Tips to Myself

I’m in a season now where I think about things I wouldn’t have in the past. Like health, longevity, time, and what I’ll leave in the hearts and souls of my children, family and friends. Here is a quick list of things I’m pretty sure of ! Not an exhaustive list for sure but also not a bad place for me to begin. This is my list, but I’m hopeful something in there will be a reflective point for you as well. Tips and daily reminders to myself. I really need them !

*The fewer keys on your key ring the happier you’ll be

*Music, art and athletics have done more to bring the world together and bridge gaps than any government or religion- Thanks in part to my friend Paul

*Don’t take yourself so seriously !

*If man weren’t progressive then we wouldn’t have the wheel or air condition. I’m comforted by progression

*Don’t be an asshole- Thanks Willie Nelson

*Live barefoot as much as possible

*Definitions or describing something can never touch the experience of something

*Keep wonder alive

*There’s always another way to do something….your way ! Thanks Waylon Jennings

*The Creator is and  has always been inside you

*Remember the ones that say they have all the answers on something, rarely do

*Man is just a part of the circle. Not the top of anything

*Be intentional

*Celebrate those who dance. Those of us that don’t are simply jealous- Thanks Tamra

*Be good to yourself…..Aloha



Shine A Light: Will Campbell

I can’t honestly remember when I first heard of Will Campbell. I’m thinking it was in the mid 80’s somewhere and possible there was an article in Rolling Stone magazine about Waylon Jennings and it mentioned Campbell. I wasn’t old enough or should I say wasn’t in tune enough to fall in behind a man like Will Campbell. I was too self-absorbed. I did realize in my deepest senses though that this man felt as close to a prophet to anyone I had ever heard. I’m sure he would laugh at that description, but I knew he held to a truth so deep that it was eternal.

Years passed and I slowed down long enough to read Brother to a Dragonfly. If that book isn’t mentioned up there with any of the American classics, then the classics can all be washed away in my opinion.This Amite County, Mississippi farmers son, followed the highest truth to soar above the general beliefs of his heritage, cutting a path for a generation of white Southerners to follow. He is a shining beacon and a worldly reminder that the mind of the South isn’t as predictable as one might think. Hallelujah !

I had coffee this morning with a dear friend of our family, and discovered she and Campbell are friends. In his declining years and battling the forces that come for us all, she had recently visited with Campbell and was reflecting to me that indeed “prophet” may not be too far off of a description.

If you are interested in challenging your faith in a way that may call you on your “settled in” beliefs, you should investigate the life and writings of Will Campbell. Along with Buechner, Merton, Spong and any other writer or human being reaching for an authentic faith, Campbell must not be missed.He is that vital to the truth.

Here is a You Tube clip of Campbell discussing the church and racism.

In writing this post I was listening to Walt Wlikins, and the old Harold Melvin and the Blue notes song “Wake Up Everybody”, kept running through my mind.

Shine A Light: Chet Atkins

Writer, picker extraordinaire, finder of talent and record producer ! Not bad for an ole boy from Luttrell, Tennessee.

I first remember seeing Chet’s name on Waylon Jennings records. Little did I know, Chet was already a master and a legend by that time, and had become a record mogul !

Chet Atkins was responsible for bringing Waylon Jennings out of Phoenix, and he kept recording Willie Nelson again and again, despite the fact that they couldn’t sell any records on him. Well, things turned out pretty good for both Waylon and Willie.

Atkins history goes way back from Homer and Jethro, to the Carter Family, and Eddy Arnold. Surprisingly enough in a weird twist, Elvis Presley’s rise gave way for Atkins. Steve Sholes began working with Presley and Sholes have Atkins control of Nashville RCA. With the popularity of Presley and Rock and Roll, they began stripping steel and fiddle from Country records. That gave birth to the smooth, clean style that was known as the Nashville Sound.

So go check out Chet Atkins. If Mark Knopfler calls him the greatest guitar player, then there must be something to it.

Shine A Light: Jamey Johnson

Once in a while, in the country market, someone slips through the veneer, polished, image summa cum laude, totally absurd image that most of todays’ country artists embrace. Such is the case with Jamey Johnson. Let to his own devices, artistry and money, Johnson turned out one of the coolest records of late. If you dig a sound that’s more ragged than right. If you dig old Waylon Jennings type stuff, but all his own, Jamey Johnson might just scratch your itch !!

After scoring major hits for Trace Atkins and George Strait’s great tune Give It Away, it was time for Johnson to make the record his spirit had been wanting to make. “That Lonesome Sound” was it. That record also produced the song of the year ” In Color”. If Johnson isn’t the real deal, then he has a lot of us fooled. But I don’t think south Alabama native is fooling anyone. This is the kind of stuff he digs and you’d find on his CD player !!

Go check him out on i tunes. Johnson also has a new record coming out mid September called “The Guitar Song”.

Shine A Light: Johnny Cash

Wow, it seems like before there was dirt there was Johnny Cash ! He is fixed in my memory with his trademark “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” introduction on the Johnny Cash Show. Pretty cool stuff. What is even cooler than I didn’t understand then was just how brave his guest list was.

This was the late 60’s and he has folks like Bob Dylan on his show. That may not seem like a big deal now but in those days here in the Country Music Capital, they weren’t diggin’ the hippies ! But Cash didn’t care, black, white, hippie, redneck or conservative, he loved them all, and especially loved their talents. There’s good reason for argument, that the Oak Ridge Boys might have called it a day,  if it hadn’t been for support financially and tour wise from John R. Cash. The list of Cash helping folks would go for miles.

Johnny’s career spanned decades as well as genres. From the Rockabilly days at Sun Records with Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, to “I Walk The Line”, and the San Quentin shows; from gospel to his TV show, to the dark days of the mid 80’s when Cash found himself looking for a way to fit in with an ever changing musical landscape.

So why not hang out with some good friends and make music ! So they did, Kris Kristofferson,  Willie Nelson, former room mate Waylon Jennings and Cash formed the Highwaymen. After a great run, with several hits and worldwide tours, the Highwaymen came to and end with Waylon’s failing health and ultimate death.

Enter Rick Rubin, big time rock producer and possibly the last person one would think would have an interest in Johnny Cash, much less a person that would have a pivotal role in Cash’s career, and a role that sold him into one of the coolest cats forever !

Rubin was smart enough to get the essence of John Cash. Honesty was what provided the ride all along. That voice full of honesty and grit. Rubin stripped everything down and essentially left that voice…..and boy did folks respond, especially the younger market. As Cash closed out his journey here, he left this world the way he should have. An icon. A spiritual giant always wearing his faith and his failures on his sleeve. Go John Cash. Check the last couple of records that Rubin did. If you think you know Johnny Cash’s music and you haven’t heard “American Recordings” or “The Man Comes Around”, then you haven’t heard the whole deal. You may not find anything more honest on the market today.