After writing, playing a lot of these songs out live for people on the road in our travels, marathon recording sessions and lots of guitar playing – the third full length album of original songs is here. It was important to me to finish this project, especially now in 2020. The more acoustic driven nature of the album, at least to my ears, fits a more stripped down lifestyle – which in some way or another, we all have now. I hope the music hits your ears in the right ways like it does mine and I hope the vibrating guitar strings bring a smile to your face. Like they do mine!
First off, a big thanks to Steve Pierson for his tireless work on the album!!
Also a big thanks to Amanda (12 years!?! You are amazing!) and my friends and family for their support and inspiration.
This album is for all the essential workers who include restaurant, hospital, emergency services, and many more – I hope the acoustic guitar and these songs bring some peace and joy to your ears and hearts. Thank you for your bravery!!
This album is in the pure acoustic spirit of my songwriting. I am really proud of it and the songs on it.
A quick piece of a song I am working on: Still Here
” I’ll see your face as the sun goes down,
And if I’m still here, then you’re still around
They say what’s lost can not be found,
But if I’m still here, then you’re still around “
With all the loss circulating and the heaviness of the current atmosphere, it is important we remember those who inspired us and who have passed on and let their memory give us strength and direction. Their memories are more than a memory if you let them be, they are a part of you. They inspire different parts of you. May those brave people who stood up against blatant injustice with a true heart, a gentle spirit and true grit keep inspiring the best in all of us.
They will still be here, as long as we are still around.
Bobo agrees. The chaos happening outside is beyond our individual control.
My personal contribution to the current state of things is calmness and kindness. I know yours is, too!
Every single day there is a long list of things for all of us to be grateful for. If you ate today, be grateful. If you took a shower today, be grateful. These are gifts that not everyone gets. It is important to remember that, especially as it gets hot and everyone is all pissed off and work/life/everything has slowed to a crawl… hold on to and grow your grateful list. Believe me, it works in getting you through the hard times AND it will work to keep you balanced during the good times! And there will be and still are, good times. Make no mistake about that!! Gratefulness is an excellent tool in the arsenal and will get you further on your journey than any other weapon I know of.
I try to think of things like this: The dumbest person in those crowds on TV is all of us at one point or another – even if you have to go back to being an infant to match the seemingly low cognitive levels – we have all been there! So, judge not less you be judged, we’ve all been dummies. In the end, we are all creations of the universe experiencing itself on a rock hurtling through the vastness of infinite space and time. Pretty awesome. We should be figuring out ways to enjoy this experience collectively, inspiring and lifting each other up. We’re only here for a little while…
So, even though the question we are collectively pondering is getting all garbled up right now, the answer is still clear: LOVE.
Try it. Pick your polar political or social opposite and try picturing ways you love them. This is not an easy exercise! But, it rocks. Because if you really do it, at the end of it – you are far less pissed off. You realize that they are your fellow neighbors, family, friends, countrymen – whatever you want to call it – this is all us. We can, have and will be better.
Change is inevitable. Destruction, violence and chaos are not. What it all comes down to is you. Make it a good day out there for you and most importantly, in any way you can, for someone else.
The starry gravel roads of The Milky Way are bright this month. I get outside at night and go see what I can see. It is awe inspiring and helps put our collective problems into a greater perspective for me. You have to be humble in the face of such vastness. So much energy from trillions of stars burning bright enough for us to see the light millions of lightyears away here on Earth. Incredible!!!
The space station has been flying over lately (you can always google to check your local space station flyover times!) and my friends, family and I all run outside to watch it from our respective homes. A fun way to connect with people and do a shared activity, even when you are miles away from each other. So that’s been fun!!
I am posting a couple of shots of The Milky Way I took one hot August night. Actually, it was last night! Haha! I hope you find the images as inspiring and motivating as I do.
From the Gravel Roads is performing well on Spotify thanks to people checking out the album and adding it to their playlists. Grateful for the plays! There is a link at the bottom of this post to the song I wrote on the road and you might remember me posting about in the blog, “I Told You”. Hope you enjoy the music!! It is all a labor of love.
I am playing guitar as much as ever, eager to play for smiling faces in new places again one day ~ for now though, I am grateful to be able to play at all and for all of you reading this!! Thank you for being my friend (travelin’ down the road and back again). I love you all.
Make it a good day out there, what it all comes down to is – YOU!
My sister’s and I share the same mother, but have different biological fathers. Their father remarried a woman who had a son from her previous marriage – a son named Clayton. Clayton would come to our house fairly often to play with his step-sisters and their brother, me! He was a few years older than me and I can’t describe how much I looked up to him. He was handsome, funny, calm and so smart – everything I wasn’t!! He would always wait for me if we were out in a group at the baseball park and everyone else started running ahead. They were all older and had longer legs! I simply couldn’t keep up. He would put his arm around me and walk with me to go get a snow cone. Everyone else who knew me seemed to think I was a pest at that age, but not Clayton. He was one of my first friends who were not family (thus not forced to be friends… ha) yet somehow, through hoops and marriages, he was family. I had two sisters who I love so much! But, I wanted a brother so bad and through them, I sort of got one for awhile.
It was a great time in my life, the late 80s early 90s. There were family and neighborhood BBQ’s. Baseball games. Pizza parlor dinners after the games with the arcade and all-you-can-eat salad bar. It was a special moment in time. As time does though, it begins to fade and slip into something else.
So, as the natural but unwelcomed progression of things go when you are young and have no control, things began to change. It seemed to me that at one point we were hanging with Clayton a lot. Then as kids headed into middle and high school we would all be left together to play less and less. Perhaps he even moved away at some point when his mother was no longer married to my sister’s father, I honestly don’t remember. I just know for what now seems like a brief and vitally important window of time in my life, we were able to hang out a lot.
When Clayton got to high school he was a rock star. Just an unreal athlete and effortlessly charming young man. His GPA? Well they say you can not have it all, but to me, Clayton did. And brains were there too. 4.2 GPA (I did not know at the time you could have a GPA over 4.0!) at the time of his graduation from high school. The guy had it all.
When murmurs about Clayton being sick began to circulate in the family, I don’t remember believing them. He was too strong and too young. He was in high school and I wouldn’t see him much as I wasn’t in high school yet, but I would see him time to time. I just simply couldn’t imagine a reality where the guy I looked up to so much was sick.
Reality never really cares what we think of it and in fact Clayton was sick. This strong, handsome, kind and funny young man died the week of his high school graduation. An accomplished academic, athlete and deeply loved person whose flame was extinguished so early in life because his light shined that bright.
I believe his light still shines. Through all the people that knew him and loved him.
I still wish I could be more like Clayton. What would he think of me? Have I done enough in my life to help someone else feel as empowered and special as he made me feel? Have I done enough to stand up for injustice, against racism and for equality?
As I write this, I feel Clayton’s arm around me once again. Slowly waiting for me to catch up. To follow my heart and to be the best I can be. To look for and find answers.
I do stand up against brutality and hate. Against injustice.
And I stand up for love.
I am not going to go over the racism Clayton faced while growing up in a small town in northern California. I don’t need to. He rose above those tired ideas while he was here on Earth and blew past the people who held them in every category a person can be judged on.
He rose above tired, old ideas… When can we collectively all say the same?
We are one people. One heart. Let’s get through this turbulent time hand in hand, together.
Let all of our voices be heard spreading love, not hate. Spreading Peace, not violence. Let mine be on record declaring loud enough for Clayton to hear me clearly: BLACK LIVES MATTER.