Friday, December 31, 2010

Its Done

So I'm taking a moment to myself before heading down to Cajun's Wharf for our New Years Eve show. What a year this has been. I have learned so many things about myself and others. It's interesting to look back on a year- to see the blog I posted at the beginning and then to be sitting here now.
I am not exactly where I thought I would be, but I am very very close. I can safely say that 2010 was my year. I tracked it, wrestled it to the ground, branded it, tamed it, let its spirit take me and lived to tell about it. I watched a few kingdoms fall, and few friendships fade. I gained a new appreciation for honest love and a new fear of the vengeful kind. I let myself go, and I began to rein it all in.
I found a new strength that will serve me well throughout 2011, and I have begun the process of living in and for the moment I happen to be experiencing at a given time.

Last year, this time, I was arriving at the New Years Eve show I created for myself. I landed the press, I sold every ticket. I filled every seat, and I deemed it a small victory wrought with struggle. True grit, I say. And now, an entire year later, I am calmly writing a blog before taking the stage at the biggest bar in town for a crowd that I didn't have to fight to get. Will we be getting paid at a fair ratio to what that bar is looking to make? Absolutely not. But hey, there's always next year. haha
I opened the Arkansas Times on Wednesday to see a full page photograph of the Mercers and myself. The caption read, "...arguably Little Rock's finest cover act." It feels good to be liked.
Honestly, I have not one complaint for you, 2010. You brought me all the things I wanted, and you washed away all the things that muddied my boots. True, I made a large helping of mistakes, but I'll not hang my head. I'm proud of where I am, and I am thankful for those who have helped get me here.
Next year holds so many things, so many things for all of us. My prayer is that I'm paying attention to the good stuff and letting all the rest pass over me like a rainy day.
2011, here I come.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Love and Happiness

"...something that can make you do wrong,
make you do right."

Lord help us all. Haha.
I have been a fool in love, but I do not regret it.
There's something nostalgic about being the fool for love's sake. You certainly don't have the upper hand, and you cannot carry on as if your garments were meant to be kissed. There is nothing righteous about fumbling your way through planned encounters or thinking all day about what you could possibly text that might peak his or her interest. But the fool in love does this unabashedly, unapologetically, and without caution. And honestly, what's a fool got to lose?
I'll tell you what the fool has to gain. The one thing, the only thing, that makes all the public displays of embarrassment remotely worth the trouble is hope. There is no assurance, I REPEAT, there is no assurance that the fool in love will gain the admiration and affection he or she seeks. It is the hope that someday the unrequited lover, they so long for, will look up and see them standing there juggling three enflamed monkeys while balancing atop a house of cards. The hope that maybe, the object of their soul desire will find them interesting enough for a second look.
Ladies and gentleman I have been the fool for enough minutes and hours combined to earn top ranks in the art of Foolery for Love's Chance. Its a real title, I swear. As part of my acceptance speech for my medal, I gave a monster of a closing argument to the equal parts judge and jury that was my foolish desire. I ebbed and flowed my way through the recounting of my struggle and my ridiculous show of "PICK ME! PICK ME!" It was epic.
At that point, like every other fool's dream, mine came down to the verdict- Shall I, Desire, desire you, the fool?
After all, "the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return." Right?
Well, the trouble is, once you've exhausted all your magic tricks and shot off all your fancy fireworks all you're left with is that question. Do you want me or not?
I don't know why the house of cards all fell in my favor, but last night...last night after the odyssey that truly was my wits end, my checkmate,
he picked me.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I don't know what I want to write about today.
There must be something in there that wants out because I sat down and opened this "new post" window. A lot has happened lately. I've realized a few things about myself and the people around me. I saw a goal through to the end, and I paid a visit to Graceland.

Regarding the first point, I expect a lot from people. Maybe too much. I expect people to care. I expect people to love me back. I expect people to show up. I expect people to spread the word. I expect people to applaud, and I expect people repeat all of the above.
What have I learned?
Expect nothing and appreciate everything.
I used to show up to a gig expecting a line around the block. WHY? What on earth would possess me to think that much of what I had to offer?! haha. I tell you what happened- I was always disappointed. Furthermore, I was never living in the moment (why would I live in a moment I was disappointed with?) Instead, I was always looking to the future. "The next one will be bigger," I'd say.
Most of the time this ended up being true, and somewhere in there my appreciation started to out-weigh my despair. I can say now that, overall, I'm in a place of gratitude. Completely.
Don't let me lie to you though- there are still pauses of discouragement, but they are not conclusions.

Recently I put on a concert at Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts. It was the biggest event/show that I have ever tried to actually make happen. Of course I've had lofty dreams, piles and piles of them, but for some reason this one was realized. It took most of the strings my friend John Willis could pull, and all the energy and time we had to get it off the ground. But we did. :)
With the help of Jody Edrington, Adam Melton, Chris Marsh, N'ell Jones and a whole host of volunteers we planned, and speculated, and hoped, and prayed and pulled it off.
It was the greatest concert of my little life. And I was in every moment of it.
Were all 625 seats occupied? No ma'am. Did we raise the kind of money I was planning on raising for Big Brothers Big Sisters? No sir. Did I give all that attended every once of my soul from beginning to end? You bet your ass I did.
I could have been disappointed with a whole host of things that happened or did not happen, (and again I'll say I had a few pauses) but I found that after the concert ended and I had a few days to stew on it that I was increasingly overwhelmed with joy and accomplishment.
We did good.

That shit is real.
To walk through the archives amongst a steady flow of people- a flow of people that started when Elvis died and continues every day, morning to night- is to be a part of the mania that is the legend that is the musician that was the man. I was crazy!!!!! I've watched all the specials and I've heard all the songs. I've studied the way he focuses his attention during a song, the way he listens, and the way he directs. And now I've seen with my own eyes the chair he sat still in and the rooms he filled with his God-given charisma. I kept trying to imagine myself there with him but couldn't. I would stop to study one of his famous outfits and imagine him filling it out. I don't know how else to say it; I was absolutely inspired.

I wrote this one more for me than for you. So if you found it a little long winded and redundant I do not apologize. haha!

If you want a place in the sun, you've got to put up with a few blisters.
- Abigail Van Buren

Monday, September 27, 2010


I'm dumb to even write about it. But oh how I need to.
I love romance. I love painful, gut wrenching, heart-bursting, tear staining love. I love a classic sort of affair-the sailor goes out to sea, drowns, and so his lover ties a brick to his/her waist and meets him at the bottom.
I love a Last of the Mohicans kind of love- you get pushed off a cliff...then I'm tipping myself over as soon as I reach the edge.
But the unrequited love- damn it all to hell.
It's awful!! Its horrific even. And yet, here I am covered in mud, still hanging on. My good friend Allie Fancher-Smith wrote a wonderful song with the hook, "fool, fool am I..."
To be the fool in love is to be the pitiful idiot in the corner. There's got to be a lesson in amongst all the suffering, because lets face it- we do this to ourselves. We cannot blame the person for not loving us back. We just cannot. Its us.
Imagine a tornado, barreling across a grain field. Everyone in town is running for dear life- running for shelter given by some dugout or ditch, and there you are (there I am) hauling ass in the opposite direction flailing about, jumping up and down, yelling up at the funneled beast, "For God's sake take me with you! Pick me up! Pick me up! Pick me."
Well that damn tornado can't even see you its so caught up in its own draw. You get sucked up, not because the tornado wanted you in amongst its collection of debris, but because you threw yourself into the mix! So there you are, swirling about, getting knocked around and beat up by flying cows, loose bricks, and bits of other people's memories and things. As soon as the funnel cloud has had its fill it dissipates. Just as fast as it had appeared it's gone again and the sky breaks open. Who's left? You are. Laughing at the thrill of being noticed for a few seconds and crying at the onset of withdrawal. let's face it, you're addicted to severe thunderstorms.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You are not as deep as you think you are

I remember it like it was yesterday.
My mother was washing dishes and I was pacing from the refrigerator to the dining room table and back. At that time in my life I found that I was less prone to stuttering if I could move some part of my body in a steady rhythm. I grew up with a severe stutter that only buried itself deeper and deeper into the involuntary firings of my brain as I got older. This regression went from a funny way of mimicking my best friend at the age of four to complete debilitation at the THOUGHT of needing to say something by the time I reached junior high. Ask me to read something out loud and you might as well have asked your cat to read it to you because I would go into a total state of mental and physical lock down.
I remember one summer when I couldn't say, "hello" if I answered the telephone. It wasn't the word that held me back or the "H;" it was just the fact that I was expected to say it! So I would wait until the person on the other end would finally say, "Hello?" And then I would answer them as if they were crazy; as if to imply that I had been waiting on their response for ions. "Yeeesss," I'd say, "did you not hear me the first time?"
On this particular occasion in our kitchen I was reeling about some great tragedy I had no doubt suffered that very day. I had a way of playing back an event as if Scarlett O'Hara had endured the hardship instead of me. With great dramatic fervor I recounted every second of whatever it was I felt had wounded me so. It must have been something about my lofty ambitions for fame that had started the conversation because I remember going on and on about how much it saddened me that "the people in this town are just so satisfied with going to work and coming home and going to work and coming home," and how I just couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that, "most of the kids I'm in school with don't plan past this weekend's party much less the careers they AREN'T going to pursue." I kept ranting and complaining and pitying and moaning about all these dreamless, hopeless people that frustrated me to no end until my mother finally slammed the plate she was washing down into the sink. The water was still sloshing back and forth when she slowly turned to me, both hands submerged and planted under the soapy dishwater, and said, "You aren't as deep as you think you are." I stood there stunned. "Have you ever stopped to understand that they are living their dream? That the normalcy of every day is all they ever wanted? Just because their dreams aren't as grand as yours does not mean that they don't have them or that they are any less magical."
I think she went on proving her point but after that I had tuned her out. I was still hung up on her first statement. I remember turning on my heels and ominously marching past my dad and brother who were planted in front of the television. I carried myself up the stairs, back straight, head up, as if I were supporting the weight of one of Scarlett O'Hara's dresses- dress upon petticoats upon petticoats upon slips upon corset. But it didn't matter. I liked the weight of my late teens because it made for a more dramatic collapse onto my bedroom floor. I laid there and just cried and cried. "HOW COULD SHEEEEE!!" HOW COULD SHE THINK I'M NOT AS DEEP AS I THINK I AAAAAMMM!!" She crushed me with one sentence.

Sometimes, as a child, after I had been spanked I would run to the nearest mirror and watch my reflection as I cried so that it would intensify the experience. The site of myself bawling would cause me to bawl even better! Certainly at this particular moment of devastation I did the same thing with the mirror above my dresser. I'm sure I pulled myself across the floor, and then pulled myself up until my head was just clearing the top of the dresser. That way I could watch myself crying but feel as if I were lying on the floor. I was all about the visuals.
So there I was crying about what my mother had said, and it never occurred to me that she was talking about herself; not until way later in life when I was thinking about it as an adult. I was just going on and on about how pitiful these people were and she was one of them. Well of course I felt awful and I finally understood what she was trying to say. These days I don't pity anybody with the dream or better yet the reality of just to being normal. I envy them! Of course I'm still in hot pursuit of the things I've always been chasing, more so now than ever before, but there is a part of me that wants what all those people from my hometown have. A rich, normal, everyday kind of life.
So here I am again. I have just been through a necessary break up, I'm trying to hold onto the tail of my star as it shoots across the sky without me, and I can't help but feel that I am too deep for my own good; so far from the depth that my mother THOUGHT I lacked.

More to come.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Local Crooner Attempts Self-Tanned Perfection

"Crooner is an epithet given to a male singer of a certain style of popular songs, dubbed pop standards.[citation needed] A crooner is a singer of popular ballads and thus a "balladeer".[citation needed] The singer is normally backed by a full orchestra or big band. Generally, crooners sang and popularized the songs from the Great American Songbook. "Crooner" was originally used as a negative term, and many people given the term, such as Russ Colombo, did not consider themselves to be crooners. In an interview, Frank Sinatra said that he did not consider himself or Bing Crosby to be crooners." ---

What the hell? I don't know what I did to deserve this title. "Local crooner Cody Belew this, and local crooner Cody Belew that." Any press is good press, right? That's the way it works I guess. I just feel like its such a lazy thing to print if you've never even been to a show from which to draw such a conclusion. I'm not asking for "Local bad ass" or "Local super-nova mega voice." Just do your own research and coin your own phases rather than copy and paste from one online blog to the next.
One guy associated this horribly descriptive noun with my name and it stuck. Now every local online calendar starts with that heading. In the words of Charlie Brown, "Arrrrgg."

Beyond that little glitch most everything else is going rather well. Shows are going great. New people keep showing up with more new people. The Mercers are sounding SO good. It's pretty cool. I've been working on a few shows for the solo project. Though we haven't gotten together since the album release show, things are looking up. I've got a handful of songs that I'm ready to move forward with. Just have to get all my ducks in a row. It has been overwhelmingly awesome to have all this feedback pouring in from people either purchasing the CD or buying the album online on iTunes or I just can't get over the fact that people are genuinely interested in the work that I've created and that I continue to create.
I'm ready to get things rolling with merchandise development. I've got a few artist in mind to call on, but if you know of anyone good please let me know! My mind is in a constant state of thoughts firing. It's a lot like watching the flight schedule screen at the airport- boom boom boom. As I was driving to work this morning my mind settled for a few seconds on the idea of "Cody Belew" license plates. Then I giggled at my bold sub conscience and its lack of self limitation. Who thinks up things like that?!?! Me and Billy Ray Cyrus I guess.

I made the mistake of testing some self tanning spray that was sent to us at work to try. To have been a fly on the wall... geez. After standing in the shower, in my underwear, to spray from my feet to my thighs, I decided I needed to blot and blend. (A key technique, any reputable spray tan professional will say.) In my haste to try the product I failed to plan ahead. I only realized that I needed an old towel from the closet down the hall when I also realized that I had sprayed myself into a corner- the shower to be exact. There were two rugs between me and that closet, two fluffy white rugs. Being of athletic descent I easily spanned the distance from the tub to the floorspace on the other side of the first rug. Then while channeling a younger version of my father I did some sort of offensive football move around the second rug; failing to take into account the wall that runs the length of my hallway. So as I celebrated my successful run I turned in horror to see a large bronze smear on the wall where my right ass cheek had been. This meant two things. The wall was bronzed, and one ass check was not. Luckily the spray easily came off the wall with a quick scrub down. I found out later on that it does not come off the body in the same fashion.
Now I've never been one to do ANYTHING half assed. That being said I went ahead and sprayed my entire body blotting and blending as I went. Unfortunately I was so caught up (as Usher would say) in getting an even coat that I didn't realize I had worked my way out of the shower onto the very rug I had successfully dodged minutes before. I was hunched over with that can-o-tan awkwardly crooked over my shoulder. Imagine someone trying to reach a bug bite square in the middle of their back. ITS IMPOSSIBLE! So there I was, hunched over, trying to sling self tanner across my back to the far reaches of my lower shoulder blades and beyond. This was my approach. And it worked! The trouble was by that point I had sweat most of the stuff off of my face and it was now running down my neck. ...blot...blend....blot...blend. Furthermore, as the foggy brown mist settled around me (and along the inner cavity walls of my lungs) i noticed that the toilet, sink, shower/tub combo, and yes that fluffy white rug had the same George Hamilton-like tan that I had worked so hard to administer to myself alone.
The directions on the box said to let the tanner work for 4 hours before showering and lifting heavy objects. I tried very hard to follow the rules but its sort of difficult to do when you're carefully trying to scrub the shower, sink, toilet and walls without letting you arms meet your rib cage and keeping your inner thighs from mashing together (as if mine ever do.)

When it was all said and done I had achieved a wonderful tan. It was even- darker where the sun normally hits and lighter where it doesn't. My face looked naturally kissed. Surprisingly, my back was all copper-toned, and so on. The box said to pay close attention to one's knees and elbows as they tend to darken more than the rest of one's body. I did this. What the box failed to mention are one's hands. This all happened three nights ago and it looks like I'm typing this blog with Snookie's hands from the Jersey Shore! It's HORRIBLE! Dead give away. Red Alert.
But hey, they match the mysterious bronze stain that breaks the even tan-line across the lowest area of my back and runs down into the crack of my ass- sweat no doubt being the evil nemesis that laughed when it knew it had averted my almost perfected blot...and blend...

Have a good week.
Catch me at Cajun's tonight with the Mercers
at Michelangelo's on Saturday with Rodney Black & the Real Music Lovers.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Band website builder

Monday, February 15, 2010



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Taking the Stage

Well, I'm about to head down to Sticky Finger's for the first round of the Arkansas Times Musician's Showcase. I entered the contest on a whim and I guess on that same whim I got in.
Frantically I put together the band that will join me on stage tonight at approximately 11:00.
We're the third slot.
I'm nervous.
With the Mercers I don't get that way. We're such a well oiled machine, and at the end of the day I can pretty much know how a show is going to end up.
But this is different. This is my music! Up until now I've mostly kept it all to myself, but after tonight it's out there. Its up for debate and to be processed thoughtfully, or casually in one ear and out the other. I put some of my roommates maxi pads in the arm pits of my shirt for fear of being docked points for obscene pit stains. Luckily they are sticky on one side so hopefully they won't fall out when I lift my arms during emotional/ showy sections of the set. At first I thought she wanted me to put the sticky side against my hairy pit, but after a moment of giggling she explained that "the sticky side goes against your shirt...idiot."
Hopefully that will be the only hiccup of the evening.
I've very proud of the work me and the guys have pulled together in the past two nights.
More than anything, I'm proud to expose this little bit of my creative outlet- the window to my soul if you will.
Here's to seeing things through.
I'll keep you abreast of the results!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Year of the Self-Made Man

Well here we are again, off to a great start.
I'm so very excited about the new year. All my loose ends are finally being worked into the weave of things. Tori Houston took photos for my album last week and I absolutely can't wait to see them.
My idea for the concept was realized with Mark's help. He knew the exact location of the exact motel I described to him. I wanted to find a dingy old motel that was sort of locked in 1972. Success came in the form of a little motel in Conway. It was very clean, but was a time capsule if I've ever seen one. IT WAS PERFECT!
I'm going to pick up the pictures tomorrow. Then it's up to Rosemary to deliver with her eye for graphic design.
I don't know what I'd do without my talented friends. Most of the time I try to do it all, and then right when I think I'm unstoppable I remember that I can't take pictures of myself and I can't do the graphic layout for my album. What can I say, it takes a village.
2010 is fast becoming "The Year of the Self-Made Man." I'm literally making something out of nothing when it comes to the launching of my quote, unquote "music career." But with each show, and each blatant request to be featured in local magazines, and each facebook fan request I seem to be tracking a little progress.
At the end of the day it's up to me anyway so why shouldn't I be the man behind the curtain?
Sorry to disappoint you but, yes, that's me back there pushing all those buttons and pulling all those levers.

Before long, everything will come into focus.
We'll understand it all by and by.