Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jim & Jack's "Giveaway"

Yes, you could win a free set-up and maintenance visit to your favorite music store, repair center, luthier or repair person for your guitar!  Do you have a guitar that needs a little extra attention, maybe a good cleaning and oiling, a new set of strings and adjustment, so that it'll play great again?  Do ya, huh?  DO YOU?

Well you might just be the lucky one!  All you have to do is click on the graphic below, sign-in, and complete at least 1 of the qualifying options (we hope you'll choose more), and we'll choose a winner within 48 hours after the deadline - August 17, 2015 by 12:00am Central time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This 'giveaway' is co-sponsored by Jim Hurst and Jack Shannon.  Why?  We both love to play music on our guitars and know that getting a 'tune-up' is just the right thing sometimes.  It makes up want to keep playing and having fun all hours of the day and night, that what a good feeling and sounding guitar can do... inspire us!

It inspires us to play, take care of our guitars, take it to our local repair center to not only keep them in good order, but to support independent businesses.  That is important to us, and it sure helps the businesses out too.  Small businesses for sure, but big businesses too.

Come on, try your luck!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Question: Why do women (and men) enjoy and support denigrating lyrics in music? (long-ish)

As a musician and artist, I am always mindful of my musical efforts.  I search to find songs that express many things and offer a variety of story-lines and emotional content.  Some of it my own composition and writing, some from other sources.  It is a part of my own thoughts which reflect my upbringing and moral values.  I am a Christian.

I enjoy so many kinds of musical art for its musical content and production, the vast amount of great talent is constantly amazing to me.  I hear things that sprang forward from basements, family rooms, garages, and home studios.  And I hear other efforts that run the gamut all the way to major productions that I know takes a HUGE budget to accomplish.  Honestly, my appreciation runs the full range, but I almost always prefer the lesser budgeted musical efforts.

There's a rawness there that while is complete and beautiful, is kept from being polished to a high gloss / 'no imperfections' finish.  That seems too unrealistic to me.  And I find the attraction to beautiful music, real human kindness and loving sentiment, as well as haunting stories and even a murder ballad here and there.

That said, I am really amazed by the lack of 'love songs' in popular music.  Why are there almost no loving, respectful songs in music, especially popular/mainstream music?  Seriously, I'd like to know.

I've been thinking about this for some time now, and I am shocked at the vast amount of denigrating, insulting, abusive lyrics in mainstream music.  OK, go ahead and call me a curmudgeon, fogey, grandfather, what have you, I don't really care what you think of me... that's not the point here.

Here's one point: Where are all the love songs?
Music has had a long standing reputation of being a 'cupid's arrow' of sorts.

Songwriters and singers, musicians, and purveyors of same, have shared love notes through music as far back as the dawn of time (well, maybe - work with me here).

Back in the days before women had the right to vote, songs were sang in tribute, loving affection, and beckoning to the ladies to consider a ride on a bicycle, a carriage, a swing.  Invited to go on a picnic, to dance, out for dinner, and then almost pleading for their hand in marriage and to help make a baby and a family.  And even when the courtship parted ways, there were songs about how the man was not whole enough to continue, and couldn't unless she returned to him.  You know, loving courtship, romance, joyful tribute.

And while we are not old enough to know if there was ever a time -like the present- where women were sang about as sex toys, my guess is it never happened.  Not only sex toys, but talked down to as enslaved objects of sexual pleasure and only good enough for procreation of some self-appointed slave master/commander of a stable of concubines.  But I venture a guess to say it wasn't there.  It is now though.

Point #2:
Why is it that songs of violent actions toward anyone including law enforcement, gender, age, parts of the country, ethnicity, income or lack of income, are popular?  I don't mean popular at the local gathering of like-mindedness or regional watering holes... I mean national and international popularity!  Why? 

In order for something to be that popular and make that kind of money, somebody (LOTS of somebody's) has to like it enough to take their money and buy the product, attend live concerts, go to award shows, and have the music playing in homes, cars, personal audio devices, etc.  And the vast majority of these 'consumers/customers/victims/partners in crime' share this popular material with friends and neighbors.  Sometimes unwilling neighbors get assaulted with that so-called 'art'.

Point #3:  How is it women, especially young women, enjoy this?
OK. I know almost everyone doesn't enjoy or understand or tolerate what I try to do musically... no worries about an inflated ego here.  But one thing I do not do is intentionally insult women with my lyrics and music.  I do NOT.  But I know I am not popular, not everyone's 'cup of tea', I get it.  And I sometimes wonder why the people that actually like my musical effort, do say they like it and buy my recordings and come to my concerts.  I am THRILLED they are there!  Thank you all!

But (serious run-on sentence alert), how is it that after decades and centuries of toil and pain, abuse, second rated-ness, fighting (sometimes to the death) for the right to vote, work outside the home, be independent, be assured the ability to make choices to have a career/mother, or a single woman with a career/no mother, and make an equal wage and equal respect as their male counterparts (whew), that women support and enjoy these denigrating and insulting songs and attitudes?

I cannot fathom this.  I have zero ability to understand how these offenders of the human spirit - albeit through musical 'art' - not only continue this abuse to women and others, but do so while making mountains of money from these same victims.  These victims willingly give their money, time, and long lustful looks to these abusers, and actually are seen on videos and live stages being sex-toys/objects/slaves in support of these abusers.  Why?

Point #4:  How is it young men think this is ok?
Not only OK, but it is a goal to reach.  It is a right of passage, a level of dominance, another way to make oneself feel bigger, more important and more powerful than the lesser gender.  Than their own gender.  Than their own kind.  Than their own families and siblings.  Why do these males feel the need to abuse, feel superior, neglect women's rights, and really not respect or truly love women?

Point #5:  How did it get this way?
Is it mass media?  Is that the way it is supposed to be?  Do none of these people love their mothers?  Do they not understand that their mothers were once girls and young women, that young women will hopefully grow up to be mothers, or adult women desiring respect and dignity?

Are these young women thinking enough about their own self-worth long and serious enough to see the damage they're causing to themselves, to their own gender, families, and the insulting damage they're causing to the plight of all women?  Especially the reversing damage to those women who came before and fought for, earned, and gave them the freedoms and opportunities they are taking for granted... today?

I hope this can be stopped, and now.

Last point:  Young people - especially women, respect yourselves.
No one will respect you if you don't respect yourself.  If you don't respect yourselves, then think about respecting your mothers and sisters, all other women who came along before you, and seek counseling... you are special (yes you) and you need to be able to love and respect yourself.  Placing yourself in the role of a victim doesn't garner you any respect from anyone, and you won't be able to respect yourself either.

Stop supporting this kind of ugly, hateful, demeaning demonstrations of ill will masked as entertainment.

I admire success when achieved with wholesome intent, respectful attitude, and true effort.  Some of our major musical artists have made missteps and were not perfect along their ways, but most - if not all - didn't intend to be offensive or derogatory or insulting to others while trying to make music.  I support music whenever I can, I buy recordings, go to concerts, follow social media, and share that musical effort wherever I can.

I also try not to be offensive in my car while driving on public streets.  I keep my music lower to protect my hearing, low enough to be able to hear emergency vehicles (and I move over), and low enough so as not to offend others.

Imagine that.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


I have wondered and wondered why things are like they are.  Why the things I feel so good about are being taken advantage of and abused by so many.  Why do folks have to get more than their fair share?  Why is it that stopping behind the white line – intended to be a place where one would stop on or just behind – is not enough?  Is there some reason that folks have to go just beyond?  Some far enough that the line may as well not exist.

As a former truck driver of many kinds but mostly 18-wheelers, I found that 'past the line' offense to be ridiculous and at times made my task of maneuvering that rig around corners, into parking lots, onto highways, etc. much more difficult.  It surely didn’t make it easier.  All because a driver HAD to go beyond the white line. Really?

Speeding.  Folks seem to just decide that 5-10 MPH is legal and some have the viewpoint that those who doesn’t do it are problematic.  Really?

Why don’t folks abide and obey the laws?  Why not be more courteous to others, be kind, give a little more, take a little less, think less of one and more of many?

I am feeling this way for many reasons, the examples above are just the tip of the iceberg.  I guess we all come up short here and there, but lately that’s not it… I don’t think.  It’s a general overall attitude that says “me me me”, and “I’ll get mine” even if it is yours too, and couldn’t care less if you got any, much less your fair share.  It is sad and very selfish.

If only we all would just do the right thing all the time.  If only we didn’t even consider bending the rules and breaking laws.  Drive the speed limit, obey the traffic laws, keep right except when passing, STOP at stop signs, use turn signals, don’t tailgate or act like Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon does when they race on a controlled track with other expert drivers – on public highways.  I bet they drive normal on public highways.

If only people would treat each other with kindness and respect.  What if no one broke the laws and never stole from people, didn’t sell drugs, didn’t use drugs, didn’t assault others, didn’t get into trouble with the law?  What if everyone did the right thing and stayed out of trouble to start with.  No need for rioting and looting (I don’t understand that anyway – WHY LOOT?), stop hating and doing wrong?

If only law enforcement officers did the right thing all the time?  What if they didn’t exert extra force, didn’t abuse their power, didn’t decide when and when not to write citations because of ulterior reasons, assume the worst because of a gender or a race, pretty and thin or ugly and fat, the type of car, the decals or bumper stickers, or part of town?

If only politicians weren’t corrupt.  What if those we elect to office actually worked for us instead of other forces, monetary or power, or political, or otherwise?  What if the legal system was fair and not jaded by opinion or hatred?  What if voters would research the candidates and issues instead of going by what the advertisements say?  What if a party of choice was a general idea and not a religion?  What if the “news” sources actually reported the truth, not some ill-gotten stream of data/text/hogwash that got ratings?  What if those ‘news’ sources couldn’t be altered by the owners of the station/network/conglomerate or some hate group?

If only we were all for one before one for all.  What if we tried to do the right thing?  What if we did this in as many places in our lives and day to day doings as best we could?  What if ALL of us did this?

If only we could find a way to find peace.  Harmony.  Balance.  Fairness.  Forgiveness.  Love.

If only…

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Here's a post I placed on my Facebook pages today (5/14/2015) after my Wednesday night (5/13/2015) solo performance opening for the world famous Doobie Brothers at the wonderful Music City Roots here in Franklin, TN...

 Music City Roots

Good morning FB people...

I'm feeling pretty stunned from last night's event at Music City Roots - where I performed my solo set opening for the Doobie Brothers.

Opening for the Doobie Brothers. Wow, still hard to absorb.

I couldn't have dreamed this to happen for me... my dreams are either so far out of reality or too close to reality. Last night seems to fit somewhere between the two... but it was a real thing.

Everyone in the Doobie Brothers band, crew, techs, of course John Cowan, Bela Fleck, Jim Lauderdale, Keith Bilbrey, Craig Havighurst... the Music City Roots folks, crew, techs... all were so great to work with! It is refreshing that people with all that they offer: legendary status and world famous decades of experience and sucess, are so friendly and down-to-other people's level.

I am encouraged by success - my own baby steps, and the giant steps of others. I strive to be a professional and as good as I can be in my chosen career. I work hard to find that 'place' where humbleness meets confidence but avoid either being too meek or too egotistical, so I can give the best I can to those listening and buying the product. It's not easy for me, or really for anyone. Some work harder at it than others... I think. Some are better at it anyway.

We all try to be as good as we can be on our instruments, singing, songwriting, performance, etc. And like an old proverb says - loosely "the joy is the journey, not the destination", I am really enjoying my journey.

In the end, I'd rather be around good people with excellent talent than around anyone who perceive themselves as excellent and share their talent to those who deserve to experience the greatness.
Last night, the legends who are the Doobie Brothers, were great, friendly people of excellent talent and shared that world class musical energy and creativity performing to their fans. That's what they want to do. That's the way they seemed to me anyway.

I am honored to be a part of Music City Roots' roster of performers, and to have experienced a once in a lifetime evening. Thanks to all who made that happen, and for all the fans who came out to support MCR, the Doobie Brorthers, and little ol' me.

I guess I can retire now! Opened for the Doobie Brothers on a Wednesday, and got my senior discount at Kroger's too!