Saturday, April 30, 2011

What's Been Going On?

Wow! What a year it has been.  Usually, I don't blog about anything personal, but this year has been full of both personal and business highs and lows, especially since Christmas. 

Right before Christmas, both The Chris Talley Trio and The Pickin' Chicks started recording CDs.  For my student band, The Pickin' Chicks, it was their first.  What joy to see these young girls raise their OWN money that they saved themselves to pay for their project!  The Chris Talley Trio, though on its 6th CD, was recording the first one with 15-year Emily who had never been in the studio before.  She performed in the studio like a pro and we are all so proud of her!  The studio time and production time for the CDs has been the fastest ever.  We are now preparing for our joint CD Release Party, which is one week from today.  How exciting!

My biggest personal triumph has been figuring out the cause of my migraine headaches that I have endured for the past eight years.  At Christmas, they were so bad I was cancelling many lessons and it seemed I hardly had a day when I wasn't affected by them.  I was sent back to the hospital for another MRI and told to take yet a different medication.  Before I could even fill that prescription, a friend of my husband's told me magnesium had cured his migraines.  One bloodtest later and a trip to Walmart, and I was taking magnesium and on my way to feeling 15 years younger and headache-free!  After three months, my mag levels are normal and I went from having four headaches a week to just a couple a month.  Praise God for miracles, because believe me, this was truly a miracle!

It's been a little more than a year since I lost band member, Bill, to a brain tumor.  Next thing I know, band member, Zane, is having his second triple-bypass.  I spent the entire day at the hospital, sleeping off and on in a chair in the waiting room with his family and friends.  One week ago today, we had our first band practice since January.  What a relief that Zane is doing so well!  What fun that we are finally back together again!  That's a good thing, too, with our CD Release Party one week away and a Single Mic Competition at Silver Dollar City a month away! 

In addition to all of this, both of my parents and my husband's dad have had surgery.  Some planned, some not so planned, but all with positive outcomes.  Just another reason to praise the Lord!

Now enter The Pickin' Chicks...this is a story all on its own!  In my efforts as a teacher to help my students learn to play together, I put together four girls that I thought were pretty evenly matched skill-wise.  This wasn't without much begging, pleading and arm-twisting.  Mallory, the guitar player, wasn't even playing guitar at the time!  She had given it up, while her sister, Nikki, was simply tearing it up on the banjo.  I could hardly stand to see these two talented young girls not play together!  The first bass player for the group got involved in high school activities and then I was faced with finding a replacement for her.  It's been about one and half years since these girls got together.  What have they accomplished?  Probably the first and foremost is that they LOVE playing together as a band.  They have found out that being in a band means a lot of hard work, and that something this good is worth working for.  They have endured many long meetings while we work out personal/band issues between both the girls and their families.  They have felt the joys of winning, the sorrows of losing, and the sting of jealously from others.  They have so many gigs that we have had to stop booking!  They opened for Missouri Boatride and played for a sold out crowd at The Falls.  They will be opening for Willie Nelson's Country Music Throwdown in Sparta in June of this year.  They have made their first CD.  All of this for a group that didn't even want to play together.  All of this with my sole goal for them being learning to play together.  I never planned for them to have their own website, Facebook page and CD...

Many of you know that my husband, Earl, is a retired police officer.  He was medically retired when his back was broken on the job.  It took three years for this to be resolved after his injury, but it finally was resolved.  For Earl's 50th birthday TO THE DAY, we found ourselves sitting in the courtroom testifying that he was still unable to return to police duty.  Imagine having to go through all of this AGAIN!  I can't explain what this is all about, but let's just say the pension board doesn't want to pay his pension or health insurance.  We have yet to hear the outcome, but we are praying daily.  How does a man who can't do many of the things he used to do, who has daily pain, cope not just with the loss of what used to be, but now the frustration of having to go through all of this again.  All I can say is that he is a wonderful man and I am blessed to have him as my husband.

Lastly, The Bluegrass Shack will be celebrating five years in its New Athens location as of June 2011.  Because this is such a huge milestone in and of itself, I will be dedicating an entire blog entry to this event soon.  In short, it's been an amazing journey with many more chapters yet to come!  We hope you'll join us for them!


Anonymous said...

What a great story. Yes there has been ups and downs. Even having been associated with the Pickin' Chicks from the begining, it still brings tears to my eyes to read what these girls have accomplished.And as I see it the sky is the limit. And Chris it all could not have been done without and idea that you came up with. So Thanks, we owe a lot to you.It has been a joyous ride.
Grandad Eisenhauer

Jayne 400504 said...

I wished we lived closer to your store! Someday, I hope we can come and see it. You are such a great teacher and I love your spirit and what you are doing there. Our family plays gospel Bluegrass music and love traveling to churches, fests and etc. We are hoping to upgrade our upright bass someday so maybe we can come down there for that.
I am so glad to hear about your migraines going away. Magnesium is such in important nutrient, especially for women and the levels naturally get lower the older we are. Everyone should take this stuff but may I recommend getting a better quality then Walmart and stay away from the Citrate kind. Anyway...Blessings to you on that!!!
Also, just want to say that diet pop or any kind of nutri-sweet will cause headaches and brain tumors/cancer so stay away from it.
Well...enough for now.
Blessings from the Ottersons