Jeff Wood….s

19 Nov

I love a good email from a fan. Whether it be from a fan about my old band, The Sound and the Fury, or an email about my current music, it’s nice to hear from people who appreciate what I did or what I do now. However, this story isn’t one of them.

So recently, I woke up to check my email and saw a message from a fan. This particular fan began by thanking me, gushing about a particular show he saw me play in Greenville, Sc.

He was a troubled teen, looking for guidance in life. He confessed to me that when he was 15, he had a tough time in his adolescence and couldn’t function without hurting other people or himself. Then he heard me play and it changed his life.

His email told me that my music and my voice calmed and controlled a fire in him that made his life difficult. He thanked me, ending the email with the “happily ever after” tagline. He’s a grown man now with a wife and children and serves in our military, contributing to this world in a way that he never thought possible before he heard me. The end.

Well, naturally, I read this email and smiled. I was getting ready for a show that day and it lit a fire in me. Who knows whose life I’m gonna change today? If I could have that kind of impact on a person like this from such a long time ago, who’s to say I couldn’t have the same impact on another random person at my show that day.

I got in the shower and couldn’t stop thinking about that email. I told myself, “You know what? This guy just made my day, so I’m gonna make his day too. I’m gonna email him some MP3s of my songs that have never been released. I’m gonna shower him with my greatness in response to him telling me how great I am! I’M SO GREAT!! This is why I play music! So my greatness can shine through!”

Then, out of nowhere, I remembered one word from his email…..Greenville. That one little word in his email didn’t make sense until it did. I got out of the shower and re-read the email. Then I read it again. Then it all the sudden made sense.

This email wasn’t meant for me. It was meant for some other “Jeff Wood”.

What I failed to read while I was basking in my own ego was that I had never been to Greenville. This person met the “Jeff Wood” that changed his life in Greenville, SC. Meanwhile, I have never even been within 500 miles of South Carolina. Then I reread the email a little further and noticed he mentioned that we met at an air force base (I’ve never played a show at an Air Force base) with a bunch of country artist (who I have never played a show with ever).

It seems that my ego was so giddy about the email, praising my ability to change someone’s life that I forgot to read the details about how it wasn’t me at all.

So I emailed him back, told him he had the wrong Jeff Wood and, of course, haven’t heard from him since. What a bummer! I still like to believe that there is room for another Jeff Wood (me) to change his life as well. Maybe my music would have convinced him to join a cult and change the world in a different way.

God (apparently) Goes To My Shows

22 Jun

I’m not an overly religious person. I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church and have very private feelings about church, religion, God and everything in between. Having said that, I’m going to tell you a story that I have absolutely no explanation for.  It doesn’t mean I found the answer to God or the Afterlife, but it is a very difficult thing to wrap my head around.

Many years ago, I was playing an acoustic show at a place called Harpo’s in Kansas City.  It was a regular gig for me that I did every Thursday night and occasionally on Fridays and Saturdays.

But this particular night started out rough for me, even before I walked in their doors.  Earlier that day, I was working out at the gym and twisted my ankle on the treadmill. I sprained it so bad that walking was a struggle all within itself. But the show must go on and I showed up to Harpo’s that night, limping and hurting the whole time.

Somehow, someway, I loaded in my gear and proceeded to play my show that evening when a couple in attendance liked what I was doing–so much so, that during one of my breaks, they asked me to come sit with them and talk.

I went to their table and here’s what I can remember about our conversation:

Them:  So some of the songs you have sang so far have a religious undertone to them. Do you believe in God?

Me:  Ummm…well, yes and no. I don’t really like to talk about my beliefs.

Them:  That’s okay.  We just wanted you to know we hear the presence of God in your voice and wanted to thank you for sharing your gift with us.

Me:…………..thank you…um, thank you.

Them: We noticed on your walk to our table that you have a limp?  Did you hurt yourself?

Me:  Yeah, I was running on the treadmill this morning and twisted my ankle pretty bad.

Them:  Can I ask you if it’s okay that we pray for you?

I locked up. I’m in the business of trying to make fans and I don’t want to tell anyone who appreciates what I do to go screw themselves. I didn’t think their prayers were appropriate  in a bar with so many people around, trying to get their drink on. I also didn’t want to have a prayer meeting with the Almighty in front of said crowd listening in. But…I also have no backbone sometimes and told them, “Sure, that’s fine”

In that instant, they grabbed my hands, bowed their heads, and began praying without hesitation to the Lord.

Them:  Dear Lord, thank You for blessing us with this talented musician’s gifts tonight. Thank You for putting us in this bar tonight to hear him sing Your Praises. And we ask of You tonight to take care of this young man and his hurt ankle. Show him Your Love and heal his wound with Your Divine Love, so that he can feel Your Presence and spread the word of Your Gospel. Amen.

I won’t lie, I was embarrassed that I allowed this to happen in a bar that I worked at with so many people around, watching me be prayed over.  But I did allow it to happen, thanked them for their prayers and proceeded to get up and walk back to finish my set for the night. But here’s where it gets strange. As I got up to go play my set, my ankle didn’t hurt anymore.

I know this sounds hard to believe–and to this day–I don’t truly understand how that was possible. This wasn’t just a little ouch sprain.  This was a full-on ankle sprain that swelled up like a balloon and made it very difficult to walk without a limp. Yet, as soon as I got up from their table, the pain was gone. It was as if that sprain never happened and I was completely fine.

Even after it happened, I fake-limped back to my guitar, because I didn’t want them to know whatever they said to God had worked. But as soon as I put weight on that foot, there was no pain. There was nothing left of the struggle I had endured since I had sprained it.

I don’t know what this means. Some of you who have faith probably know exactly what that means to you. Others without faith probably read this and have your own assessment of where the truth lies. I’m not writing this to start a debate among those with faith or without–I’m just telling you the facts.  My ankle was severely sprained and after being prayed over, it wasn’t.

I hope that couple at Harpo’s read this someday, but that’s probably wishful thinking. I never saw them again and probably never will, but when I question my life’s course and if there’s anyone out there of Higher Power, logic usually says there isn’t….But I’m wrong all the time and I have this story to back that up.

And its not just this story that defies logic.  Some kind of Higher Power has had my back before, even when I thought the idea of God was crazy. When I was getting a divorce, I prayed every night to God to look after me. And guess what?  During the hardest time in my life, I never felt more at peace. I hope there is a God and I hope He forgives me someday when I’ve question Him.

Cory Kauffman

11 May

There are a lot of people who think that those with money are greedy. I disagree. I do think some people who have wealth could do a lot more with their fortune to help others in need…..BUT….I know if I had a lot of money, the first thing I would buy is a lion, a tiger, a grizzly bear, a gorilla and a rhino and make them duke it out on my private jet (which would, of course, be a G5). Don’t worry, I wouldn’t be on the G5.  I would set up video cameras to record their epic battle, because–of course–that plane is gonna crash when they start fighting!!  Then, I’d post it on YouTube and make another billion dollars from all its views!  Haha!  Big smiley face!!

But then,….after a while, it would be more self-serving to spread it around to people who need it more than me.

But just because you have a lot of money, doesn’t mean you don’t have a good heart and I know that, because I met a boy named Corey Kauffman in high school that proved this point.

When my band first formed, recording was very expensive. My band was as green as they come and couldn’t afford the cost of doing it in a studio.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1000 times, you never become a musician so that you can also become an incredible businessman. At the age of 17, I knew nothing of commerce, I knew nothing of business, and I always thought my talent would take care of everything.

21 years later, I now know better. I know being a good businessman is instrumental in being a good musician. Maybe that’s why I was fortunate enough to meet someone like Cory Kauffman.

I haven’t spoken to Cory in years and he might not like the fact that I am writing this blog about him right now, but his story in my life deserves to be told. Cory Kauffman is the grandson of Ewing Kauffman, the owner of the Kansas City Royals, who won the World Series last year.

Cory Kauffman was richer than every single person in my entire school and probably richer than all of our families combined, but you would have never known that about him. Cory, in my opinion, was just another really good friend of mine that didn’t want any special treatment for his namesake.

Before I ever knew of his heritage, Cory made me feel like a good friend when I first moved to Raymore from Sedalia. The Corey I knew in high school was funny, bigger than life, and so willing to go out of his way to make a person like me feel at home in a brand-new school with brand-new people that didn’t know me.

He was the first person I met when I moved to Kansas City that went out of his way to take me around the area and show me the ropes for adapting to this new city life.

So when I joined my band in high school, the issue of making a demo to promote our newfound music became the subject of concern for us. Again, I had known Cory for a while. I knew what his name meant to Kansas City, but it was never mentioned by him.

But as it turns out, Cory was a fan of me and my band. Some of the first shows I ever did–this boy who could have bought and sold me on the black market if he wanted to–was front and center at each of our shows.

And when it came time for my band to go into the studio, we got a mysterious check that paid for the entire time we spent recording our first demo.  It was rarely brought up after-the-fact and it was a project we never paid him back for–nor were we ever asked to pay him back.

Ive had little contact with Cory since moving to Texas, but that’s probably more on my shoulders than his. I’ve lost touch with a lot of good people who helped me be who I am today.  I do know that Cory has gone above and beyond to make a living outside of his namesake.

But I know whatever he is doing with his life is good and honest, because he was good and honest with me when he didn’t have to be. That first demo he paid for led to many more albums I made, many more experiences I had as a musician and many more opportunities that all started from him opening that first door for me.

Money is clearly a powerful thing in this world, but being a good person–like Cory-doesn’t have a single thing to do with money. So thank you, Cory.  I’m sorry this thank you note is 21 years late:). And also, Cory, I think a video of these wild predators fighting on a G5 could take us over the top…it’s just an idea, but a very profitable idea:)

Thanks for reading my blog!  Now go to:

musicjeffwood.net facebook.com/jeffwoodmusic twitter: @musicjeffwood  instagram: jeffwoodmusic

 

 

MEANIE!!!

9 Jan

Recording an album can be the greatest and most stressful experience all at the same time. In my musical career, I have recorded two demo tapes and four albums with my band, four solo demos and 7 solo albums of my own.

Every time I walk away from a “recording” experience in different studios, I only remember how proud I felt with the final product and somehow drown out the horrible memories of crawling through mistakes, failures and the other creative clusters I endured to get there. I can’t remember all of them, but one moment does top my list of most embarrassing of all time.

It was a cool March day in Kansas City and my band, The Sound and the Fury, was recording the album, Another Stage.  We were recording tracks in a very nice studio when Tony Soprano (read my previous blog “Tony Soprano” for the reason behind his incognito mafia name) and I started arguing.

Now, to this day, I don’t know what we were arguing about, but it involved a recording issue we disagreed on and things got heated. I had lived with each of my band members on tour, on stage and in the studio for many years of my life. Every second I spent with them was a blessing, but there were days we didn’t get along. There were days that they hated me and I hated them so much that I WOULD HAVE PAID A MILLION DOLLARS TO RIP THEIR THROATS OUT AND FEAST ON THEIR REMAINS OVER AN OPEN FIRE!!!……Anyway….

Tony and I were throwing insults at each other over this recording disagreement and I was holding my own. I’m not much of an argumentative person, but Tony was a master at it.  On this particle day, I believe whatever we were arguing about, I was more in the right than the wrong. I say that, because the discussion went from arguments about the recording to personal insults–started by Tony.

He went from a professional disagreement  to insults about my personal “style” at the time (which were probably dead-on. I mean, truth be told, I had an earring and use to frost the tips of my hair.  A diva I was, as Yoda would say).  But Tony wasn’t exactly a fashion icon at the time either, so my rebuttal was easy.

I was on a roll. He wasn’t winning the argument on either end and I was being cocky, giving it back to him as good as he was giving it to me. I suggested something about him being a little on the trashy side, wearing “Black Sabbath” shirts all the time–a band that hadn’t been relevant in years and usually were worn by NASCAR, beer-drinking rednecks who were 20 years behind the times.  This upset Tony.

I had a pair of sunglasses sitting on the console right next to him and when the words we were exchanging no longer worked, he picked my sunglasses up and crushed them in his hand.

Now that I’m older, I can think of a lot of things I could have said or done to seal that argument right then and there. His childish actions proved that I had (for once) won the argument with him and he had to resort to immaturity, which only further proved my point. I could have kept my cool, called him out on his inexcusable actions, dropped the mic (as rappers do when they win a rap battle) and walked away the winner. But I’m Jeff Wood. I’m not equipped for the word “cool”.

What I did was let him see how much that hurt my feelings and I found myself in a state of rage. I was furious!  I was outraged and the only comeback to his childish behavior was to act like a child too.

After he crumbled my sunglasses in his hand, my first was response was….wait for it…to tell him that “YOU’RE A BIG MEANIE!!!!”.

When was the last time anyone has called you a “BIG MEANIE”?  Did it really hurt your feelings?  Did it make any impact on your psyche at all?  I didn’t think so……I lost the argument on principle alone.

Luckily, my little brother was in the studio that day too and as I stormed out, he gave Tony the tongue-lashing that he deserved (my little brother has always been one of the most quick-witted persons I’ve ever known–equal to Tony).

I have never exited a studio session before, but that day, I left and vowed to not return. Thankfully, because my little brother had my back and the fate of our album was on the line if I didn’t return, Tony called that night and apologized. All was forgiven and it was back to work the next day.

But if I can impart some wisdom on any of you, it is this….”BIG MEANIE” is not an Insult to your opponent, it’s only an insult to you.

Plumber’s Crack

7 Oct

Hopefully, a lot of you are aware of the video performances I do on my YouTube page.  I really enjoy doing them for anyone willing to watch. I know there are a lot of shows I play that some fans simply can’t get out to, so those performances make me feel like I’m giving something back to them when they’d like to come out, but can’t. But sometimes, there’s a backstory to those performances that don’t get seen or go unnoticed…like the performance I did on piano called “Change”.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RaMsQplIdCo

 
When I did this song, my son was very young and his sister was in school, so it was just me and him–home alone all day– trying to fill the hours until she got home. Some of those days, I had to ask him to sit through my YouTube performances so that I could do my job–which is reaching out to you. But a lot of those performances meant he had to be bored for the time-being and entertain himself until I was done.  That’s not a smart move when dealing with a three year old, in most cases.
     So the day comes that I decided to perform this song, “Change”. I set up my camera, I give this tiny three year old the speech of “be good while daddy does this song” and hope for the best. Little did I know, he was going to do his best to not do anything I asked of him.
     If you watch the first part of the video, everything seems to be fine. I’m playing the song as flawlessly as I’m capable, then all the sudden, my son crawls up out of no where and starts hanging on my neck like a little monkey.  He grabs a hold of my neck, starts rubbing on my ear and does everything that a three year can do to make you mess up during a song.
     It was difficult, but I kept going and told myself, “unless I mess up, I’m not going to stop playing.  I’m not going to stop playing”
     But the real impressive feat about that performance was not what you saw when he climbed up and started using me as his personal jungle gym. It actually started at the beginning of that song.
     When I first told him I was going to make a YouTube video, he didn’t want to be in it with me. He told me he was going to hide behind me while I performed. I said “cool” and started the video and my performance. About 10 seconds into the video, my son, Gabriel, started to make that particle performance the most difficult performance of my life…and no one saw what he was up to.
     As the song is getting under way, Gabriel started to stick his hand down the back of my pants and grab my ass… Literally…As I’m playing this, my ass is being violated by my own son!
     But the performance is going well and off to a good start….I’m not great on the piano and I know it may take me 100 more tries to play this song the way I’d like for it to be heard. I know if I stop him, my next performance and my next performance and so on may not go well.  Soooo…I kept performing. I try my best to keep a straight face while my son is squeezing/pinching/groping my ass. It was all I could do to keep from laughing/crying for him to stop.
     If you watch the video, he stops halfway through and then decides to climb all over me, but again, I hadn’t messed up the song yet, so I keep going. What started as a disaster waiting to happen turned into one of my favorite performances on my YouTube page and I owe it all to Gabriel:)….even though I can’t watched it without feeling violated:)

Man’s Best Friend

7 Sep

Some shows I play are incredible. The audience and I are connected, they keep me inspired and they have the ability to make me want to become a better musician for them…..but there are some shows that crush my soul. When you’re a musician, a bad show really gets in your head…especially if it involves a barking dog.

     Just recently, I played a house party that any musician would kill to play. The house was beautiful, the crowd was large and I was set up in front of a gorgeous pool that I wish (if I had a swim suit) I could have swam in. But as they say, there is nothing “too good to be true” and that became very clear in my second set of the night when a cute little daschund made it vocally clear she didn’t  like my music.
      She was an old dog that I repeatedly petted before I even started playing. She was adorable!!  I love dogs!  I would have taken her home with me in a heartbeat, but as the night grew dark and her memory of my affections towards her started to fade…she turned on me and reminded me that no one cared about whatever song I was singing.
     So I’m playing my second set, the sun has settled and this little daschund dog has wandered into the area I’m playing. Like I said, this is an older dog and she forgot about our bonding moment before my show and all the sudden decided that I was a stranger and I really had no business being at her house.
     I’m thirty minutes into my set and this little old daschund started barking….at me….for the rest of my set.
     Every song I played, this dog barked at me with no breaks. She stood next to this gorgeous pool, staring me down and barking like I was an intruder (out of all the hundreds of people gathered for this party). She singled me out as the one person who wasn’t suppose to be there.
     But the nail in the coffin was not this little dog barking at me for 15-20 minutes…it was that no one was stopping her. As I’m playing this show with the very protective dog barking at me, not ONE person perked up and considered taking the barking dog away from the show I was trying to perform.
    What that dog did with her constant barking was made something very clear to me–not one of these people at the party cared that I was playing music or cared that this dog was barking for 15 to 20 minutes straight (and I’m not exaggerating those numbers).  No one tried to remove her from the scene, so that I could do my job. No one was paying enough attention to know that a dog barking MIGHT be distracting for a musician.
     Imagine going to watch Beyoncé perform and a dog is barking during her set. SOMEONE would remove that dog instantly, because it’s disrupting the concert for everyone else. Well, that didn’t happen for little old me, because I’m not Beyoncé or a musician that most people care about.
     Sooo…once my second set was done, it was my job to sooth the poor old dog and remind her that I was her very good friend.  After that set, she calmed down and I got to go back to my job without the barking. So thank you, little old daschund, for cutting my some slack in my later sets and thank you to the house party of people that night for reminding me that I’m not Beyoncé:)

j e f f   w o o d

foxandtots.com

10 Jul

This was an article written about me and my kids:)

If you are from Texas or Missouri, you have hopefully heard of Jeff Wood , a singer/ song writer.  The first time I heard him sing was in Fredricksburg, TX over a bottle of wine shared with friends and boyfriend (my husband now). At the time, my thoughts were ” wow he sings well, wonder if he knows some Johnny Cash” (which by the way he does!)   Anyhow, my boyfriend/ husband (now) bought his CDs and we became quick fans.  You could probably call us groupies. Jeff has played our engagement, wedding & one year anniversary.  See I told you… groupies!     

Little did I know that he was much more than ” the guy with the guitar” playing “Brown Eyed Girl” for the 478798753453th time. Yes, he does awesome covers and writes incredible songs. But for someone who is so talented he talks way more about Shelby (8) & Gabe (6), his kids, than anything else. For me personally, I didn’t just become a fan because hes a great musician.  I became a fan also because of how awesome of a Dad he is. He beams with pride when talking about them.  How many musicians can you say that about?

He even spotlights Shelby and Gabe on his youtube channel & his facebook. I love that he involves them in his work and sparks creativity that they probably wouldn’t get if it wasn’t for him.  In a world that children are getting iPhones, XBOXes & iPads for birthdays and Christmas its nice to see families bonding creatively. Everyday for him is “bring your child to work day”. What a cool life…he gets to play music for a living and have fun with his kids. They create some some entertaining youtube videos.  When you watch his videos  you want to laugh and cry all at the same time.  You can tell the kids love it and have a great time making them.  A pretty awesome side note is that his song Where Greatness Begins is the song I walked down the aisle to, Well it turns out, that it was written for his kids.  They inspire his work and that’s just amazing.

Please check out Jeff http://www.musicjeffwood.net/ , like him on facebook, instagram and if you are in San Antonio check out one of his shows and make sure to request “Brown eyed girl”… KIDDING!

Request he plays Magic or Cowgirl . Those are 2 popular original songs of his! Below are my favorite videos he made with his kids. So funny and cute! Check em out! Support your local artists and businesses!!!!

mercedes