Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Innocence is Forever Fleeting

Innocence is Forever Fleeting

My beautiful son, 
I wish I could view the world through your eyes
Innocence is forever fleeting
all day, everyday
May love be your anchor.

The perfect storm has taken me
but provided the waters for you to be 
My tears cannot wash away your troubles
nor will they erase my faults
but let them fill your well
so they may cushion your fall
let them hydrate your strength
my beautiful son.

I wish I could see the world through your eyes
Whatever was good in me now is with you
True gifts cannot be wrapped
nor purchased with gold
They stem from hearts, spreading through souls
but innocence is forever fleeting
all day, everyday
May love be your contribution, my beautiful son.

I bear the blame for the burdens you will carry
Treat the world with kindness
regardless its rotation
Never lose sight of your most precious dreams
be the change you want to see
Tolerate with the knowledge, evil exists
resist it with your entire existence
and may you carry on
my beautiful son.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards"
---Soren Kierkegaard

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Entitled to Our Ignorance

Entitled to Our Ignorance

We are a culture of entitlement.  Let me be clear, I am not referring to entitlement programs put forth by policy.  No, I am referring to the overall belief of personal entitlement.  As a culture, we have determined, generation after generation, that we are entitled.  We are entitled to pick which Scripture we want to follow, which laws we think are unnecessary and which laws we expect others to obey.  We believe we are entitled to pick who we will treat kindly and who we will exclude.  We believe we are entitled to dream up our own facts without proof or research.  We have become a culture who is entitled to our ignorance.

Most of us were raised to believe that we are special just because we were born.  We have been programmed to believe that if we put our mind to it, we can accomplish anything.  We were raised to believe that there are absolutes in life.  No wonder our society has a difficult time with disappointment.  We were never told that failure was even possible.  Maybe others can fail, but not me.  I have God on my side.

Scripture states that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  We get “road rage” when someone cuts us off on public roads but expect people to understand when we break in line at the grocery, movie theatre, or in traffic.  We lie without understanding that there is consequence.  We get angry when people lie to us. We segregate society based on our own bias.  We demonize people who speak their mind and in the same breath, we will defend our freedom of speech. We then turn around and try to sell them on our beliefs and then are offended when they do not succumb to our judgement.   Judge not, that you be not judged.  If we are to quote Scripture, then by God, we’d better be living by it.  

Some are so righteous to believe that what is wrong with our society today is that we have turned our back on God.  OK. Let us go back to the days when God was at the forefront of our society.  Remember those days?  I know that the native Americans remember those days.  I’m positive that the slaves remember those days.  I would bet my life that the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who gave theirs in the Civil War remember those days. How about the innocent black people who were raped, murdered, segregated, and lynched?  I know they remember those days.  Oh, the good ol’ days when God was politically correct.  We were all peaceful, loving, do-gooders who were doing God’s will.  Of course we were doing God’s will, God was on our side.

We are a society entitled to illegally downloading music from the internet although that is classified as stealing.  We are entitled to driving ten miles an hour over the speed limit because we have a lot to get done.  We are a society entitled to celebrating in public our own religion but no one else’s.  We are entitled to our misinformed beliefs on climate change, although, scientists and facts tell us that the truth is known.  We are a society entitled to our guns, even though we take no personal responsibility for the tragedies that have occurred.  We are a part of an entitled culture.
There is good news though.  There is hope. Entitlement is an illness that we can overcome.  Entitlement is a mistake that we can fix.  Entitlement is a plague that can be cured.  It can be cured if we just changed one word in our culture.  If, instead of entitlement, we were to be a culture of responsibility.  Responsibility for our speech.  Responsibility for our actions.  Responsibility for our history and our future.  We have a responsibility to our children.  We have a responsibility to our planet.  And above all, we have a responsibility to our fellow human beings.  Knowledge is responsibility. 

Maybe, if we strived to be a culture of responsibility, we would find it easier to forgive.  Maybe, if we strived to be a culture of responsibility, we would find it easier to change.  Maybe, if we strived to be a culture of responsibility, we would find it easier to love.  Maybe, if we were responsible for each other, we would finally take responsibility for ourselves.  Maybe, just maybe, we would then finally take responsibility of our ignorance.

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.”
- Bob Dylan

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy
Bill Doss, co-founder of The Elephant 6 Recording Company and member of the psychedelic indie rock group, Olivia Tremor Control, has died today.  I was extraordinarily fortunate to watch him perform just four days ago at The Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA.  The band was phenomenal but my attention focused heavily on Bill Doss.  I sat in my seat watching and admiring this man that I knew very little about.  My thoughts were based in amazement and also envy.  Here was a man living out so many of my dreams in one night of his life.  I wouldn’t have believed anyone if they had told me that he would die in four days.
It’s far too easy to get lost in the hustle of everyday life.  Daily, I find myself worrying about where my next gig will be, how to finance my next release, how to accomplish my goals, not to mention the hours I spend out of each day practicing my trade.  I believe those daily responsibilities are extremely important to my financial future as well as my personal well being.  I also believe that it is not an either/or situation.  There is always extra time during the day to ask questions and learn more about the people in my life.  Sometimes the ones that are the closest are also the most mysterious.  
I have family members who have told me how much they disapprove of my lifestyle and life choices.  These same family members have seldom asked about my life.  Usually the conversations I have with them are based on what they are doing, what they are thinking, and how to solve their petty problems.  Yet, they assume that they know who I am and what I stand for just because I am a musician.  Their assumptions are based solely on what they hear on T.V., what their small world view tells them, and the myths that continue to follow every hard working musician.  All it would take is a moment of interest for them to find out how I spend every waking minute of my day.  
If I were to die today, these same people would, no doubt, tell their friends how proud they were of me for living my life the way I wanted.  But they wouldn’t know what it was that I spent my life doing.  Making records?  Playing music?  Those are surface answers.  The real stories come from what those words actually hold.  I would die without them knowing a thing about me.  I would die along with my story. 
No one knows exactly what goes on in someone else’s life unless you ask them.  I have spent this entire day thinking about how many people are in my life and how many of them I actually know.   I began to feel horribly about myself until I realized that I can change.  I can start asking more questions and engaging more with the people I love.  I, too,  possess the power of knowing.  
If I were to die today, who would care?
My point is that life is chaos.  Life is unpredictable.  Don’t wait, get to know the people who are important to you.  

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."

--Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


8 days, 8 shows...  Over the course of the last two weeks Thomas Warren and I went out  in support of our latest release, Buffalo EP/Kettle & Crow DVD.  By all accounts this tour was a success.   The shows all went off without a hitch, the car and trailer made it, and we arrived back home in good health.  It was exhausting, exciting and like many of our other tours, it rained for the majority of the time.  Although the rain was a nuisance at times, it provided a lot of shade from the hot sun. 
Over the last five years, we’ve traveled many miles.  We’ve met many great people along the way, and have made even more memories that will last the rest of my life.  I want to thank the ones that made this trip such an enjoyable business venture:
Thomas Warren  - Thank you my friend for all the hours you drove the old tour bus.  Thank you for all the help loading and unloading the trailer.  Thank you for great conversation and thank you for being such a great travel companion.  You made the tour easier!  I look forward to many more tours with you.... rd4l.
Mike Creager (Capture Music Inc.) - Thank you for the support and help that you provided us before, during, and after the tour.  You are a great friend and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being apart of the CMI family!  
Nelson Wells, Bill Benson, Alyssa DeHayes, Shil Patel, Steve Hendriksen (Team Clermont) -  Thank you all for your help and support. You have helped us reach so many people with our music and you guys continue to provide support and friendship.  Team Clermont holds a special place in my heart... I greatly appreciate being apart of the Team Clermont family!
Eric Smith (Killer Meteor) - Thank you my friend for performing in Lexington with us and providing us with a place to stay.  I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and getting to know you and your brother.  I look forward to working with you in the future.  You are such a great talent and I was honored to share the stage with you.
Alias Records - Thank you for the free place to stay while on the road.  I enjoyed meeting you and getting the opportunity to check out the farm, horses, and bamboo!  Thinking about Charlie, Timber, and the other dogs provided many smiles along the way!
Sara Leah Pihakis - First of all, it was so great seeing you again.  I still can’t believe how long it had been since the last time we saw each other.  You continue to be a great friend and a beautiful human being.  Thank you for your support and thank you so much for providing us with a place to sleep!  Thank you for all the new music you gave us for our long drive to Richmond!  My favorites so far are Akron/Family and Megafaun.
Allie Weiner - Ohio just wouldn’t be the same without seeing you!  Thank you so much for all of your support.  I look forward to seeing you again next time we are in your neck of the woods.
Josh Eagle and The Harvest City - Thank you so much for all the work you did to make sure our show in Cincinnati went well.  I couldn’t have done it without you and I greatly appreciate it.  Hope to see you soon!
Mac Rowe, Dave Watkins (Dogs on Main Street/ Dave Watkins) - Thank you for all of your help in making Richmond a memorable evening.  You guys are extremely talented musicians and I was thrilled to be on the same bill with you.  I look forward to more shows together!
Daniel Beckham, Slade Baird (Pullman Strike/ Old Milwaukee) - Thank you so much for all of the work you did to make sure our night in Charlotte went well!  I look forward to more shows together and I wish you both the best of luck with all that you do.
Christina Nunez - Over the years you have become such a good friend.  Thank you for all of your support, help, and friendship.  Thank you so much for providing us with a roof over our heads in Charlotte!  I enjoyed the late night conversations and the Tequila Sunrise... I look forward to the next time we get the opportunity to hang out!  Please tell Sgt. Pepper hello for me.
Adam Klein, John Gladwin (Adam Klein and The Wild Fires, The Last Tycoon) - Thank you guys for all of the work you did to help with our Athens show.  It was a fantastic evening and a great way for us to end the tour!  I hope we can do it again real soon in Athens, Birmingham, or anywhere else!
Alia Ghosheh -  Thank you for your continued support!  Thank you so much for your patience as well.  Athens was our last stop on the tour and the show was slow to get started.  I greatly appreciate you and your time... I hope to see you next time!
I would also like to thank everyone who contributed to the tour, the ones of you who followed our progress on instagram, facebook, twitter, and the other social media platforms.  Thank you to all the venues and bookers who helped us piece this tour together, and a special thanks to all of you who came out to support us... we couldn’t have done this without you!
The Venues:
Barley’s Taproom - Knoxville, TN
Green Lantern - Lexington, KY
Baba Budans - Cincinnati, OH
The Camel - Richmond, VA
Tipsy Teapot - Greenville, NC
The Cave - Chapel Hill, NC
The Chop Shop - Charlotte, NC
The Flicker Theatre - Athens, GA
I look forward to seeing you all again real soon!