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25 SONGS I CAN’T STOP LISTENING TO

Here are 25 jams I’m playing nonstop right now, and what moves me about these gems… 1. Jason Isbell, “Flying over Water”—This song breaks my heart into a thousand pieces, mostly because Isbell is a genius, and his voice is so pure, it can make your worst day bearable—but also ’cause my wifey HATES to fly and I ask her … Read More

REPORT FROM THE OPEN ROAD—CA, WY, NE, IA, and MI

Hello from the Hampton Inn in Kearney, Nebraska. It’s five a.m. I’m pounding coffee and wiping the fog from my mind. We are halfway through this seven-week spring run, and things are rolling slow but steady. Thirty-three shows across the southern Midwest and West Coast—this one is a barnburner. We are putting some miles on these tires, folks. Last week was … Read More

WHY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SHOULD MATTER TO ALL OF US

It’s early morning dark. We get our badges from the check-in station. We load into the 50-year-old building under the sodium light of one streetlamp. Bars over windows and metal detectors. The hallway smells like urine. You need a key to use the restroom, and someone will wait outside until you are done. Some of the toilets are filled with … Read More

THE SONGS WILL SAVE YOU

“You want to be a writer- don’t know how or when? Find a quiet place and a humble pen” – Paul Simon “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”- Steven King   Bruce Springsteen in the brilliant The Defiant Ones: “It was indulgent, but sometimes YOU NEED TO BE INDULGED.”   … Read More

BORROWED, BEGGED, AND STOLEN WISDOM, PART 14

(Things I have borrowed, begged, and stolen from books, movies, conversations, etc.)   Even the kindest man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. —H. L. Mencken It’s not what they call you—it’s what you answer to. Ignorance screams and wisdom whispers. —My brilliant neighbor Craig Morris It is … Read More

BORROWED, BEGGED, AND STOLEN WISDOM, PART 13

(Things I have borrowed, begged, and stolen from books, movies, conversations, etc.)   One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. —Unknown It is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed. —Vida Dutton Scudder Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their … Read More

GUMMY BEARS AND ABSINTHE: ALL-TIME BEST TOUR RIDERS

The magical tour rider—getting to a place in your career where you can ask for what you want when you get to a club/theater/arena, and also getting to a place in your career where you can annoy and alienate a city’s promotors and road crew and hurt your career by being a pretentious jerk. Still, what fun to see the … Read More

SHAKING THE FOUNDATION, PART TWO: CREATIVE TAROT CARDS

Last week I wrote about shaking things up a bit—doing whatever we can as artists to shake the foundation and come upon some new territory. As promised, here is a list of things—notes, sayings, and reminders—that hang throughout my studio. There are scribbles on big butcher paper over the windows, some on Post-it notes, some on the legal pads that I … Read More

SHAKING THE FOUNDATION PART ONE

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. —Unknown It is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed. —Vida Dutton Scudder When I’m holding on too tight, when I’m too meticulous, analytical, judgmental—lacking confidence or (insert neurosis here)—then the act of writing a song, playing a show, or … Read More

BORROWED, BEGGED, AND STOLEN WISDOM, PART 12

(Things I have borrowed, begged, and stolen from books, movies, conversations with friends)   Create or Die. —Wade Hampton God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. —Emerson Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. —MLK The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately. —George “GK” Koufalis (thanks to The … Read More

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