Happy Tuesday, friends–hope your weekend was a good one. I watched the scorching local heat mostly from indoors; amazingly the A/C kept up with heat indices a few degrees over 100. Boo and I did venture out Saturday evening to hear Chuck Mead & the Grassy Knoll Boys tear it up at the 5 Spot, where the drink special is a shot of Jameson and a PBR for $7. I never thought about Irish whiskey shaking hands with Pabst . . . and though once was enough (for more reasons than one), they seemed to get along fine at the time.
I’ll be bouncing around quite a bit over the next week or so: Thursday night I’m playing a band show as part of the Pot Luck & Poison Ivy series at The Joint in North Little Rock, AR. Aaron “Mort” Mortenson, Ron Eoff, Joe McMahan, and I will be performing between people reading their poems and prose during the first hour; after that, we will play an hour-long set. I love playing shows like this where genres/pursuits/forms co-mingle.
Somehow, on Saturday evening, after driving from Nashville on Friday, I’ll be back in E. Northport, NY, out on Long Island, playing a set as part of a giant birthday bash in honor of my friend Heidy Ryan. Looking forward to visiting with Tom and Heidy and other folks there, some of whom might have seen me and the band play one wild-ass party at their place on Labor Day 2015.
Sunday I’ll be driving farther north, to North Haverhill, New Hampshire, to participate in a writers’ retreat for a few days. Not teaching; just writing. (Though when the writing is going well it always feels to me like I’m learning something at the same time.) Working on a book idea that has been on my mind for years, and/or whatever else presents itself. All this driving; all this blacktop solitude. Plenty of time to catch up on a few podcasts, including the last three episodes of S-Town, (yeah, I’m running behind in podcast land) and who knows what else. I’ll also doubtlessly be obsessing over the new record, which Joe and I are working on this week before I leave town. After a few days in NH, I’ll be heading back south (well, to New Jersey), to spend the night with my in-laws and pick up my daughter, who will have just returned from a two-week trip to Europe with her brother. And then she will have the extreme pleasure of riding all the way back to Tennessee with her father . . . sure to be a bonding experience!
Thanks for the wonderfully positive response to the new Gloryland shirts–as I mentioned previously, offering these is just one way of celebrating the 5-year anniversary of that record’s release. There will be others . . . stay tuned.
I continue to sift through a lot of live recordings from the last few years, picking and editing tracks as time permits. As I did with the recently released live solo version of Heaven & the Hanging Tree, from earlier this year at Landhaven, these will likely be offered as downloads via Bandcamp. By the way, look for a return engagement at Landhaven sometime this Fall.
We Americans might indeed be currently on the fast track to Hell in a gasoline-soaked handbasket, but at least, if you are among those who pay attention (and if you’re reading this, you are, ha ha), we still have music, and other art forms, to remind us what it feels like to be what we in fact are: human, and alive. And a hint of what it might feel like to be somebody else different than us, who got dealt a worse (or better) hand at some point, or who just lives an entirely different life, for whatever reason. One thing I’ve thought about lately: among other faults, maybe “bad” art/music/literature/et al. blows too loud through ego’s bad horn, so that it’s all you hear, and the better stuff suggests something, well, better: empathy. That our common ground is larger than we think, and richer than our differences.
Flaws, crimes, and absurdities abound, truly. Like the weeds out there along the fenceline which I am currently being reminded to trim. But so does the good remain, down in there, in and among us, and must still have the power to thrive. I have to believe that. No matter how nutty things get.
I feel so fortunate to know so many of you, and I am grateful for your support (of all kinds) which drives me forward and allows me to do what I do best. And to try to do it better with every passing day in this crazy mixed-up world.
A casual reminder: As ever, if you have a question, received something you bought from us via the innerwebs that got damaged in the mail, or the dang download code won’t work, etc. etc., please–find me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you out there, somewhere . . .