Staying Home for Those Who Can't 

As we pass 40,000 American deaths from this plague (while South Korea has barely 200 and is coming out of the tunnel), I can't even keep track of families dear to us who've lost revered elders just in the last week - including my wife's family most of all. It shows no sign of being over anytime soon. There is a lot to digest here, but if you're chomping at the bit to resume your "normal" life and chafing that your local and state government is telling you to please stay the hell home, please do a couple of…

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Supporting Each Other in a Time of Crisis 

I imagine we've all reached a place beyond our imaginings now. A world of indefinite physical isolation while being virtually connected is not the future of flying cars and teleporters that I imagined. For a lot of us, our livelihoods and security are facing existential threats, while others are so busy there's no time to even process the cultural, societal and personal trauma we're experiencing. 

As an "independent" artist, I have always been subject to the winds of the greater world affecting the people…

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A Week of Gratitude, Day 7 

All That I Have.

I am a singer/songwriter and a folk musician, which means I am acutely aware of my financial perils at most any time. I do not complain, it is the life that has chosen me. I practice gratitude all the time for my myriad riches far beyond a comfortable bank account - in love, in friendship, in community, in opportunity. I am living a life far beyond anything that Little Kid me could have imagined. 

Still, this time of plague brings home to me my privilege and good fortune. I am not being…

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A Week of Gratitude, Day 6 

Talents and Abilities

Whether you attribute it to genetics, hard work, a divine hand or something else, each of us is blessed with an array of skills and abilities, from silly stuff like rolling our tongue to classical piano virtuosity or a knack for astrophysics. 

As I look out at this vast and uncertain empty space ahead, with concerts, festivals and tours cancelled for who knows how long, I find nonetheless some elements of this time are familiar. I have experienced several of these cycles of challenge…

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A Week of Gratitude, Day 5  

Ancestors.

One can debate "nature versus nurture" about many of our human attributes and abilities, but the vast majority of what we are is the unique gift of life proportioned out from our ancestors through our parents. These days I'd think of things like my immune system, but there's much more to it. 

Of course my ancestors inspired/demanded my latest creative project over these last few years, so they have affected me in a very tangible and unusual way first and foremost. But learning of my own ancestry…

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A Week of Gratitude, Day 4. 

Spring.

I know it seems trite, but more than ever I appreciate the reminders of the natural world all around me. We have had but the faintest hint of winter, and the sun on snow that was largely absent was replaced by a lot more short gloomy days than normal. 

Of course, there's no escaping that these are dark times. The sense of fear, dread and yes, outrage, is nearly ubiquitous. These are not new events in human history. But the planet has been here much longer than we have, and its systems large and…

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A Week of Gratitude, Day 3  

Community

This little village of ours has been around a long time by American standards. Which means that we still are fortunate enough to have connections to our past here in the present (some of which I wrote about at length in the book). Today I am grateful for both that past and present - for the winding gravel roads and rolling farms around the village preserved by many, which offer welcome relief and solace as well as exercise for many of us go out walking. 

And in the village proper, where our…

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A Week of Gratitude, Day 2 

Technology.

The nearest thing to these times of plague within reasonable historical reach seems to be the flu pandemic of 1918. While there are actually many parallels between those times and ours, the one overriding thought I keep having is how grateful I am that we have widespread internet connectedness and video call/conference capability. Will our ability to stay spiritually and emotionally connected to our families and communities of choice ultimately make the Coronovirus pandemic of the 2020s less…

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A Week of Gratitude, Day 1 

Just sharing a little personal practice here during this Time of Quarantine. 

Today I am grateful for our covered porch, for yet another new reason thanks to the "Great Sequestration". It is essentially another room to our house even though it's open air, and we eat dinner together out there as a family most nights for 6 months of the year. We can holler greetings to and fro with our neighbors walking by on our dead-end dirt road, and air out walking shoes of our own that need to be banished from the house…

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A St. Patrick's Day Like No Other 

A #StPatricksDay quite unlike any other in my life. The book arrived several days early, and in fact beat me home on my two day drive from Texas by a few hours. After unpacking, and a Guinness to wash down a lovely corned beef and cabbage here at home, finally I have a moment to take it all in. With #TreasuresinMyChest and a wee dram of Knappogue Castle, here's to all the very best of health to you and yours, and all the rest of us too for the uncharted lands that lie ahead. #gratitude

A New Odyssey Begins 

The maiden voyage of the new Odyssey is uneventfully and smoothly ended at home base - 1900 miles in five days to Florida and back. My last Odyssey retired a couple weeks ago with a perfect record; 255,000 miles and zero roadside strandings. With luck, this one will be the one that carries me over the million miles of touring threshold sometime in 2021 or 22. I am a lucky man to be blessed with this life, and tonight I am road weary and safe home.

A Capital Adventure 

Christmas in our little family tends to be more about the love and the thought than the size of the gift. I have to say Santa Michelle jammed an awesome gift down the chimney. 

I was a kid when the Washington Capitals franchise was born, and I decided I wanted to be a fan of a team from the very beginning. So thanks to the nighttime AM radio boost rules, sometimes I was able to twist my little shitty radio in the right direction to pick up their games through the static 350 miles away on WTOP.

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Sometimes We Get Just What We Need 

On this Friday morning, in this hurting world, beautiful words spoken to this artist as if they were written directly to me. With gratitude to my friend Sienna for putting it under my nose when I most needed it. Enjoy. I will do my level best to be a hundred wild centuries today.

A House Called Tomorrow Alberto Ríos - 1952-

You are not fifteen, or twelve, or seventeen—
You are a hundred wild centuries

And fifteen, bringing with you
In every breath and in every step

Everyone who has come before you,

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A Treasure Indeed 

This is one of the items at the core of my massive Treasures in My Chest creative project. My cousin found this in her possessions over the winter, long ago bequeathed to her by our grandmother. She carefully brought it to my parents on a March visit, and they handed it over to the family historian when I came through on tour a month later. It answers a few questions, but mostly its contents are a direct touch and feel to my past. Hard to describe how much it means to have it, including the letter between…

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Birthday Gifts 

This is my birthday gift today :). While I'm super stoked that mom and dad restored a picture of Dad's old '40 Ford Coupe (too bad you can't see the Corvette engine he put in it!), the best birthday gift is that they're still around to answer the phone - when I actually catch them at home because they're not off doing something. I remember how badly I wanted to drive this tractor when I was a kid, and I think I was 10 or 11 when he let me do so. Restoring it has kept him busy these past few weeks -…

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Lending a Hand for Conservatory-Bound Cellist 

I had the honor and privilege of being part of my friend Rachel Taylor‘s pre-conservatory fundraising concert last night at the Joann Rose Gallery in Reston VA. We were in the studio together working on my #treasuresinmychest album last weekend, and this show was her program in a variety of mostly classical settings. She is an amazingly gifted musician, cellist and #Human being. #gratitude #theworkwedo

 

 

 

First Two Studio Days Down 

Good morning world - two days in the studio complete. Four songs have been mystically transformed from ideas that were once floating around in my head, out through my fingers onto the strings and notepad and first into solo pieces for voice and acoustic guitar, now into fully fledged songs with parts and arrangements. This part of the process is always amazing to me. 

For me producing a song in the studio is part me having vision and providing some direction, and part trusting the talented people around…

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"What Were Those Blank Checks Worth?" (Essay) 

Memorial Day, 2019.
Between my parents, at least six of my ancestors fought to preserve the Union in various regiments from the state of Connecticut. Two of them fell here in Virginia, at Deep Bottom and Weldon Railroad during Grant's relentless and costly 1864 march on Richmond. My 4G grandfather Asa Harvey was wounded at Deep Bottom and eventually died of disease. And of course my 3G grandfather Aretas Culver was held prisoner at Andersonville POW camp for six months, and died at home soon after he was…

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Remembering Chris King 

May 4, 2019

We said farewell to an old friend this morning. Chris King was many things in the twenty years I knew him - devoted partner of his beloved Dene, past President of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun (UUCL), actor and arts supporter, WAGE radio host and programmer for many years, and much more. He and I worked together for several years presenting the Shenandoah Coffeehouse Series concerts at the historic church that he helped UUCL purchase.

While it was a beautiful service, there was…

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"The Value of Creation In a Sea of Content" (Essay) 

March 14, 2019. A dinosaur planning his next project ponders those who create, and the value of those creations, and has a couple questions for you.

I watch the night sky for meteors anytime I can. The little kid in me still "wishes on a star", while the middle-aged guy wonders if the next "big bang" is going to sneak up on us. I'm pretty sure that T. Rex missed all the cosmic signs of his imminent demise even as he hunted his next meal. I think I can relate.

Mostly lost in the news of the world was the…

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