Monday, March 30, 2015

Reading Hendrix on Hendrix: Interviews and Encounters with Jimi Hendrix. Edited by Steven Roby.

Packed full of gems, such as golden underwear...........

Jimi was asked about Donovan in 1967.

"He’s nice— kinda sweet! He’s a nice little cat in his own groove, all about flowers and people wearing golden underwear. I like Donovan as a person, but nobody is going to listen to this “love” bit. I like Dylan’s music better because it’s more earthy and live. “Mellow Yellow” is slang in the States for really groovy. “Sunshine Superman” means he can get his girl— anyway, that’s my interpretation. I’d like to play some sessions behind Dylan. His group ought to be a little more creative. These days everybody thinks everybody else has to have trips, and people are singing about trips. Like the Byrds when they made “Eight Miles High,” it was just about a plane journey, and you do get a good feeling up there. They were even trying to ban “Green, Green Grass of Home” back in the States."

Yes folks, Green, Green Grass of Home, was quite the radical drug song back in the day.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Here is a great example of enticing the reader with the first few sentences.

The first paragraph of Lincoln Child's book Deep Storm.

It looked, Peter Crane thought, like a stork: a huge white stork, rising out of the ocean on ridiculously delicate legs. But as the helicopter drew closer and the outline sharpened against the sea horizon, this resemblance gradually fell away. The legs grew sturdier, became tubular pylons of steel and pre-stressed concrete. The central body became a multilevel superstructure, studded with flare stacks and turbines, festooned with spars and girders. And the thin, necklike object above resolved into a complex crane-and-derrick assembly, rising several hundred feet above the superstructure.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Songtown is a great site that offers some valuable advice. Check it out.

6 keys to writing compelling creative songs.
Clay Mills

Let’s face it, there’s nothing better than playing a song for an audience, a publisher, or a friend and having it move them. Excite them. Make them dance. Or leave them tearing up. As writers, we want to reach out and touch people with our songs. As a professional songwriter, I have written many, MANY songs that, for one reason or another, have failed to move people in the slightest. I have also been blessed to have other songs reach millions and sell millions of records. Over the years, I’ve compiled a checklist that helps me move people more consistently with my songs. On a good day, I’m lucky to get these elements firing on all cylinders.

1. Believability. This might be the number one thing I check and recheck as I write a song. Asking yourself, “Is this believable?” is essential to writing a compelling song. “Does it feel real?” This seems like a simple thing to master, but it’s perhaps the hardest. Great actors want to make their acting seem so effortless that it feels they are NOT acting. And great writers have a knack for making a song feel “unwritten.”

2. Bring Something New to the Party. If you study great writers and artists throughout history, you will see a consistent pattern emerge: they were unafraid to incorporate the old with the new, to mix styles together that were not mixed before, and to stretch the boundaries by bringing something new to party.

3. The Song is King. Often, writers sit down to write after a life event inspires and moves them to express it in a song. But also, they’re so tied to writing the song exactly as it happened in their story that they lose sight of where the song needs to go. The song will reveal it’s own story. Listen, and it will lead you to places you never thought possible. As a Hall of Fame songwriter once said, “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story!” The Song is always King.

4. Don’t Forget the Listener. Have you ever talked with someone, and you get the feeling they don’t care what you think or feel? They just go on and on about something that happened to them? Songs are a conversation between the writer/singer and the listener. Don’t be guilty of a one-sided conversation. Always keep in mind who you are writing the song for. What are they thinking and feeling when they hear your words and melody?

5. Improving On What You Have. Study, learn, and master the craft of writing. Nothing gets in the way of emotion moving a listener like technical mistakes. Learning to re-write and edit your songs can take them to the next level. Studying your craft and becoming a better writer is a lifetime journey. The more you master craft, the more consistently you will touch people with your songs.

6. Practice Subtraction Over Addition. Many writers pour their hearts and souls out on paper because they have so much to say. But great, compelling writing lives in the blank spaces. It’s about learning to say the most with the fewest words. Make each word have weight and importance, and realize what you leave out is just as powerful sometimes as what you leave in.

Hopefully, this list will save you some of the trial and error I suffered before realizing the importance of these keys.  Write On!  ~Clay

Friday, March 27, 2015

Through the Window of the All-Night Restaurant 
Nicholas Christopher 

across from the gas station
a bus stopped every ten minutes
under the blue streetlight
and discharged a single passenger.
Never more than one.
A one-armed man with a cane.
A girl in red leather.
A security guard carrying his lunch box.
They stepped into the light,
looked left, then right, and disappeared.
Otherwise, the street was empty,
the wind off the river gusting paper and leaves.
Then the pay phone near the bus stop
started ringing; for five minutes it rang,
until another bus pulled in
and a couple stepped off,
their hats pulled down low
The man walked up the street,
but the woman hesitated,
then answered the phone and stood
frozen with the receiver to her ear.
The man came back for her;
but she waved him away
and at the same moment her hat blew off
and skidded down the street.
The man followed it, holding his own hat,
and the woman began talking into the phone.
And she kept talking,
the wind tossing her hair wildly,
and the man never returned
and no more buses came after that.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jason Blume hits the nail on the head in this article.

                                                      Jason Blume

Writing lyrics that “show—don’t tell” is one of the basics of songwriting, and is one of the first things taught in almost every songwriting class. But for many songwriters, it’s easier to write lyrics that state how the singer feels. For example: “My heart is filled with happiness”; or, “I’m lonely and my heart is broken.” But while these statements clearly express what the singer is feeling, these types of statements don’t typically evoke emotion in the listener.

By incorporating three elements—action, imagery, and detail—into your verse lyrics, you can write lyrics that tell a story. Note that this tool is primarily intended for verse lyrics. In songs containing choruses, the chorus lyrics tend to be more general. Their function is to be a summation of the concept and to hammer home the title. Telling the story is the domain of the verses.

A: Action

You might recall from elementary school that verbs are figures of speech that convey action or doing. By incorporating action words you ensure that you are avoiding simply stating feelings.

An easy way to include action is to identify the emotion you are hoping to evoke then ask yourself, “What would a person do if he or she were feeling this?”

Instead of saying, “I’m missing you and my heart is broken,” you might write lines that show what missing someone and being heartbroken looks like.

For example:
•I hug the pillow where you used to lay your head
•I clutch a tear-stained picture of you
•I drove to the club where we used to hang, but I couldn’t walk through that door
•I wipe the tears that keep running down my face

Note the action words—the verbs in the examples above: “hug,” “clutch,” “drove,” “walk,” and “wipe.”

Similarly, instead of saying, “I’m in love,” show what a person in love does by writing lyrics such as:
•I wrote your name and mine inside a heart
•I keep singing your name like a favorite song
•I read your text that said “I love you” at least a hundred times

The action words—the verbs in this example are: “wrote,” “singing,” and “read.”

Note that the first lyric examples never actually stated, “I miss you,” or “My heart is broken.” Nor did the second examples say, “I’m in love,” or “I’m happy.” They didn’t need to—because by “seeing” what the person in the song is doing the listeners are able to surmise how he or she feels.

To master the tool of incorporating action it can help to imagine you’re writing the script for a video, and the actors’ actions will be based solely on the words of your lyric. If you write, “my heart is breaking,” you have not told the actress what she is supposed to do to show this.

A listener cannot “see” what it looks like when a heart breaks. But if you write, “She fell to her knees as he packed his bag, and tears ran down her face”—this is something a listener can visualize. The actress knows that she is supposed to fall to her knees and cry.

I: Imagery

Imagery refers to things that be can seen. Words that convey images are nouns. Note that some nouns—such as “heartache,” “sadness,” “happiness,” and “joy”—do not represent things that are tangible. They are descriptions of emotional states. Effective use of imagery entails including words that describe things that can be seen or touched.

While you cannot see “heartbroken,” you can see the images and actions that convey that a person is heartbroken. For instance:
•He falls to his knees and lays flowers on her grave
•She sits in his chair and wipes her tears with a tissue
•He kisses her photo

The images in the examples above include: “knees,” flowers,” and “grave”; “tears” and “tissue”; “photo” and “lips.”

The inclusion of these images help to show that the character in the song is heartbroken. The listeners are better able to empathize with the character’s emotional state because the lyric allows them to envision the character and the items around them, as well as the action taking place.

By including tangible items in your lyrics—things such as: furniture, clothing, a car, a house, a specific place, food, and other concrete nouns, you enable your audience to enter your song.


Detail is the third component that will help you to show what is occurring—instead of telling how the singer or character in the song feels. By including adjectives and adverbs—or adjectival and adverbial phrases—you further describe the scene, allowing your listener to visualize it more clearly. The inclusion of detail also contributes to making your lyric unique and distinctive.

By adding detail to the examples above we can further engage listeners.
•He falls to his knees and lays flowers on her grave – or – He falls to his knees on the cold, muddy ground and lays white lilies from her garden on her grave
•She sits in his chair and wipes her tears with a tissue – or – She sits in his old rocking chair and wipes bitter tears with a wet, crumpled Kleenex
•He kisses her photo – or – He kisses the photo he took of her laughing that weekend they went camping at Reelfoot Lake

Instead of using words like “pretty” or “beautiful,” provide a description. What interests you more?

She could turn every head when she walked in the room
 She was the prettiest girl I’d ever seen
 More beautiful than any words could ever say Like she’d stepped right out of my wildest dream


She had a jet-black ponytail
 That curled around a butterfly tattoo
 Black stilletto heels, white string bikini top And eyes that could make a sky turn blue

Incorporating Brand Names

Incorporating brand names (i.e., Ray-Ban, Levis, Calvin Klein) and the names of businesses (i.e., McDonald’s, Walmart, Dairy Queen) can be an excellent way to infuse details into your lyrics. For example, countless songs have mentioned brands of cars such as Chevy, Ford, Mercury, Cadillac, and Mercedes-Benz——but is it legal? No—but you won’t be sued as long as you present the product or business in a positive light. Your song essentially becomes a free commercial.

Additional Hot Tips: Establish a Time and Location

Specifying a time when the action is taking place can help you to tell a story—instead of telling how the singer feels. A line of lyric such as, “It was 3 AM on a rainy winter night” almost demands that you continue the story—to describe what happened next.

A time doesn’t have to be exact. It could be:
•The hottest day of summer
•The September sun was right above my head
•It was the middle of the longest night of my life

Placing the character in a specific location is an additional tool that can help you to tell a story. Knowing where the action is taking place can also make it easier to include detail. Is the character in his or her bed? On a roller coaster? In a supermarket? At a nightclub? In an airport? At a restaurant? In a cabin in the woods?

•I was sitting in my truck
 Underneath a streetlight
 Outside the house that used to be ours

•The sun peeked above the ocean
 As I woke up on a beach in Waikiki

To view some lyrics that include exceptional use of details check out:
•I Drive Your Truck (recorded by Lee Brice; written by Jimmy Yeary, Connie Harrington, and Jessi Alexander)
•Last Friday Night (recorded by Katy Perry; written by Max Martin/Dr. Luke/Bonnie McKee/Katy Perry)
•Terms of My Surrender (recorded and written by John Hiatt)
•Irreplaceable (recorded by BeyoncĂ©; written by Amund Bjoerklund/Mikkel Eriksen/Tor Hermansen/BeyoncĂ© Knowles/ Espen Lind/Shaffer Smith)
•Night Changes (recorded by One Direction; written by Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, along with Jamie Scott, Julian Bunetta and John Ryan)

There are no rules in songwriting, and I’m not implying that you should never tell how you feel in a lyric. Countless songs have become hits without the benefit of this tool. But it’s an important tool to have in your proverbial toolbox.

Detailed stories filled with “pictures” are the cornerstone of the lyrics of Nashville’s current hits—but as you can see from the lyrics referenced above, this tool can help set your songs apart in every genre. Infusing your lyrics with A: action, I: imagery, and D: detail can be the ticket to deliver your lyrics to your listeners’ hearts—and your career to the next level.

Jason Blume is the author of This Business of Songwriting and 6 Steps to Songwriting Success (Billboard Books). His songs are on three Grammy-nominated albums and have sold more than 50,000,000 copies. One of only a few writers to ever have singles on the pop, country, and R&B charts, all at the same time—his songs have been recorded by artists including Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, the Gipsy Kings, Jesse McCartney, and country stars including Collin Raye (6 cuts), the Oak Ridge Boys, Steve Azar, and John Berry (“Change My Mind,” a top 5 single that earned a BMI “Million-Aire” Award for garnering more than one million airplays). In the past eighteen months he’s had three top-10 singles and a “Gold” record in Europe by Dutch star, BYentl, including a #1 on the Dutch R&B iTunes chart.

Jason’s songs have been included in films and TV shows including “Scrubs,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Assassination Games,” Disney’s “Kim Possible” “Dangerous Minds,” “Kickin’ it Old Skool,” “The Guiding Light,” “The Miss America Pageant,” and many more. Jason is in his nineteenth year of teaching the BMI Nashville Songwriters workshops. A regular contributor to BMI’s Music World magazine, he presented a master class at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (founded by Sir Paul McCartney) and teaches songwriting throughout the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, the U.K., Canada, Bermuda, and Jamaica.

After twelve years as a staff-writer for Zomba Music, Blume now runs Moondream Music Group. For additional information about Jason’s latest books, instructional audio CDs, and workshops visit

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Steps two and three of Jack Hardy's songwriting manifesto.

Step two. Get together with other writers once a week.

Not every other week. Not the first Tuesday of the month. Every week. This gives you a self-imposed deadline and a group of U.N. observers to enforce the deadline.

This group can also include other “kindred spirits.” Our group has included novelists, photographers, poets, painters, playwrights and actors. Make it fun. We always cook up a big pasta, people bring wine, beer or organic fruit juices (or whatever they think will help them enjoy the process).

This is also a mutual support group for this out-of-the-mainstream line of creativity we have collectively chosen to pursue. We cook together, we eat together, we drink together. We chat, socialize and have fun and then, and only then, do we play what we have created that week. If anyone hasn’t created that week they don’t play, however they can still participate.

Step three. True criticism focuses on what is being doe right.

Criticism is a harsh word. It can only come when there is a feeling of trust between the participants and only when the participants are intensely aware of where the artist is coming from and where the artist is attempting to go. If you get together with the same people every week you will develop this sort of intimate creative critical relationship where everyone is equally vulnerable and everyone is fully aware of each other’s capabilities so that one is not comparing one against the others but rather against what they are capable of and their own line of progress. This allows writers of all different levels of maturity to participate at whatever level they are currently at.

We rejoice in each other’s successes, minimize each other’s failures, and suggestions for improvement are specific and coming from a desire to see each other improve and write as well as we possibly can.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Step one of Jack Hardy's songwriting manifesto.

Sounds simple. It is and it isn't. Make that non-negotiable item on your calendar. No excuses. None. Jobs, kids, weddings, funerals, hurricanes. Still a song a week. If you write a song a week several things will happen.

1. You will improve. In spite of yourself you will improve.

2. It will force you to pay attention, to seek out things about which to write. To find metaphors on just what is interesting out of the seemingly mundane.

3. It will force you to take yourself less seriously, to not second guess yourself out of a good idea.

4. It will force you to take yourself more seriously. If you are going to call yourself a writer and think of yourself as a writer you must write.

5. It will take the pressure off you to expect everything you create to be great. If it fails it doesn't matter. There will be another one next week. Give yourself the right to fail.

6. It will force you to expand your horizons: to try styles and ideas you wouldn't have tried – and at least you will have written something.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Old Drop Zone
Patrick Thibeault 

The old drop zone is a holy place
 Warriors falling out the sky
 Like in the Book of Revelations
 God’s Airborne Warriors from the Sky

 For the Airborne elite 
 The drop zone is our bread and butter
 A place where the cherry make his real first jump 
Scared about his wits
 Don’t worry cherry; we are all scared with you
 You can see it in our face
 But we will still make fun of you

 The drop zone is also a place of healing
 For that paratrooper medic on the ground
 Treats the wounds that come before him
 Broken bones all sticking out

 The ghosts of my fellow airborne souls
 Also reside in this holy ground 
Many good jumpers lost their lives 
They love to haunt this place.

The old drop zone is a magical place
 For paratroopers like me
 They say that we are crazy to defy death
 But we do it anyway

Sunday, March 22, 2015

by Margaret Atwood 

It was my father taught my mother
how to dance.
I never knew that.
I thought it was the other way.
Ballroom was their style,
a graceful twirling,
curved arms and fancy footwork,
a green-eyed radio.

There is always more than you know.
There are always boxes
put away in the cellar,
worn shoes and cherished pictures,
notes you find later,
sheet music you can’t play.

A woman came on Wednesdays
with tapes of waltzes.
She tried to make him shuffle
around the floor with her.
She said it would be good for him.
He didn’t want to.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Most of my writing was a clash between fantasy and reality and I felt you had to use fantasy to illuminate some aspects of reality. Even the Bible does that. You have to give people something to dream on."

Jimi Hendrix

Friday, March 20, 2015

A. R. Braun offers some great advice.

Beginning writers often write description without stopping to think, when they should take their time and let the exposition flow.

Instead of simply writing, “Tim walked toward the door, then stopped. He freaked out at what he saw. He trembled. Then he ran.” …

One could write, “Tim stopped on a dime, his heart climbing into his throat. He trembled as much as a palm tree in a hurricane, and his heart crashed against his ribcage as if wanting out. His soulmate had been reduced to fodder for the worms; he’d never realized how much blood could come out of a human body. To say rivulets of crimson lifejuice flowed across his carpet would’ve been an understatement. Copper-scented blood was everywhere: on the walls, on the ceiling, and it soaked the carpeting through and through. Tim opened his mouth, but only a silent scream, strangled in horror, came out. Instead of rushing the sinewy beast—tall as the ceiling, covered roundabout with hair, possessing snaggle teeth like knives, claws, and veiny, muscle-clad flesh—Tim found himself sprinting toward the backdoor. He’d never been confronted by a monster, and what was left of his sanity now drained from him.”

Obviously, the difference is staggering.

But how many writers stop and think before pouring out their ideas, which, in and of themselves, may be right on the money?

I prefer to take it a step further. Before writing a rough draft, I draw pictures of the characters. It makes my left brain work with my right brain, forging the tale I’d previously thought myself devoid of conjuring.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ecological Humble Pie
Matt West

We don't know
as much as we pretend.
A lot is show
and service to trend.

We repeat this.
Parrot that.
Never get the gist
of the barren facts.

We are not the masters.
We are not kings.
The earth will turn long after
we have left the scene.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A few writing quotes to upload this morning.

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.” 
 Norbet Platt

I like the feel of a number 2 pencil on paper.

“Writing is finally a series of permissions you give yourself to be expressive in certain ways. To invent. To leap. To fly. To fall. To be strict without being too self-excoriating. Not stopping too often to think it’s going well (or not too badly), simply to keep rowing along.”
  Susan Sontag

“If you don’t write when you don’t have time for it, you won’t write when you do have time for it.”
–Katerina Stoykova Klemer

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Painting The Barn
Ted Kooser

The ghost of my good dog, Alice, 

sits at the foot of my ladder, 

looking up, now and then touching 

the bottom rung with her paw. 

Even a spirit dog can’t climb 

an extension ladder, and so, 

with my scraper, bucket, and brush, 

I am up here alone, hanging on 

 with one hand in the autumn wind, 

high over the earth that Alice 

knew so well, every last inch, 

and there she sits, whimpering 

in just the way the chilly wind 

whines under the tin of the roof – 

Sweet Alice, dear Alice, good Alice, 

waiting for me to come down. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

I know it's four days away from the official start of spring but, this fall picture has a lot of words hidden in it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The writing prompt was "lost". For unknown reasons sad songs are easier to write. 99.8% of the songwriters I know agree.

I've Lost My Love   
Walt Sample
Living in a vacuum 
Unzipping dead dreams 
My hearts in a tight noose 
I’m hanging in-between 
The bright joy of yesterday 
And tomorrows painful grey

I've lost my love and I don’t know what to do 
There’s a bleeding hole in my lonely soul 
That the cold wind blows through 
Ou ou ou 

Her Lilac fragrance lingers
Throughout this tomb like home
Tickling like icy fingers
Reminding me I’m alone
Nothin' left but memories
And a dying family tree

I've lost my love and I don’t know what to do 
There’s a bleeding hole in my lonely soul 
That the cold wind blows through 
Ou ou ou 

Our Picture’s on the mantel
Wedding dress swan white
I don’t think I can handle
Living without my wife
Exiled in a muddy fog
Wrestling somber thoughts

I've lost my love and I don’t know what to do 
There’s a bleeding hole in my lonely soul 
That the cold wind blows through 
Ou ou ou 

Living in a vacuum 
Unzipping dead dreams 
My hearts in a tight noose 
I’m hanging in-between 
The bright joy of yesterday 
And tomorrows painful grey

I’ve lost my love and I don’t know what to do 
There’s a bleeding hole in my lonely soul 
That the cold wind blows through 
Ou ou ou 

                       Her Lilac fragrance lingers                        

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A birthday song from Jefferson Airplane.
i don't think 30 is old.......................

Grace Slick

Lather was thirty years old today,
They took away all of his toys.
His mother sent newspaper clippings to him,
About his old friends who'd stopped being boys.
There was Harwitz E. Green, just turned thirty-three,
His leather chair waits at the bank.
And Seargent Dow Jones, twenty-seven years old,
Commanding his very own tank.
But Lather still finds it a nice thing to do,
To lie about nude in the sand,
Drawing pictures of mountains that look like bumps,
And thrashing the air with his hands.

But wait, oh Lather's productive you know,
He produces the finest of sound,
Putting drumsticks on either side of his nose,
Snorting the best licks in town,
But that's all over...

Lather was thirty years old today,
And Lather came foam from his tongue.
He looked at me eyes wide and plainly said,
Is it true that I'm no longer young?
And the children call him famous,
what the old men call insane,
And sometimes he's so nameless,
That he hardly knows which game to play...
Which words to say...
And I should have told him, "No, you're not old."
And I should have let him go on...smiling...babywide.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

All winter, the earth was sealed 

by a lid of frost, like the layer 

of paraffin over the apple jelly, 

or the white disk of chicken fat 

on soup left to cool, but now, 

in cold tin sheds with dripping roofs, 

old tractors warm their engines, 

burning the feathery mouse nests 

from red exhausts, rattling the jars 

 of cotter pins, shaking gaskets 

on nails and stirring the dirty rags 

of cobwebs. 

— from “A Morning in Early Spring” by Ted  Kooser.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Review of Bill Kirchen's UK tour that started a few days ago.......

Half Moon Putney

28th February 2015

Legendary American musician makes his return to the UK. Louder Than War’s Craig Chaligne reviews his London show.

Bill Kirchen is a veteran of the US Americana scene that has been criss crossing the US for almost 40 years. He was at first a member of Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen. After the band disbanded in 1976, he formed the Moonlighters who built a close working relationship with Pub Rock stalwart Nick Lowe. They  included in their ranks piano player Austin De Lone, a former member of Eggs Over Easy, the band that kick-started the Pub Rock movement in London. Kirchen spend most of the eighties as a session man for like minded musician (Gene Vincent, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello) and since the mid-nineties he has been concentrating on his own career, regularly putting out albums and clocking up in the region of 200 gigs per year.

The show at The Half Moon was the second night of his UK tour and saw him backed by a rhythm section composed of Paul Riley on bass (another veteran of the pub-rock scene who has played with Van Morrison, Nick Lowe, Johnny Marr…) and Malcolm Mills on Drums. Mills and Riley are also the label bosses of Proper Records, the label that releases Kirchen’s albums. The keys were handled by De Lone who provided also much of the evenings funniest comments. Kirchen, a more than amiable host, seem genuinely pleased by the healthy crowd that had made its way to the “Half Moon Saloon” to see him work his magic on his Telecaster (and his baritone Danelectro). The setlist was heavily reliant on his last three releases for Proper. His paean to the Fender Telecaster “The Hammer Of The Honky Tonk Gods” from 2006’s eponymous album was one of the highlights as was a guest spot by Nick Lowe on a cover of “Seven Nights To Rock”. Austin De Lone sang lead on a few numbers including a funky version of “I’m Gonna Put A Bar In The Back Of My Car And Drive Myself To Drink” that featured some excellent bass work courtesy of Paul Riley. Kirchen is known as the “King Of Dieselbilly” and even if it was the more uptempo numbers that got the crowd going (“Get A Little Goner”,”Too Much Fun”), songs like “Rocks In The Sand” and “Skid Row In My Mind” proved that his songwriting was far from being one-dimensional. He closed the show with his most famous song “Hot Rod Lincoln” that enables to display his talent for guitar mimicking and his sense of humour and an excellent version of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin'”

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Sing the Blues

A Primer for Beginners

Most Blues begin with "Woke up this mornin'." It is usually bad to start the Blues with "I got a good woman" unless you stick something mean in the next line.

  Example: "I got a good woman with the meanest dog in town."

Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something else that rhymes. Sort of.

  Example: "Got me a good woman with the meanest dog in town...oh, yeah!...Got me a good woman with the meanest dog in town. He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and he weigh 'bout 500 pound."

Blues cars are Chevys, Cadillacs, and broke down trucks circa 1957. Other acceptable Blues transportation are a Greyhound bus or a "southbound train." Note: A BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, mini-van, or sport utility vehicle is NOT a Blues car.

"Walkin'" plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does "fixin' to die" and "findin' a good woman."

Teenagers can't sing the Blues. Only adults sing the Blues. Adulthood, when it comes to the Blues, means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.

You can have the Blues in New York City or Los Angeles but not in New Haven or Phoenix. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just a minor depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the Blues, but Abilene, Mobile, and New Orleans are ok in a pinch.

The following colors do NOT belong in the Blues: antique violet, champagne, mauve, taupe and peach.

Blues is not a matter of color, however Tiger Woods can't sing the blues; Sonny Liston can. 

You can't have the Blues in an office building or a shopping mall; the lighting is all wrong. Other bad places for the Blues: Kmart, gallery openings, and the supermarket. Good places for the Blues: a jail house, your mama's back porch, beside the highway, bottom of a rot-gut whiskey glass, or a solitary room in a fleabag hotel.

No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit or anything by Ralph Lauren.

Do you have the right to sing the Blues?

Yes, if:
   • your first name is a southern state. Example: Georgia
   • you're blind
   • you shot a man in Memphis.

No, if: 
   • you're deaf
   • anyone in your family drives a Lotus 
   • you have a trust fund.

Yanni, Julio Iglesias, and Barbara Streisand may not sing the Blues. Ever. 

If you ask for water and your baby gives you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other Blues beverages are:
   • malt liquor 
   • Irish whiskey 
   • muddy water 
   • Thunderbird wine 
   • one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer. At the same time.

Blues beverages are NOT:
   • a mai-tai 
   • a glass of Chardonnay 
   • a Yoo Hoo (all flavors)

If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is also a Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is NOT a Blues death if you die during a liposuction treatment.

Some Blues Names for women: Sadie, Louise, Bessie, and Baby.
 Women's names which are NOT Blues names: Heather, Jennifer, Emily, and Alexandra.

Some Blues Names for men: Joe, Willie, Joe Willie, Hank, and Po' Boy. 
 Men's names which are NOT Blues names: Geoffrey, Damian, and Keith.

People with names like Sierra or Sequoia will NOT be permitted to sing the Blues, no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

Need a Blues Name? Try this mix and match starter kit:
   • name of physical infirmity (Blind, Asthmatic, etc.) or character flaw (Dishonest, Low Down, etc.)
   • or substitute name of a fruit (Lemon, Fig, Persimmon); or use first -and- fruit names
   • finish with the last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)

  Examples: Low Down Persimmon Johnson; One-Handed Fig Fillmore.

Need a Blues instrument? Play one or more of the following & alternate with husky voice riffs:
   • harmonica
   • gih-tar
   • fiddle
   • sax
   • pie-anner (in need of tuning)

Now, you're ready to sing the Blues... unless you own a computer.



Monday, March 9, 2015

by Jane Kenyon 

There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep mid afternoon.
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.

It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Daniel Quinn give us some great advice.

“Don’t wait. Writers are the only artists I know of who expect to get somewhere by waiting. Everyone knows you have to dance to be a dancer, you have to sing to be a singer, you have to act to be an actor, but far too many people seem to believe that you. don’t have to write to be a writer. So, instead of writing, they wait. Isaac Asimov said it beautifully in just six words: “It’s the writing that teaches you.” Writing is what teaches you. Writing is what leads to “inspiration.” Writing is what generates ideas. Nothing else-and nothing less. Don’t meditate, don’t do yoga, don’t do drugs. Just write.” 

He wrote one of my favorite thought provoking books, Ishmael.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"Music is a safe type of high."
Jimi Hendrix

"Wearing an Indian headdress and hanging around
with your buddy is a safe type of high."
Walt Sample

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Invention of Heaven
Dean Young

The mind becomes a field of snow
but then the snow melts and dandelions
blink on and you can walk through them,
your trousers plastered with dew.
They're all waiting for you but first
here's a booth where you can win

a peacock feather for bursting a balloon,
a man in huge stripes shouting about
a boy who is half swan, the biggest
pig in the world. Then you will pass
tractors pulling other tractors,
trees snagged with bright wrappers

and then you will come to a river
and then you will wash your face.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

One of my favorite Chris Hillman tunes. 

The Desert Rose Band kicked some serious butt.

The Price I Pay
Chris Hillman

They tell me I'm the talk of the town,
 I've been staying home alone every night.
 It's nobody's business where I'm bound,
 As if to be alone and lonely just ain't right.

On a old freight train moving down the line,
 I'm counting each day and every minute you're away.
 I've never been the stay-at-home kind,
 But for you, it's just the price that I pay.

It's just the price I pay for loving you;
 The price I pay for needing you so much.
 The price I pay for leavin' you,
 And putting all this time between us.

I knew I was in trouble when we met,
 Dark clouds all around me, I couldn't find the light.
 These hard times ain't hard to forget;
 Now I believe in love at first sight.

I put my heart and soul on the line,
 I know that love is with me every day.
 Your picture always there on my mind,
 But for you it's just the price that I pay.

It's just the price I pay for loving you;
 The price I pay for needing you so much.
 The price I pay for leavin' you,
 And putting all this time between us.

It's just the price I pay for loving you;
 The price I pay for needing you so much.
 The price I pay for leavin' you,
 And putting all this time between us

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

3 great opening lines.

All of that information for a penny.

Monday, March 2, 2015

In the mid '70s I drove my 65 Pontiac Le Mans convertible to my buddy's wedding in Charleston WV. I forgot to grab my 8 track case ( looked like a  thick brief case and held about 40 tapes ) so my tunes were limited to the tape already in the player, Movin' Toward Happiness by Mason Proffit. The most underrated band in history. This song is still haunting. Vivid scary pictures.

John Talbot & Terry Talbot

Far up in the foothills
Deep in Tennessee
I found her crumpled cabin
Where the wind can only breathe
I knocked upon the oaken door
And shuddered at my gloom
For scarcely had the night begun
When the clouds did shroud the moon
Her haggard face came forward
As whispered through the night
She asked if I would lead her
For she'd long since lost her eyes
She sat me down beside the fire
It's slowly died to coals
And outside tho the wind did scream
The cabin only moaned

And then she asked me questions
Of my parents and my place
To my reply I'd never known
A smile did crack her face
You see she said your mother died
As you did leave the womb
But left inside a twin did lie
A-clutchin at his tomb
And lo just then the cabin door went crashing on it's hinge
And just outside a women stood her hair like blackened fringe
Them that haunt, they see in me, she screamed and turned to run
Yet through the wind I heard her say the dead can bear no sons
Then the hag did stand again
She hobbled on her cane
Clutching at the knarled door she called my mothers name

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