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"Take a Bite Out of Life"

Meaning of the Songs

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Kevin Tutaj
Ray Tutaj Jr.
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Kevin's imagination running free and wild.
rayingraphicsnightwwaterandapple.jpg
Ray is seen playing guitar.

Here below is the place to find my thoughts on the lyric content.
You will also learn about my philosophy of life to a small degree, through my songs.

WELCOME!

I thank you all for visiting my little musical world. I hope you will enjoy these works I have cultivated for you. These songs and compositions are a true reflection of me. This is who I am, at least up to 2006. Much is changing in my life as I focus more on spiritual things rather than physical.

I feel strongly that this recording is different from much music you might hear in your everday life. A struggle to stay true to myself and my own style emerges here. I once tried to be others but it never worked. Some say, "Can you play like so and so or can you sing like so and so?" My reply is, "Why"? One of them is enough. Can’t I be me? Can’t I have my own voice? Can’t I be different than the rest? Despite the tidal wave of pressure to conform to the status quo, to sing like the rest of the mainstream singers, I continued to march to the beat of a different drummer and to believe in my own voice. Despite the setbacks and obstacles in all areas of life, and all the times I fell down, I picked up the pieces and marched on. Several years in the making it has been for this particular endeavor. I decided to call it, "Take a Bite Out of Life". It is a rich collection of music packed with some heavy thoughts. The music created basically in the 2002-2006 time frame. I am in no way focused on trying to impress anyone by any dazzling virtuosity although there are many complex finger picking gems on the recording. The main focus are the songs and expressing the ideas within them. The ideas behind this title are elaborated on here below:

This recording was more or less created during an important transition period in my life. Yes there are some very deep subjects I sing about, but others very light in nature. My aim was solely to reflect my life at that time, as most all musicians can't help but do. No intention to sound preachy, although my wish for peace and love are prevalent here because that has always been a reflection of who I am. I want people to get along. I want to see the world at peace. I want us to love one another and enjoy and appreciate each other. I want to see us forgiving each other for our wrong doing and ill will toward one another. If we don't we can't "Take a Bite Out of Life", or have a true inner peace that connects with everlasting joy. As I am making this transition in my life in 2005-2006-07 I have come to know AGAIN what is truly important. To truly enjoy life with an inner peace can only be done in accordance with our Creator. It really is true  that Jesus is the way, the truth and the "life". We take a bite out of that "life". That is the biggest bite we can take and the most fulfilling. There are everyday opportunities to enjoy life too. Simple pleasures of existence, like taking a deep breath and smelling the crisp autumn air and hearing the leaves crunch beneath our feet, or to feel the warm summer breeze is also taking a bite out of life. To hear the sounds of nature and beautiful music and to see the beauty the earth reveals is "taking a bite out of life". To sink your teeth into a juicy steak or a tangy orange is to "take a bite out of life".

God gave us our senses, so let us not deprive ourselves from the goodness of his great creation. Take a bite out of life and live your live more abundantly. We can have fulfilment when we are in accord with our Creator. I thank God for picking up the pieces of this project and my own life and giving me the drive to finish it. I am very pleased with the entire recording. I wanted it to be rich, and complete, full of music, overflowing with sounds brought forth from my most inner being.

There are many people to thank both directly and indirectly. I want to thank my brother Kevin Tutaj whose percussion, drums and sound effects are a wonderful addition to the songs on this disc. Kevin has also created the colorful graphics and artwork. It is super to work with him again on another project. Together we once played in a band called, "THE WORLD", in Las Vegas in the early 1990’s and our time together resulted in a fine collection of recorded rock tunes with a unique style. There were four people in this band, so you could say half of "The World" is on this new recording. We are much alike when it comes to our music.

This new recording called, "Take a Bite Out of Life", has been accomplished by sending computer wav files to my brother kevin who has recorded the drums. Kevin currently lives in Las Vegas Nevada, and I reside back in my home State of Illinois. I had not seen him for eight years up until a trip I took to Vegas in 2005! I have written most of the music for this project within the last few years. Although, there is an instrumental, "Hello it’s me again" dating back to about 1989. Also, my Grandmother Ruby L. Smith’s poem entitled, "Paper Hat Soldier" is used in a song on this project. She wrote the poem in the late 50’s and it is about one of her sons who was a soldier in the Korean War era. But the poem vividly applies to our soldiers of today too. I have built a web site linked to this site, consisting of her poetry and philosophy of life with many photos too. http://rubylucillesmith.tripod.com/

The Bungled Bank Robbery is a true story that took place in Leonore, Illinois in 1935. My grandfather, Joe Tutaj sr. was one of the two state troopers who cornered and caught the robbers. The song tells the story in a nutshell.

The song called, "Utica Broken Down", is written about the town in Illinois that was ravaged by a tornado which occurred in April 2004. Eight people lost their lives in this tragedy. I witnessed the tornado pass nearby my home, touching down in Utica just four miles Eastward.

The song "Hey Mr. Bad Guy" is a message to all of those who inflict harm on other human beings. They will naturally reap what they sow someday and it comes eventually. Humanity needs to know that their ill will does have a price to pay. There are spiritual laws set up by the Creator. To go against them creates havoc in our lives, our minds are restless, and lives in turmoil. The golden rule says to treat others the way you want to be treated. It is a very simple idea. When I hear about someone being a victim of someone's evil, it saddens my heart to see people hurt or killed because of another one's wickedness. This song, "Hey Mr. Bad Guy" is for them. They will reap what they sow. We got to love one another!

The song "Message for God" is simply questions or thoughts we all wonder about in life. It is ok to ask God, "Why?" After all, Jesus asked God, "Why did you forsake me?" We can’t imagine the suffering he endured to feel that separation from the Father. He had to feel full separation to fulfill God’s will. Anyway, most of us believe God has the power to intervene in life especially when life really needs it, but sometimes no intervention comes in the form we desire. We ask, "Why?" I sing the song only as a messenger, or one who is trying to echo humanity’s complaints to the heavens.

The song, "Is it really that hard?" is about asking people: "Is it really that hard to make a peaceful world?" Can’t we have a place where we can live in harmony?" The verse in this song that says, "Don’t we know we endanger our own souls, when we disregard the golden rule, in the end we are the fool." This is the important message. Is it really that hard to give a little love?

The song Happy and Free, is about people wanting to see the world at peace. We can all play our small part in our communities. Stop the seething hatred and start loving those who are not just like you. Don’t be so quick to judge. We are not all born exactly alike. Even in the church today it is my belief there are a few erroneous teachings being taught as truth. Hopefully the church wakes up and begins to embrace everyone who comes knocking on the door of Jesus. He is the Bread of Life and we need to take a bite of that life. He is the "River of Life" and if you take a drink from that river you shall be satisfied forever, because that river never runs dry. We all need to find it and stay near it. In my life I strayed away from it (as we all do) and found my life chaotic, in a mess, with no inner peace. But I came back through the rain, thunder and pain. I knocked on His door and I looked to Him and said, "Hello it’s me again!" He said, "Yes my son, come right in."

"All the World is Hungry" and burning with desire and no one can escape that fire of desire. We will all go through that journey in our lives of trying to fill the void in our beings with anything this world has to offer. We may find temporary satisfaction but is it any lasting peace for our souls? Life can be very difficult and complicated. We search for meaning and many turn to man-made religions with figureheads like Buddha, Muhammad, and others which are not of the truth. In the song, "All the World is Hungry", a verse says, "Careful with religion, in this world you live in, don’t forget to think for yourselves. If your mind is hollow, you might want to follow, might as well climb aboard." What I am saying is: careful when believing all that is said from the pulpit or far-out religions. It is not all truth although it may be disguised as truth. You shall know them by their fruits. If a man kills another man in terrorist acts in the name of God, that is some bad fruit! Love is good fruit. Other religions don’t have the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God which can dwell in people and change their lives, in a total transformation, renewing everything. Religions pointing a different direction are fruitless and dead. If your mind is hollow you will follow these false teachings without thinking for yourself and searching your own soul on any matter close to your heart. Ask God for the truth and seek it and you will find it, and your faith will make darn sure you will do just that. I think many religions lack common sense and logic. I know we have to use our God-given minds in this life. Every action must be built upon a foundation of love, this was one of the greatest commandments that we love one another. To commit terrorist acts on another is not an act of love.

I do believe we humans cannot escape the fire of desire through certain periods of our lives, and it is just part of being human and being in this negative world. We can overcome with the positive spiritual help of our Creator, and Jesus being the way to that victory. This is what I believe. I have several decades of thought and experience involved in this conclusion. I have gone around twice in my life to get here again. I have made the mistake of stepping outside of God's plan for twenty years.  But the gift of music helped hold me together until I discovered myself again.  We all come to a point in our lives when we feel so dead and empty and know we are missing something. This is when you can call on Jesus to come into your life and He will do that if you let Him take control. You will then know peace and understanding and drink from the River of Life and satisfy that thirst inside. The fire of desire will be quenched finally! When you reach this point you will experience a new beginning, and all things will become new. Love is the answer and God is Love and Jesus commanded us to love one another. This is truth. If just one person can by touched by what is said here and by the music on this CD, then it will have served its purpose and it will all be worth the effort.

I love life, I love people and I wish everyone could see all the beauty in God’s glorious and mesmerizing creation. It makes me want to photograph all the beauty and save it forever. The song, "Pretty Picture" is all about photography and capturing beautiful people, places and things in order to preserve the history of the moment. As time passes on, our photographs gather value and appreciation for times gone by. We can actually learn from photos. I urge you to take pictures, lots of them, and be artistic with your cameras. Capture nature in its raw element and you will "Take a Bite Out of Life!"

Living this life is a great challenge to all, and the music in us helps pull us through and gives us something positive to do and contribute. What would I do without my guitar in my life? What would Kevin do without those drums in his life? It is vital that we create and make music because this is who we are. It is this gift of music that can bring people and nations together. I believe it is important as a musician to have something to show for all the time we spend with our music. This means to share it through performance and recordings. Art is long, life is short, and when all is said and done I want to say I had some fun!

I want to thank all of my family and friends for all the help in so many different ways. Very special thanks go to my many guitar students through the years who brought sunshine into my life. Many made me laugh until I had tears in my eyes. Some I took to the Illinois State contest (Illinois Guitar League) with great success. I gave everything I had, to share the art of music with them all. Thanks to all of them who stuck with me through the years I really, really do appreciate it so very much. Thanks for putting up with me week after week. All those years while teaching I had my music in me wanting to come out, so I worked relentlessly day and night trying to harness all these sounds. I wanted to use the talent God gave me to somehow point to him through my life, and my music. I desired to make some nice sounds so I could make a joyful noise for our God and also please my ears and yours too, candy for the ears I say. I worked like a mad scientist day in and day out and yes it got the best of me many times.  I had a great desire to share my music with the people of this planet. To give something positive to the human races and leave something behind for future generations to discover.

A couple of the guitars used on this recording date back to when I first began playing guitar at the age of eleven. A Yamaha acoustic, and an Electra electric guitar. The nylon string Alvarez was purchased in the mid-nineties. The instrument of guitar has been very important in my life as a whole. It has been a true friend to me and helped ease my mind from the never-ending flow of distractions and obstacles that arise in life. The music always gives me hope and inspiration. My guitar never befriends me, and is always there when I need it, which is every day. It does not lie or steal from me. My grandmother Ruby once sat me down and said to me when I was about fourteen years old, "You know that guitar of yours is a friend to you and you should write a song about it." She was right and I knew that I enjoyed spending a lot of time with this instrument but my young mind couldn’t understand how true those words would be as time went on. There have been so many setbacks, resistance, disappointments, bad luck, not to mention health problems that have been nothing but distractions to my music through the years. Trying to make a living and live in a society geared to suck you dry of every cent you have is not easy. When I am down, I reach for my guitar to help lift me back up. And now that the Creator is back in my life and at the controls things will be better. As musicians we make sacrifices for our music because we believe in our music, and ourselves. It is important to dream and stick to those dreams. Never, never, never quit, just hang in there because if you truly love it you won’t quit.

These songs on this recording are a result of the persistence and faith inside us. My brother Kevin and I, putting our mind, body and spirit into these sounds of peace. It is a gift for you all and I hope you enjoy it through the years.

Musically yours and I thank you all for listening.

Ray Tutaj Jr.

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