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The Birth of The Blue Sky Riders – Kenny’s new band

Written By: Kenny Loggins

There’s a magic that comes with being aware you’re “onto something” while you’re onto it. It fills you with a strange sense of purpose that seems to invigorate the project and deepen the vision, even when you feel like all you’ve got is fireflies to follow, just the hint of heat and light out ahead, teasing you on, leading you somewhere you can barely see in the distance, as if towards an ancient city shrouded in fog, just waiting for you to come discover it.

Great moments are rare.

Here it was, another one of those moments that we, as artists, long for, wait years for, usually very impatiently, and hope to capture at least once in our lives. I can honestly say, looking back, I believe I’ve been incredibly lucky to have experienced this rush 3 or 4 times in my career, but few times as consciously as this moment.

Loggins and Messina was one of those moments, certainly, but I was young and not really as aware of what was happening or what was in store. Making “Celebrate Me Home” was one, big time. A big leap from the Country inspired sound of L&M. Speaking of “leaps,” writing and recording “Leap of Faith” years later was another major “magic moment,” possibly my biggest one ever, as it was accompanied with a major spiritual awakening and an amazing love affair.

Enter Gary Burr.

Back when I was making the CD, “How about Now,” (2007) I met a very talented Nashville singer/songwriter named Gary Burr, and we set about writing some songs together, most of them based on my journal entries from the first few years of my recent divorce. In many ways that was a painful process, I might add, yet Gary and I spent as much time laughing as we did writing. And the songs were good, some of them damn good. But the best part was that when we sang together, we sounded like brothers. A rare occurrence, especially for me. The last time I experienced that kind of blend was with Jimmy Messina in 1971.

Start a new band??  Am I crazy or what?

Well, some time passes and I found myself thinkin’ to myself, “Self…Ya know if this was 20 years ago, that kind of mixture of fun, great songs and natural vocal blend would have spawned a band!” Of course, that’s crazy talk at my age. I mean, I’ve made my own “brand,” my career is doing fine, thank you God, and why mess with a good thing?

But something pushes you when you make art for a living, something beyond logic.  So, just like that, I called Gary and asked him if he’d like to form a band. He, of course, thought I’d lost my mind, but agreed with something like, “Why Kenny, that’s a dandy idea…” We shot the shit for a few minutes, and then we hung up the phone. I suspect he never expected to hear from me again. But I’m funny that way, and the feeling, the inspiration to do something NEW wouldn’t let me go. I would check in with Gary every couple of months, just to let him know I was the proverbial dog with a bone, and was still thinking about this imaginary “band.”

One more piece to the puzzle…Hello Georgia.

Then one day, while on a 15 mile bike ride, after the endorphins kicked in, I suddenly “realized” we needed a third member! 3 part harmony. Never done that! And it should be a female voice. A singer/songwriter of some high credibility, but preferably, as yet an undiscovered talent.

I called Gary.  “You know any great chick-singer/songwriters?” “Hell yeah,” he replied, “My girlfriend, Georgia Middleman. She’s the best I’ve ever worked with.”  It should be added here that Gary is no slouch himself, Gary was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005, having penned 13 #1 songs to date!  He went on to say “Georgia just wrote Keith Urban’s #2 record in the country right now.”  That felt like one hell of a start, so I agreed to fly out to Nashville for “a meeting.”

Why fight something that feels this good?

And what a meeting! Within our first three hours together, the three of us wrote our first song, called “I Get It,” and were singing with a 3-part blend that comes once in a lifetime. I was as high as a 21 yr old (who shall remain nameless) having discovered rock-n-roll for the very first time, like a kid I knew who once hitch-hiked his way to Monterey in the summer of 1966, only to have the course of his life changed forever. So we wrote this really cool song, and started seriously considering the “band thing,” which as I said before, at this stage of my life feels a lot like Mickey Rooney saying to Judy Garland, “Hey kids…Let’s put on a show!!” It’s crazy talk. It’s a million to one long shot. But it sure is fun!

Have you had any magic moments like this?  Have you started a new group late in your career.  Please share in the comments below.

If you haven’t already, check out:

The Story Behind the Hit Bless The Beasts and the Children – click here
How an unlikely background cue became a giant hit – click here
Craft will save your ass – click here

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48 Responses to “The Birth of The Blue Sky Riders – Kenny’s new band”

  1. Hi Barry!

    I’m no “Kenny Loggins,” but I think I might be as excited as he seems to be about some of the trailblazing I’ve been up to in my music career lately. I had a DVD of Masterwriter sitting on a shelf (from West L.A. Music — that I got one year at a TAXI RR, probably about 5 years ago)…and finally had the motivation to get the ball rolling. It was about March of this year (2012) that I bought the full program, and the first song that came from it is called, “For You I’ll Do It Again” (my first patriotic song ever)…I thoroughly enjoyed the process!!! I’d like you to hear it sometime, if you’d like! Anyway, I’ve reinvented myself many times, a bit at the time, and right now, I’m wearing many hats. May I tell you more about it? Maybe a start would be for you to check out the last two blogs I posted on my site (above: http://www.factsofmusic.com). They almost cover the topic (I think I need to do one more post to conclude) of “3-D Music.” It’s a new way of performing…and I’ve been working on it for about 3-4 years. LOVE IT.

    Thanks again for all you do for the songwriting craft through software (and all these other great things — like the emails and blogs, et al.), and I really love my Masterwriter program — phenomenal, indeed! All the best to you in the future.

    Musically,
    Philippe :-)

  2. James Bush, Jr. says:

    What a story! I’m a huge Kenny Loggins fan… and I too can relate to re-inventing yourself later in life! I had a publishing deal with a very successful Hip-Hop group in the mid-90′s. However, I was really an R&B/Pop writer, things just went south after a couple of years. I became a Christian and decided to leave secular music altogether. About a year ago, while visiting relatives in the Nashville area, a new spirit was rekindled in me, and I realized I could really use my gift in the form of inspirational songs! Around that same time, my brother (also a musician) had been begging to check out my nephews, who had formed a band. These guys are so talented, much better than my brother and I at that age! So now I’m working with my family as I pen songs for the CCM market! It’s been so much fun, writing and playing with them. I feel like I’ve been (pardon the pun) “born-again”! It’s a great feeling, I get a chance to help teach them about the business… and they infuse me with new life and energy I haven’t experienced in years!

    I’m even planning on moving to Franklin, TN within the year! That is a great area and the people there have been so encouraging! Thanks for sharing this great story about one of my heroes in songwriting! I look forward to hearing this new band, hopefully they’ll play in the Nashville area and I could check them out in person!

    James Bush, Jr.
    OnCore Production

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