Chords of Connection

At the age of 26, musician Charley Thweatt had a life-changing moment. Suffering from severe back pain and dealing with the end of a three-year relationship, Thweatt found himself examining life at a deeper level.

"I came to a crux in my mind," he recalls. "I thought either all of this is pointless, or there's a point to all of this. I chose there is a point to all of this. That was the beginning."

From there, Thweatt left a career in architecture to begin writing and performing music. It took a couple false starts before his persistence paid off. But at 29, he became a full-time musician and started making money.

Now, more than 23 years later, Thweatt has produced several CDs and performed in hundreds of concerts in 20 different countries. His music is labeled "spiritual acoustic pop" and varies from solo keyboard pieces, acoustic arrangements and recordings with a full band. His latest CDs are Dancers in the Light and You're an Angel, both released this year. Thweatt will perform on Sunday, Oct. 2, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Inspired Healing, 4929 E. 29th St. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Seating is limited. Call 584-0343 or visit inspiredhealing.org for information. Inspired Healing is a wellness center offering network spinal analysis, counseling, yoga classes and "community events that help people connect with each other and themselves." The organizers say all profits from the concert will support hurricane relief efforts. For more information about Charley Thweatt, visit musicangel.com. Thweatt's songs are about "life experiences, moving from pain into things being OK, conscious love songs, finding that place of peace ... held in a light of love, spirituality and humor.

"It's profound how the songs come to me. I came to a point where I stumbled on a songwriting technique, which is being quiet and listening. It was someone's birthday, and I wanted to write a song. I had this melody in my head. And then I heard a voice that said, 'Close your eyes; shut up and just listen.' Then I started to hear a (different) melody. ... It's like a thread dangling from heaven. I pull on the thread, and that becomes a cloth out of heaven. My job is to trim it so it becomes a song."

Although Thweatt uses a "close your eyes, shut up and listen" approach to writing songs, he certainly doesn't advocate that for members of his concert audience. Instead, he encourages everyone to look into each other's eyes and sing along.

"I write stuff that's easy to join in. There's no sheet music. When I get to the chorus, people join in. It's easy onramp singing. The room is full of song. ... My biggest goal is to get people in the room singing as many songs as possible. It's about using music as a tool for connecting.

"Another one of my goals is to stand up in a room and start a vibration in the room, and have that affect the people in the room. If I can set up a simple vibration of the truth of our connection, it starts to ring that part in other people. It's like I have a tuning fork in my heart, and if I start vibrating, it will start to vibrate the same essence in other people's hearts."

Although this may sound complex, Thweatt insists it's effortless. "I show up, open my mouth and sing. And something transformative happens."

But not without audience participation. Concertgoers may be asked to close their eyes and sing, or find a partner, look into their eyes and sing a few lines. Thweatt says singing with eyes closed is a way for people to connect with themselves. And when people look into each other's eyes and sing, it's a way to connect more deeply with that person. The connecting is "both scary and amazing."

Thweatt has noticed another result of people singing together. "A presence of a loving energy starts to happen in the room when we sing together. It starts to vibrate out and creates a connection in our hearts."

Besides touching the hearts of his audience, Thweatt seeks to tickle their funny bones as well. He has a playful side and quick sense of humor. When asked what he wanted people to take away from his concerts, he replied, "My CDs, large quantities of my CDs!"

"Have fun in this life," he advises. "Look into the eyes of strangers you meet. Have a good laugh with the person in the elevator you will not see again. We can all shift in one moment. Choose to look for what's good instead of what's going wrong."

These wise words come from a man who has carried his life-changing moment at 26 into the later years of his life. "The point is we are all connected. Life is good. And since there is a point to everything, then I can just trust."