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.