Many Voices

Upon following Native news and especially the situation and devastation at Standing Rock, I’ve written this lyric as a partial response. Music to follow. Aho

Many Voices

We are the Native skin-  your long forgotten kin

But brothers to the four winds that blow- Navajo

 

We’ve come to share a word- one we’ve said but not been heard

And the time is now to listen and see- Shawnee

 

Our earth is crying out- as she shakes and shouts

There’s no doubt- you know this is true – Standing Rock Sioux

 

We all have to stand together- hand n’ hand here forever

To save what you seem determined to kill

The wind and the water and every flower on the hill

 

Tomorrow is paid for by today- so we must choose the better way

This is what our old ones say and the wisdom of the age- Ojibway

 

She’s been too long in her tears- ravaged by your money and the years

And we fear soon she will just let go- Arapaho

 

We must teach our children to listen- to the voice that’s been missing

It’s the one that’s true and can’t be sold- Seminole

RPT Chorus

Bridge

Come on brother Choctaw- come on brother Kickapoo

Muscogee and Cheyenne

For the children we must protect the land

Repeat Chorus

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Good Morning Universe, How are ya!

Around 5pm this afternoon, I will have circled the sun 56 times. Maybe that’s why I’ve always been fond of suppertime ! And evening is my favorite time of the day. It all adds up in my mind for sure.

This is an interesting season for sure. Naturally whatever stage we are in we have never been in it before. As with most things we can only truly understand things from experience. This season has brought heaviness. It has brought mortality into very sharp focus. What once was a blurry concept now sits at the door waiting its turn in our lives. I have 2 dogs circling for home. A parent going through tough challenges. Friends parents passing, friends themselves. You hear the stories all the time. We take youth and the assumptions that tomorrow is going to be there for us with way too much liberty. The worst part is that it effects how we treat today. The present.

With all of that circling around my head, it makes me much more aware of the moment. Of the breath. Of the heart. Of thankfulness of which there is so much of.

Circles begin and close everyday. The tides pull and the moon is affected. We are all connected to everything. So, here on this cold day in Tennessee, I will pray thankfulness for the cold, the rain and the perfect imperfection of the universe. I am happy to be here, to learn, to forgive, to be forgiven, to build more bridges and tear down walls in my world.

So Creator, when you see the smoke of my Cedar and Sage rise this morning, know it is me. Know my humble heart beneath my ego. Know my love for this earth I stand on. And know that I do try to be, what I say I want to be.

I write this thinking of my Father. Of a friend that lost her Mother unexpectedly last year. I write it with Glen Frey on my heart. Of Merle Haggard and how much music is attached to our souls. We all must pass, and it is my only way of understanding is that there is something after. And while pearly gates and streets of gold don’t connect with me, I know the soul never dies, and there is a home on the other side of our reality here. But today I say” Good Morning Universe, How are Ya !” I’m glad to be here !

Be good to yourselves and to those around you.

Aho and Amen !

Dare I Say, Kenny Chesney

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I know, I know, I know !!! In some circles the name Kenny Chesney did or does bring a little chuckle. Some of us think back to dismal tunes like “She Thinks My Tractor is Sexy”, poorly shaped cowboy hats and them being worn by guys that wouldn’t be caught dead in one off stage. In general a big decline in good songs and artists that were believable. While I wasn’t his demographic early on, I have found his drifting to beach tunes to ring true. Maybe I’m trying to fill the void of old Jimmy Buffett tunes. Each year my beach playlist has most of the same artists and while I love the nostalgia of Buffett and Marley, I am always hungry for something new. So now I find a handful of little beach tunes by Chesney that I like.

I know there are some of you way-to-cool-for-school folks that couldn’t find any value in this music. But I like an artist that is maturing for one thing and for several years now the Chesney team has been picking much better songs like The Good Stuff written by legendary Nashville writer Craig Wiseman. So the songs are better and now with this turn to the beach they have an honest appeal. For all I know Chesney hates the Sun and is allergic to shellfish, but if that’s true it’s a marketing dream come true, because he sure seems to have found himself a home in the islands. I’m sure his team is also smart enough to look at the career of Jimmy Buffett and what he tapped in to and knowing that ole Jimmy sadly won’t be with us forever. So why not slide into the on deck circle !!!

Like the lyric says, “The keys in the conch shell , come on in !!!!!

Shine A Light: The Adventres Of The Big Boy

As they last days of 2012 dwindled and the leaves had blown across the streets of Nashville, two really good records were released by Nashville artist and writer, Davis Raines. Always a local favorite and among the writers of this town, Davis is acknowledged as a writing force to be reckoned with! Davis Raines is the insider’s favorite, everywhere he goes.

Santa Maria Hotel was a Shine The Light post in December 2012. Now listening to the second record, The Adventures Of The Big Boy, produced by Don Kerce, the most obvious commonality is the love for Davis Raines music. The approach to the songs is different, and the set list is different all but for Santa Maria Hotel. I’ve you dream of living of the hard driving honky-tonk sounds of Country Music reminiscent of Waylon, Willie, Don Williams or even Marty Robbins, then Milan Miller produced Santa Maria Hotel will hit you right between the eyes.

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The Adventures of The Big Boy stretches the bag towards the hippie side of Davis Raines, and believe me the Autauga County Alabama native has a big hippie side, full of love, openness, and a sincere wish for all to live in harmony and happiness! What a great bag of tunes with stories dripping with Cajun juices, to the Blues, Country, and even the Beatles-ish “You Lied”. But every influence and every Sunday -morning -saved- again, is in every Davis Raines song. While he has been gone from Autauga County for a long time it has never left him. Davis has a way of always walking away with only the good stuff !

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Give the rollicking track Big Boy a listen, man the opening lines hit me right off, “I got a roll of fifties, I got a .45 / I been to Mississippi, I been on a airplane ride- baby girl you sure smell good / Lordy-mercy Mama treat the Big Boy like you should……..This is high caliber Hillbilly ya’ll, with subtle brush strokes of the Old South. But if you think Santa Maria Hotel stays in the past then buckle up for Methamphetamine, where the listener hears a story with all of the confusion, paranoia, and fear of addiction and that is just coming from the music and the track, but then the words step in….I’m just a country boy, never had much / Never had much interest in notes and such, I never had much focus never had much drive- never had much reason for being alive…..

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Nobody is asking, but I guess I’m telling, go get a copy of The Adventures Of The Big Boy, but I must warn you that if you like what you hear then that stuff they are calling Country Music these day will no taste so good to ya! I’ve you’ve been looking for the real stuff with the craft of writing still intact, then go get em! And you can thank me later! By the Way as luck would have it, Davis Raines will be appearing at Kimbros in Franklin Tennessee this Thursday night, May 23 !! See Ya there !

Shine A Light: American Limehouse

limeThere is a lot of music out there these days and finding stuff you’ve never heard of is actually easier now than it has ever been. On itunes of course you can preview songs and then buy only the ones you like. A far cry from the days when you’d buy an album and find that you only liked the songs they played on the radio !!

Now with all that music at our fingertips, the down side seems to be that it opens the floodgates for anyone with a guitar and garage band. So finding the good stuff gets a little trickier. Music should be made for the love of it; for the passion that a type of music evokes in a person. Sometimes that has commercial appeal and sometimes not. But when the two come together the result is an awesome listening experience. This is the case for Nashville based American Limehouse, which is made of up of veteran musicians that have shared the stage and played for the best artists in music.

American Limehouse has a bit of a throwback sound. If you like deep grooves, RB, with some Steely Dan vibe thrown in, then this bands for you. Make no mistake they are not a cover band or stuck in a time warp. This a tight band of excellent players pushing the limits, but you won’t be disappointed if those old grooves still move you.

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These are good guys playing a style of music that they love, and it is infectious. They are currently playing local in Nashville and I’m sure will be hitting the road soon. Do yourselves a favor and see them live, check them out on itunes and visit their site http://www.americanlimehouse.com/

Happy 80th Birthday Willie !!!

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Do you ever wonder what makes Willie Nelson keep working the road? First of all, I don’t think there is any reason anyone should quit what they do just because of age. If you can still pull it off and people want you to do it, then keep on going! I like Willie’s quote “All I do is play music and play golf, which one do you want me to quit?”.
I’ve heard the media say “what does he have left to prove?” “why would he want to stay out there on the road?”. I’d say — you know nothing about Willie Nelson.

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After penning 60’s country classics like “Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Hello Walls”, “Nightlife”, and the most played jukebox song of all time “Crazy”, the world finally, in the mid 1970’s, began to hear what Nashville people had heard for years; the genius of Willie Nelson as an artist. 1975 brought us “Red Headed Stranger”, which in the early 1990’s, Paul Simon said he still listens to once a week, and the smash “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”. Someone in Willie’s road crew once said “We went out for a 6 week run and never came back”. 38 years later Willie is still on the road. Small clubs in no name towns to the most exclusive concert halls of the world, it doesn’t matter to him. His 1978 release “Stardust” stayed on Billboards top 100 albums for over 10 years!! While the numbers are amazing its the spirit that rings true.

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So back to the earlier questions. After millions of records sold, every major award in the world on his mantle, money in the bank, even after his little tangle with the IRS, why does he keep doing it? I’d venture to say it has always been about the connection to people. He may use the word “Fan”, but I don’t think he sees his listeners that way. I think he needs us as much as we need him. It’s an exchange of energy, of life’s blood, if you will.

The Willie Nelson concert isn’t only about “Whiskey River” and “On The Road Again”, it is also about a spiritual exchange. An exchange of love and karma. It’s a ministry, you might say,one of truth, openness and love for everyone, no one is excluded, no one! It’s just what Willie does and we are the healthier for it.

Maybe in the end it’s closer to the line from the movie “Songwriter”, “I did it for the love but I wasn’t above the money !!! Happy Birthday to a world treasure !

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WALT WILKINS – “PLENTY”

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In 1977, Jackson Browne pleaded with himself, his culture and anyone else that would listen that we have enough. That we have love, and the lyrics of “The Pretender” are the echos of our souls groaning for truth and peace !

I’m going to be a happy idiot – And struggle for the legal tender

Where the ads take aim and lay their claim – To the heart and the soul of the spender

And believe in whatever may lie – In those things that money can buy

Though true love could have been a contender

Are you there? Say a prayer for the pretender

Who started out so young and strong…Only to surrender

So here it is 2012 and I’ve been listening to Walt Wilkins’ new solo record “Plenty”, and the same echos are there. The same yearnings to hold onto contentment, and let love do its thing. Let love be what fills our hearts and souls, not the desire for more and more and more, and wonder again and again and again why it isn’t ever enough. It was never intended to be. It’d be like pouring sweet tea into a ragtop Caddy and then wonder why your not cruisin’ down the highway !! Love is what makes us humans thrive, not the eternal chase for the legal tender.

This is familiar territory for Wilkins. An artist that I perceive as being more interested in the threads of life that the finished garment. A person that is fully aware that the tension between heart and mind, soul and shell, will always linger to challenge us. One way makes us feel accepted and the can nourish our souls if we trust in it. In “Just Be” he reminds us that we can slow down and just let all the nonsense pass right on by. Why fight it?, why struggle?, we don’t have to engage it…we can “just be”

I’m gonna sit right here- under this tree

sit right here under this tree and be, just be

stay in the shade for a while

in the shade for a while

and if trouble comes to find me

I’ll just lay back and smile

I would say Walt Wilkins is a son of Texas and not that that’s not true, but I see him more as a child of Texas. He holds the wonder of his home state with the awe as if seeing it for the first time. In “A Farm To Market Romance”, he laments “These are the fields and the hills that I love and if I ever leave it will be just for heaven above”.

Take yourself to that place, where peace abounds, where worry doesn’t live. Open your eyes to the beauty that surrounds you, to the love that is in a strangers smile, or hell, just slow down long enough to really, really realize just how good that enchilada you are eating with a cold Victoria beer is !!!!!

Things may not be perfect for us, but perfect really doesn’t exist, unless you let life unfold on its own. I’m gonna let “perfect” slip on by and pitch my camp under the sky of “plenty”.

I hope these thoughts have resonated in some way with you. I send these words out as if standing in front of a mirror. I am at the front of the line needing to live these thoughts. I thank you for allowing me to share. Find “Plenty” at itunes. I promise Wilkins’ music will be an investment into the ever flowing peace of your soul !!

Let me know what you think or better yet, go check out Walt Wilkins live and let him know !!!