufficiency) the doctor literally struck a nerve. I said “Ouch!” and kicked him reflexively. It made part of my ankle go numb (not the first part of me to do this) and caused a weird tingly zing that I get whenever that nerve is activated now. It’s very exquisite and unlike other sensations I’ve had. I’m not worried about it too much, and it’ll probably go away over time. It’s just another thread in the tapestry of my experience in this life that is pretty cool even if it’s painful now. So many colors and textures in this life! 

What have I been up to? 

My online concert a couple Sundays ago was great fun! So many folks tuned in for an eclectic mix of songs. I really enjoyed it.  

The private party the day before was a blast too. Happy Birthday to the birthday gal! 

What am I up to this week? 

Saturday 7-11 I’m playing for some old friends at their new venue. A decade or more ago I got to play many times for the Guidry family at ST's Pourhouse in Pueblo West. ST was a little guy back then, and now he’s all grown up. The new venue is a block away and is called Cat's Pourhouse. It’s a cool place where the vibe is very friendly and energized. It’s going to be a fun night. Come on out! 

That’s it for this week. I’ve been laying low and working on some new tunes while getting ready for summer. Hope you are doing well, and I hope to see you soon.  

Best always, 

Tom 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch 
What:  playing and singing 
Where:  Cat's Pourhouse, 147 Tiffany Drive, Pueblo West, 719-647-0270 
When:  Saturday, April 21, 7-11 pm

Monday, March 26, 2018 - Having the Touch 

I posted a bit of a guitar melody on Facebook yesterday I was working on, and one of the comments that a friend of mine made was that I seemed to have the right touch. I’ve been thinking of that and how it applies to so many things in our lives. In this life we move about - physically and spiritually - through space and time in a way that interacts with the things and people in our lives. These interactions can be bold and soft, bruising and soothing. It can definitely be heard in music where the touch on a string can express emotion in the slightest of ways, and touch can really be demonstrated in how you pet a cat. You can definitely tell when you’re doing it too rough because the cat reacts immediately. I wrote about this with one of our previous cats who would bite me if I wasn’t paying attention to petting her with all my delicate energy. It’s a cool sensitivity that we get to experience in this life with how we interact with everything in every instance of our lives - from how we feel in our body to how we feel in our clothes, how we hear, see, and feel everything all around us, and then how we react with softness or harshness. It’s one of the most interesting things in life to me.  

What am I up to this week? 

Saturday I’m playing a private party in Lamar, Colorado. I haven’t been to Lamar in more than a year, and I’m looking forward to a fun time.  

Sunday at 7:00 MDT I’m doing my First-Sunday Online Living Room Concert again. It’s Easter and April Fool's Day, so I might do a really interesting mix of tunes. I’ve been thinking about it, but I don’t have a definite list yet. Tune in if you can - concertwindow.com.  

That’s it for this week. The summer is rushing headlong upon us. Each year goes faster as we grow older.  Enjoy it! 

Best, 

Tom 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch 
What:  playing and singing 
Where:  online at https://www.concertwindow.com/ 
When:  Sunday, April 1, 7-8ish pm MDT

Monday, March 12, 2018 - Feeling Inspiration 

I think I’m back to writing songs again.  You might think that I write all the time, but that’s not true.  I really only write when I’m on a project, and that only comes when I feel inspired and moved to say something.  I’ve been feeling for a while that I need to write some songs along the lines of some of my philosophical and spiritual blog posts.  I’ve had many of you encourage me to do so.  I don’t know if what I have to say will benefit folks, but I feel compelled to try.  The old hippie in me feels that the world needs the evergreen message of love, hope, and joy.  I may throw in a little science as well since that speaks to me, but I think it will be interesting and hopefully not too woo-woo.  So I have been writing ideas into individual text files -more or less a freeform stream of consciousness that occasionally comes out in verse.  I’ll go through these and sculpt them into accessible songs.  This may take me a while - I’m not in a rush, but I’ll try not to get distracted.  This is important work to me.  I’ve felt a need to get this out for a few years.  Wish me luck! 

What have I been up to? 

My online concert a couple weeks ago was very special.  I did some Irish songs for March and St. Patrick’s Day,  but I also did some requests and some meaningful songs for my good friends in La Veta who had just experienced a great loss.  It means so much to get to express all these different emotions in song. 

What’s up this week? 

I’m back at the Bell Tower Cultural Center in Florence Saturday night at 7:00 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  I absolutely love doing Irish songs, and this show will open with Celtic step dancers that I’ve enjoyed before there and end with me doing a bunch of favorite Irish songs.  I’ve even learned a couple of new tunes including one about an Irishman who goes to America to sing Irish songs in the wild west.  It will be a lot of fun, and I can’t wait.  Please come out if you love sharing a wee bit of Irish spirit.  Slainte! 

That’s it for this week.  It’s time for some corned beef and cabbage and a little Irish whiskey! 

Best, 

Tom 

Details this week: 

Who: Tom Munch 
What: playing for St. Patrick’s Day in Florence, CO 
Where: Bell Tower Cultural Center, 201 East Second Street, 719-784-2038 
When: Saturday, March 17, 7-9 pm

Monday, February 26, 2018 - Spiritual Mornings 

I’m writing from the repair shop this morning as I have regular service done on my vehicle. I normally try to exercise myself and walk our dog Beau in the early morning, but I like getting car service done early so I have the rest of the day ahead of me. Alas, I have pangs of longing as I leave the house without the exercise and walk. I really treasure the early morning as the horizon brightens and then the sun rises. I find it to be a time of renewal and awakening. My body feels light as I get the blood flowing and my lungs working. Then to see the light on the prairie and mountains as the sun creeps down and across them is truly grand. I used to not like the cold of the dawn, but I find that it’s not so bad if I bundle up and get moving. Beau is so joyful and energetic, and he is so attentive to all the sights and smells as we pass chicken coops and bunnies grazing on the grass. Occasionally we hear coyotes in the distance or have one dart across the path before we reach the house with the goat and horse that we greet daily. Sometimes neighbors are out with their dogs in their yards that we chat with and run up and down the fence (that’s mostly Beau and his friends.) But mostly it is a time of solitude and deep thoughts as I feel the earth under my feet and my muscles and bones converting angles and physics to fluid movement. It is truly an inspirational and spiritual time of the day for me that I cherish. How about you? Do you have a time and place in your day that give you spiritual rejuvenation? 

What have I been up to? 

Saturday was a wonderful time playing for the spaghetti fundraiser at the First Christian Church in Cañon City. I played love songs and tried to spread the spirit of Valentines Day to all the folks. I think we raised some good funding for the community and enjoyed some food and music to boot! 

What am I up to this week? 

Sunday at 7:00 mountain time is my First-Sunday Online Concert from our living room for March. Being that it’s March you can expect a little Irish music for St. Patrick’s Day. I really love Irish music, and there are so many stunning Irish songs that cannot be denied. I’ll mix in some other songs as well. I’m sure it will go by too quickly, but that’s as it should be - life is short. Please tune if you can - concertwindow.com/tommunch.  

That’s it for this week. I’m spinning my wheels a little bit without my regular places to play. I guess I’d better get on the horn and book a couple other places before summer. I miss playing for you all! I may do a few more online shows to fill in.  

Best, 

Tom 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch 

What:  playing and singing 

Where:  online at https://www.concertwindow.com/ 

When:  Sunday, March 4, 7-8ish pm MST

Monday, February 19, 2018 - Gumption 

I’ve been thinking about my life’s path and where I’ve gone. As I grow older I weigh things more in my mind than I used to. I don’t always “go for it” like I did when I was younger. Sometimes I think it’s just self doubt - not thinking I’m good enough, but I’ve been around long enough to know my strengths and have confidence in my abilities. Sometimes I think it’s making wise choices where I can see the missteps of my youth - hmmm, am I that wise? Sometimes I think it’s a little depression or weariness - settling my mom’s estate took a lot out of my sharpness and drive. Sometimes I think it’s just age - I have more aches and pains and don’t bounce back or stay awake like I used to be able to. But in the end it probably amounts to gumption - I just don’t have the same drive and hunger I used to have. A quiet night at home with Jen, the pets and a good movie appeals to me more than a drive and the logistics of a gig. Don’t get me wrong, I love making music and being wrapped up in the magic of creating as much as life itself. In fact, I think music makes love and life in many ways, but I’m seeing that there are choices to be made toward other aspects of life sometimes. But money and making a living is also tied up in making music, and so I can’t always not choose to make music. But music burns in me like a living fire, and so I’m always ready to jump in the musical river when I come to it. (I just need to live on the river, I guess.) Interesting thread of thought, huh? Let’s see where it leads me.  

What have I been up to? 

The Arts Center reception a couple Fridays ago was great fun with lots of friends and some fantastic art. I thoroughly enjoyed it.  

 My first-Sunday online concert was lots of fun too. I did more cowboy songs than usual because I had recently done a couple cowboy shows and had those songs on my mind.  

Now you may have wondered why I didn’t play Neon Alley Bistro or PDubs this month. Well, the Bistro had their building rented out from under them and so are moving to a new location in Central Plaza. They hope to be open in March. PDubs wanted to take a month or so off for some changes. I don’t mind the nights off, especially during the Olympics, just so long as we can pay the bills - which we can.  

What am I up to this week? 

Saturday 11-2 I’m playing for the annual Valentines spaghetti fundraising dinner at First Christian Church in Cañon City. It’s open to the public, and I’d love to see you. It’s for a good cause, and it’s another good thing to do for the community. Adults get in for $6.00, and children 12 and under get in for $3.00. All proceeds go to local non-profit. 

That’s it for this week. Be good to each other and loving toward everyone.  

Best, 

Tom 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch 
What:  singing and playing a Valentine’s spaghetti dinner fundraiser 
When:  Saturday, Feb 24, 11 am - 2 pm 
Where:  First Christian Church, 320 N 16th St, Cañon City 719-275-9644

Monday, January 29, 2018 - Hearing Nuance 

I’m experimenting with a new Bose speaker I got last Thursday, and it has me thinking about the limitless variables that are involved in what we hear when we listen to music - especially live.  On first glance, you’d think that something either sounds good or it doesn’t, but there’s so much involved in that.  First there’s whether the sound is crisp with clear highs or boomy with an abundance of bass.  But on top of that the music can sound squashed without a lot of variance in volume or vibrant with punchy hair-raising swells and then lulls where you just hear a whisper.  It’s all of this and more that makes music engaging and rich.  Of course you know that I always look for the nth degree of detail in what I do.  But that detail is part of the nuance that makes life meaningful and worthwhile.  So the next time you listen to music, especially live, realize that there is so much that works together to make the music enjoyable, and the nuance in the sound is a big part of that.  

What have I been up to? 

Friday night at Neon Alley Bistro was a really nice group of friends on a beautiful evening.  I so much enjoy the folks, the food, and the atmosphere of the bistro.  Can’t wait ’til next time! 

Saturday was the concert at Deerprint Wine in La Veta, and it was such a great evening!  I love playing in La Veta, and everyone who came out was so genuine and full of life.  I’m hoping to play there again next summer on their neat patio. 

What’s up this week? 

Friday 5-7 I’m playing at the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center for their First Friday Opening.  I always enjoy playing amongst the art and fine patrons.  Say “Hi!” if you are there. 

Sunday 7-8ish MDT is my First-Sunday Online Living Room Concert at concertwindow.com/tommunch.  I love doing these concerts from my home.  Please tune in and log in so you can comment and join in the fun. 

That’s it for this week.  I do have some news.  I just confirmed with the Royal Gorge Bridge that I’ll playing Monday and Tuesday afternoons at the Bridge 12:30-4:30 June through August.  I haven’t played regularly at the Bridge for many years, and I’m looking forward to being in the great outdoors and seeing people from all over the world.  So be good to each other and I hope to see you soon! 

Best always, 

Tom 

Details this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch 
What:  playing and singing 
Where:  Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo 719-295-7200 
When:  Friday, February 2, 5-7 pm 

Who:  Tom Munch 
What:  playing and singing 
Where:  online at https://www.concertwindow.com/ 
When:  Sunday, February 4, 7-8ish pm MST

More entries at my Blogger page - http://tommunch.blogspot.com/