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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"What IS in Front of Me?" (Essay) 

Feb. 1, 2019

I recently made a rare trip to the movie theater for a special showing of "They Shall Not Grow Old", the latest production from Peter Jackson of "The Lord of the Rings" fame.

I've always found it difficult to connect with the World War I era in any emotional way. I've read a lot about the senselessness of the "War to End All Wars," which was followed just over 20 years later by World War II and the Holocaust. What footage exists from that era is the silent, jerky black and white that looks…

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Let it Begin with Amazement, and Rock 

Jan. 1 2019. May we start this year with amazement? In the summer of 2015 we were treated to the amazing experience of New Horizons flyby of Pluto, a distance of 3 billion miles over 9 1/2 years, and hitting their target within 43 seconds of plan. The photos and data that came back completely wrote the book on Pluto and opened the chapter on the mysterious Kuiper Belt, out far beyond Pluto.

In the weeks that followed, they turned that minivan-sized deep space probe traveling some 30,000 mph towards a tiny…

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In the Quiet on Christmas Night 

Christmas night. Finally all is calm, and the moon is winter bright. The wild halflings have settled down. Our family has again done as our family has always done since we were the children, returning to our parents' tiny home to celebrate this sacred and special holiday. I am keenly aware how fortunate my sister and I are to be able to do this with our families at these stages of our lives. The women are enjoying wine and conversation over chocolate fondue with strawberries. Always something new, and…

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Passing Down the Picking in the Parlor 

Dec. 19, 2018
I am so privileged that part of my life in music is helping others making music be part of theirs. While in some ways it's an accident that I teach guitar (someone asked me two decades ago to teach them some of my songs!), I've certainly long ago accepted the challenge to inspire kids and adults alike, because inspiration is really the only path I can envision to perspiration; the hard work of practice.

So my students reward me all the time in countless ways, but especially their enthusiasm…

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A Note to My Young Readers on the Eve of a 12-Year Election 

November 4, 2018
This one is for my younger friends, those who have come into their own adulthood and all the craziness that goes with it. This Tuesday, it's again our turn as American citizens to have a say in who we are as a people, and how we want to be governed. If you're already planning to vote, thank you - you can skip the rest! But if you're on the fence, or planning on sitting it out…..

Doubtless you have been lectured that this is your responsibility, and how much has been sacrificed for us to…

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Thanking the Ancestors 

November 2, 2018
Today is All Soul's Day. It's not a tradition that I grew up with; it is only in these past few years when I've become my family's "storytender" that it has taken on a deeper meaning to me. A few years ago some dear friends invited us for a wine tasting and it happened to be All Soul's Day, so I thought for fun that we should each share a story of an ancestor, raise a toast in their honor and say their name out loud. It has become a cherished tradition, and tonight we'll do it for the 5th…

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Visiting Lincoln 

October 28, 2018
People who've never been to Lincoln ask me what it's like to live here. A historic village perilously close to the ever-spreading sprawl of the rest of Loudoun County - with its wealth and high-tech modernity; the brains and backbone of so much of our digital world. My photographer friend Douglas Graham and local journalistic treasures Danielle Nadler have beautifully captured a little slice of this humble treasure that we call simply "home" - read "Greener Pastures" from the America's

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A Family Union 

October 26. 2018
When we first connected with my grandfather's sister Margaret's family in 2016, I never imagined that such a "family union" could ever take place, flung to the four breezes as we all are.

Carson and Jane share Margaret as their grandmother. They've lived many decades with only minimal awareness of each other, and their connection to our McKnight family roots. For my own interest in family history eventually leading these cousins connecting for the first time in their "golden years," to be…

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My Day of Social Media Silence 

September 10, 2018
As has been my custom for a decade now to mark the tragedy of 9/11, I will refrain from posting on social media for the day. In these days where far too much of our communication consists of finding novel ways to shout at and past each other, I will read, and listen, and reflect on what others are sharing on social media. As it is a "normal" work day, I will surely engage in a normal stream of private communication in person and on email as needed. I simply refrain from being "public"…

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To My Daughter on the Eve of Middle School 

August 22, 2018
I'll begin by saying I have no idea how this happened so fast. When we started our daily walks up our dead-end gravel road to the blacktop and the sidewalk that led us to kindergarten, it seemed like those 6 years would be an eternity. By the time the spring rolled around, I clung to each of those walks like a little kid hanging on to a teddy bear, knowing full well that we were counting down to the end of it.

I won't soon forget that last walk home on 5th grade graduation day, holding…

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