Reaching for PERFICT: Confessions of an Insecure Producer

This morning is my last morning to make a difference. My last morning to really affect the outcome. My last morning to look at the problems that remain and say ‘I can fix that’.

Tomorrow will be too late. Tomorrow is the big day. Bridge Songs has come. 

Tomorrow the show must go on.

This will be the ninth Bridge Songs event I have produced. The ninth time I’ve made wonderful plans and watched the whole jalopy shake apart as we raced toward the finish line. 

But we’ve always reached the finish line, even if parts have fallen by the wayside.

I know that, but I’m still nervous. Not for the reasons you would think. There are some major elements that still need to be resolved if tomorrow is to happen. Good reasons to be nervous. Our bass player pulled a ligament in his hand and cannot play. One of our songwriters is out of the country. We may come up short on volunteers. Then there is the minor issue of finding a sound system, and someone to run it.

You know. Small stuff.

But for some reason, that stuff is bothering me. I’ll get it solved today, somehow, this final morning. Stoicly, I’ll press forward, facing the salty winds from the bow of my ship in a Hemmingway turtleneck. Only I’ll be even tougher than Hemmingway because I have no beard.

But I could grow a beard if I wanted. I think. That’s in my control. 

What I’m really freaked about are the things I cannot control. Like having an audience.

After nine years I shouldn’t worry about this. I should grow up. But I’m still underconfident. It doesn’t help when another great event gets plopped right on top of your tiny little masterpiece.

A few weeks ago I found out there will be a free concert at Churchill Square. I’m apparently too old now to know who any of the bands are. But this show isn’t for me–it’s for the cool kids I want to have at my show. If facebook is to be believed, a lot of people are going to this show. About 100 times the amount coming to Bridge Songs. And they should. It will be great. Maybed I’d go too. 

But this morning I feel like I planned a great birthday party only to have the coolest kid in school plan a pool party-with all you can eat pizza-on the same Saturday. 

Sitting here, jutting out my bottom lip into a sympathy pout, I remember something. 

It’s 2006 and a group of friends is sitting in a living room, stamping brown paper lunch bags with the Bridge Songs One logo. We will stuff those bags with CDs we copied ourselves. Some of those will skip horribly. We are in over our heads. We are happy.

We are all excited to share the songs we have worked on together. Each song tied to memories from the studio. Memories of the first time we heard that song and were amazed by the talent of its creator. Memories of how Tim, our recording engineer, brought those songs to life while giving his time for the love of music. 

In 2006, we are all ready to share these songs with our community in the student centre of King’s College–a place, it turns out, is beautiful but very much tucked away out of sight.

As we enter that room we see those who have come to support us. Friends and family, mostly. None of us are stars. None of us have a following of thirsty fans. We are dads and students and electricians who make music because we love doing that. 

Who want to close the loop of creation and share what we’ve made with the world. Because sharing is part of the process. Sharing is the crescendo of songwriting.

To a room far too big for the people it holds, we play. We watch each other play. We are simply our community, sharing music with one another. And we are mighty proud. 

We look out to see people really listening. Not listening like in the background at a bar, or when we offer the sonic landscape of a cafe. Listening to hear. We look out and see the art gallery, made by some of these same people listening. We look out, proud of our community.

So proud we decide it is worth doing again.

Here it is nine years later, and I am wondering why we do this. 

Why the late nights and last minute drama? Why the endless shilling of tickets? The sales pitches. Why the multiple Home Depot runs for that thing I forgot? Why all this walking of streets with posters and staple gun in hand? 

Because our birthday party is going to be great, regardless of which great birthday party people decide to attend. This only means that there are more great options for entertainment on an Edmonton Saturday than there were 9 years ago. And that’s awesome. That’s part of what we’re trying to do here. God bless em.

This has always been about the process of great people making good art together.

About throwing out a theme and watching artists attack it like sharks to bloodied seawater. About watching community coelesce around art, faith, hope and love.

Even before the big day, that has happened. I’ve met new friends, once again. I’ve learned new skills by continuing to do what I have no business doing. I’ve popped our Master CD into my car and listened, realizing its the best thing I’ve ever produced. It’s not perfect. Not yet. But it’s better. Closer.

Every year, reaching towards perfict, we improve.

And yeah. That’s worth it. That’s why.

Saturday night we’ll sing loudly. Proudly. For whomever wants to join us. And that moment will be perfect. 

Here is what we made.

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