We have a Saturday Night Service. This last Saturday night was February 14th. Know where I’m going? No, I’m not talking about the service we did, I’m talking about missing getting spend Valentine’s Day with my sweetheart. So, since we couldn’t do anything on Valentine’s day, we went out on Monday Night, the 16th instead, and it was a good night.

Almost 7 years ago, my wife & I had our first date. It was at a little place called Jazz de Opus and the performer that night (and the reason we went there) was Dan Balmer. So, on Monday night, after not having been back in quite a while we went to see Dan Balmer at Jimmy Maks (Jazz de Opus has closed and last I heard was a Gay mens club.) Not only was this a Romantic experience for my wife & I, it was an inspiring night for me as a musician.

The Dan Balmer Trio consists of Dan Balmer who plays Electric, George Mitchell who plays keys & bass, and a drummer (the drummer changes from time to time, though he recorded an album with Matt Wilson). Dan also has another group, Go By Train which plays more of a fusion-esque Jazz as opposed to the the Dan Balmer Trio.

My friend Mike introduced me to Dan Balmer a while ago, and Dan has since become my favorite musical group. My favorite playlist in my iTunes is “Dan Balmer.”

Why such an affinity? (As I’m writing this, I’m hoping you’re not thinking I’m some kind of weirdo.) It’s because of the music. The songs he writes and plays are the whole package. They speak volumes without saying a word. Dan’s extraordinary skills make the music. I’ve heard many great musicians, many who have a great technical skill, others who have a great feel. Dan is at the top of both scales.

Every time I listen to his music, I’m drawn in. He’s not just technically amazing, but he’s musically astounding. All of this taken into account, you might imagine he’d have an ego as large as his skill, however, the opposite is true. He’s humble. Of all the musicians I’ve seen and heard, if any have a right to brag, it’s him and he doesn’t.

Every time I see him live, I leave inspired to improve the skills I’ve been given by our creator in a way that no other music I listen to can do. That’s one of the things that amazes me, he’s a guitarist and I’m a pianist and still I find him inspiring. I do have to say that I find George Mitchell quite inspiring as well, but that’s a differnet post.

All that aside, I have to ask you: where do you go for inspiration? Do you have an artist you can go to that can take your dreams of your music to places no other music can do? Is there an artist in your life that not only inspires you in terms of ability and writing, but in their attitude? If not, borrow mine for a while and give Dan a try. You can buy his albums on iTunes or through his website. I don’t think you’ll be dissapointed.