Got To Get To You

Got To Get To You

Where does Brumbylon Music Come From?

This week’s feature: Got to Get to You


“Maybe a better way over, would be to find a way around”

Take 1


Some song meanings are very clear from the git-go, and some not so much. For me this would be the latter. This song feels considerably light under the dire circumstances presented: “I fell off the side of a mountain. There wasn’t much I could do”. Well, if one is actually falling, there is little that can be done, except maybe think about how you got there, and what you could or would do differently, if you happen to land safely. Or maybe just scream a lot.


The song was written in 2014 for reasons I’ll explain another time (relating to my New Zealand history). The video was made in 2018 because…well, mountain.


Lisa and I climbed the Grand Teton, the highest peak in the Teton Range of Wyoming, in August of 2018. I actually had a lingering thought in the back of my mind before climbing …could the song be a prophecy? Nahhh, couldn’t be. Let’s climb! I’ll just keep that little piece of superstition to myself.


In the song, Got to Get to You, the “You” is represented by Lisa, my awesome wife and partner of 21 years and counting! While creating the video for the song, my thinking of “get to you” was to reach a deeper connection with Lisa. Creating the video with that in mind, and writing this blog today, brings me to the following understanding:


I had always been very protective of my heart, and was reluctant at best to let someone all the way in (even married, which is particularly strange). Partly this was from fear of being hurt, but more likely fear of being seen. I mean really, how could anyone love the unlovable (me)? That may sound a bit extreme perhaps, but I had proof! You know, the longer you are with someone the harder it becomes to maintain a detour around the heart. People leak, things become visible, cracks show.


Still, in the song I consider there may be ‘another way around’ so I wouldn’t have to expose myself and risk rejection or abandonment – issues that have been paramount in my life, and hence the need for protection. It seemed “the mountain” was actually one of my own creation, and maybe falling off was the best thing I could do – maybe that’s why I seem so happy about it.


The song also talks about my propensity for distraction, consequently missing or choosing not to see something that could save me pain or frustration down the road… Right, everything’s fine, its all good…hey, look over here at the beautiful mountains.


In reality, the pain and frustration still came, as did the clarity of needing to get rid of some old beliefs, open my eyes and heart, and communicate. Its an ongoing process. Avoidance is only a delay tactic, often with compounded complications!


I guess I’ve always known that there is a way of being me that is more powerful, beautiful and authentic than I currently accept that I am capable of, or perhaps even worth. That is what I’ve got to get to. As in a lot of my songs, the conversation that I’m having is with that higher Self. My “you” is actually a better me! 


Take 2


This is my second (6th, actually, but who’s counting) take on the meaning/history of this song. As some of you know from my previous writings, I was born in New Zealand. I left when I was 7 and did not return again til 2014. That gave me 45 years to acclimate to living in the U.S. Overall I think I’ve done pretty well.


After much trial and error creating my first intended post about this song, I sent it off to Lisa to edit, as is our custom with these blogs. She inserted a statement that made me realize the actual inspiration for the song,  and it’s quite simple…New Zealand! 


The moment I read her addition (…relating to my New Zealand history), I remembered the thought I had about the first line in the song when I first wrote it. New Zealand was my mountainous home, and at seven years old all I could really do was go with the flow. My mother was relocating me and my brother to the states to be with her and our new dad. “I fell off the side of a mountain. There wasn’t much I could do.” I don’t recall being afraid or nervous, but it was a big move for a little boy, I think my passport photo is a little telling. 


I wrote the song, Got to Get to You, after returning from New Zealand. It seems that my visit stirred things up in me quite a bit, and left me with a strong desire to go back – not so much to live there again, but to spend time reconnecting with my family, my ancestral heritage, and my country of origin.

The second take on this song does not invalidate my first post. I think what confused me about it was adding the video, which carried a different meaning (as noted in my original post below). Welcome to my mind!



Enjoy our little gift to you from Brumbylon – we hope it finds you well and feeds your soul. Stay tuned for next week’s feature when we invite you back INTO THE CAVE!

This Old Guitar

This Old Guitar

Where does Brumbylon Music Come From?

This week’s feature: This Old Guitar


Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember! My parents played all over the South Island of New Zealand. My siblings all played and or sang at one time or another. My oldest brother Phillip will still pick up a guitar every once in awhile, just to accompany his beautiful voice, a voice that now reminds me of my father’s.


Then there’s my cousin, John Grenell. John had a very successful music career in New Zealand as well as some success in the states. I had the chance to meet him on my visit to New Zealand in January of 2014. He was recovering from some health issues at the time, but he was warm, engaging, funny, personable and always ready to play and sing. This Old guitar was inspired by my time with him.


John was as authentic a person as I’d ever met. John Grenell is his music, and more. He helped me realize how much a part of one’s life an instument can be, and how we can become so attached to a particular object that it becomes a part of who we are. It was a story that John told about ‘this old guitar’ (pictured below) that moved me to consider what his guitar meant to him, and what mine means to me.



Click here to hear John Grenell singing “Deep Water”


 I started playing guitar as a teen because I thought it would be a good way to get people to start a conversation with me. I was shy and lacked the confidence to initiate engagement with others (girls). So I learned some chords and started to play and write songs. Country music has never really been my genre,  but this is how it came out in honor of John. A lot has changed since then, but one thing remains the same – my relationship with my guitar has helped me express myself, and it has helped me understand myself better. Its where I work out my stuff, share my heart and mind. Its what connects me to my world. Here is the refrain from the song I wrote for John Grenell:

In this old guitar where I carry my soul

and all the memories that need a place to go

you will find me there even when I’m dead and gone.

Enjoy our little gift to you from Brumbylon – we hope it finds you well and feeds your soul. Stay tuned for next week’s feature when we invite you back INTO THE CAVE!

Your Voice

Your Voice

Where does Brumbylon Music Come From?

This week’s feature: Your Voice

Friday, July 18, 1969. My brother was 8, I was 7. My aunt, uncle, nana and granddad took us to the airport. Nana’s diary stated simply that “Kevin [our father] came in a rental”. It would be the last time we ever saw him.

My relatives put us on a plane bound for the west coast of the United States. We flew alone, tended by the airline staff who were in charge of us during our long flight. We left behind our father, a brother and sister, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and all manner of family in New Zealand to start a new life in America with my mum and her new husband, Jim, (Julian). The man I call my dad.


I had my issues throughout the teen years, and did not think much at all about my Kiwi childhood. Then, in Nov of 1981, my dad (Jim) gave me the news that Kevin Grennell, my natural father, had died in a construction accident. I pondered that for awhile. How did I feel? What did I feel?  I had a sense of what someone was supposed to feel when their father died, but the truth was I didn’t know him. I felt guilty for not feeling anything.


For most of my life I held the belief that Kevin Grennell was not a good man, or at least not a good father or husband. I softened on that story in my later years after talking with family members who had loved him. I met his younger brother, my uncle Maui, in 2005 during a work visit he had made to the U.S. We got to spend a couple of days together, which was pretty powerful for both of us. Maui remembered me as a boy, and told me many stories about Kevin. For me, it was the closest I would ever get to talking with my father. 


I also began to reconnect with my oldest brother and sister around that time. Conversations about Kevin with them, and later with other family members, helped paint a clearer picture of the man. My early judgment was based on a lack of information. It still is, but I can now see Kevin Grennell as a man who was doing the best he could at the time. I don’t believe he was a bad man, I don’t think he wanted to cause anyone pain. He, like many of us, had some issues.




Click on the picture above to hear an old recording of Kevin singing and playing. A gift he passed on to me.

I would like to have known the man who was dad to my two oldest siblings, the one whose genes cohabit in my physiology with my mother’s. It won’t happen. I am grateful for the life I have now. Everything up to this point has brought me here, to this song, to this post. Yet still, Kevin Grennell,

I wish I could recall something you said (to me).

Enjoy our little gift to you from Brumbylon – we hope it finds you well and feeds your soul. Stay tuned for next week’s feature when we invite you back INTO THE CAVE!

Julian’s Song

Julian’s Song

Where does Brumbylon Music Come From

This week’s feature: Julian’s Song

He crossed oceans to find us

January 1st, 2014, I flew out of Logan Airport in Boston, I had a 4 hour layover in Los Angeles then 13 1/2 hours in the air to finally arrive in Auckland, New Zealand. It was the first time I set foot in the country of my birth since 1969.  

For months before I left, I was flooded with emotions and memories that became catalysts for many pieces of music and songs. Most of these have not seen the light of day as they were more of a personal journey documenting my history and processing my childhood “stuff”. Lisa was incredibly supportive through this time as were the friends and family that helped make this trip possible. I am eternally grateful. We have yet to assemble all of these pieces into a cohesive collection but rest assured, it will happen!  

Julian’s Song was written for the man that became my dad, Julian F. Brumby. I had been spending so much time addressing the darker parts of my early history that I was forgetting the one person that changed everything.

Julian, a.k.a. Jim, met and married my mother and brought my brother and I ( he was 8, I was 7) to the states. He was in the US Navy at the time, his ship took port in New Zealand and the rest is history. Maybe one day I’ll be able to put lyrics to this music, or maybe Lisa will.

Who knows how it all works. I didn’t have the words when the music came but the love is there. Thank you Dad for your decisiveness, bad-assery, commitment to meeting mum, your gentle spirit and love.

                                I would be a great man to be half the man you are.


Enjoy our little gift to you from Brumbylon – we hope it finds you well and feeds your soul. Stay tuned for next week’s feature when we invite you back INTO THE CAVE!

Enjoy our little gift to you from Brumbylon – we hope it finds you well and feeds your soul. Stay tuned for next week’s feature when we invite you back INTO THE CAVE!

Dark Angry Moody Shit

Dark Angry Moody Shit

Where does Brumbylon Music Come From

This week’s feature: Dark Angry Moody Shit

Can a millipede dance to Brumbylon music?

It’s interesting to look back at a moment in time and wonder: What was going on for a piece of original music to earn the working title, “Dark Angry Moody Shit”? It was probably not the cheeriest of days, though there is always a great deal of joy that comes from creating a guitar piece like this. Listening today it feels more complicated and pensive than just dark, angry and moody.

Unlike last week’s song, which held a 9-beat measure, this one flows from an odd time to 4/4 groove, possibly inspired by the Pink Floyd song, Money, which flows from a 7/8 feel to a 4/4 feel and back again. The song was written and structured in a way that leaves room for a melody line and vocals, which will most likely be colored by the feel of the music…but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

We at Brumbylon also have a fascination with nature – be it flora, fauna, land, sky or seascape – we enjoy capturing rare moments. The video accompanying this song is of a yellow spotted millipede (I think). This battle-weary critter (notice it is missing antenna) was filmed during a family camping trip in Vermont, and seems to pair nicely with this piece of music. If you watch the video through the 00:56 mark, you’ll see Millie get some real groove on.  

Enjoy our little gift to you from Brumbylon – we hope it finds you well and feeds your soul. Stay tuned for next week’s feature when we invite you back INTO THE CAVE!