Tuesday, October 23, 2012

But Who Will Save the Savior?

I once had these dreams and aspirations that were crushed and stomped out by new dreams and aspirations.
All I could think was, "What's the point of dreaming if I'm only to out-dream myself?"
But before I finished dreaming, I dreamed some bigger thing and forgot those tired, old dreams all together.
Then time went on and dreams turned to calloused stones and birthed the doubt that living wasn’t worth the endless effort. But despite my growing faithlessness, I still have hope in saviors. I’ve been haunted by these demons and graceless fallen angels - but there’s an antonym for everything, so there must be something beautiful reaching down to drag me out while all these terrors fight to claim my longing soul - at least I think so. My knees are bleeding from the rocks and falls and there’s dirt beneath my fingernails from how I’ve crawled and clawed through the soil to dig my own deep and early grave. But Hell still hasn’t claimed me yet and I’m nobody’s slave. So I stick my hands inside of my chest and tear out my crying heart and try to nurse it back to life and wash away the filth to no avail. I can’t save my falling self - I can’t do it; I just fail.
Still I beat against the rocks to try to break the calloused shell; but nothing works.
Instead my hands just start bleeding. I'm in need of something because right now I feel defeated.
So I stumble to this churchyard, but find it’s been set fire by the raging flame of apathy.
No one cares to rescue me - for the congregation is too preoccupied with some new social gathering to realize that they’re all just dying together - unaware that their shelter is burning down. I stagger in with my bloody clothes and my iron heart but no one seems to see a problem.
I scream, “I’ve got these dire needs and I need somebody to solve them!”
But no one has an answer or solution to absolve them - they just hug me and say, “We’re praying for you, son. It’s going to be okay.” Then, instead of washing off my wounds, they condemn my injured faith and whisper of how far I’ve fallen and sad it is that it’s now a mystery if I’ll be saved.
But I know that answers can be found and heard that mercy never falters.
So I take what pieces I could salvage from the walls of the church’s ashes and neglected altars and tie them together with rope from the flagpole; and use what’s left of the tattered banner as a sail atop the fragile ship that I created. Church and state are integrated as I cast my timid vessel to the arms of the raging sea.
For the first time in awhile I believe that I’ll be free again - or that I’ll at least die trying to find what my father told me comforts him. Waves beat hard and the wind batters my tiny ship to pieces. I scream for help - I scream for Jesus! Then, out of nowhere, this hand grabs firmly to mine and drags me onto this rock in the middle of the ocean somewhere. There’s still endless commotion everywhere, but I feel at peace despite the violent, vicious storm. You throw my iron heart to the ocean floor. I watch it sink and break apart and float back up as something pure and innocent. You act as if I’ve never let you down before - and I swear I never will again. Now, when I look back on the shipwrecks, I don’t see hurt - I see survival
I feared damnation, but revival sparks a flame that recreates the burned down churches and builds walls stronger than the tempest’s spiral. Healing comes in stages. Pain hurts and scars can change us. My haunts are all on burning pages, but they brought me to whatever shore I’m found today. I’m stronger for the fractures and no shattered legs can keep me from climbing all these mountains that I’ll claim. Still, my past is full of sinners and my future’s filled with error, I’m afraid. But if cells can re-create themselves and forests grow from fallen seeds that should have withered  - then I have faith in a forgiver.
Even Jesus Christ himself once prayed for saving - but no one saved the savior so the world could one day feel the grace of changing. Falls are part of living and everyone needs saving.
We're all in need of saving
We're all in need of saving

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nothing Wrong With Shyness. In Fact, You're Quite Adorable

Have you ever felt that presence? You know, the one that ticks within your mind and keeps you just lucid enough to deprive you of sanity? Tick tick tick. I'll tear out the walls for the source of irritation. It's not right, rotate my bed and arrange the books in the corner. That's not right either. Re-order the things how they were. Maybe if I lay on my back, staring at the ceiling long enough it will all go away and everything will just be over. Maybe I won't wonder anymore and all that driving senselessness will disperse. It won't. It's become normality, these raging mental wars and doubts and unbalanced, pulsing heart beats. I wonder, sometimes, amidst all the questions and wondering, if there's more than endless struggle and a pointless, dreamer's existence? What if that undefined deep, gripping, nothingness that keeps me grasping for something and hoping that someday, somehow I'll make it is really just a backlash of insecurity and tragic, emotional misunderstanding? It's senselessness, it all. It's been hours or weeks or minutes or days - it doesn't matter - I've been sitting here, staring at the white, painted ceiling for what feels like a dozen lifetimes. It's a prison cell and I'm allowed to walk free; and that's what's heinous about the whole thing; I walk free. I sing and talk and move about but face the consciousness of being caged and held and tortured by whatever unseen thing will haunt me. I run and tour; but it's always present. It stops sometimes, the ever-revolving constant. It rests, building steam and plowing full speed ahead - until she walks in the room. She calms me and the demons hide awhile. It isn't love; just a presence that sees the soul. I'm not an artist or a writer or poet or liar or singer or anything much more than nothing to her - I'm just this kid from Florida with wide eyed dreams and irrational aspirations. I'm more than fictitious hope and faux-confidence that I'll reach the lights and the long nights and the ten thousand voices screaming beneath the monstrous, engulfing stages. It's not a blurry, twisted, fight to trudge on and keep from falling but a literal existence to her. Existence, you hear? I exist beyond paper and struggle and amplified reality broken down to glorified pieces of something in poetry. Maybe I don't. Either way it's calming and I'm not calm now. Maybe I'm tired. I haven't slept in three days and everything seems distant. What's it really matter anyway? Kings and paupers and poets - we're all just hoping for purity and our portion of grace eternal come judgement day. Sure the living matters, but what of the greatness? I'll die alone and reach the same immortal end as if I passed in the loving arms of thousands. I don't want to be great; I just want to be heard. If greatness accompanies, so be it. If not, no pride will be hurt. I'm too shameful for pride regardless. What do dirty hands and tattered souls know of arrogance. Perhaps too much too often.
I keep staring at the door with this sort of desperate hope that it'll open and you'll walk in and save me. Maybe we'll just sit in the corner and sing for awhile. You always sing so grippingly. You're timid and shy and the way you blush and tremble when you perform is more endearing than embarrassing. I love that you almost need me and use my faith to get through the frightening lines. No need for nerves, my dear - I'll guard your heart and keep all the critics at bay. You sound amazing and look even better than I claim. So lock stares with mine and we'll play through the night 'till your stormy eyes close for their resting. Dream sweet, my dear. Dream sweet...

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Won't Let You Down; I'll Always Let You Down Again...

Everything stopped. Nothing was movingMy mind was stagnant. I felt emotionless. That's brilliant for some. For me it was homicide. Like infection on the brink of cure; it couldn't last forever - I hoped. How cancerous can stagnancy become? Asphyxiate. Suffocate. Contemplate. Knock knock. Shatter shatter. The Harriet Tubman of imagination arrived to release my soul to freedom - thank God. The faucet turned on and ink, like bleeding wounds, ran rampant. It covered the pages, it tore through the paper as if searching for some buried secret and wouldn't rest until all was uncovered. I found it. Deep within the wells of conscience, it was. Flooding out like fountains, it poured. I drowned in it. It covered me. My hands looked like a typesetter and my white heart grew speckled with black oil and fingerprints. The billows grew. growing, growING, grOWING, GROWING! Splash, splash, splash! I swam through the streaming muses and clung to my pen to stay afloat in the churning waves of flowing thought. Undertows dragged me to the ocean floor. sink! Sink! SINK! Blackness. Everything was black there. Tiny fish lived in tiny houses with tiny front doors and tiny windows. They wore tiny sweaters and drove tiny, little cars to their respective work-places. Where was I? Did I die? I couldn't have. All I was doing was writing a ridiculous story. BANG! Biting claws. Bright light. I was torn from the inkwell and ripped through the sky and up to some place high above everything. Dear God, it felt windy. Flying. I looked down on the storm and the waves and the ships being eaten alive by the monstrous ocean of devouring ink I'd created. It all seemed so brooding. I smiled. Black rain poured from even blacker drawings of ever growing storm clouds. Screaming, childish, letters clung desperately to pages for safety - while the pages, growing soggy from the fluid, fought heroically to stay afloat despite the added weight. Pirate ships and princesses from other sonnets and stories soon appeared; washed in by the raging vastness, I suppose. What a gathering. Serpents climbed from the deep to swallow prose and consume full paragraphs of things that I had written. I fought to find structure in the chaos of beauty and destruction. CRASH! Lightning. Thunder boomed. I covered my ears. I fell. Down. down? DOWN! and onto some random island. Shivering, frightened, Rhymes gathered in groups, hiding from the rain and consoling younger Lines near the fading shoreline. The rain poured violently. What was left anymore? I walked the island but soon discovered it to be merely a dinner plate lost within the ever rising flow of endless endlessness. I didn't see it ending. "We're all lost!" faithless Lyics cried. The rain poured in and the plate kept sinking. Soon there was no one left. Alone. I floated a while - clutching to whatever helpless substance floated by; a wasted thought or a drowning fragment, a lifeless phrase or broken piece of tainted inspiration. Finally, I guess it all ended; or I just got rather sick of it all. I found myself back on the couch, mindlessly flipping through photographs and questioning my ability to reason. No ink. No source of brilliance or clever composition. Just vastness. My hands are no longer black with toil and my paper looks pure and un-attended. It's raining now; fitting for such an occasion. Some black&white film skips across the television and reminds me of black and white pictures in some black and white story about black ink oceans and white dinner plates I once read somewhere. Penguins fit quite easily here. Killer Whales too. It went like that for awhile; my cluttered thoughts and memories. Then everything stopped. Nothing was moving. My mind was stagnant. I felt emotionless. That's brilliant for some. For me it was homicide...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

If It Weren't For the Wrong, All Would Be Right in the World

I don't even know where to begin. In the last 6 weeks I've been to 14 states, played two dozen shows, written 17 songs, met some incredible performers, got $2 from (and had a conversation with) Lionel Richey, broke both thumbnails, and have been in more fights than I have in the (combined) year plus that I've lived in a truck. 

I started a blog with all of my lyrics. If you're into my music, you should check it out and follow it. It's called There are links to YouTube clips and other such hidden gems as well

I met a new producer the other day. We've been tossing around the idea of recording a new EP. Maybe 5 or 6 songs in a well produced, minimalist sort of way. I'd love to track another record. I'd do one ever 6 months if I had the resources. I'm thinking 1924, Holding Bloody Hands, Who Cries Over Dead Spiders, Redemption?, and Audrey Hepburn Would'a Loved Me for this one? Let me know if you have any suggestions for songs you'd like to hear on it. There are too many songs I'd like to record...maybe I'll do Maybe It Will All Make Sense When We're Grown...I don't know...maybe Sink! Sink!...

Ellipses after an exclamation point look weird.

What stream of consciousness I've written in.  I keep staring at this girl with Texas-large hair at the table across from me. She probably thinks she's beautiful.  She probably thinks that I think that she's beautiful. I think that she thinks too much and needs to think about calming her hair down and think about looking presentable before thinking about being beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - but in her case the beholder can't get past the huge, monster tall, space monkey hair that's breeding on top of her tiny little mouse sized head. I bet her head is normal sized beneath that monstrosity of cannibalistic self indulgence. I should go talk to her. Did you see what I just did? I made a joke about her being able to speak english instead of the Jupiter strange language spoken in whatever black abyss she fell from.

I think I played one of the most fun shows of my life in Indianapolis last night. My shows for the weekend had been canceled, so I found a last minute gig and had an amazing time. Great PA, awesomely responsive crowd and got to meet some really cool guys; one of which managed to keep up with (and often surpass) me in a conversation about the Clash, Guthrie and Dylan. He even gave me a dollar for a CD that I'd given him for free. 

If it weren't for the wrong, all would be right in the world...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dust Clouds on the Neverland Horizon

It's August 14. I've lived in my truck before, I've run away before, this year alone I've toured nearly 5 1/2 months...and still I felt terrifyingly apprehensive in quitting my day job, leaving my apartment and heading out of Nashville to God only knows where. I knew I would; nothing held me this time. But any great opportunity starts with the crippling hurdle of fear. 26 days ago, I broke it. I'm an outlaw again, praise Jesus. Be gone worry, be gone woe, all restlessness depart me, for these are rough lands, the Wild West - full of dust clouds and over-romanticized dreams of danger and endless freedom. What a glorious adventure life becomes when you let it. There's no direction, really. No tour this time, no scheduled stops; just me in a truck-bed, running where I go and winding up anywhere but somewhere certain. I travel a lot, there is just always a road-map and a budget and seventy six million things to account for. For now, the road signs don't matter and time is irrelevant. I jumped a train for miles, from some town deep in Arkansas. I spent a whole day finding my way back to my belongings. I've been through cities, through states, under bridges and estuaries; at one point, I leapt from a train, off a railway bridge and into the churning waters below. For a brief moment, everything seemed silent. The contrast of subtle peace and the horrifying reality that my legs might shatter and leave me a victim to the violent waves felt flawless. I just sort of fell for awhile...3-2-1...I hit the waves, fell to the bottom and realized, I'm not afraid to die. That's the only reason I'm even alive anymore. I rolled down river, over rocks and old pines to some place calm enough to escape. What a feeling. I'd like the be found in a river one day. Wouldn't that be a fitting end? There's something about drowning that just feels honest.
Days pass and the deserts feel haunting; like ghosts of old times past still roam the hills and bring the sensation that living is still worth the effort. It's beautiful. I haven't slept indoors and, apart from creek falls and lake beds, haven't bathed in a fortnight. I'm dirty and poor, walking cities and driving aimlessly. I'm in Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Arizona, California one day, then wherever...running away...isn't it what everyone really wants to do anyway? Run away? Most simply do it in bottles and pill-packs - I choose to do it on dirty plains and railway cars. I'll tell you one thing, I have never felt more freaking God-bless-ed-American than I do right now. There is no luxury, no commodity. Just time and place and the freedom to dive into cities and experience life in the way it was meant to be experienced. Not the bastardized, over-indulgent, version we've all grown accustomed to. Things will all change in awhile. I'll tour again. I'll clean up again. I'll grow up and grow old and find love and some home and we'll all settle down and be happy. But for now, for these few, brief moments, while the sun beats down and the world falls to pieces and everyone tries to find something to cling to - I'm not. I want my freedom. I want to hope and have peace and see things and go farther and live life for the stories that no one will believe - so I do. I can't wait for some suit in some office to give me my shot at freedom. I do it myself. It hurts awhile, but not like the sting of office chairs and blue-tone wallpaper. Paperclips and post-it notes become prison cells to most. No one's ever really ready for this kind of thing. We all were born ready for this kind of thing. We're all outlaws and runaways in our own, quiet ways; most of us are just too grown up to admit it. I grew up once, perhaps far too quickly. I think this time, I'll just outgrow the world...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


July 4th. I sat on some bridge, among some stupid crowd, watching colors explode and wondering why I was in some new town west of anywhere certain.  Some independence. My phone rang. I saw your name and turned you down. You texted me. You called me "Dearest" and said you missed me. It's weird to think how that may be the last time we talk for awhile. "Dearest Jo," you called me - some last words.  I still want you around. I still kind of hope I'll run into you in some random town and it'll all start over like new. Stranger things have happened, I guess. Some bright-eyed, over-romantic, too young to know life's not all that pretty sort of broad told me that people act indifferent to prove how much they care. What if they if they really just don't care?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview With Florida Music Magazine

Here's an interview I got to do with a local music magazine in St. Augustine, FL during my last tour.  It's sad, but I honestly can't remember what the mag was called. I think it was Fuse or Fuze...or Muse, maybe?...something like that...maybe it was Fuel...I'll post it once I find out. 

Anyway, here's the article that came out this week: 

Interview With Nashville Folk Artist Jordan Eastman
By Dan London

I recently was fortunate enough to discover a booming new folk/indie artist from Nashville, TN called Jordan Eastman.  I was impressed by his open writing and had been following him for a few months, when I realized he would be playing several dates around Central Florida. I managed to get in touch with him and he agreed to sit down with me and do an interview. 

It was about 2:30pm when I arrived for our meeting and Jordan was already there. When I walked up, he was sitting on a bench, smoking a pipe and looking more punk rock than the hipster, folk singer I expected. Despite the fact that it was nearly 100 degrees outside, he was dressed in all black – apart from his red socks and brown hat - and had a coat thrown over the back of the bench like he’d just taken it off.  I turned on my recorder, introduced myself and he quickly jumped up to shake my hand as we dove right in.

Me:  expecting it to cool down?

Jordan Eastman:  (laughing) Nah, I feel like I always have a jacket. I just like to be prepared, you know? I’ve also got a lighter to start some fires later and a rope belt in case I need to swing across a canyon or something.

Me:  …and the pipe?

JE:  It helps me solve mysteries and look nostalgic.

Me: It smells good

JE: It should. This stuff was like $10 an ounce from this shop down on George st.  I got my first pipe ever there, actually.

Me:  Well thanks for coming all the way up here. I know it’s out of the way.  

JE: No problem, man. I love St. Augustine. It’s always been one of my favorite cities. It’s kind of been a sort of “run to” point for me for awhile. I used to drive up here when I was a kid whenever I just wanted to get away and think for awhile. It’s so calming.

Me: So you grew up here?

JE: I kind of grew up all over Florida, really. I was born in Titusville but feel like I spent most of my time in Melbourne; Tampa in later years, but mostly Melbourne growing up.

Me:  So what brought you to Nashville?

JE:  Ah man, I don’t really know, Impulse, maybe? I’d lived in Florida and California, then back in Florida and was touring around and it just kind of happened. A bunch of little things led up to it, I guess, but essentially I just left on a whim. I think it was a Wednesday when I decided to go and left Thursday morning sometime.

Me:  Wow, so nothing to do with it being Music City or the connections or anything?

JE:  Not really. I’m sure it played into it, but really I just wanted to leave. I kind of came up with nothing and just lived in my truck for 6 months. Honestly, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I think I needed it.

Me:  So tell me about the tours. Where have you covered so far.

JE:  Man, I’ve been all over the place. I was gone all of February and March doing a Midwest/Northeast run so that was Chicago, Indy, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, down to D.C., Philly, New York…I think I covered 23 states. You name it and I probably went there. It was something stupid like 45 shows in 41 days or something like that; not to mention It was all through the absolute coldest places I could find in the middle of winter and all by myself.  I pretty much pointed at the map and said, “no one else would ever go there this time of the year.” Have you ever been to Lake Eerie in the middle of February? It’s stupid. I actually thought I was booking a southeast tour but didn’t realize till after it was booked that I’d been holding the map upside down. (laughing) Anyway, as far as this trip goes, though, it’s been really short. I’ve only been out since last Friday and I have 5 or 6 shows left after tonight.

Me: Then back to Nashville?

JE:  Yes Sir.

Me: Let’s talk about your writing style. It’s very personal and very open. Is it hard to write that way?

JE:  It’s not necessarily hard to write that way. I just think by being that confessional and open, it takes a lot more guts to perform; mainly because you have no walls. You’re just kind of up there telling everybody what you’d never say to them in person, you know? But I like it that way. I feel like everybody presents themselves in a certain light that they want to be presented in and, often times, its plastic and a complete fa├žade.  Like we want to present ourselves in such an acceptable and perfect manner that we lose track of who we are. I hate that. I know I have walls up, and I think writing, for me, is a chance to take down everything and say what I’m generally terrified of saying.  It’s scary but comforting at the same time. I guess because if I get called out on it I can always say it was just a song. It’s kind of a safety net to replace the walls I removed, if that makes sense to you.

Me: Completely.  I notice you use a lot of imagery and references to death and afterlife. Are you worried about dying?

JE:  Oh absolutely not. It’s what we live for, isn’t it? Our entire lives are based on trying to do things right before we die. It’s like a stopwatch and we’re all trying to do the best we can before our time runs out.  To me dying is beautiful. It’s the end of all the misery and suffering everybody struggles through. It’s a reward.  I don’t mean like, “congratulations, you made it, you’re dead now” kind of reward; but it’s an accomplishment of successfully living your life to the end.  The fact that I believe in a heaven makes dying even greater. What would be the purpose of living if death wasn’t in the picture?  We’d just go on and on and on and on and, honestly, that’s more depressing than fading out.

Me: So you feel like death is a reward?

JE: I feel like it’s a comforting end to hold on to. Knowing that no matter how dark things get or how rough a situation might be, there is an end; at best things get resolved and you live on happily – at worst you die and have no more pain.  There’s no darkness that way. If the worst thing that can happen to you brings the most beautiful result, what is there to fear?

Me:  That’s a good point. I’ve never really thought of it that way.  Was that the central theme in, “Sing, Sweet Broken Hearted?” You seem to swing back and forth between dark and hopeful throughout the album. Even the title says that.

JE:  Yeah, for sure. Life’s dark. You’re born, you live for awhile, and then you die. Most people don’t even live. You spend your whole life in a cubicle laying groundwork for a the next generation to benefit from and periodically take a few days off from working to halfway live on a cruise ship somewhere. You want to talk about dark, that’s more depressing than anything I can write. Life is full of heartache; whether it’s menial with bills or working or something heavy like depression or disease, we all have troubles. Every movie and every story on a bookshelf is about those troubles. That’s what makes us different from fish or lizards or something. If they have a problem it results in them dying. If we have problems, we have the option to resolve it or dwell in it. That’s what I wanted this record to say. I wanted it to convey the message that no matter what you’re going through, keep going. It’s going to get better. If you’re only happy during happy situations, you were never happy to begin with. Joy should be un-situational. When joy is situational, when the situation turns south you’re left with nothing. That’ll kill you. Issues come and go, situations change; joy has to be constant. Sometimes life’s so dark that the only light anyone can find is dying. I’m not scared of death, it’s an invitation to something far better. I hope nobody cries at my funeral unless they’re crying because I beat ‘em home. I wanted this record to be have the conflicting emotions that life often gives us

Me:  That’s interesting and I think makes it relatable. What are some of the things that you feel set you apart from other writers?

JE: You mean genre wise or songwriting?

Me: Either, just overall.

JE: Well, I don’t think too many people travel around the world stomping on a box and kicking tambourines on a nightly basis. That’s different. Apart from that, I think just sincerity.  I feel like a lot of music today just isn’t honest anymore. It’s all about drink this, do that, dance here, bang there and it loses all sense of conviction. It’s just shallow and vapid and makes me want to vomit.  At least if I can stand up every night and sing something I believe in, I feel like I’m fighting that trend.  Whether I’m the best songwriter or the best lyricist or the best whatever I couldn’t give a crap – I just want to say something I believe.  I feel like guys like Joe Strummer or Bob Dylan had so much to say and their stuff is so timeless that it reaches everyone in every generation. That’s what I want to do. I want to say something that’s timeless, in a genre that’s timeless and gives people a reason to listen. My 9 year old sister can get up and right a one dimensional, three and a half minute pop song about nothing. Whether it’s “radio friendly” or not, I want to write something I feel based off something I’ve experienced, no matter how dark or happy or sad or poppy it is. I just want every line to mean something and resonate.

Me:  I notice in both your album, “Sing, Sweet Broken Hearted” and in your live performances, you sing a lot about being alone and people leaving. Is that from personal experience or just a perception?

JE: (laughing) yeah, about that…like everything else, I think it’s a little of both. I had a pretty rough stretch awhile ago where a lot of painful things happened that lead up those songs. I’m far less jaded now then I was back then, but I think it’s an emotion that’s still easy for me to channel so it’s easy for me to write about. I think trust is an issue I’ve always struggled with, though.  

Me: So do you feel like it’s affected your current relationships? 

JE:  They say the only thing harder than keeping a relationship together is keeping a band together. In case you didn’t notice, I’m touring alone.  So…

Me: (laughing) so no relationship?

JE:  No relationship. (laughs) I’d love to figure something out with a friend of mine back home, but I’m not getting into that with someone I just met on a park bench. I think when you write 900 songs about not trusting and thousand more about leaving town, maybe one of them hits home.

Me: I’m sure. So what do you think brought about your sound today? You look punk and there are tinges of that angst in the music, but at the same time it hints more at old country and folk and a million things in between. How does something like that come around?

JE:  It’s street music, man. Making do with what you have. I grew up playing punk and tried to do the whole band thing for years. It just takes too much dependency. Depending on musicians is such a gamble; depending on punk musicians is like trusting Hitler with your dark haired baby. It just seemed like we’d always get to a point where things were looking up then something would happen, so I decided to do something I could do alone because I’m not going to quit.  For a while I tried to make everything punk. I’d write these folksy, outlaw-country songs and then speed them up to sound more punk rock. It worked, I guess, but everything looses a lot of honesty when played like that. I wanted to express something and found that, when I played by myself on the couch, it was easy – but when I played for a crowd at double the tempo it didn’t translate well. They liked the performance aspect, but the sincerity wasn’t there.   Honestly, not trying to still ride the whole relationship thing, but realistically I think my ex-wife had a lot to do with it.  She was an amazing girl, but flat out hated my music. She always made fun of the way I sang or how I tried to swing everything punk and because I couldn’t stop writing, I started trying to write all of these country songs for her. I absolutely hated them and they were just some awkward kind of rockabilly at first, but eventually I found something all my own that was just something I sort of kept to myself. To me, people wanted to hear rock and roll, you know? After she left, I was pretty torn up and started writing all of these really great songs that just didn’t work sped up. After awhile, a light bulb went on and I recorded all these songs just raw and honest, how I wrote them. When I heard them, they felt so much more real than the bastardized versions I’d been doing live. Since I had this overwhelming sense of apathy toward everything anyway,  when I started playing out around again, I didn’t try to make anything tough and I just played the songs the way I wrote them and didn’t care if people liked them or if they sounded too slow or country or folk or pop or whatever. People loved it. So I kept doing it. Eventually, when I came to Nashville, I started playing out on the street and taking things from street performers and just kind of drawing from whatever I could. I remember seeing a duo with a guitar and a kid on a cajon with a tambourine. I thought, “I can do that by myself”.  So the next day I dragged this giant, old box and a tambourine down Broadway and made $400 in just a few hours. For the first time, people were crowded all around me and actually listening and telling me how great I was. I was like, “people listened to my words because I did the same thing in a different way.” I think that’s when I realized that people just want something different enough to feel like they’re branching out, but still familiar enough to not feel like they’re stepping too far from what they’re comfortable with.  Honestly, I’m not really doing anything different from anyone else; I’m just doing something nobody else is really doing.

Me: It’s funny how things come around like that. One thing leads to another until it makes something new.  So what artists do you think have influenced that the most?

JE:  I get a lot of Dylan comparisons. I think mainly because I play acoustic guitar and harmonica and write songs that say something to people. It’s not just, “dance, dance” or “let’s get drunk,” but rather something I’m passionate about and I’m not afraid to point fingers or say what I’m feeling at the moment. I think any time anyone comes along and does that, with songs like that, they get compared to Dylan. That’s what’s so great about him; he’s one of the best. He’s timeless enough to transcend generations and be the writer the good writers are compared to. I get Cash and Joe Strummer a lot too; probably because I seem dark and angry or something like that. Really though, anyone who is passionate and lets that passion convey I’m intrigued by. I think the Gaslight Anthem and the Killers both do that pretty well. Not Bright Eyes though.

Me: What’s wrong with Bright Eyes?

JE:  Nothing, he’s just plastic and insincere. I’d love to work with him though. Great writer.

Me: (laughing) would you ever work with Coldplay?

JE: No

Me: never?

JE:  No. Not unless we were working on a song that would end their career.

Me: (laughing) I’ll remember that.  What would you say is your favorite stuff to write? Online you post a lot of slower material, but live you seem to do primarily upbeat, rowdier songs.  Does that go back to the punk roots?

JE:  I don’t know…probably. It’s still hard for me to do slow songs live.  I feel like my best songs are the slow ones. Every time I do a YouTube video for a song or play a radio interview it’s usually a dark, slower one I turn to. I find that I still have to force myself to do the slow ones live.

Me: I think it’s hard for most artists to do slow songs live.

Je:  I think we’re afraid of losing the audience. I’m at the point now where I’m comfortable doing 4 or 5 in every set and, when I do, they’re the ones that seem to grab the audience the most. People forget about the upbeat ones once the show’s over; but the slow songs are the ones I always have people come up and talk to me about when I’m done. I just forget that between nights, I guess.

Me: Do you ever get bad responses to your live show?

JE:  Oh yeah. They hate me in New York, man.  I can play in Hoboken and have no problems; but in New York, I’m like some hillbilly wrecking ball.  I got booed off stage…well, I never left stage…but I got booed and cleared the room in Manhattan one night.  I was playing between two metal bands and started out with a packed room and, after being called everything you can think of, people started leaving.  By the time I was done there was one guy sitting back in the corner.  They stole all my merch too; which is ironic.

Me: (laughing) Well, maybe you’ll see some metal kid blaring your album next time you go up there.

JE: I fully expect that.

Me: That’d be awesome Well man, that’s all I’ve got for you. Thanks again for coming all the way up here. Where can people find your music?

JE: Yeah, for sure. Any time. Just go to or and you can find the record on iTunes or Amazon. I think it’s on a few other sites as well. 

Me: Thanks again and best of luck to you. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tour Dates

upcoming tour dates for a short southeastern run.

6/15 - Woodpark, GA
6/16 - Bowling Green, KY
6/18 - Knoxville, TN
6/18 - Atlanta, GA
6/19 - Daytona Beach, FL
6/22 - Winterpark, FL
6/23 - Ybor City, FL
6/25 - Nashville, TN

Friday, May 11, 2012

1924 (Acoustic)

Here's a video of me doing "1924" in my bedroom last night. I got a lot of the lyrics mixed up...but it's my song so who cares...Enjoy!

(copyright 2012)

Momma, the radio keeps playing all the sad songs
The kind that make a grown man like me want to cry
Sometimes I take my heart and tear it off my sleeve
Then wash it off and ring it out and hang it up to dry

Oh oh, darlin' don't you know
You can have my heart forever if you never let me go
Oh oh oh oh
Please, don't ever let me go

Some pray for blessings while others simply steal
As the sinners on their death beds hope to God He isn't real
But me, I only hope and me, I only pray
That you and I will be together on my dying day

But what about my heart? Was it ever really mine?
If you've got the answers then you know I've got the time
If you fear all the answers then you know I've got the lies
But if you want confessions, baby girl, I've got the lines 
oh oh oh oh

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Haunt Me No More

check out this video for a live/acoustic version of my new song,
 "Haunt Me No More"
Let me know what you think. 
Been booking 3 more tours. I'll post the dates soon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Interview; Nashville in the Raw

Here's a quick interview I did with Nash Woodward a few days after I got off the road. Enjoy!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Maybe I've Found Something...

I keep having this weird feeling. You know, the one you feel right before something horrible happens; but you don't know what it is that's going to happen or why you're feeling that way? That one. So here I am, sitting in a bustling Panera, typing away like it's the end of the God-blessed land of the free and waiting for whatever happens next. I'm supposed to be playing four nights in Texas right now. Instead, I hit St Augustine and a night in Atlanta. It doesn't make sense to go to Texas for a weekend and not enough pay to justify driving. I'm going home. I've been out a month straight and can't get my mind off Tennessee. Well, a certain part of it at least. I keep staring at my phone like it's going to explode and I don't want to miss the fireworks. I'm uncomfortable here; wherever here is. Somewhere between Atlanta and Nashville. Somewhere between one place and another. Have you ever noticed that everyone in any given Panera acts as if they're hiding national secrets? Everyone is hunched over their laptops, occupying the perimeter where their backs can face a wall. Their heads pop up like little periscopes and survey the room before ducking back into their personal shell. I'm sitting out in the open. How vulnerable I feel right now. In my head everyone is watching me, trying to read whatever nonsense I'm typing as if it won't be readily available in fifteen minutes. The CIA and FBI and whatever organizational acronym you wish is staring at me through the windows. Maybe I'm disclosing federal secrets. Maybe I'm just writing a blog post. Regardless, I feel insecure and keep waiting for someone to leave the safety of a corner booth and welcome me to fill the void their absence created. Maybe this is what people are like with their walls down; scared, frail, little, people, nervous and suspicious of everything around them. It's kind of depressing. Maybe someone I met somewhere, sometime, will come in and we'll strike up a conversation. Conversation? How's that as a razor to the windpipe of society? But maybe they won't. Maybe I'll just keep sitting here alone. A booth opened up. I settled in and continued typing away. Look at me, I'm just like everybody else this time...
I keep catching angry glances from this girl across the room. She looks so frustrated. On my way in, for whatever reason, she felt the need to inform me that the "Lady's Entrance" sticker on the back of my truck was offensive. I guess she's still upset. It's a shame to be so tense on spring break. I guess I was rude, but she should have stayed out of my business. The conversation went as follows:

Crazy Broad: (walking by) "You need to be careful about that sticker because it's really pissing me off right now." 

Me: *disregards statement

CB: "You seriously need to take it down because I'm getting pissed"

Me: *shrugs

(a few minutes later in Panera line)

CB: "Really? You don't have a response?" 

Me: "I'm sorry, I completely disregarded your statement outside."

CB: "Your sticker. It's offensive" 

Me: "I'm sorry you feel that way" (starts ordering food)

CB: "You're just going to ignore me?"

Me: "I ignore a lot of things. Most of which are more important than your feelings." 

CB: "It's degrading to women. You need to take it down." 

Me: "Take it down? It should be offensive to men. Women are allowed in and men aren't. I'd hate to take it down because it's actually very supportive of women's rights. You're more than welcome to go in there if you want; but this guy (points at cashier), I'll shoot him if he comes in." 

CB: (grabbed her coffee and walked away). 

That's where things are right now. I'm pretty sure she'll say something else to me on her way out. 
I hope she's reading this blog right now. How amazing would that be? Very amazing. That's how amazing. 
I smile at her. My phone starts ringing. I grab for it anxiously. It's some girl from California. I ignore it and toss my phone back onto the table. She's voicemail material. I wish I had something to write about. Everything that's happened in the last month is either better told live, illegal or not worth writing down. I just want to go home. Can you believe that? It could change at the drop of a hat, but for now, I want to go home...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Float in Your Coffin to Safer Ground

My shows in Florida were a great time. It was good to see everyone and catch up with old friends, families and flames. It's crazy how much some things have changed while others remain the same. I got the opportunity to play along side my sister at my Orlando show. She's such an amazing singer and a ton of fun to perform with. We did an impromptu, bluegrass/folk rendition of the old Frank Sinatra tune, "You're Awful." We did the song together six years ago in a high-school musical version of "The Importance of Being Earnest," and decided to try it right before taking the stage. It turned out to be one of my favorite songs in the set. I ended up doing it alone in Tampa the next night. Great times.

For the past year, I've drug around this old, metal, luggage case from the 1800's that I drop a microphone inside and stomp on as a kick-drum of sorts. It's a front porch, hillbilly, kind of thing. I guess she got tired of the abuse and gave out on me. I can't believe it took a year for me to finally break through it. I did what I could to repair it but we'll see how long she lasts.
That show got crazy. I think because I knew 80% of the audience by name, there was a random flurry of friends and musicians joining me on stage that led to hyper displays of non-sensical debauchery all night. I dedicated songs to random guys, changed lyrics to fit old jokes and, to anyone unfamiliar with what I was referring to, I probably sounded creepier than the pope at a kindergarten graduation. My set didn't end until around 3am and the crowd was full of big breasted crazies and Megaman tattoos. Kyle was playing drums during the last song and we destroyed everything. I was beating my guitar against his drum-set, kicking his cymbals and stomping through my box harder than ever. I guess that's when I broke it. At one point, I was swinging my guitar through my legs and beating it against the broken box, before ripping off every string, one at a time and throwing the whole guitar through the back of the stage. There were wood-chips and screws all over the place. It was such a fun night. The show was out-doors and probably 100 degrees and I've never sweated so much in my life. I can't really complain; next time I go back will be in June. We'll be just as crazy and it'll be twice as humid.

We found a pair of cattle horns in Aaron's garage after the show. It really didn't take much thought before we decided to mount them to the front of my truck. Why not, eh? It seemed fitting, considering I'll be heading to Texas for four nights on Wednesday and there's nothing like fitting in. They'll love me there. The last time he and I did anything with my truck, I left with a number 3 spray painted on the side. It's a shame it's not there anymore. I'm going to miss that guy. Big Brother.

Here's a video of Kalyn and I doing, "Who Cries Over Dead Spiders" in Orlando. It was completely un-rehearsed and she didn't know the words but it turned out okay.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Homeward Tennessee

Charlotte feels like a prison cell. I was hoping to leave tonight but I had a full set list of time to do before I was released and didn't feel much like driving afterwards. All day felt strange. It's been one of those apathetic days where all I want to do is stay away from everybody, lock myself away somewhere and not talk to anyone. I feel shy around everyone and answer questions with a timid smile and a nod. I had to play the show but I didn't feel much like performing. It went alright, I guess. It kind of felt more like an 8 hour work day than anything else. A half empty room and a cramped stage typically make for a decent show; but not tonight. Tonight felt stagnant. The room was smokey and the hipster elitists made every song feel like it was being broken down, inspected and thrown away. Nothing hit home. One couple sat, watching intently, while the rest of the room went on about their business as if I was a jukebox tucked away in a corner somewhere. I'd play my songs, they'd realize I stopped, half-way clap, and it would all start over. I wanted nothing more than for Rickey to run out of the corner, jump up on stage and play the show with me. Maybe then it wouldn't matter and we'd have fun anyway. I don't mind playing for small crowds. I love it. I'll play to a room. I'll play to anything. I'll play to nothing...just not tonight. Tonight I just want to leave. I wound up playing a short set and getting out early on good behavior. I wrapped up and left with some change from the door and a couple doughnuts from behind the bar. I just wanted to be alone. I wanted to shut everybody out. I got to some obscure place, pulled back the curtain on my truck and unpacked my guitar. My phone rang a couple times. I ignored it. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I could hear sirens in the distance; they served as the only reminder that there was anything at all beyond the black curtain that separated me from the rest of the world. Other than that it was just me. We're caught up with time now. I'm sitting here. Typing away on an out-dated cellphone and clutching this guitar like a life-ring in some kind of vast ocean of apathy. My doughnuts are gone. I can't stop coughing and eat coughdrops like candy. There are no sirens anymore. Everything is quiet. Utter silence. I'll probably be up awhile. I'm going home in the morning. Home - there's a term for you. I'm only going there so I can pack up and leave again. I'm happiest here - alone in some parking lot in some city I can't pronounce. I'm home right now. Home - I like that.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You Play the Washboard and I'll Play the Broads

New York, New York. The metropolitan mother-ship of the USA. Nothing even comes close. Screaming car horns, flashing lights, looming towers and nearly nine million sleepless residents fill the city from street to street. Existence at its finest. It was this constant display of endless motion that was still running through my head when I arrived in Purcellville, VA. There's a change. After a bit of research, I learned that more people work in the Empire State Building then reside in Purcellville. However, this is where my brother lives - so this is where I found myself. It didn't matter. It was good to see him was good to sleep in a bed again. It was good to take a shower again. I think my socks were molded to my feet. I was kind of scared to take them off. I'm sure they could have stood on their own. Since Rickey was playing washboard and guitar with me that night, a bunch of Patrick Henry students came out to the DC show and created a super fun, high-energy, performance that I'll remember for awhile. Not to mention playing with Rick again was amazing. We played, and sang, and stomped, and danced to our heart's content until the whole little upstairs room had broken into a roaring, spinning, swing dance party. At one point, I was playing "Who Cries Over Dead Spiders?" when Rickey jumped out into the crowd and broke into a whole dance routine with some classmates. So Rick could leave early, we got moved from headlining to a 10pm spot. When we got done, the final act (who was supposed to play before us) made it extremely clear that they didn't even want to play because they knew they couldn't compete with our energy and performance enough to try to follow us. We were all smiles. I've had bands scheduled to follow me walk out without playing before. I'm really glad these guys still went on because they turned out to be one of the best bands I've played with this whole trip. Such a good time and such a good band. (check out Dan Wolff when you get a chance) I wish Rickey could be with me every night. We'd never have a bad show and we'd make so much money. It was good to see my parents while I was in VA as well. Mikelle finally got her dog. He's kind of invasive but seems cool enough. If you make fun of him she'll stab you in the liver. She's a liver stabber.

I hit the 3500 mile mark today. 3500 miles in 15 days. I still have another 18 days and 2500+ miles to drive before the tour is over. Unless I keep going. I added some more show dates and hope to keep moving 'till I can't anymore. Maybe I'll settle in Phoenix for awhile. Maybe New Mexico...
It strange, there's something about driving all over the country that requires monstrous amounts of gasoline. I'll never understand it. See, it's about a 6 1/2 hour drive from VA to Knoxville. That's 6 1/2 hours worth of gasoline I have to posses, and so many dollars worth of money I have to have to purchase said 6 1/2 hours worth of gasoline to make the previously mentioned 6 1/2 hour drive without winding up gas-less on some God-forgotten street corner west of nowhere. I didn't think this was going to be a problem as I pretty much tour for gas money. I play shows to make enough gas money to get to the next city who can pay me enough gas money to get to the next, then the next, then the next, then the next. It's a revolving cycle. I don't need things for myself. I can live on a shoe-string; $200 is like $2500 and a cheeseburger is a New York Strip when you live in a truck-bed. Give me a box of poptarts and a Dr Pepper and I'm happy. Just keep me on the road. But sometimes the cycle stops. Sometimes things get fun and you get that awesome chance to actually live for awhile. It's usually the long-hauls that do it. You know, those trips from Cleveland to Philadelphia with nothing but a day off in between. In this case it was Manhattan to Virginia then Staunton to Knoxville that got me. It's a good 600 mile haul between each stop and I'd made enough for half of that. I had nothing left 150 miles outside of Knoxville and decided to drive until I either got there or stopped moving. Turns out it was a good idea as I ran out of gas in front of a hospital in downtown Knoxville - not far from where I needed to be. It was around 2:45am, I had a cool radio program scheduled for the next morning, and my phone said I was within 3 miles. Close enough for folk-travel. I was happy. I still can't believe I made it that far. I think I laughed for like 15 minutes straight at how well it worked out. Honestly, my gas light had come on about 35 miles prior and I expected a far heftier walk. 3 miles is nothing. I pushed my truck into the parking lot and went to bed. The next morning I walked to the station and made it in time to play an incredibly fun, on air acoustic set (in front of a live studio audience) and meet a killer bluegrass/rock band from Colorado. (you can check out our performances here: Be sure to look up Old North State, great band and such cool guys). O.N.S. and I kept talking about how surprised we were by the number of people that came out for a 12pm show. The place was packed and everybody seemed super receptive. The show wrapped up and I still didn't have any money, so afterwards I walked downtown, played on the street a bit, sold some records and ended up hawking an old fender amp to get back on the road. Knoxville is super pretty and one of the coolest towns I've been to. Maybe I just like the excitement. 
By 3pm I was headed to Charlotte with a few hundred bucks, a cheeseburger and a sense of accomplishment. So much fun. I love this stuff. Honestly, I was bored. Things had been too smooth for a solo tour and I kept waiting for that "let's get resourceful" moment to kick in. I can't believe it took this long but I'm glad it finally happened. What a great time. Can't wait 'till it happens again. 

I pulled into Charlotte and the first thing I saw was a pink truck. What a great day. I think I'll play downtown awhile before the show. It'll be a small show tonight then I'm headed home for two days. It'll be cool to play in Nashville on Saturday and Sunday before leaving for Florida. Good crowds and good people. I can't wait to get to be back in Nashville and Florida. I think they'll be my favorite stops. My body is acting weird. I think I need to sleep or eat something decent. 
There are two fat high-school girls sitting across from me having a very intense conversation about restaurants they wish existed...oh, fat kids...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

All Sail Away

The past assortment of shows has been an amazing experience. Cleveland, Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Gettysburg, Adams Morgan. I played Washington, DC to a sold out house of nearly 350 in a building with a 300 person capacity. It was cool to have more than 30 something people like the last couple nights have been. It was so confined and congested that the energy between the stage and the crowd was enough to tear one's eyes out. Such a great time. I played a 2 hour set with a 30 minute encore that finished one of the best shows I've ever played in my life. I don't think I've ever felt so in tuned to an audience as I was that night. The sound guy plays saxophone for a killer blues band and, after minimal coaxing, he played the back half of the show with me. The last hour plus was filled with the grittiest, toughest blues solos ever to grace the air. At one point we rode a 6-4-1 progression for 10 minutes while I stood on tables and walked throughout the room amidst the roars of brilliance flowing from the tenor horn on stage. Everybody knew the words by that point. I stood on a chair, leading a chanting chorus as the crowd screaming along to the lines "My My My a Man Can Not Deny - Depression Will Kill You Just As Fast As Dying!" for what seemed like hours. I never wanted it to end. It was one of those shows that's since played like a movie through my mind; flickering and jumping from scene to scene, song to song, face to face. I think I'll remember it for awhile.

My truck got broken into in Baltimore while I was sleeping in the back. I woke up and managed to scare the two away with a swinging baseball bat before anything was taken or seriously damaged. It's a good city. The next day, I asked if I could see a room at a local hotel and, as I had hoped, they gave me a key and told me I could go check it out. I went in the room, took a shower and then told the front desk attendant I wasn't interested in the room and left. Hygiene: maintained.

From there I headed north - a little quicker than usual - to Philly and then Manhattan. Both shows were pretty uneventful and nothing really exciting happened. Regardless, I love Philadelphia and can't wait to go back.
I did watch a police officer get run over in Manhattan. Some lady came flying through a light, knocked him under the car, rolled over him and continued driving until she made it across the intersection. Scariest thing I've ever seen in my life. This had either happened before or he slid right between the tires because he jumped up, staggered around for a second, then sprinted after her car. He screamed at her for awhile then let her go. I'm pretty sure anywhere else that's a criminal offense. Thank God for the tender, mild mannered, loving, police of New York City. Apart from a little blood, he seemed completely fine. Weird stuff.
I did get a chance to play Arlene's Grocery that night. That was cool, despite the fact that I don't think anyone cared I was there...and if they did it's because they were upset that they had to suffer through a whole set list. I think I'm becoming the number one thing New Yorkers are giving up for Lent. At one point, three guys (out of the 5 or 6 people there) were standing in front of the stage slapping their knees and doing mocking farm dances while yelling "Yeee-Haw!!!" and other such things. Eventually they told me I sucked and left. I was jealous that they got to leave before me. At least I'm leaving tonight. Jersey likes me better.

Overall, Baltimore was classy, Philly was boring, Newark was strangely clean, Manhattan hated me and I'm having the best time of my life. In response, I booked two more weeks of shows and question whether or not I'll ever return to Nashville...
God, I love living. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Liberty For All

I was literally the only person at the Lincoln Memorial who wasn't black. I thought that was interesting.
I want a voice that transcends race and generations like that. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bleed Your Throat Out

I left last week. Alone as usual; just me and my guitars. I like it that way. It's less stifling. It's amazing how difficult it is to keep someone on the road. Once the reality of sleeping in a car and living off potato chips kicks in they find some family emergency to declare and catch the first train back to nowhere. I like it better that way.
I made it to Indianapolis around 10pm in time to play for a room-full of angst filled locals. What a great city. Everybody was super col and everything was extremely frozen. There was a water fountain with a stream of ice protruding from it. It almost looked like a cartoon. I played for hours and sang until my throat was raw (vocal teachers cringe). What a great way to start off a trip. I can't wait to make it back and play the White Rabbit again.
6am rolled around and it was northbound and west to Chicago. I love this city. It may be the windy city, but to me it's the, "city that I've never had a bad time in and is awesome enough that it doesn't matter that it's windy" city. I am yet to visit without the police stopping me for some stupid reason or another. This time was no exception. I must have been there 15 minutes before I was stopped by two near-comedic looking officers, with affinities for bad sideburns and mustaches, and told to remove the number 3 from the side of my truck. They rambled a bit about gang involvement and other things while I spray painted over the small bit of individuality I possess. Before I was let go, they made me remove the bandana from my pocket and explained to me the dangers of being alone in a big city. They then told me to try to stay with my group and pointed out all the "safe and touristy" places I should visit before I went home. Home? We're standing on my front porch, Officer; and you just made me erase my address. How will anyone ever find me now? **I would like to take this moment to congratulate the Chicago District Police Force for their ever vigil eye and thorough awareness of gang-warfare**  I paraded around the city, through both the places I'd been warned about and the brighter side of youthful tourism. Reggies was a super cool place. Smaller crowd, but the show was a good time and I met a bunch of really cool people. I think one of my favorite parts of traveling is seeing other people's apartments before they have a chance to clean them up and offer a false representation. It's like I get to see how they actually live right up front; before the plasticity and efforts to impress begin. I like being a part of their culture and lifestyle that I've never experienced before. It's always interesting to walk in the door, followed by rains of apologies at the sate of the place (like I live in a mansion or something), look around and think, "Oh, so that's what 25 year old Boston residents keep on their mantles." We sat in Chicago, in a hot-tub on the roof, while the snow surrounded, showered by the lights of the city and watching the trains pass by beneath the shadow of the former Sears Tower. It was awesome. I was in a part of the city the police had warned me about; but there was a moose head on the wall so it didn't matter. The sun came up - it didn't matter either. It had been a good night and I had 6 hours to drive. I changed and bid everyone goodbye. I rarely dislike leaving somewhere, but this time I wanted another day. Columbus felt like my mother urging me home when I wanted to stay at a friends house a bit longer. Nevertheless, you can't ignore your mother...

Drive. I don't remember much of the drive to Columbus. Everything seemed a kind of blurry daze; whether it was because I was traveling so fast that I had begun to time travel or because I hadn't slept in 36 hours, I still haven't decided. Nevertheless, all I recall is traveling through tiny cities that looked like they'd been plucked from Norman Rockwell paintings and thrust into real life. I wanted to get out and touch them to verify whether  they were real or not. I stopped at a graveyard for a bit. I felt a sort of sombre calmness; like I was coming home. The snow covered the names and I had to dig a few headstones out from the snow to read the death dates. 3 hours. Black ice, minor collision. Set back. The truck was fine so it didn't matter. 9pm and I made it to Columbus to find a basement venue stuffed full of the most backward, cousin-loving, hillbillies I'd ever encountered. It made Kentucky look like Jane Austin while Columbus resembled Deliverance. I sat in the back, swimming through smoke, indifferent to the comedians and one man acts that played before me. I think my mind was still out west. I wanted to leave. I finally walked on stage, looked over the silent crowd and put on the best show I think I've ever performed in my life. I walked off and sat back stage awhile, listening to the roar coming from the crowd out front. I smiled, "was I really getting an encore at a dingy club in God-forsaken, Ohio?" I guess I appeal to inbred illiterates. That's comforting. I went back out and played awhile. Somebody bought me a jack and coke and spilled it all over the front of the stage trying to hand it to me mid song. Everyone was crazy...but everybody bought my record. It was 3am. I went to a local punk-house and, somehow, collapsed on the couch amidst the ruckus of an insanely crazy after-party. I'm not sure what all happened, but everybody left me alone and when I woke up, everything was broken, the door was wide open and there was snow all over the living room. I was happy to find that both my guitars and my body had managed to remain untouched. I confirmed such by walking across the room and back with no difficulty. I looked around but couldn't find anyone - so I left. As it turns out, a blizzard had come through the night before and the snow had created an intricate castle around my house-truck. What a pity to destroy such the beautiful work of art nature had provided, but it had to be done. It took a bit to dig the ol' home from the snow, but eventually we were free and hit the road for Cleveland. 

It had been 4 days since I'd taken a shower and, as I had two shows within an hour of each other, I decided to get a hotel outside the city. Was a horrible place Cleveland is. I felt the way Dorothy must have felt upon her return to Kansas from Oz. At one point, I even got a pamphlet of "Things to do in Cleveland". It literally said, "famous for our baseball stadium and large indoor shopping mall." Yay. I walked downtown. Nobody was on the streets and everything was closed by 6pm. Even McDonald's and Walmart weren't 24hrs. Columbus was the same way. What a crappy state. Anyway, I got to Wilbert's around 7p and met up with Jason and Polly (from the Punknecks). Mike made us the largest, most amazing burrito's I've ever had in my life. He made Chipotle look like they served fun size candy bars. Apparently nobody knew, or cared, that we were playing (they probably just assumed the venue closed at sundown like everything else). There must have been 15 people there. Maybe 25 if you count the kitchen staff and band members. Regardless, the show was lively and I got to test out a ton of new material. It was good to meet up with some of the Nashville crowd. *Be sure to check out Jason & the Punknecks and the Hillbilly Harlots when you get a chance (may be explicit). 
The venue was right beside the ballpark and I'd parked in the attached garage as instructed. However, I'd neglected to take into consideration that Cleveland runs on 1890's farmer time and goes to bed at 8p. I loaded up and drove around the garage a bit, only to find the doors pulled closed on every exit. 5 exits and no way out. What kind of parking garage locks cars in at only 1 in the morning? I looked at my ticket and it read, "NO EXIT AFTER 12AM ON WEEK DAYS. CALL 1-800-xxx-xxxx TO RETRIEVE VEHICLE AFTER HOURS. $250 CHARGE FOR AFTER HOURS VEHICLE RECOVERY." Seriously? I didn't mind sleeping in my truck, I just found it ironic that the first night I got a hotel I couldn't even stay there. I love this stuff.
The next morning I got back to my hotel, packed up my stuff and left for Pennsylvania. I might have made it 3 miles before breaking down. I guess Ohio's got a hold on me. I got the house fixed and made it to the venue on time. Hands down, flat-out, amazing show. I must have played just shy of 2 hours and had such a killer audience. It's cool to see people singing along to my songs. It's very weird to me. I wrote this song in the parking lot called "I Can Not Keep Silent" and felt like a preacher in an old-time tent revival singing it. Everybody was going crazy and kept calling me a modern Bob Dylan after the show. I've never had such a great response. One older lady claimed she was going to write an article about me, telling the greater Lake Eerie area that seeing me is the closest thing to seeing 25 year old Dylan. I don't know if she will or not, I don't really care, but just hearing her say that left me beaming...

Pittsburgh tomorrow. Then Philly and DC. I can't wait to meet up with the people there and play the North East again. It's going to be such a good time. 

"I Can Not Keep Silent"

Tell the business man religious leader who offers promises to come and rescue you
Only if you give your money to the hands of his campaign 
You'll be saved, you'll be saved, you'll be saved
Tell the ones who take your pennies just to pray...

Tell the cunning politician crocodiles 
Who say, "Your smile is quite becoming, dear, so come and stare awhile
at your beautiful reflection in this mirror called the Nile
I swear that I won't hurt you; I'll let no one ever hurt you
 I'm a man of grace and virtue and I'll never desert you
Can't you see the truth that lies behind my smile?"
Tell the cunning politician crocodiles...

That I can not keep silent. No, I can not keep silent
You can cut the tongue out of my mouth but I'll still write it down
For I can not keep silent. No, I will not keep silent

Tell the war-torn, zealous men of needless fighting
Always out looking for some new fight to fight in
Who subscribe to the belief that the world can not be free
Without the interference of some country over seas
And offer their protection to the side they want to see - win
And drop the bombs to roar like thunder and lightning 
Tell the war-torn, zealous men out always fighting...

That I can not keep silent. No, I can not keep silent
You can cut the tongue out of my mouth but I'll still write it down
For I can not keep silent. No, I will not keep silent

Tell the woman, men and children like you and me
Who stare each day in horror and disbelief
At everything that they despise happening right before their eyes
When will we start to realize that it's time to stand as one and rise
and recognize that we were born free
Tell the women, men and children like you and me...

That we can not keep silent. No, we can not keep silent
You can cut the tongues out of our mouths but we'll still write it down
For we will not keep silent. No we will not keep silent.
We can not keep silent. No, we will not keep silent

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Upcoming Tour Dates

Here is a list of my upcoming tour dates. Sorry for the delay.
Thanks, and can't wait to see you there! 


Sat 2/11 - Indianapolis, IN
The White Rabbit

Sunday 2/12 - Chicago, IL 
Reggie's Music Joint, doors @ 8pm

Monday, 2/13 - Columbus, OH
The Distillery, doors @ 7pm 

Tuesday, 2/14 - Cleveland, OH
Wilbert's, doors @ 7pm
With: Jason & the Punknecks

Wednesday, 2/15 - Youngstown, OH
The Red Roof, doors @ 8pm

Thursday, 2/16 - Pittsburgh, PA
Private Event

Friday, 2/17 - Washington, DC
Madam's Organ, doors @ 6pm

2/18 - Newark, NJ
Shuttle, doors @ 8pm

Sunday, 2/19 - Manhattan, NY
Arlene's Grocery, doors @ 8pm

Monday 2/20 - Philadelphia, PA
Private Radio Event

Tuesday 2/21 - Washington, DC
The Velvet Lounge, 8pm
With: The Elephant's Gerald and Daniel Wolff

Thursday 2/23 - Knoxville, TN
Blue Plate Special, 102.9fm WDVX, 12pm

Friday 2/24 - Charlotte, NC
The Evening Muse, doors @ 8pm

Saturday 2/25 - Antioch, TN
The Hall, Doors @ 8pm
Private Show

Sunday 2/26 - Nashville, TN
The End, doors @ 8pm
With: Nicole Boggs, The Golden Spurs & Zach White

Tuesday 2/28 - Jacksonville, FL
Green Room Performance

Wednesday 2/29 - Daytona, FL
The Disaster Show, 99.1fm WIKD, 6pm


Thursday 3/1 - Orlando, FL
The Haven, doors @ 7pm
With: Jaron Clark, Susana Cole, Chiaz Stone, & Nelson Vincent

Friday 3/2 - Ybor City, FL
The Collage, doors @ 8pm
With Special Guests: Zanesville & Brahm Bones

Wednesday 3/7 - Atlanta, GA
The Variety Theatre, doors @ 6:30pm

Friday 3/9 - San Antonio, TX
The White Rabbit, doors 8pm

Saturday 3/10 - Austin Texas
The Green Room, doors @ 9pm

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Renegade Marie

10 days. 10 days until I'm back to the abnormality I consider normal. Back to the stages and the footlights and the nights spent alone in a frozen truckbed some place west of nowhere. Back to bleeding throats and microphones and staying as connected with disconnection as possible. Back to making friends I'll never remember and cities I'll pray to forget. Back to that strange place where nobody really knows me and the lines between fact and fiction become tainted, blurred and pixilated. Back to ambiguous relevance. Back to normal.
Normal? Normal is the most broken thing I've ever encountered. I'm ecstatic.
              I wrote this story last night. One of those random tales full of piracy, scorn and sorrow. It's all about this child who, upon his mother's death, finds himself aboard a war-vessel named the Marie. Over time, it's proven that the boy is a talented warrior and passionate leader. As the ship seeks to purge the seas of villainy, the boy's confidence grows to pride and his arrogance leads to the brutal slaughter of those he's sent to capture. The furious Brigadier locks the boy away, in hope that by punishing his waywardness, he can build him into a man of character to one day take his place.
The plans are foiled, however, when the crew, impressed with the boy's brutal tendencies, free the lad and plot mutiny against their leader. Forcing the Brigadier into a chest, they feed him to the sea and turn the ship toward land in hope to gain the wealth they've long desired. Weeks pass and the boy turns the ship into a callous ruckus and the crew to a viscous band of marauding outsiders. Meanwhile, a chest - full of lifelessness - lies still, cold and soaked on a beach somewhere. It's morning there and a young child chases his dog down the shoreline and sees the discarded wreckage. Assuming the treasures it contains, the child rushes home and drags his father back to the coast. Breaking it open they find, not the jewels they expected, but the Brigadier - dripping and still - but, somehow, clinging desperately to life; praying only to stop the now Renegade Marie. Days pass and the captain recovers. Assembling a vagabond crew of tired vigilantes, he makes haste to stop the plight of his former assemblage.

                  Sails are seen on the horizon...

...Cannons are prepared....  

                               ...a malignant smile crosses the young captain's face...

       ....a prayer of vengeance falls through the Brigadier's lips...
...seconds feel like hours as generations                            prepare for the                                       long awaited final conflict...

Everything goes hazy among the gunfire and blinding billows of  blackened smoke. Men flood the decks as blood runs like rivers through the cracks and dents in the wood. It's a bloodbath of murderous extravagance. Through the swords and the mire, the captains strain their eyes in search of one another. Swords crash and the cannons roar as the sky opens up and sends its own flurry of ammunition upon the scuffle. At last they meet, the old, tired captain and his his youthful mutineer. No words are spoken, but the beat of their pounding hearts strike envy to the soul of thunder. There is no fight; just a smile as the lad effortlessly strikes the old mariner to his knees and stands above him. A single blow and it's over. No climax. No over-drawn plea for life. Just mercilessness. The lad stares awhile then, leaving the body, returns to his room. The fighting stops - what's the purpose now? Silence. Everyone watches as the door to the captain's quarters closes and the blinds are drawn tightly shut. what happens now?  Eventually the crews separate and depart; gathering their dead as they sort through the senseless chaos.
Eventually, someone finds the courage to enter the young captain's room, only to see him there, silently sitting behind his desk - back to the door - facing the ocean beyond the window. "Should we throw him to the sea?" the man inquires. Silence. A nod. The door closes. Footsteps can be heard above. A brief pause, followed by the once fearless Brigadier dropping quickly past his murderer's window and into the ever grateful arms of the welcoming sea. What irony. The storm has calmed and the wind plays with the body a moment; sending papers from his pockets flying through the air before the waves at last consume him. Down the body sinks. Lifelessness to the abyss. The captain watches in fulfillment as the papers rise in the salty air and rest, sticking against his window. Small words here, a picture there. A picture? What familiar faces smile through his window? The boy leaps from his seat and rushes closer to confirm the horror he witnessed. What truth arrived un-welcomed - for staring through the window was the face he'd loved forever - the face of the mother he'd lost in youth. A rushing flood of tears fill his eyes as he clutches hopelessly at the glass in vain attempt to grab hold of the picture. He beats the panes and the room shakes with biting torment. He screams as a convicting flow of contrasting emotion engulfs him and collapses, crumbling in a heap upon the floor in exhausted misery; weeping at the awareness that by his arrogance he'd slain the very one who gave him life. From father to son, captain to captain, a ship passed through bloodlines and inherited by lines of blood upon the ocean floor. The reality overcomes him. Hours pass.
The picture leaves the window and the boy is left with nothing. A mere lad, dressed in the stolen garments of a murdered ship's captain, orphaned by his own resentment and left only with the riches of the sorrow he'd scornfully sewn...