Thursday, January 27, 2011

Under The Radar Interview & Premiere of "Don't Hold Your Breath"

Tomorrow/Friday 1/28/11, my latest studio interview with Under The Radar airs -- including a live studio performance of "These Three Remain" (Miracle of Forgetting, 2003) and the radio world premiere of "Don't Hold Your Breath," a song I recently wrote for the short film, When The Waters Rise.

Please help spread the word and share these links with friends, cohorts and flash-mob acquaintances. UTR is now airing on over 150 radio outlets, thru iTunes podcast, and on You can read a transcript of a small portion of the conversation I had with show host, Dave Trout, here.

Lastly, stay tuned for the premiere of my first-ever music video of the song, "Don't Hold Your Breath." STAY TUNED!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fury of a Cat

No cat has ever been accused of berating a man. But there Phil stood, unsure whether to be embarrassed or humiliated that his 12-year-old mancoon, Gertrude, on the occasion of finding nothing to drink in its water bowl had risen in response, meowing down an upper Egypt’s worth of curses, insults and complaints upon its utterly shocked human guardian. It’s not that Phil had never heard Gertrude speak; the cat had spoken on many occasions on many varying topics. The animal was a natural-born conversationalist, after all. The two would sit together for hours on Sunday afternoons watching football and sundry sporting events, alternately ridiculing and mocking the many varied elements and hubris of the athletic world. No, the issue was that Gertie had never lashed out at poor Phil for anything, much less an empty bowl. Even on the rare occasion when Phil was delayed in getting home from work, Gertrude was patient and empathetic in her hungry waiting. Phil wondered dishearteningly at the foul environment he had created. “I had no idea cats felt so strongly.”

It was a mild, winter Sunday afternoon when the two exchanged a witty back-and-forth over the results of the weekend’s U.S. 4 x 400 team relay trials. The truth came out much the way it always does: with illumined authority. Feline spittle flying and collecting on her whiskers, Gertie looked Phil straight in the eye – I refer to it in the singular because, as a young boy, Phil had lost his right eye during a visit to his grandfather’s nutria farm in the upper reaches of Louisiana’s lower delta; a tragedy not to be recalled here – and dared him say that again. Phil, thinking the cat only half-joking about his flippant remark regarding spandex and feline baldness, went ahead and repeated the condescension. He said the one thing that no cat has, or will ever tolerate. Initially visibly hesitant, Gertie eventually stormed away, tail aloft, mentally snapping once it reached the empty water bowl. That was the final straw, so to speak, procuring from her a long and violent litany of anti-human rhetoric at the expense of poor, single-eyed Phil. No eye hath seen, no ear containeth the fury of an irate, obese cat. After finally regaining composure, Phil did the only thing he thought appropriate given the tense circumstances; he quietly brushed his teeth, swallowed his daily supplemental vitamin, and slipped beneath the flannel bed sheets, foregoing his nightly routine of leisurely bedtime reading. Complete and utter silence seemed the wisest course of action. Perhaps the morning light would bring renewed peace, forgiveness, the settling of dust and dander. At the very least, daybreak would bring rest and perspective, qualities far more advantageous than fear, qualities necessary for extracting light from shadow.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Silver Tongue : Golden Voice

Soon after Chrome's release, I had what most business executives would classify as a bizarre and terrible idea for an interview. Producer Ben Shive humored me, and together we (mostly Ben) pieced together this self-indulgent mollusk of aural awkwardness. Enjoy this, the premiere, and perhaps final, episode of Silver Tongue : Golden Voice. Features a guest appearance by legendary tire salesman, Wayne Toosun.

Silver Tongue : Golden Voice

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Deconstructing Reality (Or Why I Wrote "Louisiana In The Dark")

PREFACE: Chrome has been in the public eye for over a year, and though I am grateful for the positive feedback, I get the distinct impression that not a few songs on the album are difficult to decipher. Though the following may, too, be abstract, it is my hope to offer clarity and insight into one (or more?) of the songs. Not that anyone specifically asked or cares. What follows are my reflections in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, Labor Day, 2008. The resultant song is "Louisiana in the Dark."

(9/1/08, Baton Rouge, LA)

Driving south from Tennessee to Louisiana in the pitch of night, several thoughts appeared over my mind’s horizon as the darkness opened its tree-lined jowls and welcomed me into the gut of impending reality. These are no ordinary days, no ordinary circumstances, and it was far from being a casual or relaxing drive into the oncoming path of a history-making hurricane brooding immediately off Louisiana's shores. As would prove to be the case, I was also driving to a funeral.

Pulling into my parents’ Baton Rouge driveway two hours before sunrise, Hurricane Gustav broached the shores of the state by 10am, and for the next 36 hours the wind blew trees older than World War II at 45-degree angles, toppling some, maiming many others, and deconstructing a capital city. My parents went without electricity for six days. Idling generators could be heard up and down streets. We cooked baked beans out on the propane grill as the oppressive September heat offered little comfort during the daylight, and much, much less at night. The rain fell in opaque sheets filling gullies, rivers and swallowing entire street blocks. The tempest quickly turned earth to mud, and so much of which eventually dried out remains forever buried, turning gain to loss.

My father-in-law, for so many years hampered by a litany of failing health, succumbed to the most treacherous of them all early that Labor Day morning at 3:35am, a mere cruel minutes before we managed to arrive in time to stand at his hospital bedside one final time to kiss his shriveled, bony face, and to wish him a final peace and Good Hope away, away from the shrunken fuselage of body and captor Earth. The spirit is always willing.

Vehement winds, days of constant rain, the capitulation of otherwise sound, elderly trees, and the deconstruction of life; few tragic-comedies could have been scripted with more accuracy. Tragic in that the gulf-laden skies stumbled across the region with a steamroller effect, comic in terms of the utter preposterousness of kicking someone already down. In the year 2008, my wife’s family suffered the loss of three family members in the span of five dubious months. We exhale something between utter consternation and a wry chuckle when reality persistently kicks at the battered realm.

There is no ordinary day, no ordinary darkness, and we are no ordinary creatures who inhabit their space. From dust we came, to dust we return, and though we open our hope-lined hearts to its jowls, reality does its best to deconstruct every ounce of hope in our possession. But we yearn for the light that shines with far more eminence than the thickest darkness could ever swallow, and we hope that the pain of loss and grief will eventually be bearable, habitable, even an altar unto life itself. Like the wandering Israelites finally crossing the River Jordan into the long-awaited Promised Land, stack stones upon your altar; proclaim both the blessing and the ache. Remember life as the fragile construction it is, cherishing the ones still present in your life. These are no ordinary days.

Louisiana In The Dark

Sleep in peace tonight
After a long, slow fight
We lost more than sleep
More ache than a soul can weep

When the daylight shows
That all you love is gone
And the only thing that’s left
Is the tempest’s aftermath

In my father’s house
The last and lonely sound
Is a breaking heart
Louisiana in the dark

We laid your soul to rest
With the earth still wet
Some days don’t feel like grace
When there’s a hole in a once-filled space

In my father’s house
The last and lonely sound
Is a breaking heart

In my father’s eyes
Must we say goodbye
To a breaking heart
Louisiana in the dark
No more breaking hearts
Louisiana in the dark