Saturday, May 28, 2005

An Interesting Week....

I've been rather inundated with work this last week. Far too much to do and too little time, which seems to always be the case. But here's the run down of some interesting events from this week...

First, my trip to Nashville was cancelled. I was going to be speaking on Internet music marketing at a conference held at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, but the conference went WAY overbudget and my workshop got cut. I really didn't mind, as I have too much going on anyway, so it was a relief in a way. I'm just glad I didn't have any other concerts scheduled out in Tennessee while I was there. I might have had to cancel those or else lose a LOT of money on the trip. I've never yet had to cancel a concert. I am always amazed how God is always watching over and taking care me, even in the little things like this. I was wondering why no gig possibilities worked out in the area. Now I know.

Secondly, I took my family to Home Town Buffet last weekend - one of my favorite places to get a decent meal that's not too expensive for a family of four. Anyway, I took my son to use the restroom, and as I had him up on the counter washing his hands after the fact, the gentleman washing his hands next to me, a total stranger, said "how's the piano treating you?" It took me a second to compose myself. Now, it's not all that uncommon for me to be recognized on the street and have people approach me, but this marks the first time someone approached me in the bathroom. :)

Thirdly, my wife and I (and our two children) were in a car accident Tuesday night. We were rear-ended while waiting at a red light. The force of the impact from behind forced us right into the car in front of us. Fortunately, we weren't hit too terribly hard, but we do have some light damage to the car - probably a couple thousand dollars worth. The kids are fine (though Nathan was shaken a bit emotionally), and I seem to be OK, though my back and neck are still pretty sore. Julie got the worst of it - full-out whiplash. The X-Rays show she's going to require some treatment for awhile. My X-Rays turned out fine.

Finally, a couple career-related things popped up in the last two days. One of my fans put me in touch with a program director for a large radio network. I don't know the details of this yet, but if they choose to use my music, it's supposed to be a big deal. This person (or perhaps it's more accurate to say this "network") was described to me as being the "Donald Trump" of radio. I don't know what that means, exactly, but any airplay is good airplay.

And then today, a filmmaker from Courier Twelve pictures approached me about using my music in future films. So that's cool.

And that brings you up to the present....

Good night all.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Pennsylvania Tour - Day Four

I'm actually writing this a few days after the fact - but things got real busy on Sunday and this is the first chance I've had to sit down and write.

Sunday morning I left Lancaster, PA and headed toward my next destination - Clarksburg, West Virginia. I was quite excited to return to West Virginia. When I was about twelve, I went on tour with a youth choir and we visited 15 states on a round trip from Colorado Springs, up through New England and back again. The only place I distinctly remember from that trip is West Virginia. I recall being in awe of how beautiful it was - so many trees!

West Virginia did not disappoint. It's so GREEN. I think it's greener than Oregon. Gorgeous!

Anyway, the reason I was going to Clarksburg was to play a house concert on Sunday evening. I was psyched about the show as over 70 people had RSVP'd for it! Finally, after a five hour, relaxing drive across Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginina, I arrived at the beautiful and spacious home of Parke and Lisa Thrush.

I think the Thrush home is perhaps the nicest house I've ever been in. They've put a ton of love and work into it and Lisa is a wonderful decorator. The house is full of color, class and charm. And outside, the spacious back yard gives way to fifty acres of woodland property behind the home. Wow!

Anyway, the piano was set in the corner of a large, "L" shaped room, with about 40 chairs in each leg. The piano make was Yamaha - my brand of choice. I saw down to play it and liked it immediately. After I warmed up, I had a nice glass of water and a shower to freshen up.

Guests started arriving about an hour before the show and by 7pm the house was full. Cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries, breads, fruits and wine were the staple of the evening. Everyone was in a delightful mood. All told, there were about 80 in the house. The concert started late, but it didn't matter. It was totally casual....

I did the first half of my show, opening with The Vigil. I followed that with Home and While the Trees Sleep. Next, I did a trilogy from my "Postcards from Germany" CD, including Big Snow in Salzburg, One Night at Mozart's and The Kindness of Strangers. I can't remember for sure, but I think I finished the half with Be Thou My Vision.

Then at half-time, I ran over to the CD sales table and people were going crazy buying CDs. One person already had twelve CDs in her hands. It was nuts, but beautifully nuts! :) The person helping me sell CDs for the evening was named Lisa. Not Lisa Thrush, the concert host, but a different Lisa, a friend of hers. She looked really familiar to me, but I couldn't place her. Although I knew I hadn't met her before this evening, I couldn't get over the fact that her face was one I had seen before. But where?

And then it was time to start the second half. Because the evening was basically a house party, it took a long time for folks to get back to the piano. Everyone was having a great time simply talking to one another. I've never seen so many friendly people at a party! Rather than worry about calling everyone's attention, I just sat down and started playing. I played through several new songs, plus a rendition of Goodnight Moon from my "Sweet Dreams & Starlight" CD. I was just chillin' out on the piano and figured people would sit down when they felt like it. In the meantime, everyone having a great Sunday night chatting with their friends and acqaintances.

Eventually, folks did sit back down for the second half and I formally began. I ran through Overcome and As the Deer from the new album, and then Jesus Loves Me, The Moment Everything Changed and the title track from "Sweet Dreams and Starlight." Finally, I read a Bible passage from Revelation 21 and wrapped up the concert with a fan favorite - No More Tears.

There was an odd moment during the second half when I was playing the piano and looked up and saw Lisa, my CD sales helper, sitting near the front row. And then it hit me - I knew who she was! She was Ally McBeal! No, it wasn't the real Calista Flockhart, but she looked quite a bit like her. With that mystery behind me, I finished the concert.

When I was done, people went right back to buying CDs. I was signing them like crazy. In the end, I sold over 100 CDs for the night. The most ever at a house concert. It was a HUGE success, and terrific fun.

Afterward, people hung around for a bit longer. I signed a few more CDs and then finally, the house was quiet. A very stark contrast to an hour before.

Then I ordered a pizza, because I hadn't really eaten dinner. I don't like to eat before I perform. So Parke and Lisa Thrush and I sat up for a while, ate, and had a nice conversation.

And that was the evening. I hit the sack at about 1 am, ready for an early morning to make the journey back to the airport in Harrisburg, PA.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Pennsylvania Tour - Day Three

Today started out very quietly. I had a nice cup o' tea with fellow pianists Greg Maroney, Catherine Marie Charlton and Craig Urquhart for breakfast and spent most of the morning and early afternoon just chilling out a Greg's house. Greg has a beautiful farm house on 7 acres of land, with 3 dogs, 3 cats and a myriad of chickens! Anyway, though I had a concert in the evening, I didn't have to leave for it until about 3:30 pm.

So at 3:30 I headed out and east to Lancaster, PA and at 5 pm arrived at Grace Baptist Church, where I was scheduled to perform at 7.

I met up with my contact, Brian Loiseau, who works for Hershey's (as in Hershey's Chocolate). Brian had set the concert up for me and did a good deal of the promotion on it. He has been GREAT to work with. If I had a person like him doing the footwork for me prior to every show I would be a very organized tour performer! I so appreciate the work he put into making this concert happen. He also made me a nice bowl of fried rice for dinner, and of course food always appeals to me. :)

So we got into the church and I must say, it was BEAUTIFUL - a really wonderful building. Very HIGH ceilings gave the place a feeling of grandeur - almost cathedral-like. And then I went up to the front and sat down at the piano. It was smooth as silk. What a joy to play! It was a wonderful Steinway. I LOVED it. After playing the piano for just a few minutes, I knew the concert was going to go very well. Anytime I like a piano that much, it pretty much guarantees a great show. It's amazing how much a great piano adds to my ability to perform. If I don't like the piano, I usually don't end up feeling good about my performance.

The church had a videographer there for the event, and they put up an giant video image of me on the big screen while I was playing the concert. That was a little strange to get used to. I wasn't sure I really wanted to have the video going during the concert, but after I saw how they were combing the video of my playing along with nature scenes and scripture verses (as I shared them), I felt much better about it. It really added a nice element to the show.

Anyway, we had about 50 show up to the concert. Most of the folks were from the church, but a few fans from the local area came to see the concert as well. It was a very nice, and very gracious audience.

As to the show, this was one of my better performances of late. I was completely in dreamland on that piano. What a difference a good piano makes. Now I understand why some of the wealthier concert pianists take their own pianos with them.

I'm really beat so I'm off to bed. Tomorrow, I head out for West Virginia.


Friday, May 13, 2005

Pennsylvania Tour - Day Two

Wow, what an incredible day!

I started out the morning by sleeping in - to 9:30 am! Of course, that's 6:30 am my time (PST) so I'm not sure that really qualifies as sleeping in. None the less, it felt good to at least be under the illusion that I was sleeping in .

Once I got up, I my checked e-mail and then headed to Applebee's to have lunch with pianist Jace Vek. I LOVE Jace's music - I'm a big fan of his, and what's cool is that he's a big fan of my music as well. We have a little "mutual admiration society" going! I had been really looking forward to meeting Jace face to face for the first time. Jace and I seem to have a special connection. I'm not sure what it is, but I feel like I've known him my whole life. We just seem to "get" each other. I rarely meet people I feel that way about.

His girlfriend Brooke joined us a bit later (after being accosted at the mall - long story!), and she really is a joy! She has a very bubbly personality that's quite contagious. Hang out with her for even a minute or two and you'll find yourself smiling.

Anyway, we had a great chat. Jace and I are working together on a collaborative project. I don't want to spill the beans yet, but let's just say that what we're working on is unlike anything I've done before. I can't wait to have a finished product to share with y'all! It will be awhile though, so hang in there.

On to York....
After lunch, Jace, Brooke and I drove about an hour south down to where we were both performing as part of the Whisperings concert at Asburry Church in York. I shared the "stage" with Craig Urquhart, Catherine Marie Charlton, Greg Maroney and of course, Jace. It was an AMAZING show, and I think one of the best Whisperings concerts yet. All I can say is WOW. I thought my performance paled in comparison to the others. I didn't play well tonight (at least, that's how I felt) and this was perhaps the most technically gifted group of artists I've played a show with. I did my best not to feel intimidated - in this business you can't let yourself be intimidated. Never let 'em see you sweat!

Speaking of sweating, I really BOTCHED "Big Snow in Salzburg." As far as I could tell, I make the only really big boo boo of the evening. On a positive note, I had some fans drive eight hours to the show from Ohio to see me play. Thanks, you two!

After the show, all the artists headed over to Greg's house, as most of us are staying the night there. Once there, we had a nice opportunity to hang out and get to know each other a bit.

Oh, one other thing; pianist Robin Spielberg came to the show! This was a great honor, as I'm a big fan of her piano music as well as everyone else who played tonight. You GOTTA get her Dreaming of Summer CD, which is one of my favorite piano CDs of all time - or even Memories of Utopia. Both are exquisite.

Overall, the show went very well. We had about 45 in the audience (excluding the artists), so it wasn't a bad turnout. We were hoping for more, but considering it's a small area, 45 is actually very reasonable.

Things I've learned today....

1) On the east coast, it's not "pop," it's "soda." When you ask for a pop, people look at you weird. :)

2) As it turns out, my assessment yesterday was correct - you DON'T get free refills on drinks here in restaurants. Back home, we get free refills on drinks at pretty much every restaurant - except Wendy's. Wendy's is the lone holdout. (Stingy, but perhaps they are based in the East Coast!).

That's about all I can think of for the moment.

Tomorrow I'm on to Lancaster, PA for a concert at Grace Baptist Church. I fill you in tomorrow night if I'm able.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Pennsylvania Tour - Day One

I just touched down in Harrisburg, PA about 90 minutes ago. It was a rather uneventful airplane trip, thankfully. After catching my flight in Eugene, Oregon I had a change of planes in Portland, and again in Chicago before arriving in PA. All in all, I left at 9:45 in the morning and arrived at 8:45 at night. Eight hours of travel with the time-zone changes. It went quickly. I had a brief scare coming out of Chicago when a woman sat down next to me and immediately wanted my life story. The last thing I wanted was to spend my trip being "chatty." I was tired and frankly, just not up to it. I wasn't rude, though, just gently evasive. :) I was very happy when a gentleman sat down on the other side of her and the two happily started in on their own conversation.

My Adventures in Harrisburg, PA....
When you land at the Harrisburg airport and head out to baggage claim, you are greeted by a very odd sight - rows and rows of rocking chairs. Yes, rocking chairs. Here, people sit, rocking casually waiting for their loved ones flights to arrive. It was surreal - rocking chairs were the last thing I expected to turn a corner and see in an airport. On the other hand, I suspect that if all airports had rocking chairs, we'd be a slightly more patient society (tongue firmly in cheek).

Next, I picked up my rental car. Now, one thing you have to know about me and rental cars is that I love to get the nice, full-size, extra-comfortable cars when I'm on the road. It's my one chance to really drive in style for not a whole lot more money. So, when I booked my car, I booked it accordingly. However, when I arrived, a certain thrifty rental car service which I won't mention by name had only five cars in stock, all small economy cars. The one I got was the kind of car that feels icky to drive. Yes, "icky." I found out real quick that if you ever-so-slightly turn the steering wheel, the vehicle weaves back and forth like a blind camel that's had too much to drink. Ugh.

Finally, I stopped to get something to eat. Now, I'd heard from a local that "Doc Holliday's" had great steak and potatoes, so that was my first choice. Unfortunately, it was closed (it was after 9pm by now). So I headed over to "Rod's Roadhouse Cafe" mistakenly thinking that it was probably somewhat like our own Roadhouse steakhouses back west. WRONG!

I walked in to a little line-dancing party - yep - real line-dancing just like in them there music videos! I found my way to a table and promptly ordered their Meatball Sub sandwich with fries. It was very tasty, I must say, but when I got my bill, I dropped my pickle. I had been charged $4.00 for a Coke! As it turned out, the drinks were $2.00 each, with NO free refills. Of course, the waitress did not tell me refills cost extra, so she got me for the extra two bucks. Bad waitress!

Maybe free refills are just a west-coast thing, too. How should I know?

Also, there are no non-smoking restaurants here, or so it seems. I've become spoiled by our no-smoking laws in Springfield, OR! So while I enjoyed watching happy couples do their line-dancing jig, I split as soon as I could get my sandwich and my $4.00 Coke down.

And hey, gas is ONLY $2.14 a gallon here! I'm so used to paying $2.40+ in Oregon that I did a double-take when I say the pump prices.

All in all a good day - some fascinating adventures already.

Here's looking forward to tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Last Train to Clarksburg....

In two short days I'm off on my first concert-related trip to the Eastern U.S.

This Friday night I'm playing a Whisperings show in York, PA. Then, on Saturday I'll be playing a solo concert in Lancaster, PA, about 30 minutes up the road from York. Finally, on Sunday I'll be playing a house concert in Clarksburg, WV, a little town with a population of about 17,000!

For details on any of these shows, see my calendar.

I'm very excited to get underway. While I hate the "flying" part of travel, but I love the "driving" part. I love getting into a nice rental car and take a nice, long, drive in the sunshine. So I hope I see some sun - I very much dislike driving in the rain.

If I get the chance, I'll post some messages here about my adventures.

But for now, I'm off to bed.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

Worship and Some Precious Moments....

I love leading worship.

This morning I was given the great honor of leading the Sunday morning service at North Park Community Church here in Eugene. I opened with a couple songs on guitar ("He is Exalted" and "In the Secret"), and then moved to the piano. From there, I played three of my original songs (put into a worship context) and then spent the rest of the service alternating between leading worship on piano (with vocals) and playing some praise chorus arrangments. I finished up with a great praise song on guitar called "You are the Reason."

You are the reason I live
You are the reason I move
You are the reason I breathe
You are the reason, it's You, it's You

And after everything is over,
You'll be the song I sing forever....

The words are so simple, but take on a certain depth of praise when sung by a joyous congregation!

During the service, I also had the opportunity to share some of my testimony. But mostly I spoke from Psalm 19 and 32, and delved into the great love God our Father has for us, his precious children.

It's truly difficult to put the spirit of the service into words. All I know is that I definitely felt the Lord with me during the service. There were moments where I felt I was prompted to say certain things - and I did, and everything went smoothly.

One of the coolest things about leading worship is when you can feel the Holy Spirit interacting with you. The only time I feel it stronger is when I'm teaching the Bible, primarily because although you prepare a particular message, when you stand up to speak in the moment you hear different words coming out of your mouth. It's just a wonderful thing when you are sharing God's Word and find that He is speaking instead of you. I know this probably sounds strange to some reading this, but those of you who are pastor's or teachers of the Word will understand. It's definitely a "God Thing," and it's overwhelming and fills you with awe when you feel the Lord make use of you in that way.

At any rate, I was so blessed to be a part of North Park church this morning. The people were genuine, the breakfast was exceedingly tasty, and the Spirit of the Lord was definintely "In the House." It's a beautiful church, too.

I had my little boy Nathan with me, too. Originally, he didn't want to come because he didn't want people to see his black eye (he ran into the wrong end of a scooter!). But once we arrived, he was off, playing with the other kids like they were all old friends. Anyway, on the way home he asked me if we could go back to that church. He really had a good time, and hearing his joy just filled my heart with happiness.

Gratefully in His service,


Friday, May 06, 2005

Leading Worship without Drawing Attention...

This Sunday morning, Mother's Day, I'm leading the morning worship service at North Park Community Church here in Eugene, OR. (10:45 am). Now I've done evening worship services before, and I've even lead worship on a regular basis during a morning service. But this Sunday, the service has been entirely put into my hands. Wow.

There's something about a Sunday morning worship service that feels different than any other service - it's the big kahuna of worship services, at least here in the U.S. And so, being put in the main leadership role as I have, I feel a huge sense of responsibility.

It's a tough thing for me, because how do I "perform" at a morning worship service without drawing attention to myself? Since the purpose of the meeting (and the church sanctuary) is worship, the last thing I want to do is to be "entertaining." 100% of the glory should be given to God. None of it belongs to me.

I've always struggled with playing concerts in a church setting because there is that sense that the church is dedicated and set apart for God's work. So doing my thing musically is always a bit of a spiritual concern for me. And selling CDs at a church service almost seems irreverent. I feel a bit like I'm "buying and selling in the temple" as it were.

But then there's a part of me that knows that playing the piano is the ministry God has given me. So that being the case, shouldn't I feel free to be myself and "do my thing" on the piano, with worship being my goal? If I'm entertaining people in the pews while in the process of leading worship, is that wrong? Somehow misconstrued? Is it "strange fire" as Moses put it (Lev. 10:1-2)?

I don't know.

Part of me feels weird about it. Another part of me tells myself to just rest in the Lord and to trust that God made me who I am for a reason - and that I just need to BE the person He created me to be. When I "perform" in a church setting, I'm not doing it to show off, but to just express the gift of music.

And so I do so, just trusting that if it wasn't what God wanted me to do, I wouldn't be given the opportunity to do it. And so I enter each situation prayerfully and humbly, trusting that the spotlight won't be on me, but on Jesus where it belongs. It's about all I can do.

Thank goodness for grace,

David Nevue

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Back from San Fran....

I just returned this afternoon from a weekend in San Francisco. I went down there for a Live365 Internet Radio conference in support of my radio broadcast, Whisperings. Our program was nominated for a "Mikey" award (their version of the Grammy) for best station "branding." Unfortunately, we didn't win. That honor went to Celtic Pub Music, but I'm sure they are very deserving. I was actually quite surprized to be nominated, so I wasn't too disappointed not to win. It would have been cool to have the award sitting on my desk, though. :) Oh well, maybe next year!

At any rate, since I was in San Fran for the conference anyway, I played a house concert at my good friend Kathy Parson's house. Kathy is a piano teacher whom I met years and years ago, and a good many of her piano students are playing and studying my music. I was bummed that only two of her piano students showed up for the concert! We were expecting about twenty of them. However, 25-30 others, fans from the area, did show up, so we had a nice little piano concert in Kathy's living room.

I simply LOVE doing house concerts! This one went very well. Here are the songs I played:

The Vigil
While the Trees Sleep
Deep Heaven
Ascending with Angels
Big Snow in Salzburg
One Night at Mozart's
The Kindness of Strangers
Goodnight Moon
As the Deer
Words Left Unsaid
The Moment Everything Changed
Sweet Dreams & Starlight
Taking Flight
No More Tears

Also present at the concert were Scott D. Davis and Kevin Kern, fellow pianists and composers. Scott and I have played together many times (and he's wonderful), but this was the first time I met Kevin. It was really an honor to have Kevin at the show. While Kevin isn't that well-known here in the states, he is a virtual superstar in Asia. Anyway, after the formal show, Scott and Kevin did a bit of "jamming" on the piano. It was great fun!


I've been up for almost 24 hours now. Time for bed!