Cleere’s Bar and Theater, Kilkenny, Ireland – Artist Unkown – PPAC Challenge

I’m really happy to combine my PPAC Challenge entry this week with my musical content.

This hand painted sign is a repurposed old door outside Cleere’s Bar and Theater in Kilkenny.

A painting outside Cleere’s Pub, taken August 22, 2022.
A hand-painted bodhran, a traditional Irish drum, is used to reserve the table for the musicians.

I’ve got another post planned to describe the incredible musical experience I had at Cleere’s, but for now, please be sure to check out their YouTube channel below. Also, be sure to check out my recent post about the music in Dublin. Perhaps it will hold you over until you can plan a trip to Ireland.

Garage bands, guitars, notebook paper

Sharing a fun story about a garage band I did as an unconventional back-to-school piece. Teenagers are still teenagers. 🙂

Garage bands, guitars, notebook paper

PPAC Challenge: “Full of Beans” Moxy Hotel, Dublin

I recently learned of the PPAC Challenge and thought it would be fun to share pic I snapped of some staged graffiti in the Moxy Hotel in Dublin. Don’t worry, I’m sure it was done legally since it’s inside the bar.

I’m sure it’s not considered high fine art, but it, it makes me chuckle when I see it. Art is meant to elicit emotion- am I wrong?

PPAC Challenge: Eric Schultz Reconnecting

I recently learned of the PPAC Challenge and thought it would be fun to share pic I snapped of this fellow playing the banjo.

This is by an artist named Eric Schultz and it is called “Reconnecting.” I spotted it during the Memorial Day parade in Hopewell, New Jersey.

Hobby #3: Reinvent the Concept of a Band – Hobbies You Should Try Instead of Starting a Band

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably already thinking about how to get more involved with making music, and perhaps starting a band is one of the options you’re considering.  Starting a band takes a lot of effort and persistence, and you’re a busy person with important obligations.  You’re not sure if staring a band is realistic at this stage of your life.

Part 1 of this series presented five reasons why you shouldn’t start a band.  Part 2 described some situations when you might want to start a band and ignore the advice in part 1.  This edition will reconcile the earlier two positions by providing suggestions about what you could try instead of starting a band while still enjoying some of the rewarding benefits of being in a band.

The suggestions below are intended to inspire you to find creative ways to help you achieve your musical goals. For instance, if you really love to write music, you can do that without having a band.  Alternatively, if your path to happiness involves live performance, there are more ways than ever to perform that may not involve the cost or effort that it takes to start a band.

Understand Your Goals and What Makes You Happy

In an earlier series, I encouraged readers to do a series of self-reflection exercises to gain a better understanding of what makes them happy when they are making music.  Some musicians love the attention from fans, while others get a thrill from being on stage.  Other folks need to express themselves through creation of original music, while others are happier playing covers.  That post provided a series of thought experiments that readers could do to try and figure out what aspect of music specifically makes them happy and which they can do without.  That series explores these considerations and more.  I encourage you to read check it out before you check out the suggestions below.

Things to Try Instead of Starting a Band

  • Start Something Like a Band but Change the Rules to Better Fit Your Lifestyle – Every Thursday I get together with a group of friends.  We get dinner, pick up a case of beer, then we head to our rehearsal space.  We have a running “setlist” of songs we’d like to learn, and we tinker through them.  Sometimes they sound terrible, sometimes they sound ok.  The ones that sound ok, remain on the set list for next week.  Eventually we have a couple dozen songs that we can play through top to bottom, and they sound recognizable.  They’re not what I would consider “gig ready” but that doesn’t matter because we never really play gigs.  That’s not our goal.  We play because it’s fun and we don’t care if anyone likes us.  We get the comradery and fun of being in a band without any of the pressure. 
  • Perform Online – The internet has many great ways for artist to perform for audience online.  Some of them can even be done live.  For instance, YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and others have options to live stream a concert that you stage in your living room for people all over the world. allows you to broadcast to a single random person – sure you don’t know who is going to be on the other end of the line, but nonetheless, it’s a unique chance to perform.  Who knows, maybe you’ll make an new fan.[BG1]  This could be a really great option for people who live in remote locations and who can’t book real world gigs locally.  If you’re unfamiliar with Omegle check the video below by guitarist “the Dooo for” inspiration.  A word of warning, Omegle can get a wild so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • Write and Record Songs with People in Other is free recording software that allows you to easily record your songs, and it allows others to record overdubs with people over a standard internet connection.  This is wonderful way to promote collaboration with artists all over the world.  You can use this option to find interesting instrumentalists that may not have available in your area.  It’s easy to use, especially if you have previous recording experience, but new users should not be deterred, you can easily find tutorials on a variety of topics on YouTube.  Of course, this isn’t going to replace the feeling you get from playing live for an audience, but perhaps that’s not what you crave.  If your main goal is to vibe with talented artists and make a great single, this might be the path for you.
  • Create New Content: Perhaps you used to play in a band years ago and you have some old recordings laying around that no one hears anymore.  You could use those great old tunes to make music videos and upload them to YouTube.  Think of how much fun it would be to reconnect with old bandmates by reviving some of that old material (cringeworthy as it may be).  Alternatively, you could create new music and start from scratch. 

I have a former bandmate who makes a video Christmas Card every year with his kids.  It’s always such a treat to see the kids grow, and watch their musical skills develop over time.  Best of all, I get to see my buddy enjoying the music he loves with his family. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out Jacob Collier- he’s a tremendous musical talent and he’s got a large catalog of music that he’s done independently.  Of course, if you’re new to video Jacob’s work may be too hill a climb to start with- you might want to check out the Lyric Videos that are all over YouTube, then build on that.


Don’t let  society define your approach to forming a band, especially if you’re doing it as a hobby.  You can make your band any way that you want it to be and you can focus on just one aspect the musical experience if you want.  If you don’t want to or can’t play gigs, focus on something else.   Be creative in your search for a creative outlet and you may find that you enjoy playing more than you ever did.

“Pisces” by Jinjer – A Hasty Music Review to Support the People of Ukraine #Music4Ukraine

I’ve been doing this series for several days now and I’m really loving learning more about the music and people of Ukraine. I hope those of you who read this blog are listening to the tunes and recommending them to your friends. Hopefully we can send these tremendously talented musicians a little support through our viewership.

Typically in these posts I give a brief description of what you’re about to hear and try to encourage readers to listen to songs based on similar Western artists. I’m not going to do that this time. I could draw parallels to some important and beloved artists, but this time I’d rather just encourage all of you to listen to the track below. (If you’re the type of creator that is inclined to do a Reaction Video, please record yourself as you listen for the first time. I promise, you will thank me for giving you the heads up.)

A logo I created using artificial intelligence by using the prompt “heavy metal logo Pisces symbol.”

“Pisces” is an absolutely hauntingly beautiful and brutally powerful song that needs to be experienced. I will warn you that it gets pretty heavy, and some of you may not normally be inclined to listen to music like this but please listen through to the end. It is a musical rollercoaster and it is absolutely worth the ride.

If you like this song, please check out more tracks from Jinjer. I’ve been listening all week and I keep finding more and more to love about them. “Judgement (& Punishment)” is one that I highly recommend. The reggae influence is unique in metal and in my opinion it is something other artists should consider experimenting with.

Also, I found a few clips of them talking about the war that you may want to check out.

Some of you may be trying to support Ukrainian musicians with the #Music4Ukraine Challenge, but maybe you don’t know where to start. I’m here to help. The playlist below has tons of great songs you should check out from a variety of musical styles. When you find something you love, please share it with others!

A Lil’ Freaky Fun For The Songwriters…

If you’ve ever written a stinker of a song before you’ll get this. Enjoy!