Author name: brotherjackslostcause

Green Electric Guitar

I’m trying to sell my green electric guitar. I bought this thing when I was 17 years old. I needed it so that I could be part of my first band. I was just a rhythm guitar player but it was life-changing. To be honest, I can’t even remember the band’s name. I remember playing “Summer of ‘69” and “Long December.” We played a set at my senior prom. When I started writing songs, the first batch of really bad ones were written on this guitar. In recent years, I strung it as a baritone guitar and used it to get a particular sound in the studio. It has made an appearance on a couple of different tracks that you might recognize. It was the foundation for the original version of “Pancakes.”

The problem is that I don’t enjoy playing it. I recently tried changing the strings and realized that I know nothing about electric guitars. It’s just taking up space in the studio. I don’t need this guitar. Someone else might get a lot of joy from this neon green electric guitar. I have a lot of sentimental emotions attached to this thing but I never use it. The strings wear out from age before they succumb to use. It will be nice to not have to do the maintenance on this guitar. Thanks for the memories and good riddance. May you find someone who knows how to make you rock. 

Potty Dreaming

My little girl had been in the bathroom for a long time when I went to check on her. “What are you doing in here?” “Nothing.” “Nothing? Then why are you still sitting on the potty?” “I was just potty dreaming. It’s like day dreaming except on the potty.”

the Voice of Uncle Boozie

I think that I’ve finally figured out the voice for Uncle Boozie. He’s got a particular way of saying things and it’s important to get it right. There was an actor named Pat Buttram. He was on the television show called Green Acres and multiple classic Disney movies. I think Uncle Boozie’s voice could best be described as a lilting combination of Mr. Haney and the Big Lebowski.

Getting it right requires some practice. For a while, I was only willing to practice Uncle Boozie while alone in my truck. Driving down the road where nobody else could hear me was the perfect place to work it all out. Although, if anybody had heard me, they would have thought I wasn’t fit to be behind the wheel. I recently started practicing at home. It’s a little weird but weird is kind of the standard at my house. I am becoming comfortable with the voice of Uncle Boozie. I need to make sure that I don’t become too comfortable. If I slip into Uncle Boozie at the wrong time, it could lead to all kinds of accusations.

Regular is NOT going to church solely for the food

Wednesday Words
I like going to church 
But not always for religious reasons
An old fashion pot luck
Is where you’ll find the best fried chicken
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be

There are so many ways to be “Not as Regular.” In case you were wondering, pot lucks are not just fried chicken. You can also find the tallest meringue ever put on a pie.

Another Taylor Dream

If you have been following along, you may remember that I recently had a weird dream about T. Swift. It happened again. I don’t know why she is showing up in my dreams. I’m not even a fan. I couldn’t tell you the title of any of her songs. I couldn’t hum the melody or recite the words form a single Taylor song. Her billion dollar tour is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the world. To be honest, I think her empire is kind of gross.

In the dream, I was in a big auditorium. I was watching an acrobatic carnival act perform on the stage. There was some commotion in the aisle and then Taylor sat down in the row in front of me. We started chatting. She was going to be taking the stage next. I told her I was a folk singer and she asked if I knew any of her songs. I grabbed a banjo and she invited me to join her on the stage. In case you were wondering, there was no actual music in the dream because I don’t know any of her music. The audience didn’t seem to mind.

Guitar People

There are two types of guitar people.

You might be thinking that it’s electric guitar people and acoustic guitar people. Typically the electric guitar people can also play acoustic guitar. So, it’s probably better defined as electric guitar people and non-electric guitar people. Without a doubt, I am a non-electric guitar person. I was working on restringing my electric guitar and it didn’t end well. It’s similar to the difference between changing the tires on a Model T Ford and my wife’s minivan. I’m currently waiting for some replacement parts. But these are not the categories I am talking about. This is more of a style preference than actual types of guitar people.

It could also be rhythm guitar players versus lead players. I think this might also be a style classification. I have never been a lead guitar player because I’ve never tried to play lead guitar. My Weird Folk songs have never needed me to play lead guitar. I’ve always considered myself a good rhythm player but that might be because I’ve never tried to play lead. However, these are not the main types of guitar people.

There are two types of guitar people. There are guitar players and people who own guitars. Occasionally, I might be mistaken for a legitimate guitar player but the truth is that I will always be just a guitar owner.


By the time you are reading this, it should be safe to talk about without ruining the surprise. We are celebrating birthdays with my wife’s family. Every year she buys her brothers a bag of dill pickle popcorn. I guess it’s not much of a surprise since she does it every year. She and both her brothers have birthdays within the same two-week period of time. So they split the difference and celebrate together. We have a local candy store that specializes in amazing popcorn where she purchases her annual gifts.

Last winter I required a root canal. It was awful. It happened because I lost a filling on a piece of caramel popcorn. I vowed to never eat popcorn again. When she was out buying her annual bags of dill pickle popcorn, she brought home some maple pecan popcorn. It was amazing.


I had a meeting at my kid’s school. There have been a lot of changes in America’s school system since I was a kid. There are metal detectors at the door and a security guard. A large news ticker flashes motivational quotes in the lobby. When I was in school we had reading, writing, and arithmetic. There are a lot more opportunities now. Despite all of these changes, one thing remains the same. It’s the smell. It’s a combination of cleaning supplies and paste. All schools smell the same.

Long Projects

I wanted to give you a couple of updates about my “Uncle Boozie” project.

This project began as an itch in the back of my mind a long time ago. I was drinking chocolate milk with a friend at least 15 years ago and Uncle Boozie was conceived. It’s taken a very long time to figure out what to do with this idea. I still don’t know how it will all come together but I’m actively working on making it happen.

My plan is to make monthly episodes. I am a one man production team and it’s a lot of work to make this happen. I announced recently that I wanted to make longer content. I forgot to account for how much more work is involved with longer content. A monthly frequency feels like a realistic goal at this point. Episodes will be comprised of multiple segments that will work perfectly for the short content required by the deteriorating attention spans of social media.

I’ve got my wardrobe figured out but I still need to build a set. This might sound like overkill but Uncle Boozie is not the kind of guy that can just hang out anywhere. He needs a specific kind of place to do what he does. He also might need a hat.

This project has been festering for a long time and I am really happy that it’s staring to come together. Realistic expectation are hard but I want to do it right. I think you are really going to like Uncle Boozie… eventually.

P.S. When this finally gets off the ground, I’m going to start working on my cowboy series with “Brother FlapJack.”

Fishing With Lou

Wednesday Words

I’m working on a new song about a hat and this is where the river has taken me thus far.

I went out fishing with my good friend Lou
We did’t catch any fish but it was still a glorious day
I had a sandwich in my pocket, it was chipped beef and spicy mustard
The water was cold and the sun was hot
In the evening, the crickets came out to sing their song 
This mean aggressive bullfrog jumped up and knocked the hat right off my head
(Can you believe that) 
It wouldn’t be a big thing except me and that hat have been some places
It sits up there on the top of my head and fits just right
A good hat is hard to find
A good hat is hard to find

Casual Sports Fan

I enjoy watching televised sporting events. It really doesn’t matter what sport. I’ll watch anything but golf. I’m a sucker for a great story and they always find a way to deliver a great story. Some kid overcame tremendous adversity. A team is rebuilding after an internal scandal. One girl is playing her sister in the finals. I love cheering for an underdog. I can get sucked in quickly.

It’s different when you are watching your home team. If you are emotionally invested, it’s not a casual watch. If your team is winning, it’s a huge dopamine hit. If your team loses, it’s three hours that you can never get back.

Scratch : Old Photographs

Check out the demo version of Old Photographs on YouTube.

This song is almost 25 years old. I think it’s still a solid song and I’m glad it’s getting an update. Maybe someday I will let you hear the original version. It makes me feel good that something this old can find new life. I think the demo arrangement of this song is almost enough. I love it when a song can stand alone with just a guitar. When I start a new song in the studio, I record a simple version like this and then build everything upon the scratch track. It makes the process easier when there is a solid foundation. When I recorded this song for the first time at the age of 19, I didn’t envision recording this new version. When I was 19, I couldn’t even comprehend being 44 years old. I am looking forward to the next version in another 25 years.

Serious Business

The right song at the right moment can provide hope in a hopeless situation. I don’t really understand this alchemy but I know my life has been saved by a song on more than one occasion. I do the work that I do because songs are so powerful. I might throw a song out into the world and it could be the only lifeline available in a bad situation. I could be part of the magic moment that saves a life. This is serious business. I don’t always treat my job with the respect that it deserves. Sometimes, I just sing another song, going through the motions with no respect for the potential magic.

The only thing with stronger magic than a song is a smile. No pressure but it’s serious business. You could be the magic that saves a life today.


For all of time, the most fundamental goal of every generation was for their children to have a better life then their parents. My parent’s generation decided that we had to go to college to have a better life. So a lot of us went to college whether we needed it or not.

The school where my wife teaches had two early dismissals this week on account of record-setting heat. While I was at the hardware store, I overheard some old-timers discussing the early dismissals. “I never got out of school on account of heat… This generation is too soft.” These old timers want their children to have a better life and nothing says progress like heatstroke. They will know we love them by the suffering we inflict.

Uncle Boozie with even more on hats

Weeeeell, hey. It’s everybody’s favorite uncle. That’s right. It’s me, Uncle Boozie.

You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of hat that they wear. If they are wearing a policeman’s hat, there is a high probability that they are a police person. If they are wearing one of those fancy nun hats with the wings, they probably won’t go out on a date with you. Trust me. If they are wearing a baseball hat, it doesn’t mean that they are a baseball player but you know for sure that they are the kind of person that sometimes wears a baseball hat. If the hat they are wearing is dirty, you know that they have been through something that made their hat dirty. A hat can really say a lot about a person.

A good hat is hard to find.

Fence Painting

I’ve been painting our fence. It’s a wooden fence and it’s gotten very dry over the last couple of years. It looks great with a fresh coat of oil. I’ve been working for a couple of weeks and I’m not nearly done. This is not due to the size of the fence. It’s because I only do a couple of boards at a time. I squeeze it in when it’s completely convenient, the weather is perfect, and guilty feelings compel me to get out of the hammock. If you are an American male who is roughly my age, it is impossible to paint a fence without thinking about the Karate Kid. My childhood was spent pretending to paint fences because of that movie. “Wax on, wax off.” I also love Mark Twain. For half of the boards, I am the Karate Kid and for the other half, I pretend that I am Tom Sawyer. I keep hoping an unwitting neighbor will come by and pay me for the opportunity to paint my fence. So far that hasn’t happened.

Furniture Polish

I’ve been looking at some other guitars and my old girl knows. She’s not the jealous type but it’s gotta be a blow to the ego. Her frets are worn and it’s hard to keep her in tune for a full three-hour set. We’ve been together for a long time. I was changing strings and I thought maybe she could use a little spit and polish. There is a range of expensive oils on the market that somebody must use. I’ve always just used whatever furniture-grade oil that I find in the cabinet. To be honest, it’s been a while since I gave her a good coating. She looks so shiny and fresh. Although the beeswax has made her very hard to hold onto.

Freestyle Folk

I’ve been writing a lot of short songs lately. Maybe this means that I am communicating more clearly and succinctly. Just like Hemingway, I am getting to the point quickly with no wasted words. That can’t be true.

I needed some verses for my newest song called “Frail Bones.” I played the chord progression over and over and over until some words showed up.

When I was in college, there was a random guy that would show up at all of the best parties and do some freestyle rap. I don’t know if he was good because that’s not really my kind of thing. It was a cool party trick and he never had to buy his own beer.

One of my favorite songwriting tools is freestyle writing. I find a groove, hit record on my voice memo app, and let the words flow. It’s a great way to get a lot of potential ideas in a hurry. I wrote six verses in less than fifteen minutes. Hopefully I can turn it all into one decent verse.

Maybe I need to do more freestyle folk. It could be a great gimmick. I could play a standard folk riff and sing about whatever is happening around me. That could be a cool party trick.

Toaster Pastries

We had the opportunity to go on an unexpected road trip this weekend. We piled into the van and hit the road. It’s the same thing every time. We make it almost ten minutes before the boy asks for a snack. Early morning road trips always include Pop-Tarts. Well, to be honest, they are the generic toaster pastries. This is not a normal breakfast option for us but it makes road trips special. The whole family crinkles their wrappers while I sip my giant thermos full of coffee. With toaster pastry crumbs all over his face, my son asked, “Why does it always have to be brown sugar? Can we have a different flavor next time?” My wife is the only person in the world who can eat a Pop-Tart without losing a single crumb. She simply said, “No, brown sugar is the best.” As sure as the sun rises in the east, road trips will start with brown sugar toaster pastries.

The Weekend

The carefree days of summer vacation are over. When my kids went back to school, they instantly began looking forward to the weekend. “How many more days until the weekend?” This sparked a serious debate regarding the days of the week. I feel strongly that Sunday is the first day of the week. Everyone else thinks that because Sunday is part of the weekend, Monday is the first day of the week. Also, why is it called a weekend? It’s not like time stops at the weekend. Maybe we need a more optimistic approach to our calendar terminology. We use the weekend to recover from the past week. We should spend the weekend preparing for a fantastic week ahead. Maybe it should be called a weekcommence.

Uncle Boozie with more on hats

Weeeeell, hey. It’s everybody’s favorite uncle. That’s right. It’s me, Uncle Boozie.

You know, a hat can be a really important part of an outfit. A hat can really tie everything together. A hat is useful too. You could use it, if there was something small that you needed to carry. You could take off your hat and put stuff in the hat. I don’t know what it would be. Let’s say that you took everything out of your pockets. You could put it all into your hat. It would fit. I don’t know why you would do that. But you could put everything from your pockets into your hat and carry it, if you wanted to. Hats are good.

A good hat is hard to find.


My website crashed. I updated an application related to PayPal on my web store. I’m not pointing fingers because I honestly have no idea what happened. I discovered the crash when I tried to schedule today’s Daily Dispatch. You can read it tomorrow because I need to drop everything and solve this problem. I was able to utilize the automatic backup feature that was automatically set up with my web host. I automatically reverted to yesterday. Everything works perfectly. It was like the disaster had never happened. I think there is a metaphor here. The problem is that when I reverted to yesterday, today’s post didn’t happen and now it is tomorrow. I need to repost yesterday’s post, schedule today’s post to go out tomorrow. and make sure that you read this post today. This isn’t remotely confusing. Wait, I just heard a garbage truck. That means that it’s Thursday. I need to go and take the garbage out.

Regular is NOT Keeping a Banjo in the Bathroom

Wednesday Words

Here is another verse of “Not as Regular.” I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure you are always prepared because you never know when the muse will show up.

I keep a banjo in the bathroom
Just in case
I gotta be prepared
If inspiration strikes
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be

Dolly is Out

“Hey, Pops, Dolly Parton is no longer my favorite songwriter.”

“OK, then who is your favorite songwriter?”

“I don’t know who it is right now but pretty soon my favorite songwriter will be me. I just need to write some songs.”

Geriatric Cat

Our cat is old. She’s been roaming our house for almost 18 years. At this stage in her life, she spends a lot of time sleeping in our bed. It’s fine, she has earned this rest. The problem is that the bed is upstairs and her food is downstairs. The stairs have become difficult for her. She doesn’t have a problem coming down when she is hungry but she isn’t motivated enough to go back up on her own. She sits at the bottom of the steps and meows incessantly. She only stops when she makes me so crazy that I break down and carry her up the stairs. “Her Majesty” has me well trained. The real problem is that her litter box is two flights down to the basement. That’s not nearly as motivating as food. Hannah suggested that we should start a business manufacturing cat-sized stair lifts. I can’t get mad because someday I will be so old that I spend all day in bed and accidentally poop on the floor.

The Continuing Saga of the Piano Lessons

I’ve been giving my son piano lessons.

We had just finished his most recent lesson and he said, “Don’t take this the wrong way… I like you lots but I don’t really like the piano teacher version of you.”

“Really? Why is that?”

“I don’t know…. Who is that weird kid that was really good at piano?”

“Nice change of subject but I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“You know, he was really good at piano and his name was something about a wolf?”

“Do you mean Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?”

“Yeah, that’s him. He is so weird… You can go now. I’ll be done soon.”

Uncle Boozie on hats

Weeeeell, hey. It’s everybody’s favorite uncle. That’s right. It’s me, Uncle Boozie.

I wanted to talk to you today about the importance of a hat. If it is a sunny day and you put a hat on your head, it will protect your head from the powerful rays of the sun. A hat can prevent you from getting your head burnt. The sun has very powerful rays. A hat is good protection. If that old powerful sun goes behind a cloud and it starts to rain, the hat can also protect your head from the rain. The head is an important part of the body and it’s nice that a hat can do so much. It can keep you dry… well, it can keep some of the rain off… it really depends on how hard it is raining. A hat is wonderful protection in lots of different weather. Although if the wind picks up, that could be a problem. If it gets too windy, the hat could blow away and be gone forever. True story, it happened to me. A good hat is hard to find.

The Little Things

If you have come out to a show while wearing one of my shirts, thank you. If you threw your change into my tip jar, thank you. If you tune-in to share a cup of coffee with me in the morning, thank you. If you have ever sent a song request, musical recommendation, or word of encouragement, thank you. All of the little things are important. If you have showed up and been part of the community, thank you. If you have reminded me that life can be good and we are making a difference, thank you.  

I Could’ve Been Strong

Wednesday Words

I posted the first verse of this song last week. I think it might be a “seasons of life” kind of song. Here is verse 2 of my new song called “Frail Bones.”

I go walking in the pre-dawn haze                                          
Remembering all of the dreams I had
I could’ve been brave, I could’ve been strong
I could’ve been mean, I could’ve been powerful
I could’ve done things different, been anyone
Hmmm, hmmm it’s just me 
We’ve got frail bones and rotten teeth
Bend don’t break
We walked through the fires
Left with scars and purity

Words is Easy

Songwriting is hard.

Scratch that.

Writing is difficult.


Words require effort.

I can do better than that.

Songwriting is a process that requires patience and dedication to the craft.

And luck.

Writing a good song requires a lot of dumb luck.

Popeye’s Forearms

I hit another roadblock in the studio. I’ve been working on the same bass part for a week and a half. When I was figuring out arrangements for the song, I heard this bass part in my head. I knew how I wanted it to go. The problem occurred when I tried to play the part at full speed. I don’t play bass very often and this part was hard. My theory was that if I kept practicing every day, it wouldn’t take long to get it recorded. Now, my forearms look like Popeye and I still can’t play it clean. I hope I get it recorded soon because I’m not sure how much longer I can keep at it before my arms turn into dynamite and explode.

Clean Pants

I spent all morning dealing with a new washing machine and dragging out the old, broken one. We had somewhere that we needed to be at a specific time. I asked my wife if she thought that I should change my pants before we left the house.


“You didn’t even look to see how dirty they are.”

“We’ve been married for almost 18 years. If you are asking that question, you need clean pants.”

Upon further inspection, she wasn’t wrong. They were filthy.

The Agitator

Our washing machine died. It came with the house when we bought it in 2004. It wasn’t new at the time. I have no idea how old this appliance is but it’s outlived a lot of underwear. This old machine almost died two years ago. Did you know that a washing machine has a transmission? I did a lot of internet research and figured out how to keep the machine running. This old clunker requires a lot of gentle coaxing but it still gets out all of the stains… until now. It has a worn out agitator. It still runs great but it’s not actually getting anything clean, only wet. I could piece it together, baby it along, and get some more loads out of it. Unfortunately, a new agitator will cost about half of the cost of a new washer. It’s just not worth it. Now, I must say what you have already been thinking. This worn out agitator is really agitating.

On Eagle’s Wing

We were visiting a little animal park. It was the kind of place that specializes in animals that you could see if you spent enough time outside in your local area. They always have a clever name like “Wonderful Wild Animals of South Central Kentucky.” We saw elk, wild turkey, and a prairie dog. The bear was inside his plastic cave because it was hot. There was a nice assortment of owls that all turned their heads in demonic directions. There was a majestic pair of bald eagles. A lot of the animals in these kind of places are recused. They are often injured, disabled, or otherwise incapable of making it in the wild. One of the eagles was missing half a wing. Apparently, he didn’t get the message that he was missing half a wing. He sat on a stump and flapped hard. Then he would stop and turn his head as if questioning the laws of nature. He would begin flapping again. When it still didn’t work, he gave a spiteful look to the owls. Their demonic head turns cursed him to the ground. He continued his aggressive flapping for the entire fifteen minutes that we were watching. Then he hopped off the stump, jumped over to a new spot, and began flapping again. It was beautiful and tragic. As the symbol of the United States, it seems like the metaphor is too obvious.


I write at least one post every day and then decide what I should publish the next day. Writing is never the hard part. Occasionally, I get stuck with some grammar issues but typically I don’t worry that big about how smooth my words sound nice. Deciding what to write about is the hard part. Sometimes I get stuck searching for a good idea. Finding a good idea requires either divine inspiration or absolute boredom. My process involves a lot of sitting and snacking. It might look like I am watching television but I’m actually working hard. Today, I didn’t know what to write about. I watched three episodes of Cheers while trying to write this post. I never found a good idea but I did get thirsty.

I Could Be Brave

Wednesday Words

I’ve been doing some work on me. While trying to figure some things out, I wrote these new words. This is the first verse and chorus to a new song called “Frail Bones.”

I go walking late at night                                
I imagine that I could be
Anything that I like
I could be brave
I could be strong
I could be mean
I could be powerful
In this game where I could be anything
I could be anyone
But I’m never me
We’ve got frail bones and rotten teeth
Bend don’t break
We walked through the fires
Left with scars and purity

Perks of Writers Block

I started writing a song a long time ago called “Kiss and Mean It.” It might be the best chorus that I’ve ever written but I’ve never been able to find verses. I give it a go, get discouraged, and abandon the song. Occasionally, I return to it for another chance and try to come up with something brilliant. The problem is that I have no idea what this song is about. I recently tried to jumpstart the heartbeat of the song with a pattern interrupt. The banjo was my defibrillator. I thought maybe if I tried the song on a different instrument, it would change my perspective and the song would come together. Magic happened. “Kiss and Mean It” is still without verses but I got a brand new song idea. It happened almost immediately. This was one of those rare moments when a song falls out of thin air. I think it’s going to be called “Frail Bones.” Stay tuned.

It Didn’t Work

I am sure this has happened to you too. I had a plan. I spent all day working on my project, according to plan. When I got to the end of the day, I realized that I had nothing to show for my time. I guess that is not entirely true. I had a long list of things that didn’t work. I know all of the tempos that are too fast. I am aware of the many strum patterns that sound awkward. I know that after playing the same pattern on the bass for an hour my hand cramps the whole way up to my elbow. I know the arrangements that won‘t work. I know that, if I accidentally delete the video footage from my camera, there is no way to recover it. Today, I learned about all of the things that I should avoid doing when I dig into it tomorrow. I know that I can never finish the project if I don’t start again.

Mistakes Were Made (The Sneeze Edition)

I am feeling the love. It’s good to know that so many people read my Daily Dispatch. There were at least three people, unrelated to me, that let me know that I screwed up yesterday. My dispatch was wrong. The content was from a week and a half ago and somehow, it ended up in the body of yesterday’s post. I would have written yesterday to tell you how sorry I am to send you redundant content but I saved it for today so that I had something to write about.

I want to go on record and blame the robots for this mistake. The accidental story was about the robots tracking us and how I was going to stand up to them. I don’t know why it was advantageous for the robots to send this story multiple times. I tried on three separate occasions to rectify my mistake and it never worked. The robots kept blocking me.

I know some of you are wondering about “The Sneeze.” I will include the unadulterated post below and we will find out how badly the robots will fight to prevent you from reading this incredibly bring story.

“I had a terrifying vision. I was standing in a huge room with a beautiful white carpet on the floor. I was holding a very full glass of red wine and my nose slowly began to twitch. I was going to sneeze and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. I know how this ends.“

The Sneeze

I had a terrifying vision. I was standing in a huge room with a beautiful white carpet on the floor. I was holding a very full glass of red wine and my nose slowly began to twitch. I was going to sneeze and there was nothing that I could do to stop it. I know how this ends…

The Murder House

There is a house down the street with a big, majestic maple tree in the front yard. There is always a group of doves hanging out in that tree. A group of doves is called a bevy. I don’t know the people that live in that house but we affectionately refer to their home as “the dove house.” For example, “I was almost run down when some idiot went through the stop sign by the dove house.”

We also have a maple tree. It is far less regal than the tree at the “dove house.” Recently, a group of crows began hanging out in our tree. A group of crows is called a murder. I think that makes our house the “murder house.” I am fairly certain this is the definition of a metaphorical bad omen.


I’m working on a new project. Uncle Boozie is a town drunk and a children’s entertainer. I know that sounds kind of weird but I love this guy. I’m having so much fun figuring out this character. Typically, when I am writing new material, I share it here first. I like giving my loyal dispatch readers the first peek at all of the things that I am working on. The problem is that not everything works in a written format. Uncle Boozie will be video content. There is a marketing adage about how “the medium is the message.” I’m having trouble getting Uncle Boozie to fit into this medium. I’ve written a lot of material for Uncle Boozie but you probably won’t be reading much of it here. It’s really hard to coherently type all of the slurred speech.

The Fifth Try

Wednesday Words

I’ve been chipping away at the second verse to my song called “Old Photographs.” I talked about this previously when I falsely believed that I had written the finished version. It’s been through at least two more iterations since then. I will list all of the changes below. If you are keeping score at home, you might find this interesting.

Earliest version of verse 2 (written circa 1999):
Allow myself to remember
The things I try so hard to forget
The way you smelled
And the way you’d touch my hand
The fondest memories I recall
The warm fuzzy feelings
And the way I’d smile 
When I picture your face
2nd attempt (I thought this was it):
Allow myself to remember
The things I try so hard to forget 
Like the way you’d get so excited
On a warm summer evening
And I still hear your voice
Echoing in my head
Whispering all those words 
I wish you had never said
3rd version (I didn’t like the reference to a “warm summer evening,” too sweaty):
Allow myself to remember
The things I try so hard to forget 
Like the way you’d get so excited
When your favorite song would come on
And I still hear your voice
Echoing in my head
Whispering all those words 
I wish you had never said
4th iteration was lost forever (it’s ok, it wasn’t very good)
5th version (and hopefully the last):
Allow myself to remember
The things I try so hard to forget 
Then something catches my eye
And I’m haunted by your ghost
And I still hear your voice
Echoing in my head
Whispering all those words 
I wish you had never said

A Double Eight Turnaround

I just wrote a classic double-eight-turnaround. I don’t know if that’s a real thing. I think I just made it up. It’s a convoluted way to say musical bridge.

We could discuss how a musical bridge has become obsolete. We could debate if the world might be a better place if more current songs had a bridge. In case I put the cart ahead of the horse, a bridge is a short section of music in the middle of a song that serves the purpose of changing the pace of the song. If you need an example of a bridge, listen to anything recorded by Bruce Springsteen.

I just wrote a classic bridge. I was preparing to record my song called “Old Photographs.” The entire song was less than two and a half minutes. Songs are trending shorter but this felt too short. I wanted to write a poetic bridge but there was nothing else that needed to be said. What is the difference between a classic bridge and an epic guitar solo?

Sloppy Prints

I am learning how to silkscreen. Like everything in life that is worth learning, it is a process. I printed some more of my new t-shirts. The back orders have been addressed and the store is fully stocked.

The problem with learning how to silk screen is that I have made some mistakes. My first print of this batch bled through and was splotchy. My second print has a big scorch mark on it. I wasn’t smoking. You have to set the ink with heat and I use a heat gun. I got too close. Like I said, it’s a process. Then there was the random black thumbprint.

Anyhow, I have some shirts that are not good enough to sell. I can’t pass these off onto the Weird Folk for the standard price. Should I sell them at a reduced price? Should I donate them to a homeless shelter? Homeless people would look great in a “Not as Regular” T-shirt. What should I do with these fine shirts that are almost good enough?

Uncle Boozie logo

It’s official, Uncle Boozie has a logo. You might have noticed that I’ve been working on writing some material for this project. So far, I’ve just been dabbling with the character. Now that there is an “official” logo, it’s for real. Up until the point of creating artwork, you can still sweep a project under the rug. You can quit working on an idea and nothing is lost. Once there is a logo, it’s tangible. You no longer have deniability. Here comes Uncle Boozie.

If the image isn’t displayed below, click here to see it.

Idea 9 is Done

I have a second track finished for the new record. It will actually be the first track on the entire project. If you are keeping score at home, you know that production was held up by an allusive low note. Once everything was recorded, this track came together quickly. I love it when a plan comes together. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

If the audio player doesn’t display in your email reader, click here to listen to the finished track.

Kid Sweat

It’s one of the top five greatest smells. It can’t be bottled or reproduced. It is the smell of a little kid’s head on a summer day. It’s pure sunshine in the form of human hair.

Big Brother

I have some good news. To the best of my ability, I have removed all tracking beacons from my website. The robots will have to spy on you somewhere else.

I am a fully DIY operation. I have been doing my own website development for a long time. I think I’ve learned a lot and I do a good job. But I am not so good that I would feel comfortable making a website for anyone else. At least not if they cared very much about having it work.

There was a point in time, I think it was about five years ago when it was mandatory to tie Facebook to your website. The theory was that Facebook would do a better job of keeping track of the enormous amount of allegedly important data. If I was to make an advertisement on Facebook, trying to convince you to purchase my new record, they would be able to tell me if you had already purchased the new record. We wouldn’t want to send a redundant advertisement. Google was also in on this deal.

The whole process feels like a scam unless you are a giant company. I am not a giant company. I am not running any advertisements. I don’t need the robots to track you just to tell you when I have new music. If you want to listen to my music, you will.

This is a great manifesto but the truth is that I was unaware that I still had Facebook linked to my site. I was doing some general maintenance and I found the little bug. I squashed it. Although, if the robots know that you listen to Brother Jack is that a bad thing?

Kisses and Idioms

Wednesday Words
I’ve forgotten how to kiss and mean it
Eyes wide open, staring at the sun
With every slip of the tongue
I become a little more dumb

This might be the best chorus that I’ve ever written but I don’t know what to do with it. I keep pulling it from the songwriting bonepile but it goes nowhere. I think it’s a metaphor for something. Maybe a list of kissing related idioms will help solve this song.

Kiss and make up 
Judas kiss 
Seal with a kiss 
Kiss it goodbye 
Kiss and tell 
Kiss the ring 
Kiss of death 
Kiss the ground  
Kiss up to someone 
Tongue in Cheek  
Lip service 
Do you kiss your grandma with that mouth? 
Nope, that didn’t help.  
Did I miss any kissing expressions?

Princess and the Hero is 20

It was on this day exactly 20 years ago that I stood on a stage with my band and we were performing all of the songs from my record called “Princess and the Hero.” It was a release party for an epic record. I had written and recorded this project in total secrecy and this was the big reveal. It was a grand romantic gesture. This release show was the moment. We performed all of these gushy love songs, I had a ring, and I asked my girlfriend to become Mrs. Brother Jack. She said yes. Right there in front of everybody. All of that romance worked. The problem with being that romantic is that it’s a very high bar. It’s been impossible to even come close to that level of lovey-dovey-sap.

You can listen to the record here.

Princess and the Hero is 20 years old!!! To celebrate, the CD is on sale for the rest of the week.

Princess and the Hero CD


This CD is our Princess and the Hero album. Originally recorded in 2003, this is the first time a CD version has been available since 2005. If you still jam to CD’s or you just like to have something to hold onto while listening to streaming music, check this out.

In stock

Cat’s are Vengeful

She was sitting in the middle of a step about halfway down the staircase. She chose that spot because it’s the most awkward and inconvenient. She’s an 18-year-old cat and can’t hear much anymore. I was trying to go down the steps. I had planned my route so that I could avoid squashing her. She didn’t hear me until I was one step away. Cats are twitchy buggers. Therefore as I was about to step beside her she turned into a whirling demon. She did eight laps around each of my feet, ran up my back, and then gave me a look that implied she was completely offended by the way I snuck up on her. After I finished watching my life flash before my eyes, I continued down the stairs. Fifteen minutes later I discovered a giant pile of cat poop on my studio floor. Cats are vengeful creatures.

A Taylor Dream

I had a weird dream.

I was in a dilapidated shack with a bunch of scruffy dudes. It seemed like a standard hunting camp. If you aren’t familiar with a hunting camp, you have clearly never spent time in rural Pennsylvania. It’s a bunch of scruffy dudes in a dilapidated cabin for a long weekend. The beds are wooden cots built into the wall with plywood sheeting as mattresses. Throw down a sleeping bag and you are good to go. You spend the weekend scratching and burping. In the dream, we were cooking some meat and meat-related products with a questionable fuel source. It was all super masculine and perfect until she walked in. It was Taylor Swift. I’m not even a Swiftie. I have no idea why she showed up in this dream. She started bossing everybody around and telling all of the scruffy dudes what to do. The next thing I know, I’m in a side room with Taylor auditioning to be a dancer on her next tour. This dream was so weird. I don’t hunt, spend time at hunting camps, or dance. In case you were wondering, I didn’t get the job as a dancer for Taylor but I did wake up craving some bacon.


When I first started to practice drawing, I used a pencil. I thought it was important to be able to erase and fix stuff. This was completely wrong. Now, I only use a Sharpie. It’s a total commitment to the thing being drawn. I see you and I will do my best to give you form. Every line on the paper is intentional. In case you are wondering, I’ve been working on my visual art skills for about a year. I’m still not a good artist but I love practicing. Total commitment is a fresh Sharpie.

Not Just For Bacon

Weeeeell, hey. It’s everybody’s favorite old uncle. That’s right. It’s me, Uncle Boozie.

It was getting dark and I heard a sound coming from the shed. That’s where my “production facility” is located. I was concerned that a perpetrator with evil intent was committing some nefarious deeds. The shed is where the medicine is made, where the happiness is produced. I was scared that someone was tampering with the assembly line or maybe even stealing the fruits of my labor. They may even be trying to ascertain my secret recipe. So I went out to investigate but I didn’t want to go empty handed. So I grabbed my old frying pan. A cast iron skillet is not just for bacon. You could hit someone with it. I went out in the dark to the “production facility” to find that black hearted criminal but they weren’t there. It was nobody. Nobody was there. Since me and nobody were there together, it seemed like a good time for a little sample…

Stay at Home is 3

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” I guess that’s already been written. There’s not much that I can say that hasn’t already been said. You remember it, it was weird. There are very few people alive that can remember an event comparable to this one.

I released a record in 2020. It’s three years old today. In some ways it feels very recent and in other ways it feels like a different lifetime. We are all bleeding time.

You can listen to it here.

Regular is NOT Driving Slow

Wednesday Words

We were on a roadtrip and I realized there was a growing line of cars behind us. They all felt very strongly that I should be driving much faster. This situation felt like a perfect verse of “Not as Regular.

Sometimes I drive slow
I got nowhere important to be
A line of cars behind me getting mad
They are all in a hurry
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be

Three Stooges

I love the Three Stooges. I know they are juvenile, violent, and sort of stupid but I have always enjoyed their physical comedy. I laugh at every eye gouge, every punch in the stomach, and every smack on the head. My favorite is the one where they are plumbers. I don’t understand why the Stooges aren’t still popular. I think people would enjoy watching the Three Stooges. A lot of people enjoyed watching my wife and I try to load a 12-foot-long board into our minivan. She was Moe.

The Low Note

I started playing the trombone when I was in the fourth grade. I played it throughout college but after that, it started collecting dust in the corner. Just like the treadmill or the artist’s easel, the trombone in the corner carries a lot of good intentions. I reconnected with the trombone to record a part for the Busted Banjo project. You can read about it here.

I wanted to bring the trombone out of the dusty corner for a track on my current project. I wrote the part and gave it a go. The mechanics came back very quickly. Finding the notes was easy. The hard part was my lazy lip. The end of the phrase is a low note. To play a note this low, your lips have to be very loose. But when your lips are loose, you have no control over the quality of the tone. I know this sounds ridiculous but the moral of the story is that I was out of shape and needed some training. If you had lifted weights in your younger days, it doesn’t mean that you are still able to carry two large speakers at the same time without giving yourself a hernia.

The song has been finished and ready to go for weeks… except for the trombone part. I’ve been practicing that low note as much as possible and today I finally made the windows shake. I got what I needed and now it’s back to the corner to collect dust. I am sure that someday in the future I will decide that another song needs a trombone part. I could stay in shape so that I am prepared when the time comes. But I know myself too well, that’s just another good intention. Maybe I will just avoid the low notes.


We’ve been working on a house project this summer. I had a couple of 8-foot boards that needed to become twice as many 4-foot boards. I own a perfectly good power saw. It’s cut a lot of lumber but I would rather use the handsaw. If I need to cut a piece of wood, I almost always reach for the handsaw. As I was sawing through these boards, I was contemplating the reasons why I prefer to use a handsaw.

Rhythm: Maybe it’s because I am a musician and I love rhythms. There is nothing more magical than falling into a groove with a handsaw and a piece of wood. I just spent 20 minutes trying to type the sound that happens when a saw makes that magical vibration. It looked ridiculous. If you aren’t familiar with this sound, invest in a handsaw and hear it for yourself.

Exercise: The handsaw is a better exercise. If time permits, exercise is better than efficiency.

Legacy: People have been doing this particular task in this manner for a long time. The power saw feels like cheating. The handsaw feels like a connection to humanity. The handsaw is the way it’s always been done.

I prefer a handsaw. I prefer acoustic guitars to electric guitars. I grind my coffee by hand every morning. It occurs to me that there is a fine line between quaint and neurotic.

Next versus Also

I caught myself cheating on my current project. I was brushing my teeth and I spaced out. The next thing I know, I am daydreaming about the musicians and arrangements that would be perfect for my next project. I don’t even have all of the songs written for my current project and I am already brainstorming about the next one. I felt very guilty.

We’ve been taught that successful people have a singular focus. They eat, sleep, and daydream only about their current project. They are obsessed with whatever they are working on. Thanks to our society’s high-profile examples, I feel guilty if I am not obsessively working on a project. I love my work so much but I never get obsessed with a specific project.

I think I do better when I am working on multiple projects at the same time. I get easily distracted and I love to go where the creative flow takes me. My best work develops when I am not obsessing but causally following the muse. I am sure there is a diagnosis for my inability to stay focused. I sometimes complete a project, eventually. I start chasing a good idea and then get overwhelmed by shame because I am already thinking about a different good idea and then I abandon the first idea completely. I need to embrace also instead of next. Next makes me feel guilty. Also is freeing.

Jury Duty

My wife has to report for jury duty. I’m not suggesting that she wants to shirk her civic duty but I casually suggested that if she appeared to be super weird, they probably wouldn’t keep her long. We decided that a costume would be a good way to get out of her civic duty if she was that kind of person. I am confident that if she showed up dressed as the grim reaper she wouldn’t have to serve on the jury. My kid suggested that was too over the top and maybe she should try going as a pirate. My wife insisted that the court enforces a strict dress code and she could get in trouble for such nonsense. I think she should tell them that she identifies as a clown.

Smoker’s Express

We were sitting at a red light, waiting for our turn. There was a store on the corner. It was one of those stores that specializes in cigarettes and lottery tickets. If someone goes into this store, you know they are purchasing a tobacco product. Hannah said, “If I were a fat, old guy with two prosthetic legs, I wouldn’t be smoking.” I looked over and there he was, just as described. She wasn’t wrong. It seems like one too many throws of the dice, a chance he shouldn’t be taking. Maybe he was only going in for the conversation.

Never Me

Wednesday Words
I go walking late at night                                          
I imagine that I could be anything that I like
I could be brave, I could be strong
I could be mean, I could be powerful
In this game where I could be anything
I could be anyone but I’m never me
We got frail bones and rotten teeth
Bend don’t break
When you’re alone you can count your tears
Never let them see you weak 

This is a brand new song. Not sure where the second verse will take it. Stay tuned.

Watch this verse on YouTube.

Hobo Stew

I recently finished a track for the next record. When I posted about it and shared the recording, we had some questions about the guitar solo. You are correct, I am not that good. It is not me playing that electric guitar part. My friend Brandon, AKA Hobo Stew (you know I love nicknames), laid down some blazing guitar for this track. Hobo Stew and I met many years ago when I was playing sad acoustic music in a coffee shop. He was just a kid and not yet known as Hobo Stew. Some years passed and several epic beards later, we reconnected. We were working on some music together just before “The Great Shutdown of 2020.” I knew that I needed some smooth electric guitar for this mix and I knew he was the right guy to call. Hobo Stew is a master of tone. I am hoping that we will make a lot more music together in the future. If you want to hear it, there should be a music player below. If it doesn’t display, click the link to view this post on a web browser and you should see it. If you still can’t find it, let me know. I want you to be able to hear this sweet, sweet guitar tone.

Family Game Night

It was family game night. We needed to move beyond Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land. The twins are seven. It’s a tough age for games. They can handle some basic strategies but are not ready for the blackjack tables. I’m not sure why but they’ve been asking to play Clue. I guess the box looks mysterious and cool on the shelf. Clue has always been my favorite game. There is so much strategy in this game. We knew they wouldn’t get it the first time but we had to start somewhere. Blind luck won’t affect the outcome. It was brutal but we got through our first attempt at Clue. I think this game because it’s all about exploring the unknowns. Take what you’ve got, embrace the unknowns, and find a universal truth. That is the same formula for being a folk singer. In case you were wondering, it was Miss Scarlet with the knife in the conservatory.


The number of Weird Folk in the world is one less today than it was last week. For anonymity’s sake, let’s call him Bill. You probably didn’t know him, he wasn’t a very vocal part of the community. He appreciated my music and I appreciated him. His dog was named Jack. He liked to send me pictures of his dog. He would often ask me how to play one of my songs. I would record a video demonstrating how to play the requested tune. Then he would ask, “how would a beginner play that?” He was a good human and I will miss him. He took his own life las Sunday. His family reached out and I’m going to remotely be a part of his funeral. It might be the hardest thing that I do for a long time. Life’s hard, please don’t give up.


Today, we are going to talk about guitar strings. I know it’s not a fascinating topic but I think there may be a brilliant metaphor in here somewhere. Two days ago, I broke a string while practicing. It was the A-string. I had intended to change all of the strings and do some routine maintenance. However, I got busy. I had a lot of stuff going on and put it off. Now, I urgently need the guitar to be functional. I changed that single broken string. I didn’t want to give up the time required to do it right. I cheated. That single string looks like a beautiful new bronze string. The old strings look old and nasty. Are you familiar with tarnished old spittoons? The sound of the strings corresponds to their appearance. One string sounds bright and new while the others sound like a buzzing, festering mess. Are you familiar with tarnished old spittoons? I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry. I should have taken my time to do it right. I think maybe the metaphor is that if it looks like a tarnished old spittoon, it’s going to sound like spit.

Bacon Day

Well, hey.

Sometimes you wake up and you feel kind of different. You feel like you know that you know what you might need to solve it all. It’s a bacon day. So you get your hands on some bacon and put it in a hot frying pan. The bacon grease is sizzling. Then you find an egg and crack that egg and psssstttttt. It’s beautiful.

Not as Regular T-shirt

The new “Not as Regular” t-shirts are live on my store. Supply is already limited and size large is on back order. I will be printing more as soon as the blanks get here. I guess this isn’t a bad problem to have. I’m glad that so many of the Weird Folk are not regular. For everybody that voted for green shirts, it’s a different shade of green but it’s still green. Go team green!

Grown Man Cry

Hey man, Amen
Hey man, Amen
Did you ever see a grown man cry
Sun catches his eye
Did you ever see tears well up
He recalls a long lost day
Did you ever see a grown man weep
With nothing left to give
Did you ever see a grown man’s tear
Roll down past his nose
Hey man, Amen
Hey man, Amen
Did you ever see a grown man cry
Laughing, he just laughed so hard
Did you ever see tears well up
He’s holding a tiny hand
Did you ever see a grown man weep
He’s got so much more to give
Did you ever see a grown man’s tear
Trickle down his cheek
Hey man, Amen
Hey man, Amen
Did you ever see a grown man cry
Cry so much he goes dry
Did you ever see tears well up
For all the time that he’s lost
Did you ever see a grown man weep
Shaking, doesn’t care who sees
Did you ever see a grown man’s tear

Party Everyday

At my house, we have been somewhat obsessed with “Muppets Mayhem.” It’s a show on Disney+. If you’ve been around for a while, you know I love everything related to the Muppets. The soundtrack is great. It includes some Electric Mayhem versions of classic rock songs.

My little girl was getting ready for bed and asked, “would it be more tiring to rock and roll all night or party everyday?” Valid question but these old bones will never find out.

1000 Screeching Banshees

I was working on a mix in the studio and it was missing something. It needed a big thick chord in the back of the mix. I needed a large ethereal ringing sound. I needed the autoharp. My vintage autoharp had been leaning against the studio wall for a long time. It’s been at least two years since I played it or tuned it. I picked it up and pushed down the G-chord and gave it a gentle strum. It was scary. It sounded like 1000 screeching banshees preparing to escape from hell. Are you familiar with the sound that two cats can sometimes make in the middle of the night? This autoharp made those cats sound good. I’m hoping a good tuning can get it into shape. At this point, it is still so bad that I need to wear earplugs while working on it. I am optimistic that with enough tweaking and patience, these 1000 screeching banshees will eventually sound like a thick ethereal ring. Just in case you are awakened tonight by the scariest sound that you have ever heard, it’s just me tuning the autoharp.

Statue is Done

I finally got a track done for the new record. I guess I can’t call it a “new record” if I only have one song done. Eventually, it will be track two. I feel really good about how it turned out but that might be because I listened to it so many times. After listening to 50,000 slightly different versions of the same song, if you don’t hate it, it’s a keeper. You can check it out below. This will be your only chance to hear it until the whole record is finished. I’m averaging one song every six weeks, it could be a while. Let me know what you think.

Nothing Wrong With My Eyes

I was sitting in the waiting room at the eye doctor’s office. My wife’s appointment required her eyes to be dilated and therefore she needed me to be her driver. While I was waiting, an elderly man and woman came into the office. They must have been new to the practice because this grumpy old man assured the receptionist that he didn’t need glasses and he didn’t know why he was there because “nothing wrong with my eyes.” They sat down next to me. She scrolled on her phone while he filled out a stack of paperwork. When he was finished, he threw the clipboard at his wife. “Take this up to the receptionist so we can get the (expletive) out of here.” She must not have trusted his ability to fill out forms because she carefully checked every answer on his stack of paperwork. She started laughing. “For marital status, you marked divorced.” “No, we’re married, I marked married…”

Sure, there was nothing wrong with his eyes.

Coincidentally, when my temporarily blind wife, stumbled out wearing giant sunglasses, she told me that I’d never looked better than I did at that moment. There’s nothing wrong with her eyes either.

Angry Rodent

When we were camping last week, I was attacked by an angry chipmunk. You can read about it here. I was so inspired by this incident that I sketched the event. I know I’m not a great artist but I think I captured the moment. I was worried that it wouldn’t make sense without the context of the story. So, I shared it with my family and asked if they understood the picture. My son thought it was a drawing of poop. To be fair, a seven-year-old boy thinks that all of life is a poop joke.

What do you think? I call it “the attack of the angry rodent.”

Piano Lessons

My son is interested in playing the piano. We agreed that I would give him some basic lessons this summer. He did great for the first couple weeks but we have reached the point where he turns into a weird demon-possessed cat when you remind him to practice. While he was hissing and spitting about how he shouldn’t have to practice and how we can’t make him practice if he doesn’t want to, I had a flashback to when my mother tried to teach me how to play the piano. She tried hard but I’m afraid there were multiple occasions when I transformed into a demon-possessed cat. When I was a kid, my mom was the best church pianist in a three-county radius. Now, she doesn’t play at all. I’m not sure what happened. While I was watching this miniature replica of myself fighting the piano, it occurred to me that every single day is a mirror image of a day that has already happened. Today’s mirror is one of those weird carnival mirrors that makes you look like a demon-possessed cat. Time is weird.

Well, Kids

I am trying to find my voice for Uncle Boozie. Uncle Boozie is a sarcastic representation of a children’s entertainer with a drinking problem. He is one part hobo, one part Reading Rainbow, and one part town drunk. I was practicing the intro that I will use for every show.
”Weeeeeelllllll, Kids!!!”
He is a fictitious children’s entertainer but this series is not intended for children. Uncle Boozie is a sloppy drunk. If I use the word “kids,” it sends the wrong message. I don’t want to be accused of anything. I need to set the right vibe with a different word. It took me a while to find it.  
“Weeeeeellllll, Hey!!!”


A perfectly choreographed fireworks display with no one watching is just gunpowder. Without you, I would be all bang and no flash. Thanks to you, I am a real firecracker.

Happy Fourth of July to all of the Weird Folk celebrating today.

Rules for a Good Life 1

I don’t make a habit of cooking without a shirt. I’m sure that it violates all kinds of good housekeeping standards. In my defense, I had been doing some outside work. It was hot and the humidity was oppressive. It was time for dinner and I found myself cooking without a shirt. I figured I could just get things started and then go grab a clean shirt. We were having BLTs for dinner because my wife purchased a glorious local tomato.

Rules for a Good Life #1 :

Never cook bacon without a shirt.

Cooking with Gas

When we got home from camping, we discovered a strong odor of natural gas in front of our house. As a reference point, natural gas is the standard means of heating and cooking in our area. The efficacy of natural gas as a fuel is far above my pay grade. I called the gas company to report the problem. They sent a guy who was able to confirm that it did indeed smell like natural gas. He called in a request for a crew to come and investigate the alleged smell. They showed up and began jackhammering to determine if there was an actual odor. Miraculously, we were all able to get much-needed, post-camping hot showers before the hot water was turned off. The heavy equipment started around midnight and pounded onward for 12 hours. They were able to fix the leak and the crisis was averted. I’ve never been happier that I don’t smoke. I spent three nights in a tent and my first night in my bed was spent listening to the gentle buzz of jackhammers. I could use some peace and quiet. I know it’s a “first-world problem” but I missed hot water.

The Chipmunk

We’ve been enjoying some quality family time in the woods, doing some camping. I am the rare human that enjoys the self-punishment involved with sleeping on the ground. I woke up this morning and watched the coffee gently bubble in the percolator. Then I did my morning stretches next to the campfire while listening to the birds. I do clumsy stretches every morning to remind myself that I’m not as young as I used to be and camping is no exception. I conclude my daily stretches with a brief trip to my toes. It’s a fairly accurate gauge of how I should spend the day. If I bend over to touch my toes and can’t get past my knees, I need to be more active. If I can get to the ground, I’m doing great. After a night in the tent, I was satisfied getting as far as my ankles. While hanging out in this inverted fashion, I opened my eyes to see a massive, raging chipmunk charging right at me from behind. In my experience, chipmunks are timid creatures. I was sure he would veer off. That crazy, maniacal rodent ran right between my legs. I screamed. He hissed. The family at the next site all looked over to see what was the matter. I told them it was a mean chipmunk and they should be on their guard. They laughed. I don’t know what was so funny about a grown man being attacked by a vicious chipmunk.

Third Person

Is there a task required by other professions that equates to a musician writing a bio for themself?

Musicians write many versions of their biographies. We write different iterations of the same biography. We need a short bio, a long bio, a one-sentence bio, a funny bio, and a serious bio. We write blurbs for various publications. We write descriptions of our sound for festivals and events. We try to find new and interesting ways of explaining how Bob Dylan is responsible for everything that we do. Every new project requires an updated version of all this information. All of these tasks require you to do a lot of thinking and writing about yourself from a third-person perspective.

“Brother Jack is brilliant…”

“Brother Jack’s guitar playing is incendiary…”

”Brother Jack is more Bob Dylan than Bob Dylan ever was…”

If you are in the middle of a new cycle, third-person thinking can take over. Maybe you are out for pancakes and you find yourself saying, “Brother Jack would like a refill of his coffee.” This is awkward and could lead to some confusion. Although it is true, he would like a refill of his coffee.

Old Photographs

Take your picture from its frame
Tuck it away in an old shoebox
It’s a box full of memories 
For when I want to remember
I try to lose myself
Cause I’m so lost without you
I guess I’m not really lost
I’m still standing here
I’m okay without you
I’m okay without you
I’m okay without you
Allow myself to remember
The things I try so hard to forget 
Like the way you’d get excited
When your song would come on
And I still hear your voice
Echoing in my head
Whispering all those words 
I wish you had never said
I’m okay without you
I’m okay without you
I’m okay without you
We’ve sure been through some stuff
Most of it was good
But right now I gotta tell you
That this isn’t easy
I sure do miss you a lot
I’m sure you’re doing fine
I just wanted you to know
That I am okay

Coffee Break

We are working on a house project. It’s basically the same project that we did ten years ago. It was physically much easier ten years ago. I find myself grunting and groaning constantly. My blisters have blisters. The most important thing about the entire project is that I now understand why my Grandpap took so may coffee breaks when we were doing projects together. Coffee breaks are essential to the progress of this project.

Like a Sunrise

My son was very excited.

“I saw something out the window and you got to see it.”

“What did you see?”

“It was like a sunrise only it’s night…”


We spent the day with my sister and her family. We did lunch and then some bowling. The adults and big kids were on one lane and the little kids were on another. It seemed like the best way to divide things. We assumed that the little kids would take forever and be very bad. It got competitive quickly. They crushed us. If you added all five of our scores together, it would have been a respectable bowling score. I almost fell down twice. I’ll be sore for the next three days. It was so much fun.


“When I grow up and have kids, they are gonna call you Baboo. It means something in a different language. Ohhhh, Baboo!!!”

Now that is something to look forward to.

The Return of Happy Hour

We just had a successful return of the Happy Hour. In case you are unfamiliar, for a long time we enjoyed a weekly livestream on Facebook called the Happy Hour. My evening schedule changed and it became very difficult to schedule our Happy Hour. I am not good at making something happen unless it is regularly occurring. I am a creature of habit. I should check the calendar and see how long it has been since our last Happy Hour. On second thought, I feel better living in denial. Now I am trying to commit to a monthly Happy Hour. I miss these livestreams. We just had our first monthly Happy Hour. Some of the best Weird Folk showed up. I had a great time. It really was a Happy Hour. I’m still happy.


Can someone own a song? When I arrange some notes to make a melody, they are built on every song that I’ve ever heard. When I assemble some words into a poetic verse, they are constructed from all of the words that I’ve ever read.

The economic model of the entertainment industry is rooted in ownership. Supposedly, you earn money by owning the work that you have created. I’ve always struggled with this idea. A song has value when it stirs an emotional response in another human being. The ownership of a song is not correlated to the way it makes me feel.

Your, My, Some

Here we are now
At the end of the line
With nothing more to do
All I got here is a blanket 
And a bottle
And your damn cold feet

One word can change everything. This song is about endings. When I wrote it, this chorus was about a person who was too afraid to try. The cold feet belonged to them. It was your cold feet. As I have been working on this song, it occurred to me that they might be my cold feet. Maybe the ending happens because I was too scared. I don’t know how to solve this conundrum. To whom do the cold feet belong. The simple solution is to make it ambiguous. It’s some damn cold feet.

No Proof

I had a recording session with my friend Brandon. I needed a wicked guitar solo for one of the new songs. I had a truly epic time. We drank a lot of coffee and talked about everything. We solved all of the problems with religion, we discussed the rare bright spots in pop culture, we dismantled all political thinking, and we wrote a thesis outlining the major stylistic differences between C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. We also managed to carve out a couple of minutes to record some guitar for “Statue of Liberty.” The rough mix is done and I can say that it sounds perfect. We were so busy having a nice time that I neglected to set up the camera. There is no content for social media. I have zero proof that any of this happened. Maybe I don’t even have a friend named Brandon… I listened to the tracks. There is no way that I can make a guitar do what he did and that is all of the proof I need.

Old Construction

We are currently in the middle of what we assumed was a small house project. We needed to replace a couple of rotten boards on our deck. It’s an 8’x 8’ deck that extends off the front porch. The area affected by rot kept expanding. There was a rotten post and a couple of bad joists. I thought it would be a quick Saturday afternoon job. It’s been three days, four trips to Home Depot, and the deck is completely deconstructed. We are essentially starting from scratch. Our house is over 100 years old and it’s in great shape for the shape that it’s in. The deck is only ten years old and it is completely worthless. I’m not trying to imply that all new things are worse than their older counterparts. Some new things are fantastic. But overall, they don’t make them like they used to.

Coffee Money

My kids were involved with an activity this past week where money was being collected for a good cause. To be honest, I don’t remember what the good cause was. If I had to guess, it involved orphans. The collection for the good cause required cash. Paper money is rare at my house. I checked under all of the couch cushions and in all of the winter coat pockets. I eventually found a handful of singles under the seat of my truck. I worked hard to find this cash and was nervous that I might forget to send it with them. I placed the wad of cash on the stand that serves as my command center with my to-do list, a note reminding me to send cash for the good cause, my pencil case full of broken pencils, and my earbuds. Then I got a cup of coffee. I intended to set the coffee on the stand as well. This is the area where most of my important, daily work happens. I was distracted by a squirrel outside the window and dumped the entire cup of coffee all over the stand. Spilling coffee is a sacrilege. I can’t believe I made such a tremendous mess. After cleaning up all of the wasted sacrament, the coffee-soaked papers were laid out on the counter to dry. My dad always said, “Never cry over spilled coffee.”

Happy Father’s Day and may your cash always smell like coffee.

Farmers Market

I played a farmers market. My favorite thing about playing these kind of events is the kids. It’d an opportunity to entertain children without being a children’s entertainer. I have always believed that you aren’t worth anything as a performer if you can’t make a toddler dance. Also, the genre of children’s music is awful. A farmers market is a very rare opportunity to make a lot of people happy without having to compromise any artistic integrity. It’s even better if there are some Weird Folk in attendance as well. Good times were had by all.

Occupational Hazard

Being an entertainer is the only profession where you are encouraged or even expected to consume alcohol while you are working. Is this an occupational hazard or a perk?

Robots Don’t Play Guitar

Everyone is talking about AI. Artificial Intelligence is being used to write news articles, do homework, diagnose illnesses, and even write songs. AI is all about precision. Work done by the robots is smooth and clean. There is no real character. I love my guitar sound. The strings buzz a lot and it’s sloppy in all of the right places. No one will ever mistake it for AI. Robots can put sounds together that imitate an acoustic guitar. Robots can’t make my jangly guitar sound. Robots don’t really play guitar.

Allow Myself To Remember

Wednesday Words
Original version :
Allow myself to remember
The things I try so hard to forget 
The way you smelled
And the way you’d touch my hand
The fondest memories I recall
The warm fuzzy feelings
And the way I’d smile 
When I picture your face
New version:
Allow myself to remember
The things I try so hard to forget 
Like the way you’d get so excited
On a warm summer evening
And I still hear your voice
Echoing in my head
Whispering all those words 
I wish you had never said

I don’t know if the new version is better than the old version but it ranks higher simply because it isn’t the old version. “The way you smelled” is a bad line. Sure, there are some sensory memory emotions loaded into that line but it’s inherently dumb. The new verse feels better.

You can hear it on YouTube here.

A Good Chorus

The best songs have a good chorus.

I am working on a new song called “Grown Man Cry.” I wrote three verses and they felt complete. I said everything that I wanted to convey. It didn’t need a chorus. But every time I ran through the song, I found myself inserting a couple of extra measures between the verses. These measures eventually expanded into a nice countermelody. I decided to give it a chance as a chorus. It seems as though there are no words that are up to the task. It seems that some guttural “ahs” are the only thing that feels right. It’s a song about crying, weeping, and wailing. It needed something to break the tension, a chance to breathe.

A collective sigh is enough. It’s a good chorus.

One Minute

All of the experts decreed that musicians must make videos that were one minute in length if they wanted to find attention. I spent the last period of time (maybe two years) trying to figure out how to squeeze all of me into one minute bites. It dawned on me today that the kind of person that would “follow” me based on a one minute video is not the kind of person that would be Weird Folk. I am not suggesting that I won’t make more short videos. I understand they serve a purpose. But I am tired of being brief. It feels contrary to my very identity. I am not a one minute person. I need room to ramble. Our world needs more long winded rants about bacon or cowboy movies. I can do that. Expect more long winded monologues about things you didn’t know that you needed to know.


With a title like “Hypocrisy” this post could be about a lot of different stuff. There is so much hypocrisy in our world that this could be about anything.

Hypocrisy met judgment 
Mistakes were made 

These are the first lines of my song called “Statue of Liberty.” I have no idea what this song is about. Apparently, it’s about hypocrisy or maybe judgement. When I wrote it, I might have known what it was about. I know it was inspired by politics and protests and the social response to the protests. It was also inspired by a poetic bible verse about snakes that I read in a book where the protagonist is an eleven year old British girl that solves murders. It’s also about how my wife hates it when I move a piece of furniture even a little bit. Change is hard. Change is also the only constant. The world shifts in tiny increments and soon it becomes unrecognizable. Maybe that is the hypocrisy. We can’t wait to put things back to the way they used to be but we complain that the old ways were unjust. It’s all bitter grapes.

Check it out on YouTube.

Mystery Menu

It’s a universal rule. When you go away from home, it’s impossible to find a meal upon returning. We were only gone for a couple of days. There was nothing obvious to make for dinner. The problem isn’t a complete lack of food. The issue is a complete lack of a plan. The refrigerator was mostly empty. I had a pound of ground beef, some rice, and a bag of frozen broccoli. After eating out for multiple meals in a row, a home-cooked meal is magical even if it’s mostly broccoli.

Tea Party Etiquette

I was talking to my baby girl. I said, “I need to write a Daily Dispatch but I’m stuck. Do you have any ideas?” She very quickly answered the call. “That’s easy. If you are at a tea party, don’t put your finger in your nose.” Great advice.


We were doing a bit of traveling and looking for some fun for the family. Two hours from home, while taking in some attractions, we got a hot tip on some ice cream. I have a weakness for ice cream. Who am I kidding, I have many weaknesses. Allegedly there was an ice cream store that was “kicking off summer” with free scoops. The catch was that it was only at a limited time on a limited day, so we got in line. My love for ice cream is only equaled by my hatred of waiting in line. I will admit that I got grumpy. I was confident that the line would take forever. No ice cream in the world is worth a two-hour wait. I am so glad that I was outvoted and that my wife (the math teacher) is much better at doing line-to-time estimations. The doors opened at 7:00 on the nose. Coincidentally, within twenty minutes I had ice cream on my nose. Excited employees ran out like rock stars. The crowd cheered. Everyone chanted, “Ice cream! Ice cream!” It was glorious. There were no politics, no disagreements. We were all united by the joy of free ice cream. It was a truly pure occasion. The “Brown Butter Almond Brittle” was glorious. The “Darkest Chocolate” was everything you would expect. If you had to pay for a scoop, the “Wildberry Lavender” would be an experience worth every penny. Thanks to everyone at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. It was an evening that we will remember for a long time.

Sun Catches His Eye

Wednesday Words
Did you ever see a grown man cry
Sun just catches his eye
Did you ever see tears well up
He recalls a long lost day
Did you ever see a grown man weep
He’s got nothing left to give
Did you ever see a grown man’s tear
Roll down past his nose

I wrote this verse in one pass. It took as long to write as it took to read. This was a magical verse.

You can hear the first verse here.


I write 99.9% of all my Daily Dispatches on a tablet. I use a red, wireless keyboard to type my brilliance. I accidentalky placed my tablet on the table on top of the keyboard. It pressed all of the keys simultaneously and drained the battery. This provided a long, random list of letters and a dead keuyboard. If there was any justice in the worrld, it would have spontaneously typed something profound. Instead, what you get is a story about my drained keyboard that was typefd on a tiny tablet keryboard with one finger . I’m surprised this is as legible as it is. Curse my guitar fingers, they weren’t made for finding these tinylwttwrs.

Fanny Pack

“Were you wearing that fanny pack while you were running… outside… where everyone could see you?”

“Obviously, how else could I carry all of my stuff?”

In my wife’s defense, it is a neon orange fanny pack that looked like a 1980s reject. Good thing I had already removed my fluorescent yellow visibility vest.

Time Off

I’m taking some time off during the next couple days. I’m supposed to refrain from doing work. It’s all about some rest and family time. These are all good things but I am not good at taking time off. I come from a long line of workaholics. In preparation for some time off, I have been working on a list of things that I can accomplish while I am “not working.” It’s a list of work that doesn’t look like work. In our culture our value is tied to our productivity. Empty time makes me feel like I am missing something. I solemnly swear that I will do my best to do a minimal amount of work. Don’t worry, I will still be sending out the Daily Dispatch.

Transitions Can Be Difficult

We just celebrated the last day of the school year. Transitions can be difficult. My twins just finished first grade. These big shifts are a great way to mark different eras in life. “Remember that summer after 1st grade…”

They both had very different emotional responses regarding the ending of this phase. My typically very stoic son got off the school bus dancing with glee. My little girl grabbed my hand and said, “I cried a little today.” Both responses are ok. Transitions can be difficult.

Old Masters

I was scouring a hard drive, trying to clean out all of the old junk. On the same day, I was working on a list of potential songs for my next record. On that hard drive, I found the masters from my very first recording project. One of the songs is called Old Photographs. I think a new version of this song will be on the next record. If the very sketchy documentation is accurate, I was 19 years old when I wrote this song. I can’t remember the emotional catalyst behind it. I don’t remember who it was about or why I wrote it. There is a seed of something in this tune that might grow into a good song. The first verse and chorus work. The second verse needs some work. The guy that wrote this song was a mess but there was the seed of something decent in him as well. Maybe when the new version is finished, I will let you hear the original.

Red Eye Waltz

Red eye waltz
Red eye waltz
Day upon day and nights without end
I think about what was done
How could I have known
How could we ever know
Red eye waltz
Red eye waltz
The flash of a moment and everything is gone
A butterfly flutters its wings
If only I’d gone a little bit faster
Or lingered for another breath
Red eye waltz
Red eye waltz
If I had back everything I’ve lost
I’d burn it all down once again
For one more chance
I’d make sure this never happened
Red eye waltz
Red eye waltz

Not a Virtuoso

If you are a virtuoso on the guitar, then all of your recordings will be made with one of your many expensive guitars. If you are a jack of all trades and a master of none, it can be difficult to determine which random piece of junk you should use to record a song. I wrote my song called “Idea 9” on the ukulele.  Initially, I assumed it would become a guitar song.  I think I might prefer it on the banjo.  What do you think would be the best arrangement?
(All links go to YouTube.)   


My kid had to do a project for her history class where she researched and presented her family tree going back five generations. She did a good job but more importantly, I got hooked. I spent some time putting information into one of the standard genealogy services. You dabble around looking at war records and gravestones. If you hit the jackpot, you stumble upon a  bunny trail that connects with a super highway that someone else has already paved. The work has been done and you follow the branches back until it reaches farther than you can comprehend. I stumbled upon one of those magical runs. It skipped through a couple of “sirs,” rambled through some Scottish clans, and came to rest on a Welsh king from the 500s. A random king is easy to find if you dig hard enough. The surprising part was the branch from which it was spurred. It was my Dad’s paternal grandmother. Grandma Hazel was a spectacular lady.  I had the privilege of knowing her for a couple of years before she died. She was diabetic and needed to hike her skirt and jab a needle into her leg every day. She was extremely amused that I enjoyed watching her spike that insulin into her leg. I will never forget her. 
I found many soldiers in my tree that fought in all of the wars. Regardless of the pension they received, I am grateful for their service. We are celebrating Memorial Day in the United States. Happy Memorial Day.  


We haven’t had a drop of rain in almost 10 days. This isn’t normal for the month of May. I had no intentions of planting a big garden but I did tuck some seeds into the ground. I planted some cucumber seeds, some giant pumpkins, and a row of beans. It wasn’t meant to be a labor-intensive project. I don’t have time or patience for tomatoes or peppers. During any normal year, these seeds would have gotten some rain and sprouted on their own. Mother Nature is supposed to take care of everything. We didn’t get any rain, the seeds haven’t sprouted, and I am starting to suspect that they never will. I guess I should have helped out.  Ironically, the weeds continue to grow without any assistance at all. This seems like it might be a great metaphor involving habits. All of the good things, like eating right and exercising, would be much easier if the conditions were perfect. All of my bad habits seem to thrive without any encouragement at all.    

Naps are Medicine

When I woke up today, my plans did not include a nap. Despite this fact, the most important thing that I achieved today was a nap. I had a written list of intentions that were not accomplished as a result of the nap. This does not change the fact that the nap was good medicine. It’s hard to do your best work when you need a nap. If you are reading this and you feel beat down by the day, take a nap. It might be the most important thing that you do.  

Two Truths and a Lie

Little kids are an incredible dichotomy. They are both brutally honest and natural-born liars.  They will tell you the absolute truth when no one else would. A little kid will gladly inform you when there is something weird hanging out of your nose. You ask, “How do I look?”  You can be sure a little kid will give an uncensored opinion. This same kid brimming over with brutal honesty will become the world’s greatest storyteller when caught with a contraband cookie. At the first glimpse of trouble, a kid will invent a perfectly believable excuse. The kid will gladly throw you under the bus and hang everything on you if they think it will get them out of a situation.  A little kid is the most honest liar you could ever hope to find.  

Silk Screening Strike 2

If you have been keeping score regarding my silk screening journey, I want to give you an update. My first hurdle happened when my printer died. Strike two happened last night when I tried to burn the screen. I was supposed to spread a “thin layer” of emulsion over the entire screen. I guess “thin layer” is somewhat ambiguous. I was using a definition of “thin layer” as derived from the amount of syrup I pour on pancakes. I guess screen printers don’t know how to eat a tall stack of flapjacks. My emulsion was not a “thin layer” and the design didn’t burn through to the screen. 
When I was younger, this setback would have been a disaster. I would have been upset about my perceived failure. I probably would have completely quit my silk screening journey. There is a good chance I would have smashed the frame in a rage. It’s nice to know that I have matured so much. I understand that learning something new is a process. Strike two was part of the practice. I probably won’t make this same mistake again. Now I get to try again and I have already learned so much. The only problem is that I neglected to obtain emulsion remover when I purchased all of my initial supplies. I won’t be able to continue practicing until the goop required to remove my “thin layer” arrives at my door. This doesn’t count as strike three.  

Old Shoebox

Wednesday Words
Take your picture from its frame
Tuck it away in an old shoebox
It’s a box full of memories 
For when I want to remember
I try to lose myself
Cause I’m so lost without you
I guess I’m not really lost
I’m still standing here
This is a new song that is actually an old song. I wrote this a long time ago. That’s a story for another  time. I am pretty sure that some form of this song will be on the next record.
You can hear the first verse here. 


I have a song called Idea 9. I wrote it in the spring of 2022. I was working on a project about the sun exploding. It was an apocalyptic love story. Apocalyptic love songs are super exciting but for some reason I was never able to write more than two songs for the project. While working on putting some songs together for my current project, I realized this song would fit perfectly. With some minor tweaks, it feels like the perfect introduction to the new project.  Stay tuned, it’s gonna sound great.

Hard Man Whistle

I recorded a version of my song called “Hard Man.” Buried in the mix is a whistle. I initially thought that this countermelody was going to be a bass part. I couldn’t figure out how to play the part on any of my instruments. So I whistled it and it’s now my favorite thing about the recording. To be honest, the whistle helped me realize that my arrangement wasn’t right. I was editing the whistle while we were watching The Mandalorian. My family thought my whistle was part of the show. This made it clear that the rest of the mix didn’t achieve the vibe that I want the song to have.  I’ve come up with a new arrangement and the only survivor is the whistle. I can’t wait to get back to work on this song.  
Check out the whistle on YouTube here.  

Don’t Stop Sweet Wagon

I’m going to tell you a secret from the kitchen about how the soup is made. There are three songs allegedly hated by all entertainers. They are three frequently requested covers that everyone pretends to hate playing.  They will usually say something like, “Sure, I’ll play that if you stuff a $50 into the tip jar…” The three songs most despised are as follows:
Don’t Stop Believing
Sweet Caroline
Wagon Wheel
There are two songs on this list that I cover regularly.  I’ll play the role like everybody else and demand a hefty tip.  Don’t tell anybody but I don’t mind playing them.  Sometimes I even enjoy it. 

Career in Politics

“Hey Pops, 
When I grow up, I want to be a famous bologna maker.”
There are so many responses to that statement. 
So basically a politician.”


In my studio, there is a wall fixture that is supposed to have three lightbulbs. Two of the lightbulbs have been out for a while.  I don’t know when it happened but I’ve been down two bulbs since before Christmas. I don’t know why I didn’t change them. When I am in the studio, I try to be in the creative flow. I don’t want the distraction of changing a lightbulb. Today I wanted the distraction. I changed both bulbs. The difference made by those two lightbulbs is amazing. 
Rule for living: don’t wait to change your lightbulbs.   

15 Minutes

 I experienced something magical. It’s not the first time that I have had this experience but it’s rare enough that I might consider it a miracle. I am not sure what the equivalent would be for a doctor, carpenter, or accountant. I am sure that all vocations have a corresponding miracle. I wrote a new song in fifteen minutes. If you have been following along, you know that I’m working on a new record. For the sixth song in the collection, all I had was a potential title. I picked up my ukulele, strummed a beautiful chord, and wrote the first verse. It was not where I thought the title was going to take us. Despite my preconceived ideas, I wrote three verses in fifteen minutes. If you want to follow along, the song is called “Grown Man Cry.”  I won’t be sharing any specifics because there is a chance that when I run through it with a fresh perspective, it will be utter crap.   

The Printer

You shouldn’t plan for failure but it’s a safe bet that something will break and everything will always take twice as long as expected.  
I am trying to put together a silkscreen setup so that I can print t-shirts with my designs.  I have been enamored with the art of silkscreening for a long time. I did the necessary research and purchased all of the basic tools and equipment to get started. The artwork from my new single called Not as Regular seems like the perfect design for my maiden voyage. The first step in the process is to burn the finished artwork onto a screen. This requires printing the design onto some transparency sheets with a regular printer.  We have a printer. It shouldn’t be a problem.  I got my frame, inks, and emulsions set up and ready to go. The printer is dead.  

Chicken Dancing Mothers

I know that this kind of holiday can be hard so I will be brief.  If you are a mother or motherly type, thank you.  I appreciate everything that you do.  If you are not celebrating Mother’s Day, today also happens to be National Dance Like a Chicken Day. Today has something for everybody. Crank some “Chicken Skin Shake” and jiggle them arms.  

Halfway to 88

The first half of my life has been pretty amazing. It hasn’t been perfect. I’ve done some stupid stuff along the way. There might be one or two things that I probably wouldn’t do if I were doing it again. Overall, it’s been fantastic. I am celebrating a point in my life where I can feel very confident that I am over halfway to the finish line. The odds are not good that I will live long enough to see the day when I am double the age that I am today. I know that there was a day when I was half of the age that I am today but the details are blurry.  I can’t believe how much of my life I have been able to spend doing what I love, making music, and hanging out with Weird Folk.  It’s been a good life and I look forward to the second half… well, less than half.    


He is a typical seven-year-old boy.  
“I think all girls are repulsive…
Wait, I can’t remember. What does repulsive mean?”

Cats Hate the Banjo

Our cat just turned 18 years old. She is in pretty good shape for an old cat. She isn’t as spry as she once was but she still races through the house in the middle of the night. We think her hearing has been deteriorating. She no longer flees in terror when I run the vacuum sweeper. She doesn’t hide in my studio during thunderstorms. Recently, some frying bacon got away from me and the smoke alarm was blaring. Maggie sat in the middle of the mayhem begging for a treat. In the past when the entire neighborhood became obsessed with pyrotechnics for the Fourth of July holiday, she would spend a week hiding under the bed.  Now, she is completely oblivious. Despite her hearing loss, she still sneers in disdain and leaves the room whenever I pick up the banjo.  

Weird Folk on the Toilet

One time I wrote a song about all of the historical people that died while on the toilet. Then I asked the Weird Folk to send me videos of themselves stomping their feet while sitting on a toilet. I got some footage of myself with a toilet outside in the flower garden. The resulting video and the song are two years old today.  To celebrate this occasion, our Tulips and Toilets collection will be on sale for the rest of the week.   

The Wikipedia Rabbit Hole

If I want to be working but I’m not currently in the middle of a song, I need a spark to find a new idea. One of my standard moves is to plunge into the Wikipedia rabbit hole. My favorite place to look for the spark of an idea is called Unusual Wikipedia.  It is a list of unusual entries on Wikipedia.  It was late one evening, I was trying to write, and I had no ideas. I took the plunge and found a list of historical people who died while on the toilet. I knew that this list deserved to be a song but I had no idea how to make it happen. It’s not obvious how a songwriter should turn a list of historical people who died while on the toilet into a song.  It took almost two years until I solved the puzzle and wrote the song.  That list of historical figures became my song called Where I Go.  This song gave me the confidence that I could make a viable song about absolutely anything. 

Lusitania In Distress

My kid just took a massive test in her AP US History course. While listening to her study non-stop for a week, I was surprised by the number of obscure facts that I know. I don’t know enough to pass the class but it was a fair amount of random information. For example, the Lusitania was a ship, it was in distress, it sank, and then there was a war.  I think it was probably WW1.  I realized that my vast historical knowledge is derived from old folk songs.  History is so important.  Weird folk songs can be a great way to carry on our traditions.  I just hope all of the facts are accurate.  
Today is the anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.  
Watch me sing a verse on YouTube. 

Derby Day

It’s derby day. That means the Kentucky Derby happens today.  I don’t know why this horse race is called a derby. I don’t know why bourbon tastes so good with fresh mint. I don’t know why everyone at the race is supposed to wear a fancy hat.  I do know a great song about a horse race. 
Ours is not to reason why.
Ours is but to grab a mint julep and our fanciest hats.
Listen to Molly and Tenbrooks.


We just watched the Disney classic about King Arthur and Merlin called The Sword in the Stone. 
My little girl proclaimed, “I’m going to be the king someday.”  
I replied, “That’s a tough job. I don’t think that I would want to be a king, it’s too much work.” 
“No, it would be easy. You just boss everyone around all the time.”
She paused in contemplation for a moment.
“Hey Pops, you’d be a great king because you are really good at bossing people around.”  
I don’t know if that was a compliment but I think it means that I’m the king of my castle… at least as long as the queen isn’t around.

Four Years

The great state of Pennsylvania requires you to renew your driver’s license and get a new photo taken every four years. I just went to get my license updated. The before and after photos would suggest that the past four years have been brutal. There are more than four years worth of wrinkles in that photo. Also, the framing of their photos does not allow adequate space for a large-size beard. 


Wednesday Words
I was working on the phrasing for my song called Idea 9.  Phrasing is the songwriting equivalent of punctuation.  A slight pause can change the meaning of a line. 
Never again, I’ll feel the wind brush my cheek
Never again
The wind brushes my cheek
When singing this line, it’s a minor adjustment that changes the whole vibe. It would be easier to demonstrate this difference in a video but I didn’t make one (yet). The first version is definitive. I will never again feel the wind. The second version is more vague. Never again is an independent statement. It may or may not be directly correlated to the wind brushing my cheek. This new vaguely specific version feels better. It might be more accessible in a specifically vague kind of way. 

You can hear the new version on YouTube here. 

Unnecessary Complication

I recently wrote a post about a problem that I was having regarding a graphic design project. I had drawn some stick figures and I couldn’t figure out how to turn them into digital artwork. I don’t know why it was so complicated. I made it much more difficult than necessary. Hours were lost trying to manipulate this image and eventually, I scrapped it all. It was a hard decision but it had to be done. I believe an economist would call this a sunk cost. I started from scratch with my stick figures and had a finished project in ten minutes. It wasn’t wasted time. It was time spent learning all of the wrong ways to do the thing. In the future this process will be much easier…unless I forget everything that I just learned.   

Doctorate in Cuss-ology

There is an expert out there writing a book on every imaginable subject. I was recently listening to an episode of Freakonomics about the benefits of saying bad words. They interviewed an academic who discussed the cultural trends associated with bad words. He said that there were three eras of bad words. The first phase included blasphemy, religious taboo, and broken oaths. The second phase was mostly poop jokes. The third and current phase involves disparaging different people groups. It was an interesting episode but they over-intellectualized the topic. When it comes to cuss words, I am an expert. Just yesterday, I was running up the steps, smashed my knee on the cupboard, shed some tears, and invented two brand new bad words. I should write a book on cuss-ology.  

Breakfast Anytime

It was a breakfast-for-dinner kind of day. I know there are people in this world who don’t approve of breakfast foods being eaten at non-breakfast times. I could never trust a person who wouldn’t indulge in a pancake right before bed. Some days you just need bacon in the evening. My favorite restaurants are the establishments that proudly display in great big letters on the front of the menu the announcement that “Breakfast is served all day.”  Pass the butter and keep the coffee coming. 

Too Many Colors

Have you ever been to a restaurant where every item on the menu looks so good that it’s impossible to choose?  I’m having the same problem with some artwork. I like the sketch and the general layout for this project but I can’t decide on a background color. It’s the album cover for my song called Not as Regular. To further complicate the issue, I am also going to print some t-shirts with the same artwork. Does the album artwork need to match the shirt color? It feels like when you are at that restaurant and everything looks so good that you can’t choose and you know that you are going to a different special place for some dessert. You don’t know if you should go all out and order a big meal or save some room with something smaller. Sometimes you have to plan ahead but you don’t want to miss out on something perfect. I was thinking about including a poll so that my beloved Weird Folk to help me decide.  However, that would require me to narrow the choices down to three. Stay tuned.       

Banjo Love is 12

I made Banjo Love back in 2011. At the time I was lost and floundering. I was trying to be a full-time musician and it wasn’t working. I wasn’t playing shows. I wasn’t writing songs. My computer died and I had to rebuild my studio setup from scratch. I did have a junk store banjo. Even though I didn’t know how to play the thing, it was better than nothing. I locked myself in the laboratory for the weekend with that banjo and the new  recording rig. I learned some stuff, made a record, and figured out who I was.  
Streaming everywhere.  

Rough Patch

I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch. My twins have been absent from school more days this winter than they have attended. Between the two of them, we have dealt with strep throat five different times since the end of February. My health was less than optimal for a while. We have been trying to manage a health crisis in the extended family.  It’s a situation where they are completely denying the problem and there isn’t much we can do. It’s been a bit of a rough patch. I’ve been operating in survival mode and doing the bare minimum to simply get through the day. Life has been exhausting and overwhelming. It’s okay because I am sure that I will get through this rough patch and things will get better. Maybe not right now. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon, it will get better. I tell you all of this because someday it may be important. If you come to a point in life where your heart is so heavy that you don’t know what to do, remember this post. I’ve spent some time in that rough patch. You are not alone and it will get better.   


You wouldn’t use a saw to pound in a nail or a hammer to make a cut. You have to use the right tool for the job. A good, high-end microphone would cost as much as all of my microphones added together. My best microphone is called Josephine. She is a fantastic microphone, perfect for playing music in front of an audience but she is not getting the job done in the studio. I think that I’m trying to force it to work because she is my most expensive microphone. When you need a hammer, use a hammer. An SM57 is the most common microphone available. Anything cheaper wouldn’t be an actual microphone. I recorded guitar, vocals, and harmonica with the same SM57. This workhorse got the job done. I’m working on the final mix for “Not as Regular.”  It should be streaming soon.  

Nothing Happened

Nothing happened today. I usually sit down and write a post based on something that happened during that day. I have nothing to write about today. This isn’t really a bad thing. It was a fine day. Absolutely nothing happened. 


“Hey Pops, when I’m a grown-up, I don’t want to have a bald haircut…
Unless it’s like Gargamel (from the Smurfs)…
He’s got hair around the edges.  I might be ok with that.” 

Those are solid goals, my son.  


Today, I want to talk about fonts. I don’t know much about fonts. I know the default option is probably not the most artistic choice. I am familiar with the word kerning and that it has something to do with letter spacing but I have no idea what it does. I have no formal training in graphic design. I tend to go with my gut. When searching the list of fonts, I use the one that reminds me the most of my favorite flannel shirt. I compliment that font with the choice that reminds me of drinking coffee. Hopefully, it translates on the screen.  
I installed a new application on my website. It is supposed to allow me to tweak and fine-tune every aspect of the font. That level of control feels like an awesome power. Unfortunately, it prevented the text from showing up in emails. I can write a post and tweak it all night long but when the email is sent there is no text. You may have noticed on Thursday. All of this power is worthless if I can’t connect with anybody. This is a great metaphor for everything that is wrong with the world. Maybe I should grab a pencil and some envelopes and start sending letters. No one would be able to read my terrible penmanship.   

Sugar Daddy

We were running errands. The kids and I were in my truck and it was a rare moment of quiet. My little girl loudly proclaimed, “I need a sugar daddy.”  
“You know, that candy with a stick.” 
Right, of course. 
In case you don’t know, a Sugar Daddy is a sticky chunk of caramel on a stick. This conversation reminded me of an incident that I had as a child. I was in church, chewing on a Sugar Daddy. I’m not sure why that was a good idea but it was the 80s. They were a crazy and dangerous time. I’m sure there was a theory about a super sticky candy keeping me quiet during the service. I was pretty little. I was enjoying my sticky treat and then, when everybody stood up to sing the first song, I put my Sugar Daddy down on the pew. Then we all sat back down. 

Bob Dylan’s Guitar

When I record my guitar, it sounds like some rubber bands stretched over a cardboard box. This guitar is a distinctive part of my sound. For 20 years, I have struggled to get an accurate representation of it in the studio. I’ve tried many different approaches and techniques. The guitar part that I recorded last week had both a boomy low end and thin mids. It sounded like a poor imitation of a guitar. I spent some time listening to Bob Dylan’s guitar. His guitar also sounded like a cardboard box. I decided to embrace it. I put a microphone up close and recorded all of the boxy glory. It still doesn’t sound like Bob’s guitar but it does sound like me.

Butterfly Wings

Wednesday Words
The flash of a moment and everything’s gone
A butterfly flaps its wings
If only I’d walked a little faster
Or lingered for another breath
I’m working on a new song called “Red Eye Waltz.” It’s about guilt and shame and regret. It’s about the tiny flutter that starts the chain reaction responsible for all joys and sorrows. It’s about dancing with grief.

History of Uncle Boozie

I am working on a new series that will star a slightly different version of myself. It’s a cross between Captain Kangaroo and Otis the town drunk from the Andy Griffith Show. If those two references mean nothing to you, you need to spend some time with the classics.

I’ve been stewing over this project for a long time. It started when I wrote a theme song for a fictitious television show. “It’s Uncle Boozie’s Saturday morning, fun time sing-along.” This idea goes back far enough that I can’t find the notebook containing the original scribbles. My best guess is that it was born circa 2008. I’ve been avoiding this project for almost 15 years because I was afraid it would become a wasted idea if I couldn’t make it perfect. Life is too short to wait for perfect.

Click here to hear the theme song.


I find myself devouring some magnificent chocolate cake which can only mean it’s another birthday. It seems like yesterday that I was holding that tiny face in the palm of my hand and now she’s so grown up. Even though it was all part of the plan I was completely unprepared to keep a tiny human alive. We are fortunate she was born independent and responsible. I can’t wait to see what she does next. 

The Watchlist

I read an essay about one man’s ever-expanding stack of books. I am sorry that I can’t give proper credit. I don’t remember where I read it or who wrote it. The author was in his forties. He knew how many books he typically reads in a year. He used average lifespan to figure out how many books he would be able to read before he was too deep in the ground to care. It was an alarmingly small number of books. He would never get through all of the books on his list. This doesn’t take into account any new books that might spark a higher level of interest in his limited future. I guess this is depressing and somehow reassuring.
When I am trying to find something to watch, I often get stuck scrolling through the infinite loop of choices. If I see something remotely interesting, it gets added to my watch list. I won’t lie about the amount of time I spend in front of the television. However, I rarely get a block of time that is long enough for a full movie. I had an opportunity the other day to watch a movie and I panicked. There are so many movies on my watchlist. I will never get through them all before I am too deep in the ground to care. Initially, this was a very overwhelming thought. I will admit that I got a little depressed thinking about having to prioritize some of the classics. Then I embraced the freedom that comes with limitations. I will never get through them all and that’s not going to change. Life is too short for dumb movies. So I cracked open one of the dumb books from my ever-expanding list of books I want to read before I am too deep in the ground to care.  

No Depression

The majority of bluegrass songs are about how life will be so much better when you are dead. I don’t love the sentiment but I understand why it has been so marketable. One of my favorite songs about glorious death is called “No Depression.” It was originally recorded by the Carter Family. It was covered by Uncle Tupelo. They are a legendary alt-country band and spawned an entire genre. There is a niche magazine named after the song. “No Depression” has been sort of an anthem for my scene.  
You can hear my version here.   

Cowboy Classic

I have an idea for a new song. It will be called “Red Eye Waltz.” As I’m thinking about this idea, I keep coming back to the song called “Red River Valley.” I want that classic cowboy swagger. It needs to have the same vibe as the ending credits of The Mandalorian. This song will be about how intense sadness makes it impossible to sleep and the red eyes you get from crying for days without end. This should be a really depressing process. Stay tuned.    

Uncle Boozie Theme

It’s time for
Uncle Boozie’s foot stomping 
Fun time sing along
Grab the kids, grab grandma
It’s time for another song
He’s everybody’s favorite happy guy
How’d he get so happy
It’s Uncle Boozie’s foot stomping 
Fun time sing along

Own Personal Taste

It happens to everybody at some point. One day it is “Wheels On the Bus” and all of the toddler classics. There might be an intermediary phase where you become aware of your parent’s music. You might even know all of the words to Neil Diamond’s greatest hits. Then suddenly, you have your own music. There is no science involved. It’s like alchemy. Your own personal taste bubbles to the surface. You have a musical identity that will stick with you for the rest of your life. It happened to my oldest kid sometime during the last year or so. I’m not sure how or when it emerged. The important thing is that she has great taste in music. I’m learning a lot. 

Leftover Ham

Millions of people all across America just enjoyed some Easter ham. The perfect breakfast for the day after Easter is some leftovers. It’s ham fried up on the skillet, a hard-boiled egg, hot coffee, and a side of jelly beans. I have the perfect soundtrack for your Easter leftovers and you can listen right here.  

Chick and Egg

Easter is all about fresh starts. Regardless of your religious persuasion, this is a perfect opportunity to reassess and become a brand new version of yourself. Everybody talks about making resolutions at New Year’s. It’s because we are still bloated and guilty from all of the holidays. But it’s a really bad time to try and start anything new. Winter is brutal. Springtime brings a fresh energy. If you are starting something in the spring, the odds of succeeding have to be much better. The days are longer. Nature is getting started again. It’s chicks and baby bunnies. Nothing feels as good as a clean slate. It’s time for a fresh start. Happy Easter.  

Jelly Beans

What is your favorite flavor of jelly bean?  
I don’t like most candy. I love chocolate but that doesn’t count. I don’t like fruity candy, sour candy, or anything cinnamon flavored. The only candy that I like are black jelly beans. I understand this is a divisive standpoint. You either love them or you hate them. There are no moderates when it comes to black jelly beans. I love black jelly beans.  
You might have noticed that today’s dispatch is late. It’s because the Easter Bunny brought us another bout of strep throat to go along with the black jelly beans.    
Regardless of where you fall on the black jelly bean debate, enjoy some candy!!!

Mumbling Word

It’s Good Friday for those celebrating the Christian tradition.  I don’t have much to say about the occasion. There is a song that is perfect for this day.  It’s often called “Never Said a Mumbling Word” or “Whupped Him Up the Hill.”  Lead Belly is typically given credit for the song but it’s almost certainly much older. It’s been covered by Nirvana and my favorite version was recorded by Charlie Parr. 
You can hear my version here.   


I’m trying to learn something new. I like learning new things. I’m trying to learn how to turn a drawing into an editable digital image. I want to convert my iconography for “Not as Regular” into a t-shirt design. I can’t get the stick figure heads to fill in properly. This is one time when I need a hole in the head and I can’t make it happen. It seems like something that should have a simple solution. I’ve had no problem learning how to use the program but I don’t understand how it works. I seem to be missing something fundamental. I think this is the key to learning something new. The technical part can be learned but the foundational concepts must also be understood. Let’s imagine that you want to order a perfect meal at a French restaurant using the French language. You can learn to speak French but you also have to understand French cuisine or you won’t know what you are ordering.  Details are attainable. The big picture is the key to learning. 


Wednesday Words
Old man Judas had a hill
On the outskirts of town  
He built himself a big tall gallows
To hang himself from

I’ve always felt bad for Judas. Christianity is a religion based on second chances. Judas was an unscrupulous guy but it seems as though he was doomed from the start.  

October 24, 2020

I pulled this tender morsel from the bonepile.  It came from my voice memo app, where many half-formed song ideas wait their turn. It was labeled as October 24, 2020. I have to assume that is the day that the idea was born. It’s a guitar riff over and over for a minute and a half. The only discernible words are “and away we go.” I had no idea where to go with the song but I kept coming back to it. It’s a catchy tune. If a songwriting session ends and I am humming the tune, the idea deserves some attention. I have tried taking this idea in several different directions. I haven’t been able to find a narrative that fits the melody. I tend to be a words-first kind of writer so it’s not surprising that I am struggling. I have revisited this idea, once a week for almost two months. I was on the verge of sending it back to the bonepile when I realized that it’s already a song. Actually, it’s many songs. They are all four lines long and they all utilize the same tagline. “Hey, Yeah. Hey, Yeah.” It has never felt like a full and complete song but that’s because it’s better in small chunks. I think I am going to turn these bites into a series of little songs.  It’s a “Hey, Yeah” stew.  
It’s a song about chocolate cake.  It’s a song about being haunted by a former lover. It’s a song about meeting someone new.  It’s a song about spring.  It’s a song about burping when you drink beer.  It’s a song about a plumber.  It’s a song about a bad day.  Stay tuned because this tiny song is going to be many things.      

Scooby Doo

I was awake at 5:30 on a Sunday morning. My son woke me up to find out if it was time to get up yet. “No, it’s not time to get up yet. But I won’t be able to go back to sleep. We might as well get up.” This is why it’s so hard to be a musician. There is a very short distance between Saturday night and Sunday morning. I wasn’t happy about being up so early. Then we sat down on the couch with some pancakes and binged some Scooby Doo. It wasn’t one of the new iterations. We were indulging in the classic, Scooby Doo, Where Are You? When I was a kid, Scooby was my absolute favorite.  

Stick Figures

I have been through many ideas and I keep coming back to stick figures. It’s like a form of iconography. I think this series of stick figures state the thesis of the song more clearly than any other idea. 
I am working on a lot of projects. There should be a single of my song called “Not as Regular” available in about a month. It needs some artwork. I’m also working on a video series to go with the song and it needs some artwork. There are many ways to be “not as regular” and the best way is as stick figures.  

Cheese Curls

I’ve been experiencing the physical ramifications of stress. I don’t know why.  My life is good. I just started a new project that feels really important. I spend my days doing the thing that I love most. Maybe I have been allowing all of the negativity in the world to affect me. I didn’t realize what was happening until my body started shutting down. I was oblivious to the signals being sent at the beginning of the week. By Friday I couldn’t ignore it. I wasn’t sleeping. Looking at food gave me debilitating heartburn. My mind was scattered. So, I took the day off. I didn’t do any work. It’s somewhat surprising that I took enough time to type this dispatch. The twins and I sat down and watched some cartoons and we ate a whole bag of cheese curls. I feel better already.   

Old Strings

I know that I need new strings on my guitar. Some people change their strings after every aggressive session. I rarely change a string unless it snaps and sends a sharp wire flying towards my eyes. Lately, my b-string has been wearing out very quickly. New strings are very bright and shimmery but not in a good way. Strings need to be broken in before they sound best. I wanted to record the guitar for my song called Hard Man. I don’t want dead strings but I also don’t want anything harsh. I decided to go with the old strings. You shouldn’t be surprised, I am very cheap. The track sounds like a cardboard box. I think I need to change the strings and try again. This is probably a great metaphor and life lesson. I’m just not sure what it means.     

1 project is actually 2

I’ve been overwhelmed with ideas for potential projects. I talked about the seasonal aspect of this problem recently. I had a moment of clarity. The most important project should include my song called “Hard Man.” I have a collection of songs that I want to record that should fit together. As I was going through arrangements, I realized this collection of songs is two projects and not one. My potential projects continue to multiply. The album with “Hard Man” needs two more songs. This is great news.  Now I need to write two more songs before I can finish a project. The universe is constantly expanding.     


Wednesday Words
It’s not something that I use often. When the situation is right, it can be a very effective tool in my songwriting toolkit. It’s a dictionary of idioms. I love words and the way that they go together. A phrase can mean so much more than its parts. Sometimes an idea for a song starts as a concept without any form or words. I can almost always find an idiom that conveys the concept. The idiom might not become part of the song but it helps get the word flow started. It wasn’t remotely helpful with my most recent writer’s block but it’s always fun to read some idioms.  Here are some of my favorites:
   -Sing for your supper
   -In the same boat
   -Up the creek without a paddle
   -Shoot from the hip
   -Sell like hotcakes
   -Raise Cain
   -Nothing new under the sun 

Introducing Uncle Boozie

I mentioned yesterday that I am working on more projects than I could possibly accomplish. This list of potential projects includes three studio records and a couple of singles. There are two reoccurring live events. There are also two new video series. One of my potential projects is a brand new personality. Uncle Boozie has been on my list for a long time. He even has a theme song.  Now that I have mentioned him publicly, I have no choice. I have to make him happen.  Get ready, here comes Uncle Boozie.  

Too Many Irons

I do the same thing every year. I am sure it’s a seasonal kind of thing. Winter starts to subside and I get excited about springtime. I have started working on five different creative projects. They aren’t small projects. They are great ideas but I won’t be able to do them all. Realistically, one project might come to completion.  I will need to decide which project is the most important and watch the rest starve.  Why do I do this every spring?  Maybe it’s part of my artistic process. That sounds like a great explanation. I’ll blame it on the muse.  Does anybody else start too many projects every spring? 


I write a post every day, it’s called the Daily Dispatch. You are reading one right now. I’ve committed to write every day. The best way for me to become a better writer is to publish every day.  Somedays it might not be worth reading. There have been days when I searched hard for a shortcut or faked it. Some posts have been the bare minimum. Every day when I hit publish somebody may read it. I don’t want to waste their time. I am a better writer than I was before. I hope that I continue to become a better writer. I wouldn’t mind it if I became a truly great writer. To be honest, I just want some of my words to matter. I will be satisfied if I can encourage one person. I just hope that something I write can help somebody feel better.  It makes me better every day.  
If you don’t get my Daily Dispatch in your mailbox, you should. Some days it is an absolute disaster but it’s getting better. 

You’re Scattered Everywhere

Today is the anniversary of the reissue of our record called Painted Smiles. It is the record that I made with my sister. If you have the CD version of the record, you have probably heard the bonus track at the end of the record.  It’s not available on the digital version. Our grandma sang this song all of the time and we recorded it as a hidden track. Grandma sang a lot of weird songs and this was one of our favorites. I’ve tried researching the history of this song but there is not much to find.  It’s a great song. You should check out my version here and then listen to Painted Smiles.  
Watch my version of the song here. 

Try Again

I’ve been working on recording my new song called Hard Man. I love this song. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback and I feel like this song is important. Getting a great studio recording feels very essential. Maybe the pressure is getting to me.
Everything that I have recorded is absolute crap. I spent a lot of time editing today and the result is that I need to backtrack very far. The last good piece of work was the scratch track. I got a little depressed with the notion of starting from the beginning. I took an assessment of what I had accomplished. I had a solid scratch track which means that I have a tempo and a structure. I also know what I shouldn’t do with the bass track. I also learned a lot about some bad ways to record the ukulele. I could have been angry about all of my lost time but I’m trying to focus on all of the things that I have learned. One foot in front of the other. I feel really good about the potential. I will spend a lot more time working on this song. It might be crap and I might have to start over from the beginning again.  That’s okay, life is a process.  Eventually, it will get better. 

Charley Horse

I have been very out of shape for far too long. I’m trying to rectify this situation and I started exercising. It’s nothing too strenuous at this point. I’m just trying to be more active. As a result of this activity, I found myself thrashing about on the floor with a serious charley horse. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, a charley horse is a leg cramp. After identifying that it was a charlie horse and not a demonic poltergeist, my wife quipped, “I wonder where did the phrase charley horse come from?” While rubbing out my leg cramp, I spent some time on google.  The term originated in the baseball culture of the late 1880s.  The exact origin is unclear. It might be related to the horse that pulled the roller that maintained the field in Chicago.  It might be related to a pitcher named Charley.  It might be because when a player ran the bases with a leg cramp, he looked like he was riding a wooden toy horse. I think it’s because that is the sound I make when I’m thrashing about in pain. Charrrrrrrrr-leeeeeeeeee! 

When I See You Standing There

Wednesday Words
When I see you standing there
Hey, yeah
Hey yeah
When I see you standing there
I get all weak in the knees
Hey, yeah
Hey, yeah
I get weak in the knees
I know how this will end
Hey, yeah
Hey, yeah
I know how this all ends

This is one that I’ve been working on. If you want to hear what it sounds like, click here. 

New Glasses

I got new glasses. According to the eye doctor, I’ve been wearing my old glasses since 2012. I only required a very minor prescription change. It was enough of a difference to require a major adjustment. I’ve been nauseated since putting them on my face. It feels like the floor is rushing up to knock me down. My vision is very clear but the vertigo is overwhelming.  I am sure I will get used to them. My live studio audience says that they look good. I know there are many people who need glasses in this world without access or the means to acquire them. I don’t want to seem ungrateful but I am not enjoying this intermediary transition. Hopefully it won’t be long until the ground stays where it is supposed to be. Maybe I should just rest my eyes for a little while…  

The Birds Are Back

The birds are back. It’s not full force but there are enough of them to affect my early morning sleep. I wake up earlier than the average musician but it wasn’t early enough for the birds. I just wanted fifteen more minutes of peace and quiet. I almost got mad about the birds. But than I remembered that this is one of the horribly beautiful noises that reminds me that I am alive.  I don’t have to be perfect. It’s a joyous noise on a busted banjo. 

Irish Jig

We were listening to some Irish tunes to celebrate the holiday.  I broke into a spontaneous jig. I was overcome by the festive energies.  
“Wow, that’s good dancing for an old guy.”
Thanks little girl. That statement is 50% accurate.  

Hard Man – scratch track

Stuff piles up (physically and metaphorically) and it becomes impossible to get anything done. I’ve been all talk for a long time but now I finally got my home studio organized and operational. I spent a good chunk of time recording on Thursday. If you are keeping score, you know that Wednesday is my studio day. The allusive Wednesday continues to be a problem but Thursday opened up this week. I am a creature of habit but when life provides a free afternoon, I’m not going to squander it watching reruns of Taxi.  Well… not this time.  I started working on my song called “Hard Man.”  If you want to see a video of the scratch version of this song, click here.  

Saint Patrick’s Day Miracle

I remember it like it was this morning. It was last year on St. Patrick’s Day. We were headed to school and frantic because that is how we do it. When we finally got out the door, it was a misty and damp kind of morning. My boy said, “It’s raining and the sun is shining, maybe there is a rainbow?” We pulled out of the garage and searched the sky. There was a faint shimmer over the McDonald’s. As we got closer to their school, the colors got stronger. We pulled into the lineup for drop-off and there was a glorious St. Patrick’s Day miracle. It was a perfect rainbow arching over the school. It was a divine metaphor sent from St. Patrick, himself. Everyone knows that a treasure is found at the end of the rainbow. The end of this metaphor was hovering directly over their school. More important than gold. Life’s greatest treasure, found at the end of that glorious rainbow, must be knowledge. Then it dawned on me. The divine message wasn’t for my kids. This miracle from St. Patrick was meant for me. The end of the rainbow was over the school and they would be there all day. I could go home and really celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I cranked some Irish Rovers, poured a nip of whiskey into my empty coffee cup, and thanked old Patrick for that beautiful rainbow.     

Waiting For Your Favorite Song

Remember when you had to sit by the radio, waiting patiently to hear your favorite song? We only heard what they wanted us to hear. The songs that I liked were never on regular rotation. If you had a boom box that had both a radio and cassette player, you could wait until your favorite song came on and then hit record. Then you would have half a commercial and your favorite song that you could listen to any time that you wanted to hear it. 
Social media is sort of like radio. The robots are the DJs. They keep pushing the songs. It’s mostly the hits but maybe if you are lucky you will catch your favorite song. 
Potential future posts related to this topic:
Payola (Dick Clark = Facebook ads)
I Like Reruns
Lazy Artist (Nothing New Under the Sun)

Words vs. Music

Are the words or music more important? 
I have heard or been involved with multiple debates on this subject in the past week. When I am writing, I’m a words-first kind of guy. I love words. I always thought of myself as being fully committed to team words. A song isn’t good if the words don’t take you somewhere. But the more I think about it, I might be team music. If you have something incredibly profound to say and you are rude in your delivery, your words are wasted. A great groove can reach out and grab you without any need for words. I don’t know if a good tune can make up for weak words. Some beautiful prose with a memorable melody can stir many feelings. At the end of the day, there is nothing more powerful than some “Boom Boom Ticka Ticka” drilling its way into your brain.  

Too Many Chords

During the last year, I have prioritized the memorization of songs. The ability to remember words has never been my strong suit. The mark of a great entertainer is the ability to pull a vast number of songs out of thin air. I’m working hard to increase my repertoire. Most folk songs are the same three chords over and over in the same order. A lot of the hits from the 90s were only two chords.  I’ve been trying to memorize James Taylor’s classic called “Sweet Baby James.”  I’ve played this song for years and assumed it would be easy to commit to memory. The words have not been a problem. The music is impossible.  This song uses 7 different chords and the order changes throughout. I am confident that I will solve it if I play it enough times. That means you are going to hear this song a lot. Who knows, you might have it down before I do.  

Sacrament of Coffee and Age 7

It’s our annual “Sacrament of Coffee Day.” This means it is the anniversary of the release of this single and also my twin’s birthday. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on life. Time continues to march forward and I can’t believe how quickly it is marching. We continue to struggle to get out the door in the morning. It’s a constant fight but the reasons are very different from when I wrote the song.  One kid is ready to leave about 20 minutes early. He stands by the door with his coat and shoes on and announces the time.  “You better hurry, there are only 15 minutes.” I am glad he is always ready to go but the constant nagging doesn’t make anything easier. My little girl is the opposite. She is never ready. She is a constant flurry of drama. We go through the checklist to get ready. She has eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, checked the potty, done her hair, found her bag, and put on her shoes. We do the same thing every day and it’s still a constant surprise. Despite all of the routine and preparation, there is always a last-minute failure. It’s not a surprise for her to show up at the door with her coat and backpack and no pants. If life ever becomes easy, it will be far too quiet. I love the stress and excitement and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Although a hot cup of coffee would be perfection.  

Spring Ahead 2023

We just lost an hour of time. I’m sure at one point in history there was a very good reason for this system but I hate it. I am a creature of habit. I always do the same things at the same time. I eat at the same time. I sleep at the same time. I get up at the same time. Maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill.  Maybe it’s not a big deal for most people. It takes me weeks to adjust to the new schedule. I don’t care which way we go with the official time. I don’t care if we spring forward or fall back. I just don’t want to change.  Stop confusing my internal clock. Also, take your ball and get off my lawn.  

Birthday Clumps

We are having a birthday party at my house today.  My family has five significant birthdays that happen in the next month. Three of them are my kids so the party is here. I have five nephews and nieces with a birthday at the end of May. It seems that family birthdays tend to happen in clumps. I am sure there is a good reason for these calendar correlations but I’m not going to do that math.    
The twins are very excited about their party.  My little girl couldn’t stop rambling about her birthday. “Hey Pops, do you LOVE birthdays?!?” “I don’t care too much about my birthday but I love to celebrate your birthday.”  “Is that because you are so old?” 
I’m looking forward to the chocolate cake.    

My mug on a mug

Recently, I posted a picture of a drawing my son had made. He drew my face on a coffee mug. The mailman just delivered an unexpected package. It was a coffee mug and on it was the picture that my son had drawn. It was my mug on a mug on a mug. I don’t know who sent this to me.  If it was you, thank you. My Weird Folk are the best human beings ever.  I don’t know what I would do without you. Our community is the best.  

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Hard Man

I’ve been a bully
And I’ve known a few
Caring can be cruel
It’s the best we can do
I hunker down
I dig in
I’m a hard man
I’m a hard man
Take it on the chin
It’s my turn again
Gotta stretch my legs
No pain, no gain
Black and blue
I should’ve stayed down
I’m a hard man
I’m a tired man
I’ve been lied to
And I never speak the truth
I walk away
I won’t get used
I’m laying low
I got no fight
I’m a hard man
I’m an empty man


I just saw that the last original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd has died. This news reminded me how much I love that band. I know that the Beatles created a genre. I understand the importance of The Rolling Stones. I often joke about a bar fight between the Eagles and CCR. These are all great bands but the one band to rule them all will always be Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

Gobo Fraggle

Musicians are always asked about their influences. This question is asked so that we have a frame of reference to understand the art that is being created.  But it’s kind of weird. We don’t ask nurses, teachers, or accountants to list who inspires them. The standard answer to this influence question depends on the age of the musician but most of the time it is either the Beatles, Nirvana, or some old Blues master. I could say that I was influenced by Paul Simon or Tom Waits.  But if I was truly honest, my greatest influence is Gobo Fraggle.  I think the majority of my songs would be well received down at Fraggle Rock.  
Check out this version of the Fraggle Rock theme song. 

Wintry Mix

We were discussing the weather. I mentioned that they were calling for a “wintry mix.” Someone suggested that a “wintry mix” sounds like a fancy drink.  How would you concoct a “wintry mix?”  I am thinking hot cocoa and ginger brandy.  Maybe it’s something more in the ice cream department.  Maybe it’s vanilla, watermelon, and pecans.  “What is a wintry mix?”

Learn the Violin

On Thursday we attended an orchestra concert. The school has this annual concert that includes three different groups of kids. It showcases the string program from beginner through the advanced kids. The first group was composed of the youngest students. The majority of students have been playing for a year and half. The middle group was more advanced but not great.  Their biggest problem was related to knocking their music off their stands. It seemed as though someone was constantly on the floor searching for music. The older group was great. They were a perfect representation of a high school orchestra. The whole event was quite enjoyable. They hold this event for marketing purposes. They want to get the kids and their parents invested in sticking with the orchestra throughout the school process. I wish we had more opportunities in life for this perfect representation of progress. It would be great if we could take three slices of our development as human beings and see them sequentially in one sitting.  It would be great to see where we started and how far we have come. Although, now that I think about it, I’m glad I don’t have to relive that train wreck. 

22 and 59

“When I am 22, how old will you be?”
After some complicated math, we determined that I will be 59 when my son is 22.
“Oh good, that means I will be old enough to take care of myself before you die.”  
His twin sister had to chime in. “That will never happen.”
I didn’t want to ask if she doubts that I will live that long or that her brother will ever be able to take care of himself.  

Blooper : Charlie’s Angels

It’s time for another blooper reel. This one happened while I was recording one of the stories about my kids. I must have been looking at some shiny object when I realized that I was supposed to be talking. I turned to look at the camera and it was ridiculous. It was a total superhero head turn.  I looked as if I was flicking some imaginary long, luxurious hair right before kicking the bad guy in the face. I found it so amusing that I needed to do the same thing several more times.  You can watch my Farrah Fawcet impression on YouTube. 

Tough Guy

“Hardman” is the British equivalent of the American “tough guy.” According to the dictionary, a hard man is a tough, ruthless, or violent man. When I was writing my new song called Hard Man, this is not the definition that I had in mind.  I don’t think I can provide an articulate definition of what I thought it meant. I feel it is more tired than ruthless and more empty than violent. I should always look up the definition of a phrase before I use it in a song.  I don’t think the formal definition changes the vibe of the song.  And besides, I’m a hard man, I’m not changing it, and if you don’t like it I will be ruthless and violent.  

Toggle Switch

When I was checking my email on Monday morning, I realized that I hadn’t received my Daily Dispatch. Yes, I subscribe to my own list and I read my own messages. If I say something stupid, I want to be the first to know.  Anyhow, the message hadn’t shown up and I was fairly certain that I had written a post the night before. So I began running through a checklist of potential failure points. I confirmed that I had written the post. The post was formatted appropriately and scheduled correctly.  I thought maybe I had clicked PM instead of AM. The next step on my checklist was email automation.  All of the settings were perfect. That was the end of the process and everything was as it should be. Then I saw the culprit. It was a tiny toggle switch labeled, “disable.”  There is one little switch to turn off the whole system. It’s all turned back on. Everything will run smoothly until I accidentally turn it off again. This made me think about our robot overlords.  Automation and artificial intelligence are great.  It all makes life easier. What happens when the robots accidentally bump the “disable” switch?  Can they toggle us back on? 

Bloody Guitar

My wife had a small quilted bag that she used to carry her lunch to work every day.  She dropped the bag in the driveway last week and a tempered glass bowl shattered into millions of shiny splinters.  I suggested she throw away the bag because it was full of glass but she didn’t want to part with her trusty lunch bag.  It seemed like a reasonable idea to attempt removing the specks of glass from the clingy fabric. When we gave up, the bag was still full of glass and also stained with blood. It was a tiny shard in my finger, no big deal. It didn’t bleed very long and I never gave it a second thought. 
On Saturday I played with my friends in Ride the Song.  We were part of the entertainment for a “Wild Game Feast.”  It was our second time playing this event.  The people are fantastic and it was a lot of fun.  I had forgotten about the tiny cut on my finger until the third song.  I looked down and noticed the blood splatter on my guitar.  I warned the people closest to the stage that they may be in the splash zone.  Nothing is more “Rock and Roll” than playing folk music at a wild game feast with a blood-covered guitar.  

Weird Folk Begets Weird Folk

I was reading a blog post recently. The author describes his writing as an elaborate search to “find fascinating people.”  He writes to inspire the type of email response that he wants to receive. I think I understand.
Weird folk begets more Weird Folk.  
A while back, a friend recommended a song because he knew I would like it. I fell in love with this song and began playing it constantly. It was composed by a Scottish folk singer. This means that there were some aspects of the song that baffled me due to its cultural heritage.  Another friend provided a 10-page thesis outlining the confusing Scottish references. I now understand the history and heritage of cod liver oil as it pertains to the Scottish social welfare system. I can also say a couple of naughty Scottish phrases.  
More recently a friend pointed out a beautiful correlation between a song I had written and one of my favorite Paul Simon songs. It was a weird deep dive into some Belgium art history. This was a fascinating message that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It will probably inspire me to write something connecting the two ideas. And hopefully, that will inspire somebody else to send me a message with a whole new connection. 
My song choices are not about satisfying my whims.  Everything that I play, write, cover, reference, and talk about is to inspire you to respond. Your response makes me a better person. Thank you.    

On Cardboard

My son chased me out of the room.  He said he was working on a surprise for me. It turned out to be an empty cardboard box with a picture on the side. He drew a coffee mug and on the coffee mug, he drew a portrait of me.  It is a magnificent gift even if it is an empty cardboard box. 

Hard Man V2, V3

I’ve been working on a new song called Hard Man. If you have been following along, you’ve already read about it.  I finally finished writing the verses. I need to fine tune the overall arrangement but I think it’s almost ready for public consumption. I wanted you to have the opportunity to watch a video for each verse before it shows up on social media.  
Verse 2
Verse 3


If you get a job cleaning vacuum cleaners, does that make you a vacuum cleaner cleaner? 
If a mermaid gets a job tidying the rooms in the sea king’s castle, is she a mermaid maid? 
Why can’t a pirate ever learn the alphabet?  It’s because a pirate can never get past the “C” (sea).  

Tired and Empty

Wednesday Words
I finished my new song called Hard Man.  I think these are the last two verses.  
Take it on the chin
It’s my turn again
Gotta stretch my legs
No pain, no gain
Black and blue
I should’ve stayed down
I’m a tired man
I’m a hard man
I’ve been lied to
And I never speak the truth
I walk away
I won’t get used
I’m laying low
I got no fight
I’m an empty man
I’m a hard man

Saturday Night Live

All songwriters have certain rules and routines that work best. I guess all writers have best practices to which they adhere. Some writers are only able to work at the butt crack of dawn before the birds have had a chance to influence their day. I guess everybody has routines they follow to ease the burden of certain tedious chores.  Maybe you can’t pay bills unless you are wearing your fuzzy pink slippers. Maybe you can’t do dishes without listening to some Conway Twitty. Maybe you can’t go for a run without first preparing your post-run treat of microwaveable pizza rolls and a jelly donut. 
My songwriting routines have changed over the years. When I was younger, I would grab my trusty notebook and a pencil. I would grab my guitar and turn on the television. I required some background noise to get a good flow. Without a distraction, the judgmental and insecure parts of my brain second guess every word, note, and stum.  I couldn’t start writing without a way to keep my worst parts entertained while I was trying to work. I’m not too proud to admit that I have done the same thing with my kids. “Pops needs five minutes, watch this show.”  
There have been several phases regarding my preferred choice of background noise.  There was a phase where I couldn’t write without reruns of Saturday Night Live. It was right before I got married and I was living with my Dad. This was a pre-streaming world. There was a channel that played classic comedy shows. In the afternoons I would tune in for classic episodes of Saturday Night Live. It was all Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, and Gilda Radner. They were legends. I wrote a lot during that phase. I wrote the last third of Princess and the Hero. I wrote Valentine’s Day Massacre during that phase which might explain why the year in the first line is 1981. Shadowlands was written during that phase. The project I made with my sister was also written during that time. 
At my current stage in life, I do not need to turn on the television. My life is noisy enough without extra background noise. I love the classics but my kid’s racket is the best distraction.  

Dad is Great

Yesterday’s post was talking about the possibility of having too much of a good thing. I was referring to things such as artificial light and chocolate cake. If you read that post, I feel that I owe you an answer to a question. Yes, I did have chocolate cake for breakfast. Then I had a perfect cup of coffee. For some reason it seemed like a good idea to finish up with another little piece of cake. It was only a couple of extra bites. The answer is yes. You can have too much of a good thing. 

Too Much of a Good Thing

My wife was taking some garbage out and happened to notice some glimmering heavenly elements.  We think they were Venus and Jupiter. We got out the telescope to try and get a close up.  Unfortunately the street light was too much to overcome.  I am grateful for the electric lights that keep us safe in the night but I think the world would be more beautiful if we had less night lights.  We had fun even though we weren’t able to get a close up.  
Also, we had a birthday party today.  I ate the best chocolate cake that I’ve ever had.  I really wanted a second piece but I know that you can have too much of a good thing.  I’m saving that second piece for breakfast. 

Love Stinks

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
I said, “Valentine’s Day is coming up, it’s time to play some love songs.”
My friend, Brother Sean said, “you should play an anti-love song. Play Love Stinks.”
I thought it would be hard to play and I was not optimistic that I would be able to learn this classic song from the J. Geils Band. I was wrong. This is my new favorite song to play.  It is very satisfying. I can’t wait to play this anthem in a sweaty bar on a Friday night.  
Check out my cover on YouTube.  

The Vanishing Wednesdays

I am a creature of habit. I have a routine and I like my routine. Certain jobs get done on specific days. For example, I block out time on Tuesdays for songwriting. Wednesdays are reserved for studio time. Fridays are for scrubbing the toilet. This doesn’t mean that I won’t sit down and work on a song on a different day. If the toilet needs to be scrubbed and it’s a Sunday, I will make it happen. You have to follow where the spirit leads but usually, the spirit is aware of my schedule. Wednesdays have been disappearing lately. I don’t know where they have all gone. I’ve had meetings, appointments for the kids, and general life demands. I was sick in January. The holidays were before that. If I am being honest, I haven’t had a real studio session since mid-November. I will probably try to make it a priority for next week. That’s a definitive maybe. The problem is that I don’t remember what I was working on. It’s going to take some time to figure out in which direction I was headed.  Everything happens in its season. This has been the season of the vanishing Wednesdays.  


I am not too proud to admit that this next fact came from the “Wild Kratts.”  If you aren’t familiar, it is a children’s nature show on PBS.  This is crazy, here it comes.  
No two tigers have the same stripe pattern. Their stripes are like our fingerprints.  They are all different.  The craziest part is that they have the same pattern on their skin, under their fur!!! If you shaved a tiger, it would still have stripes. Who was the person that was crazy enough to shave a tiger and discover this fun fact?
Also, I was just wondering, are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes?

Back in 1981

Wednesday Words
Below is the first verse of my song called Valentine’s Day Massacre.
It was back in 1981
I was waiting on a bus
You came up to me and you said, hello
I think it was a Thursday
A few weeks later I moved in with you
Into your apartment over on 4th Ave
This verse has always made me feel weird.  I was not old enough in 1981 to be waiting on a bus or in a romantic relationship with someone that I met at a bus stop. I don’t know why I picked that year. I also don’t know why it bothers me so much. The song is honest and sincere and true. The dates have been changed to protect the innocent. An artist can be authentic without being accurate.  The facts don’t have to be perfect to tell a good story.  
I never had a chicken named Martha.  
I did get a rhythm stuck in my head that was inspired by a bandsaw.  That part is true but I never sweep the garage.  
I am doubtful that grandma went commando on laundry day.  If she did, I know nothing about it. 
I don’t have an Uncle Leroy.
I’ve never fallen in love at a bus stop.  

Romance Songs

Let’s take all of the songs ever written and organize them into categories.  Love songs would be the overwhelming winner. If you lumped all religious songs together, they might surpass love songs but that feels too diverse to be a single topic. There have been so many love songs written.  Everybody has a favorite. 
Love songs are very hard to write. As I’ve gotten older, it’s even harder. It feels like everything has already been said and it’s such a personal topic. I don’t know where to begin when writing a love song.  I can write songs about chickens or coffee all day long. Maybe I need to try a love song about chickens.  

Check out this attempt at romance right here.  


Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers and also beekeepers. Why is his holiday only about love? I propose that we scrap the cards and candy hearts. It is time to celebrate the honey.  

I can’t shut up about the beekeepers.  Watch the video, here.  


When did it happen?  It wasn’t that long ago that Saturday nights were spent trying to decide which watering hole to visit. To be honest, sometimes it was less about where and more about how many watering holes to visit. I am now at the point in life where I get excited because the 20-pound bag of Jasmine rice is on sale.  It was a great deal. 
A friend was playing at a local watering hole from 8-11. We talked about going to support her.  It would have been great to hang out and hear her music. We tried talking ourselves into going for an hour. Surely we could handle 8-9.  But then I sat down on the couch and that was the end of the story. This might be related to why I don’t play more shows. I am very confident that I would be a much more successful performer if I could stay awake beyond 8 o’clock on a Saturday night.  


It started with a splinter or a paper cut or some little nick.  I don’t remember how it happened but I found the tiniest little cut on the ring finger of my strumming hand.  I didn’t think it was a big deal but after an hour of practice, it had become an issue.  It wasn’t exactly a blister but very much like what happens to the back of your heel when your shoe doesn’t fit.  The next day’s practice ended with blood running down my hand.  This little boo-boo was now an issue.  But of course, I did nothing about it.  It would be fine.  The next day was worse so I had to do something.  I grabbed a bandaid and wrapped it up.  It was a small “Puppy Pal” themed bandaid. I am sure there were some regular bandages in the closet but I went with my first grab. Unfortunately, when I washed dishes I lost that little bandage down the drain. I had no choice but to use an authentic, adult bandage.  It was one of those cloth bandages.  I don’t know the brand but I think it said sheer on the box. The whole point of this story is to sing the praises of these bandaids. It’s been two whole days and it’s still going strong. I know that is disgusting in a whole different way but this bandage is fantastic.  

Nervy Poo

 When I was starting as an entertainer, I played a lot of open mic nights.  I’d pull up to a coffee shop in a town that I’d never visited before. I’d go inside, order an Americano, find a table, and promptly go get sick in the bathroom.  I would get violently nervous whenever I tried to play in front of people. There are some quaint establishments to which I can never return on account of what I did to their bathroom.  
I’ve played a lot of music in front of a lot of people since those days.  I don’t get nervous anymore. It’s my job and I love my job.  There’s a healthy level of tension that is required but I no longer get sick before I play. 
I played an open mic this week and I got nervous. It was my first open mic night in a long time. I didn’t have a full-blown case of “nervy-poos” but it was the most nervous that I’ve been in a long time.  It may/have been flashbacks to the old days but I think it’s probably just the nature of an open mic night.  Playing an open mic is hard.  If you are playing a three-hour set, you find the zone and play some songs. You have plenty of time to try, fail, and recover.  At an open mic, the room is full of other people that are there to also play music. You have three songs to convince the room that you belong.  Simply choosing the right song is stressful.  Everybody was really good (and young).  It was great to feel the nerves bubble up. The nerves are proof that this job is important and with doing. 

Fountain of Youth

We love hypothetical questions at our house. They are so much fun. At dinner, my boy asked, “if someone drank from the fountain of youth and then I ate him, how old would I be?”  “Son, if you eat someone, regardless of what they drank first, you have bigger problems than your age.”  

Not As Regular

I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I go walking early in the morning
While everyone else is still lying in bed
I’m still howling at that early morning moon 
And scratching at the fleas that are on my back
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I don’t need all your gastrointestinal wonders
I don’t really care about food at all
Everything gives me heartburn now
Eating is just a chore that must be done
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I don’t really like going out at all
It’s loud and sometimes it smells real bad
I’d rather be sitting at home
Playing some weird folk music
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not good at maintaining relationships
I spend far too much time living in my own head
It’s not really a problem though
See, I really enjoy my own company
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular as I used to be
I’m not as regular

Extra verses collection

Hard Man verse 1

I discovered some words in an old notebook from 2018. They sparked a melody and I set it to some chords. If you are keeping score, the progression is a minor 1, minor 4, and a major 7. This is not a conventional progression. Playing it feels a little bit like breaking a law. This song was buried deep in the bonepile. It was a tiny scrap of marrow waiting to make soup. 
The first verse came together right before I got sick. I had to wait two weeks before I was able to get back to it.  All I could think about was working on this song. It now has a solid second verse and the third is underway. I recorded the first verse and you can listen to it here. I can’t wait for this one to be done. I wrote a post recently about writing a song to achieve a certain feeling. “Hard Man” may be that song.  

Judgement is 13

On this day, way back in 2010, Judgement was born. I guess this record was born in the studio during the months leading up to that date. But this is the anniversary of the day the record was released into the world. It feels weird to listen to my music but I’m gonna give this one a spin today. If you feel so inclined, you can stream Judgement everywhere you listen to music or right here.  


If you have been with me for any length of time, you know that I love Sherlock Holmes. I love the books and all of the movies.  I recently recommended the Pink Panther movies. Clouseau is great but he’s no Sherlock. We just watched Enola Holmes 2 and I loved it. It’s a girl power version of Sherlock. The mystery was great, the writing was solid, and the acting was fantastic.  I guess the lead is the girl from Stranger Things (I’m probably the only person in the world who hasn’t watched this series). When you are done watching Pink Panther, check out Enola Holmes.   

FrEd Sheridan

I have been working hard at being a professional performer for a long time. It’s been longer than some of you have been alive. I am hoping I haven’t reached my pinnacle yet. I recently got a comment on social media that said, “You have a really good singing voice.” The username of the commenter was Ed Sheeran!!!  My initial response involved some high-pitched squeals and sports-guy chest bumps. The legendary Ed Sheeran complimented my singing voice!!! Alright, I knew it wasn’t the real Ed Sheeran. Maybe it was a real Ed Sheeran but it was not the famous one.  There are 9 billion people on this planet and I am sure that there are multiple people named Ed Sheeran. More than likely it was a random person that adopted the user name in homage to the famous Ed. Maybe it was done ironically. Maybe it was a form of true fandom. I know it wasn’t the real Ed Sheeran.  It doesn’t matter.  Ed Sheeran, whoever you are, thank you.  I needed you.  Because of you, I know that someone out there likes what I am doing. Because of you, I will keep working.  
Besides, everybody knows that the famous Ed Sheeran can‘t use his real name on social media. He goes by the name Fred Sheridan.     

Pink Panther

I was recently under the weather and I spent some time watching movies. My brain was too fuzzy to accomplish anything important. I was also too fuzzy to watch anything that required much thought. The perfect medicine was a bunch of the classic “Pink Panther” movies. I love a good mystery.  I also love a good comedy.  It’s very rare to find something that is such a perfect mix of comedy and mystery. Peter Sellers is ridiculous in all of the best ways. In case you take this as a recommendation, not all of the movies in the series are worth your time. If you find yourself with some extra time and nothing to do this weekend, the first “Pink Panther”movie is time well spent.  

Blooper : Babbling in Strange Tongues

This attempt/failure is from the One Minute Song series.  I’m very confident that the automated closed captioning will not work for this video. You can watch the corresponding finished product here or watch the blooper on YouTube.


Wednesday Words
I’m working on a new song.  It’s about being different from everyone else.  As I get older, I become more comfortable with all of the ways that I don’t fit in. It’s about becoming proud to call yourself Weird Folk. 
I’m not as regular as I used to be
It says what I want to say. The problem is that it sounds like a jingle for a toilet paper commercial.  I looked up synonyms for regular.
I’m not as normal as I used to be
I’m not as standard as I used to be
I’m not as typical as I used to be
I think I might need to stick with regular.  Do I need to change it?


What is the opposite of masterpiece?  It is not garbage or failure. It’s still your work. It was important but it never got applause from the masses. It contains your blood, sweat, and tears. It is still beautiful and unique and brilliant. They just didn’t understand. You didn’t make it for them. The opposite of a masterpiece is a disasterpiece. Show us your beautiful disasterpiece. 

Fever Dream

I had an epic fever dream last week. I saw the mother of all humanity laying down on her side. She was spread out over the entire continent of Africa. I was looking down from above like I was in the sky. I wasn’t a deity, just an observer.  The mother of all humanity was about to give birth. She rolled over and humanity was trying to burst forth. It was like the scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The Uruk-hai are born from the mud and all of that ugly bursts out of a weird membrane. I was looking down and I could tell that humanity was struggling to get out.  So I reached down with a long knife and made a slit so that humanity could break free. Humanity crawled out of a clear plastic amazon bag.  I don’t know what it means but it was epic.    


Hannah had a wonderful orchestra concert. They ended the program with the Raiders March. You would know it if you heard it. It’s from the first Indiana Jones movie. The conductor said he chose to end the program with this piece because “you will all know it and everybody will walk out of here humming the same thing.” It was a beautiful moment of solidarity as we all left whistling the triumphant melody. You can watch a good version of the song on YouTube. 
On the way home I was thinking about the Indians Jones character. Did you know there is a new movie coming out this year? He is old. If he can still have epic adventures at his age, I can do better. I spent an hour sitting in an auditorium seat, my back got stiff, and I turned into a giant, whiny baby.  Alright Indy, time for another adventure.  


I’ve always thought that if times got tough, I could do anything.  I know there are a handful of professions that I am excluded from due to physical limitations.  I could never be a professional basketball player. There are a couple of morally objectionable professions that I would try to avoid. I’ve done some time in the janitorial profession.  I’ve cleaned up some nasty stuff.  I think I could do most anything.  But I’ve found another entry on my short list of jobs that I refuse to do.  
Hannah is away at a district orchestra festival. They are all staying in a hotel for three days and two nights. It’s a hotel full of high school-aged orchestra nerds.  Can you imagine what four fifteen-year-old girls could do to a hotel room? You couldn’t pay me enough to be part of that housekeeping staff.  Hannah is very neat for a teenage girl (I have to say that, she reads all my posts).  Honestly, she is very neat but with four girls, that is a tremendous amount of long hair stuck in that sink drain.      
Other than time with her grandparents, this is the longest we have been without Hannah.  We have all missed her.  I hope she had a fantastic time. I hope she made some great friends and some great music.  We will be really glad to have her back at home.  I’m glad I don’t have to clean those hotel rooms.  

Fevers Make Me Weird

I’m bad at being sick.  I know, I know, nobody enjoys being sick. But you can ask my wife and she will confirm it. I am the world’s worst patient.  I refuse help. I refuse to admit when I am sick.  By day two of my week with the high fever, I had n choice. I became a much better patient.  
Fevers have always made me weird.  I could probably count on my fingers the number of times that I have had a fever in my life. I rarely get a fever but when I do, things get kind of creepy.  Ask my dad, and he’ll confirm it.  On the first day of my fever, I was very confident that bats were flying around the room.  I also saw some bunnies, squirrels, raccoons, and other woodland creatures scurrying across the floor.  I was aware that they were hallucinations but I had no power to stop them.  My mind tends to wander aimlessly under normal operating conditions.  With the fever, it was wandering aimlessly at a breakneck pace.  I saw many past events flashing in my head.  They weren’t good or bad events. They seemed to all be strangely irrelevant events. Although, I was hallucinating so maybe they were just weird fever dreams.  I had a real doozy on day four.  That might need its own post.  
I also got strangely sentimental over weird stuff.  My baby girl was on the couch watching a movie to occupy herself.  I was a worthless parent at that point and Mrs. Brother Jack was busy doing everything.  We were watching the first 
Despicable Me movie. It’s a good movie but it has never been my favorite.  For some reason, the end choked me up.  The girls have been kidnapped and Gru is at the door to rescue them.  Little Agnes says something like, “our Dad is gonna kick your butt.”  At that moment I realized that I was weeping.  Not just a sentimental tear but blubbering, snotty, sobs.  Fevers make me weird.  


Last week I was the sickest that I’ve ever been in my adult life. I had influenza with a sinus infection chaser. There were 103 degree fevers for five days. That’s Fahrenheit, don’t panic.  I had aches, shivers, and shakes. There were moments of entire body spasms.  I actually pulled a hamstring when I coughed while in the midst of a shivering episode.  There was also tons of coughing, snot, mucous, and blood.  I’ve never felt more broken. 
 I caught the flu from my little girl. She brought it home from school and generously shared with her beloved father. She had a fever for a day and a half.  On day three she was doing calisthenics trying to convince us she was well enough to return to school. It’s hard to believe we both had the same bad guys.  I really can’t understand why it hit me so hard but the flu is for real.   
I went nine days with zero music. That’s probably the longest I’ve gone without making noise in years.  It’s taking a while to get my voice and stamina back to normal but we will get there. Thanks to everybody that reached out.  I’m glad to be part of such a great community that always has my back.  I don’t know where I’d be without the Weird Folk. The flu is nasty.  Stay safe my friends.  


I’ve been working on making some goals. I’ve never been good at setting short-term goals but I’m trying. I’d like to make a new record this year. It would be amazing to get on the road and play some shows. I’ve done a lot of physical contests in my life but I’ve never run an actual marathon. I would like to run a marathon. I should probably try to accomplish this one sooner rather than later. Before I die, I want to write a novel. Even if nobody reads it, I want to sit down and write an epic narrative. Speaking of “before I die,” end-of-life planning is very important. Someday, I should spend some time on that. All I know for sure is that at my funeral, I want someone to play Swing Low, Sweet Chariot on the tuba. Well, this list of goals has taken a strange turn.  

Digital Hermit

I am sure you are familiar with the digital hermit. He is an elusive beast but everybody knows one. On tv shows and movies, he is hunted down by a crack team of highly trained operatives. Maybe they are crooks trying to steal a rare artifact or it’s a spy thing or he is the bad guy that they are trying to take down. Either way, he is the mark.  There’s always a tech guy that says, “I can’t find anything. He’s got no social media presence. He’s got no digital footprint. It’s like he is a ghost.” I have a tremendous amount of respect for the digital hermit.  He doesn’t need constant validation. He is completely free. He can live his own life. The digital hermit is a modern folk hero. I am not a digital hermit. My life is an open book… a digital book… an ebook.  And it’s not a very exciting book.  

Whisper in the Storm

The sound of the universe is made up of a billion tiny whispers. Some people may assume the posture of screaming.  They may look as though they are yelling urgently.  We are all standing in the midst of a raging storm, no matter how hard you try to yell, it is nothing more than a whisper.  If what you have to say is important enough, whisper your message to someone next to you. Then you can both whisper together. If the message resonates, more tiny whispers will join you. If you get enough voices to whisper together, your message will be loud enough to hear over the loudest cacophony. You are enough.  Keep whispering.  


The subject of this post is directly derived from a debate that I had with my children.  You should know that 2/3 of my children are six.  
If you have an arch nemesis, you have a singular enemy. You say something like, “lactose is my nemesis.” It is completely possible to have enemies that are equally evil but not on the level of an arch nemesis. This is not the big boss at the end of the game. It’s several bad guys coming at you all at once that are just below the strength level of an arch-nemesis. You would say, “gluten and lactose are my nemesises.”  Or should it be nemesi? Nemesaries? Nememies?   


Wednesday Words
I found these words in an old notebook. They were dated November 12, 2018. This validates why I periodically peruse my old notebooks. I need a couple more verses but I think it’s going somewhere.   

I’ve been a bully, I’ve known a few
Caring can be cruel, but it’s the best we can do
I hunker down and dig in 
I’m a hard man

Write that Feeling

I had a vision for a song today. I guess vision isn’t the right word. It was more of a daydream but without the visual component. I guess it was a feeling. I had a feeling for a song today.  Most people would assume that feelings are the singular commodity for a songwriter.  I tend to write from a more analytical place. I get an itch and sort of work it out. It’s a blue collar approach. I chisel out the words. I almost never write from an emotional place. So it really surprised me when I had a feeling for a song. I don’t know what it was about. I know there were other people playing the music with me. I don’t know where we were. I don’t know the structure, the chords, or the melody. I don’t know what the song is about but I know how it made me feel. I know it made everyone involved feel the same way. It felt like alchemy. I guess I must work backwards from the feeling until I find the song.     


We just watched the Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. He’s not my favorite Sherlock but it’s a solid movie. I am a sucker for anything Sherlock. I think it might be related to growing up watching Colombo and Murder She Wrote. I haven’t yet met a Sherlock that I don’t love. Although, he is nothing without Watson. They are like peanut butter and jelly. I’ll eat a spoonful of peanut butter but I’ll know it would have been better with some jelly. The original Sherlock Holmes entered the public domain this year. I am not sure what this means but I think that I could legally set the whole thing to music. I could make a Sherlock song using the original text and it wouldn’t be plagiarism. I love Sherlock but I don’t think I would listen to that.   

The Switch

When I started this daily blog, I wanted to document my daily work. It was a way to hold myself accountable via a public record. It wasn’t meant to be self-promotion. I was writing about the stuff that I was making to make sure that I would continue to make stuff. I also thought it would be a great way to improve my writing skills. Turns out that has been the most important part. If you are going to take the time to read this, I should work hard to make sure it’s worth it. Lately, I have been making videos based on the stories that I have been writing. I started out writing about the stuff that I was making and now I am making stuff based on what I am writing.     

Joe’s Pizza

Wednesday Words
I wrote these words after a once a year phone call with an old friend.  
Remember that place down on fourth street
We used to go in for a slice after work
The guy in there, I think his name was Joe, I really can’t remember
He used to spin the pizza right there on the tip of his finger
I was in town the other day
I thought I would stop in
I tell you, it’s not the same
Even though it still looks the same
It looks the same
But it will never be the same
Looks the same
It will never be the same
Still the same
It will never be the same
Still the same
It will never be the same

It wasn’t the best pizza that I’ve ever had but it was our place.  They would spin the pizzas right there at the counter.  It was real thin pizza with lots of grease.  You could fold it up and wring it out like a damp rag.  We’d grab a large pizza after work on Friday and that would be our sustenance all weekend.  I will always remember it as a special place but I have no interest in eating a slice from Joe’s.  I am sure the place and the pizza would be completely unrecognizable.    
Listen here. 
Watch the first verse on YouTube.

Chicken Skin Shake (Christmas version)

Pops has had too much coffee
He’s climbing up the walls
Mom is, um, frantic 
As she’s decking all them halls
(Bing) streaming on the stereo
The eggnog is running out
It’s Christmas, honey
Stomp, and shimmy, shake, and shout
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Strut around in a great big circle
Your legs have got to quake
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them arms
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them bones
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Gifts, stockings, ribbon and bows 
Lights blinking on a tree
Jingle bells on the roof
Now, who could that be
Cookies, candies, pies, and cakes
Sugar surging in our veins
Screaming, bouncing, holy night
Crunching some candy canes
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Strut around in a great big circle
Your legs have got to quake
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them arms
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them bones
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Come on children
Sugar-plumbs dancing in your head
Dash away, dash away, dash away
Time to get yourself to bed
Spin around, spin around, spin around, spin around
Jump up and go
It ain’t over 
Till the ho, ho, ho
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Strut around in a great big circle
Your legs have got to quake
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them arms
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them bones
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake

The Whistle

Since he was really little, my son has been desperate to whistle.  He would say, “Hey Pops, listen to this.”  Then he would blow spit everywhere while making a weird noise.  It was essentially monosyllabic singing while making kissy lips. I would explain that it was more of a hum than a whistle and demonstrate the difference. I am not a great whistler and a lousy teacher. He practiced a lot. He has been working on his whistle for almost five years.  That is like 76.9% of his life. Over the Christmas holiday, he finally got it. Out of nowhere, he just started whistling.  He was sitting alone, playing with some Legos, making the weird spitty noise and it just came out. I was so proud.  He taught himself to whistle. Then the pride quickly changed to something else.  He could whistle but he couldn’t change the tone. He spent nine straight days whistling the same pitch.  I think he was even doing it in his sleep. Mrs. Brother Jack has the patience of Job but even she reached her breaking point.  “I’m so proud of you, now stop whistling… forever.”       

The Greatest Weird Folk

When I started sharing my music on social media, I only wanted to find some people that would listen to me. I have found something that is far more important than any song that I could ever sing. I recently heard stories from different people that conveyed the importance of our community. I won’t share the details because I don’t want to hang out anyone’s laundry. They were stories of people worrying and caring about each other. They were stories of real, tangible relationships. This is not an algorithm making suggestions. They are my best friends. They are the greatest weird folk.  

Happy New Year 2023

The way that we celebrate this holiday is kind of awkward.  We stay up too late so that Grandma can leave a big pink kiss print on our cheek.  We eat stuff that is guaranteed to wake us up at the butt crack of dawn due to crippling heartburn.  Every year, we make the same vows and resolutions, believing that the date holds some form of magic that will enable us to achieve something that we have never been able to do in the past.  My resolution this year is to stop making broad generalizations about my life with no actionable steps to achieve the broad generalization. 
There is no magic with New Year’s Day.  There is no physical reason for this specific date to mark the new year.  There is no star in the sky or celestial event that determines this is the new year. There was an emperor that made up some holidays in his own honor and then the church got involved.  Things escalated and now we celebrate the New Year on January 1st. There is no magic and no good reason for it.  
The thing that I love about this holiday is that the whole world celebrates it.  Even in countries that hold their New Year’s celebration on a different and more culturally significant date, they still acknowledge this global New Year. This gives me hope.  Despite all of the war and turmoil in the world, we all begin a new year on January 1st.  When the zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, or inevitable societal implosion occurs, we might be able to all agree on a solution.  If we can all agree on a somewhat arbitrary date in January to mark the new year, humanity might survive.  
Happy New Year to all of the Weird Folk!!!  

Trail of Turds

Everything was all set. The food had been prepared. The table was set. The toilet was scrubbed.  We were scheduled to have my side of the family at our house to celebrate Christmas. This is not the kind of thing that we do very often. We don’t get together as often as we should and we rarely convene at our house. Mrs. Brother Jack volunteered and we were ready to roll.  Our 16-year-old cat could sense the anxiety, I mean excitement, in the air.  I began the day with some meditative breathing. My deep breathing informed me that the cat had left a stinky present somewhere for me to find. She knows that I love playing games. I found and cleaned up a substantial pile of poop near the front door. Further inspection showed that this was not a singular incident. There was an excrement expressway running from the front door towards the kitchen. It wasn’t a solid stream but sporadic droppings. This led me to believe that I had found it all until I discovered the next little chunk. What a fun game we were playing. It seems as though her trail of turds led the entire way from the front door to her litter box in the basement.  At least she was headed in the correct direction.  However, I was not present when she laid the clues for our holiday scavenger hunt. Maybe the whole thing was going in the other direction.  Maybe she started in the right place and laid all her crap out for everyone to see. This might be a perfect metaphor for every family get-together that has ever occurred. 

Holiday Guilt

The week between Christmas and the New Year is always brutal for me. There is so much excitement building up to Christmas and then all of the air is sucked out of the balloon. You are ten pounds heavier, your pants don’t fit, and you have no idea what to do with yourself.  I always spend the week wallowing in guilt. I feel like I should be working on something truly important. It feels like bonus time. There are so many possibilities. Then I feel guilty for not spending more quality time with my kids. They are on holiday break and we should be making some memories but they are too busy playing with new toys.  There are so many expectations mixed with so much down time. There is so much guilt.  We need a name for this week.  I am thinking “the annual shadow of death.”  Let me know if you have a better idea.  

Chicken Skin Christmas

Wednesday Words
The last thing that the world needs is another sentimental Christmas song.  What it does need is more Chicken Skin Shake.  I hope this adds to your holiday spirit.  Maybe I’ll get it recorded before next year.  
Pops has had too much coffee
He’s climbing up the walls
Mom is, um, running
As she’s decking all them halls
Bing streaming on the stereo
The eggnog is running out
It’s Christmas, honey
Stomp, and shimmy, shake, and shout
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Strut around in a great big circle
Your legs have got to quake
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them arms
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them bones
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Gifts, stockings, ribbon and bows 
Lights blinking on a tree
Jingle bells from the roof
Now, who could that be
Cookies, candies, pies, and cakes
Sugar surging in our veins
Screaming, bouncing, holy night
Crunching some candy canes
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Strut around in a great big circle
Your legs have got to quake
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them arms
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them bones
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Come on children
Sugar-plumbs dancing in your head
Dash away, dash away, dash away
Time to get yourself to bed
Spin around, spin around, spin around, spin around
Jump up and go
It ain’t over 
Till the ho, ho, ho
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Strut around in a great big circle
Your legs have got to quake
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them arms
Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle them bones
Dancing in the living room
The chicken skin shake

Holiday Road Block

I just completed a project that involved 25 consecutive days of Christmas music. It was a good project and I am glad to have reached the goal. There were some setbacks. At one point during the first week, I was fairly certain it was over. I followed through and we made it. I feel a positive sense of accomplishment. I also feel a twinge of guilt. When I decided to commit to this project, several other ideas got pushed to the back burner. 
Writers block for me has never been about a struggle to write. I can always sit down with a pencil and paper and make something happen. Writers block has always been associated with making decisions. There were two different projects that I wanted to get off the ground.  I  wouldn’t be able to do both at the same time. I had a problem making a decision. I didn’;t know which project should get all of the focus. I was blocked. I solved my blockage by putting all of my energy into the Christmas project. It was a great distraction. It was a great way to celebrate and acknowledge the holiday.  To everything there is a season. Now it is time to make a decision, pick a project, and get back to work.  

Christmas Day 2022

No matter what holiday or how you celebrate, this season is magical.  Even if you are an old grinch like me, there is a spark of magic that is flickering around, waiting to make your heart grow three sizes. It’s also a time for nostalgia and reminiscing. This could make you feel worse so be careful and don’t dwell on the past for too long. It’s been a great year and I am a fortunate man.  I am so grateful for all of the weird folk. You have given me an amazing gift. You have gifted me a sense of purpose. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Board Games

We just introduced our twins (age 6) to the game of Monopoly. They were ruthless. We have a crazy winter weather event happening. As a result, we have no obligations and nowhere that we need to be. We are completely burned out on Christmas movies. It was time to bust out the board games. When I was a kid the holiday break was all about board games. It was common to get a new game as a gift and we would play it non-stop all winter.  I remember the year I got Battleship. It was a travel version that we enjoyed on countless road trips until we lost too many of the tiny pegs to play it anymore.  We had Guess Who, Yahtzee, and Clue. We played a lot of card games but nothing compared to a week-long checkers tournament. I know you are wondering, regarding our first epic Monopoly game, I did not win.  

Status Update, December 2022

I stayed up late last night brainstorming for potential future projects. I guess this is the kind of thing that happens as we approach the new year. A list of projects for the upcoming year is a cliche. There are three projects that I want to put together. One is a collection of hobo songs and storytelling. It’s the project that I was getting ready to dive into when the great shutdown happened. It’s time to get back to that one. The other two are collections of mostly older songs that I’ve been meaning to get down for a long time. I see no reason why I can’t get all three of these projects done this year.  We just need to coordinate some scheduling to determine which will get done first. The problem is that I don’t think the world wants more records right now. It’s not how most people consume music. It won’t hurt anything but seems futile to focus on making records. However, it is a plan. Life is far easier with some structure. It could provide some necessary framework and a creative way to divide up the year.  Do you do this? Is it normal to create artificial frameworks to keep life moving?

Polar Cyclone

Do you know how the grocery store is right before a holiday? It’s insane You may see three blue-haired old ladies fighting over the last sixteen quarts of rice pudding. They don’t need it but there are only sixteen left.  If you want to see brotherly love in action, check out the bread aisle right before a holiday.  Now we have a significant weather event happening to coincide with the holiday. They are calling it a “polar cyclone.”  When did we start naming winter weather so dramatically?  Christmas and a polar cyclone are a combination that makes every grocery store a hot war zone.  I was there today.  I survived.  If you see a grocery store worker, give them a hug. Stay safe.

The Queen of Christmas

I finished my Christmas shopping.  I only needed to buy a gift for Mrs. Brother Jack. She buys all of the presents in our house. It’s a delegation of responsibility with which I am completely comfortable. Like most American dads, I am as surprised on Christmas morning as the kids. She does it all because she is good at it. She is the queen of Christmas. I am great at folding laundry and washing dishes. Shopping and wrapping and general merriment are not my strong suits. I went shopping and accomplished most of what I set out to do.  It was not easy. Several older ladies got mad at me. I tend to stand and linger. I get lost and disoriented and create a roadblock in the aisle.  Maybe if I did more shopping I would get good at it. I don’t think it is a skill I need to cultivate.  I am married to the queen of Christmas and she’s got it covered.  


If I was a magical, flying reindeer, I would not want to be the lead guy.  I also wouldn’t want to be in the back.  I would want to be harnessed somewhere in the middle and on the left side.  My name would be Breezy.  Mrs. Clause would love me.  

Festive Water Under the Holiday Bridge

I’ve been working on a Christmas project. If you are keeping score at home, you’ve probably caught at least some portion of this undertaking. I’ve been making short videos featuring different Christmas songs and releasing one into the wild every day. There has been some positive response to the project but not an overwhelming outcry. I guess a slight murmur is better than an angry mob. The world at large is a very tough crowd when it comes to Christmas music. 
I wonder what else I could have done with the time I spent on this project. Maybe I could have written something spectacular. I probably would have wasted the time watching Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Die Hard on repeat. I don’t regret doing this project. I am confident that the world is better with Christmas music in it. I feel blessed to have been able to contribute to the massive flood of music that happens during the holiday season. 
Maybe you feel like you lost a lot of time doing festive junk during this holiday season and you wish you could have that time back. Everything gets magnified during the holidays. The loneliness is massive. The despair is oppressive. And the tiny glimmer of joy you let loose is a supernova.  It is worth it.      

PUC : Santa Clause is Coming to Town

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
There’s only one week until Christmas Day.  You may be thinking that you need to get up early and plunge into the chaos.  Get out there and buy some stuff so that you can do Christmas right.  A better plan would be to stay in bed, let the big guy in red handle all of the stuff, and sing this song with me.  Watch the video here.  

Snow Day

Back in the good old days…
When we got a big snowstorm, everything would shut down. School would be canceled. We would begin the day by helping dig out the driveway. This would quickly evolve into making snow forts, a snowman, or at least snow angels. There would be sled riding and snowball fights. There were always some boys that went all over the neighborhood shoveling out the old ladies. This wasn’t charity, it was a money-making scheme similar to a protection racket run by the mob. If they came to your door, you paid up or you would find yourself buried even deeper. After the sunset and your wet socks would start to freeze, you would start to hear various mothers announcing dinner time. When your mother called, you would run home as quickly as you could. There would be a steaming bowl of bean soup. You would sip a big mug of cocoa and dream that you could do it all again tomorrow.  
We are facing an impending snow storm and they have already made the decision. Thanks to our advanced technology, we will be doing school at home tomorrow.  Snow days are obsolete. My children will never get to know the joy of barreling down a giant hill with twenty other kids piled on top of a truck innertube or the way it feels to peel bread bags off your feet while warming up next to an oven full of chocolate chip cookies.  

Bad Christmas Poem

Wednesday Words
I wrote a song/poem during the winter holiday season of 2019. It was about a drummer getting tricked into playing a Christmas gig. Of course, the song ends with a Christmas miracle. His heart grew three sizes and all of that. It includes pages and pages of words scribbled in a misplaced notebook. Maybe I will find it all before next Christmas. The words below may have been intended as a chorus. I don’t remember for sure. These are the only words that I ever typed into digital format. It’s not good but there may be a kernel of something brilliant hidden somewhere.  Without further ado, here is Clubber Magee Beat the Hell Out of Christmas.
Hark the herald 
What child is this
Flames sprang forth 
With a hiss
Shepherds quake
Rum pa pum pum
The ground did shake
Thunder from his drum
Joy to the world
Tell it on the mountain
His violent fury 
Like penance for every sin
Come all ye faithful
Fall on your knees
His mighty arms 
Like two giant trees
The hopes and fears 
Of all the years 
Every face
Covered in tears
Repeat the sounding joy 
Oh night divine
One final blow
He yelled, “jugdgment is mine”
The whole place shook 
Then silent night
Coming out of the rubble 
On that holy night
Chains shall he break 
The first Noel
It’s the night Clubber Magee 
Beat the hell… 
Out of Christmas 

Writing a Christmas Classic

It’s almost impossible to write a new Christmas song that can compare with the classics. Once a decade there may be that one song that can hang out with “White Christmas.” Every idea has already been done several different ways. Good luck finding a new way to sing about the desire to have snow for Christmas. A good song must convey a universal truth with a specific story. My song called “Cat in the Christmas Tree” will never be a classic but it works.  Anybody with a cat knows this song speaks a universal truth. Cats will always mess with the Christmas tree.  Are ugly sweaters a universal truth? Maybe I should write about ugly sweaters. 


My little girl loves to tell me stories at bedtime. These stories usually involve a unicorn doing something like eating sandwiches and then everybody in the story goes to sleep. I could listen to these stories all day. The most recent story involved some people walking through the woods. Near as I can tell, I was one of the main characters.  We were lost and trying to find a house to spend the night. The first house was nice but not the right house. The second house was also not right for a range of other reasons. We decided to stop and spend the night at the third house.  “When we woke up the next morning, everything was all kitteny.”  “Wait, what word did you just say?”  “Kitteny, you know, everything was kitteny.”  “What is kitteny?”  “It means the whole place was covered in kittens.”  Of course, I shoud have known. It’s very similar to unicorny. 

Ox and Ass

When I was a kid, my favorite song to sing in church was “What Child Is This.” It was Christmas magic. Everyone in the entire church would sing “the ox and ass were sleeping.”  They said ass in church.  It was hysterical. 
As much as I love this song, it is not my favorite.  I’m a sucker for a soprano with a big voice belting some “Fall on your knees and hear the angel voices.”  But this is not my favorite song. If I had to choose a favorite Christmas song from the church category, it would be “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”  I am not sure why.  The words aren’t particularly moving and I have no sentimental attachment to the song. The truth is that I love the groove. Check out a verse here. 
What is your favorite Christmas song from church?

Checking it Twice

“He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice.”
Everybody knows that Santa has a list. That’s how he keeps track of the naughty and the nice. If he didn’t check it twice, you might get the wrong present. Nobody would be happy. It would be a disaster. That is why the list is so important.  
I make a to-do list every day. I buy waiters’ pads in bulk. It’s what they use at the pub and every other restaurant in the world to keep track of your orders. There are 15 available slots where I can add tasks to the day. I don’t always fill up the slip and I rarely complete everything on the list. If I didn’t make a list, I wouldn’t know where to start. You might get the wrong song and nobody would be happy.   
Santa’s list includes a lot more than 15 items. He’s got billions of things on his annual list. He can do this because of his magical powers. If I was a mythical character with magical powers, I could get a lot more done. 

Ugly Sweaters

I’ve been thinking about Christmas traditions and I was contemplating the history of the ugly sweater. It’s a really dumb cultural construct. I love an ugly sweater but why did it become a thing? Who was the first person to say, “hey, this sweater is so embarrassingly ugly, I think I should wear it every Christmas?” Whoever this trend-setting genius was, I am sure they loved weird folk music, ate a lot of pancakes, and had a terrible fashion sense. We would have gotten along very well.  

Kevin’s Bedroom

Let’s talk about the movie Home Alone. It’s a fine movie but it’s never been my favorite. Despite  some ridiculous plot points, I love the story. The premise isn’t my problem. My problem is all of the abuse that those two guys have to endure. Sure, they are the bad guys but they didn’t deserve all of that.  At this stage in my life, I’ve had many of those things happen to me.  I can’t imagine having it all happen at one time. The main thing that I want to talk about is Kevin’s bedroom. They have this great house.  It’s a big house. I would go as far as to call it a golden tuna. They show us the attic, the basement, the parent’s bedroom, and Buzz’s bedroom. The kid is home alone for three days and he never goes into his bedroom.  I think if we had seen his bedroom, there would be Ninja Turtle sheets on his bed.   

Sticky Christmas Magic

We had the opportunity to attend a spectacular Christmas concert over the weekend. Hannah is a member of our local youth orchestra and they were invited to play with the Symphony Orchestra for their annual holiday event.  It was a great opportunity and we are vey proud of her hard work with the violin.   It was a magical event.  We got everything from the Nutcracker to “It’s a Wonderful Life” to “Home Alone.” Hannah’s group played a haunting arrangement of Greensleeves. There was a local children’s choir and even an appearance from the big man in red. It was a wonderful event and it really did a great job of jumpstarting my holiday emotions. As a perfect ending to a magical event, I found a half-chewed butterscotch glued to the inside of my pocket. It wouldn’t be Christmas without some sticky candy.  

PUC : Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
I’ve been so busy trying to talk myself into following through with an insane Christmas project, that I gotta rely on a classic for today.  That’s okay, the holidays are all about the classics.  Check out me, a green screen, and a classic Christmas song right here.  

Two Kinds of People

There are only two kinds of people in the world. Some people love Christmas music. Other people despise Christmas music with a deep and powerful rage.  If you are wondering what kind of person I am, you can find it by watching this video. 
I am making a series of Christmas cover videos that will count down every day until Christmas with a new video. Make sure to follow us on YouTube or Instagram so you don’t miss a day. On day two, I am already thinking of abandoning this ship. That’s not a good sign. I need some ideas. What’s your favorite Christmas song?   

Sweet Baby James Day

If I was suddenly and without question named the supreme ruler of the entire world, I would create a brand new holiday. It would happen every year on the first of December. We would celebrate by sitting around a fire and drinking beer.  As the day came to an end, we would all sing together. With our voices all lifted in unison, the whole world would sing. “Goodnight you moonlight ladies. Rock-a-bye sweet baby James.”  Listen to a verse on YouTube.  

Potato Chip Ethics

I was at the grocery store to buy potato chips. There was a sale but it only covered BBQ flavored. I couldn’t pay regular price, that would be crazy.  I love BBQ chips but I am the only person at my house that will eat BBQ flavored chips. This is a serious ethical dilemma. Should I buy the BBQ chips?
I couldn’t pass up a great deal…

Whistle Some New Words

Some time last spring, I wrote a song called “Whistle At the Sky.”  I was happy with it at the time but it wasn’t perfect. I must have sent it to the bone pile without realizing it. The bone pile is where I stash song ideas for future use. At the time it said everything that I needed to hear but it wasn’t a cohesive song.  I just gave the song a proper rewrite and it’s much better now. Some songs come into the world fully formed and some songs require multiple iterations.  I’m not sure how many more versions this song will need but I’m glad it is no longer languishing on the bone pile.  

November Asparagus

To everything there is a season…turn, turn, turn.  I tend to live very seasonally. Everything about my creative process happens in cycles. Songwriting, studio time, and playing shows all tend to be cyclical. My song choices are seasonal.  My exercise and every facet of my diet are seasonal.  My recreational activities and leisure time are seasonal. I love holidays.  I really enjoy how different times of the year impose their own vibe.  To everything there is a season.  
I just ate some asparagus purchased at the grocery store that was imported from a far and distant land. I love asparagus but it felt dirty.  This is not asparagus season. It feel so crazy. I don’t know what will happen next.  

Fat Fingers

We are continuing to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. We have three feasts down and one to go. Currently, my fingers are too fat to type a post. At least I will be in perfect Santa shape for the next holiday season. Send more cookies, please.

1MC : Garfield’s Thanksgiving

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
When I was a kid, every holiday had its own set of television specials.  We had to wait all year to watch “The Great Pumpkin.” Christmas was a beautiful reunion with a lot of important characters and I’m not talking about Kevin McCallister.  Thanksgiving doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without Garfield.  The theme song to “Garfield’s Thanksgiving” was originally recorded by Lou Rawls.  Check out my version on YouTube.  

Nice Moves

I ate as much as I could physically hold. I took an afternoon nap. I put on some music in order to draw myself out of the holiday coma. My baby girl with eyes wide said, “Wow, those are some great dance moves.  Can you teach me to do that?”  The song was Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show by the legendary Neil Diamond.  “Yes, it would be my privilege to teach you these moves.”    

Gratitude 2022

I’m grateful that I woke up feeling good today.
I’m grateful for black coffee.
I’m grateful for my cat.
I’m grateful for the technology that allows me to write this post.
I’m grateful for my family.
I don’t know what I’d do without my wife and kids.
I’m grateful for all the weird folk.
I’m grateful for a sense of purpose.  
I’m grateful for a communty, a group of people that accepts me and supports each other. 
Thanks for a great year.  

Please, No Poop Jokes

Wednesday Words
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
I go walking early in the morning
While everyone else is still lying in bed
I still howling at that early morning moon 
And scratch at the fleas on my back
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
I drink copious amounts of black coffee
It’s the only way that I feel like a human
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
I don’t need all of your gastrointestinal wonders
I don’t really get off on food that much
I don’t like going out just to be seen
My scene is a good book and a rocking chair
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
I’m not great at maintaining relationships
I spend far too much time in my own head
It’s not really a bad thing
I really enjoy my own company
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be
Not as regular as I used to be

Kid Management

We just had a meeting with the twins’ teacher. We got a great report for both of them. My mind was blown by the level of organization achieved by their teacher. She had everything about each student sorted, bundled, and displayed beautifully. I suppose that the ability to wrangle 30 kids all day requires a tremendous amount of structure and planning. It occurred to me that the world would be a much better place if we replaced all of the grumpy old men that are running everything with highly organized first-grade teachers.  

Listen to Thanksgiving Day

Today’s dispatch is being brought to you by my song Thanksgiving Day. This week we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the United States. I know it’s not a universal holiday but it’s one of my favorites.  How could you go wrong with a holiday built around eating and napping? If you find yourself with some silence, you couldn’t go wrong by filling it with the sounds of some weird folk music.  You can listen to Thanksgiving Day everywhere that you stream music (links here, track 6).  I hope it helps you find some meaning in the season. Save a slice of pie for me.  

Perfectly Smooth Scalp

Three weeks ago, while raking some leaves, I hit my head on a tree. Don’t laugh, it jumped up out of nowhere and attacked me. It wasn’t a significant injury but after I cleaned up all of the blood, I found a big gash on the top of my noggin. This head wound made it impossible to maintain my preferred hairstyle. I grew a beard when I was young because I hated shaving. Now I shave my head every day. It’s difficult and somewhat dangerous to shave your skull with an injury like this. I figured I would let my hair grow while waiting for the wound to heal. It was a nice reminder of why I shave my head every day. It did not look good.  It was time to go back to my standard hairstyle. Something happened to my razor during the three-week hiatus. I don’t know why it happened but I chopped up the back of my head. I didn’t realize it had happened until my son started screaming in absolute horror. It was something about all of the blood running down my head and dripping from my neck. All of you with hair can’t imagine all of the hard work that is required to maintain a perfect scalp.  

1MC : Thank You For Being A Friend

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
In case I don’t say it enough, thank you for being my friend. I recorded a cover song that expresses my gratitude. In case you were wondering, I would be Rose.   
Watch on YouTube.  

or you can find it on Instagram.

Christmas Haters

I’m trying to decide what to do for the Christmas season. 
Some people love Christmas music. They use “Jingle Bells” as their ringtone. They start decorating in August. They can’t get enough of the holiday music. 
Other people hate every bit of Christmas music. They hear a Christmas song and start to froth at the mouth. 
As a performer, you can’t please everybody.  I think I will play some Christmas songs and also some non-Christmas songs. Best of both worlds means that I will end up pleasing nobody. I’ll approach the season with realistic expectations and hope for some Christmas magic.   

Frog Dylan

This green frog goes by the name Frog Dylan and he belongs to my son. Frog Dylan is a favorite at our house. He sings croak songs. As a parent, I must be getting something right.  

Whistle at the Sky

On the day I was born
Wiped the blood from my brow
Shook that doctor’s hand
Wah, wah, wah
Getting born wasn’t easy
But if I can handle that
Then there’s nothing that I can’t
Do, do, do
I crossed on over
From that other side
Kicked up my heels
Ha, ha, ha
Wake up in the morning
And I rub my eyes
Stretch real big			
And whistle at the sky
Wake up in the morning
And I rub my eyes
Stretch real big 			
And whistle at the sky
Trudging through life
I was working real hard
I wiped the sweat from my brow
Ugh, ugh, ugh
Working hard won’t buy me
Any more time here
So I put my feet up now
La, de, da
To get here, kid
You know I had to break some rules
Breathe real deep
Huh, huh, huh
Wake up in the morning
And I rub my eyes
Stretch real big			
And whistle at the sky
Wake up in the morning
And I rub my eyes
Stretch real big 			
And whistle at the sky
On the day we get born
We make a deal with death
The clock starts counting
Tick, tick, tick
Every breathe since
We trying to break that pact
Trying to cheat death
ah, ah, ah

watch the one minute version

Know When To Fold ‘Em

For the past year, I’ve been making a series of one-minute-long videos for social media. I’ve talked about it extensively and you don’t need to hear it all again. The important thing is that the One Minute Song series is going on hiatus. I don’t think I can articulate all of the reasons why, it just feels as though it has run its course. Whenever I introduce a routine as part of my creative process, I tend to get stuck. This series began as a way to work through new songs and then morphed into a commitment. Despite it becoming an obligation, it was still a positive and productive endeavor. It has now become something where the benefit is far less than the cost.  Even with the obvious poor economics, I keep trudging forward. I find myself betting on a losing hand. Do you ever do this? In the words of the legendary Kenny Rogers, “you gotta know when to fold ‘em.”      

PUC : Feelin’ Good Again

Pull Up the Covers
This song always makes me feel good.  I guess that is why it is called “Feelin’ Good Again.”  Let’s pull up this cover from Robert Earl Keene.  
Watch on YouTube.  

Shrinky Dinks

I enjoyed some craft time with my twins. We were working on some Shrinky Dinks. I didn’t even know that they still existed. I loved Shrinky Dinks way back in the ‘80s. If you aren’t familiar with Shrinky Dinks, they are pure magic. It’s a design cut from a sheet of some form of plastic. They are often the shape of a familiar character.  I remember doing some Transformers as a kid. You color the design and then pop them in the oven. That’s when the magic happens.  The chunk of plastic that you just decorated shrinks. You now have a perfect miniature version of the thing that you created. They are adorable. It’s sort of like having kids. They are tiny miniature versions of yourself, scribbles and all. 

1MC : Fields of Gold

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
This song has always meant a lot to me. I have no idea why but it stirs something deep down when I sing this song. As I’ve gotten older, I think I’m beginning to understand why it chokes me up.     
Watch on YouTube.  

or you can find it on Instagram.


There was a recent lottery drawing with a record-setting payout. It was a huge amount of money.  Even with all of the taxes and hassle, it would be life-changing money for multiple generations. Somebody got lucky and won it all. It wasn’t me.
I hope that whoever it was doesn’t get weighed down and swallowed up by everything that will come with their sudden windfall. I’d like to think that no amount of money would change who I am and how I spend my days. I’ll get up tomorrow and do the work. I am the luckiest man alive. I’ve already won the jackpot. 

Old Photos (rerun)

(I originally wrote this post way back on September 28, 2016.)
This is my new favorite photo of me.  I know it sounds vain.  This is not an epic or iconic photograph.  It is not grandiose, artistic, obscure, avant-garde, or even a great action shot.  It is not a passable head shot. However, it perfectly defines who I am.
My daughter took this of me several years ago; I think she was five.  I recently found it buried on the tablet with a bunch of other photos that looked like they were taken by a five year old (probably my handiwork).  I have changed all of my icons, avatars, etc. to this image.
During holidays when I was a kid, my parents and all my aunts and uncles sat around the table sorting through old photographs.  They were a different size and sort of square.  They were golden reminders of times that were otherwise forgotten.
Growing up in the 80’s, we all had giant stacks of photos that moms would sort and shuffle out like a Vegas black jack dealer.  We peel these old photographs from  between pages of sticky cellophane albums to remember fall leaf piles, Saturday tee ball games, and all kinds of bad holiday sweaters.  We invested in cameras, selected the perfect composition, took the film to a photo center, and stored all of these old photographs in giant stacks under the coffee table.  This was an investment. Therefore, the act of taking a photograph was a deliberate event.  The only frivolous photos happened when a camera was left unattended in a college dorm room.   Pictures of beer cans, highlighters, and institutional desk chairs transitioned to a scavenger hunt to take the most inapproproate picture (always my butt).
Despite the role these old photographs played throughout our remembered history, we have given them up for a cheap and tawdry alternative.  It’s so quick and easy that we take pictures of everything.  We take multiple pictures of everything.  We take many, many pictures of everything. We have increasingly larger hard drives full of blurry events that we never remember. The volume is too great.
We no longer have living room pizza parties that end with grape soda dripping off the coffee table onto stacks of cherished memories. We now spend holidays trying to get our cloud to connect  to our mother-in-law’s Wi-Fi so that we can share the memories of the past week.
Back to my new favorite “old photograph.” It’s my living room.  That plant is now dead and we moved the couch to the other side of the room.  I still don’t play the banjo very well but I remember the day my daughter took this picture.  It was a good day.


The kids and I were chatting over lunch. It started as a hypothetical question. Would you rather be a frog or a turtle? We had two votes for frog and two votes for turtle. We settled the dispute with a compromise.  A fr-urtle is obviously a frog and turtle hybrid with froggy legs and a hard shell. One thing led to another and we added a unicorn horn because everything is better with unicorns.  It’s a fro-corn-urtle.  

Three Years of Weird Folk

Weird Folk is three years old today. It feels like that record was the beginning of so many things. It feels like I was in the studio recording it last week. We’ve made so much good music since then. I’ve met so many oddballs that are now old friends.  I’m so grateful for all of the weird folk that make it possible to keep making music.  
Listen to Weird Folk everywhere you stream music.  

Girl Scout Music Patch

On Sunday afternoon, I was privileged to help some Girl Scouts earn their musician patch. I’ve given my songwriting presentation to many groups of kids and every time is completely different. It went great and I hope they had as much fun as I did. When I do this presentation, we start with some songwriting basics and then work together as a group to write our own song.  I would be lying if I said this wasn’t the most difficult group song.  It was like pulling teeth.  Who knew that 10 year old girls could be so insecure? 

The World Doesn’t Need Me

I’m a musician. I just heard that there are 60,000 new tracks uploaded to Spotify every day. That’s a lot of music. It’s a musical deluge. That is more than enough songs. The world doesn’t need mine. The world doesn’t need me. But that’s ok. Maybe one person needed one of my songs today. If one person needs one song, that is enough. If it was you, thank you. I want you to know that the world doesn’t need you either. But maybe you are needed by one single person. It was me.  


At the bottom of my Daily Dispatch, I include a question for the purpose of sparking conversation. For the duration of spooky season, the question was as follows: 
“If you could be any classic monster, who would you be?”  
In case you were wondering, my answer is the wolfman. I don’t have a real strong reason why I chose him. Dracula is too arrogant and Frankenstein is always running from the torches. I guess I like Wolfy because we have so much in common. We are both fuzzy guys that get grumpy when we are hungry.   


I’m working on a commission. I can’t eleborate on the details because it’s meant to be a surprise. I have been asked to set some words to music and record the whole thing. This is a tremendous honor and also a lot of pressure. They are intense and heartfelt words that describe an emotional relationship and I am turning them into a song. There are a lot of ways that I could ruin this special moment. Merry Christmas and here’s the world’s worst song.    


A carpenter wouldn’t go to work without her hammer. A lumberjack couldn’t do his job without a chainsaw. Without a ship, a pirate is just a weirdo wearing a big hat. A known raconteur is nothing without my voice. I’ve been a little under the weather. I don’t feel bad but I can barely manage anything above a squeak. 


I broke the chain. I missed a day. You probably didn’t notice. I write a post every day.  It is called my Daily Dispatch. You are reading today’s post right now. There was no Dispatch on Sunday, October 30.  We were at a Halloween parade on Saturday. I had intended to write a post about the parade after we got home.  It was very late when we finally got home and the twins had consumed an enormous amount of candy.  Things got out of hand and I completely forgot to write about it.  It took a while on Sunday before I realized what I had done. I had broken my commitment, let myself down, and betrayed my expectations. I almost spiraled out of control as a result.  When you become disappointed with yourself, it is hard to turn things around.  This kind of moment can be a minor blip in the system, something that is forgotten as soon as it happens. Although, sometimes a blip can lead to the sky turning purple, planes falling from the sky, and civilization crumbling. I have accepted my blip and moved forward without any major repercussions. Today is day 2… again.   


What are your deepest fears?
I am afraid of clowns. I am comfortable with snakes and spiders. I don’t want to cuddle with them but we can get along. I’m not afraid of doctors or strangers. I’m not very fond of bats but the fuzzy flyers and I have a live-and-let-live kind of agreement. I’m not afraid of natural disasters, germs, or apocalyptic disasters. Sometimes I worry that I am irrelevant but that’s not a real fear. Yup, just clowns. I don’t know why…
Ok, I guess that I have a hunch about why I am afraid of clowns. If you are a psychoanalyst, I’d be happy to hang out on the couch and talk it out. The truth is that it doesn’t matter. I am sure there are some fantastic clowns in the world.  I don’t wish death and destruction on all clowns. I just don’t want to hang out with any clowns. It’s nothing personal, I would just prefer to pretend they don’t exist.  

Scary Season Video Dump

I made a bunch of videos for spooky season and thought you might enjoy them all at once.  They will be trickling out via the various social media over the next couple days. You can watch them all now or click the YouTube link.  

Zombie PSA on YouTube

1MC Werewolves of London on YouTube

Queen of Hearts on YouTube

1MC Monster Mash on YouTube

Devil’s Horn

Nobody knows
Nobody really knows
Who laid her grave
Put her beneath the sod
Grab that old devil 
By his crooked horn
And ask him
What she had done
When they found her
The scene was a mess
It’s broken glass
And a bridal veil
She was nailed
Right to that wall
Where her mother’s
Portrait had been
On either side
For all to see
In great big letters
Scribbled two words
Written with wood ash
On one side
A dusty smudge
The word love
The other word written
With her own lipstick
Smeared all around 
A bright red truth
They couldn’t figure 
What it all meant
They couldn’t figure 
What it all meant
Nobody knows
Nobody really knows
Who laid her grave
Put her beneath the sod
Grab that old devil 
By his crooked horn
And let him know 
It was my own two hands 

Scary Songs for Christmas

On my creative journey, it seems that I am always late.  I’ve got a good batch of scary songs started right now.  By the time these songs are finished, it will be Christmas.  It’s too bad that “Nightmare Before Christmas” has already been made.  If I promptly take these songs into the studio, they could be ready for release by spring.  I am always about six months late.  Although, this means that I am also six months early for next year.  Wow, all I needed was a shift of perspective. I suddenly find myself far ahead of schedule.   

3 Types of Fall Decorations

One of our neighbors spent a lot of the weekend decorating his house.  While his lights were making it difficult to fall asleep, I was contemplating the three major categories of fall decorations.  They are as follows:
1. Skeletons, witches, etc. - spooky for Halloween 
2. Scarecrows and pumpkins - to celebrate the Harvest
3. Christmas - ughh
Guess which one the neighbor picked. 

Eyes Shut

It was a beautiful, warm fall day and we were outside playing catch. My little girl is typically very brave but every time the ball was thrown her way, she would assume the position of fear.  Hands over her head, eyes tight shut, hoping to magically catch the ball.  Like every other dad, I yelled at her. “You will never catch the ball with your eyes shut.”  In the middle of my speech about overcoming her fear, I realized this is a great metaphor.  How many times has life tried to play catch with me and I closed my eyes and hoped for the best?  

Mol Day

Hannah is in a chemistry class and they are celebrating ”Mol Day.” Allegedly, a mol is a unit of measurement and today’s date somehow corresponds with this number. To be honest, I’m out of my element. I don’t know what any of this means. The important thing is that she made some delicious, homemade guacamole for the occasion.  She decided to make guacamole because guaca-MOL-e.  “Mol” is in the word!  It’s clever.  I still don’t know what any of this means but everything is better with guacamole, even chemistry.  
Guac, guac, guac 
Guac, guac, guac
My kid makes really good guacamole.  
Taco Time

Zombie PSA

If ever you are faced
With a zombie attack
Grab yourself something
With which you can hack
	at their brains
	it’s the only way
Grab a 
Claw hammer, sledge hammer
Monkey wrench, or crowbar
Flat shovel, round shovel
Pitchfork, or garden hoe
Kitchen knife, Bowie knife
Really any kind of knife
	but you might want to grab 
	something longer
	like a broom handle
	and maybe some duct tape
	I mean a knife has a real limited range
	if you are fighting zombies
	you might want a little distance
	but don’t worry about it
	I’m sure it will be fine
If ever you are faced
With a zombie attack
Grab yourself something
With which you can hack
	at their brains
	it’s the only way

Spooky Songwriting

I’ve got a new batch of songs developing. So far they all borrow a shard from the bone pile.  There are murder ballads, zombies, and assorted monsters.  Spooky season has a firm hold on my current songwriting cycle.    

Live Multitasking

I had a gig playing at a local American Legion with my friends in Ride the Song.  We were scheduled to be the entertainment for the men in the bar while their wives played a massive game of bingo.  Unfortunately, there was a nail-biting Steelers game on the television at the same time.  We played some classic songs, while some old guys yelled at the television, and some angry ladies played bingo.  A lot was going on at that place today. 

Toy Yoda

We were out for a family walk.  My twins (age 6) were frantically looking for Toyota vehicles in the neighborhood. “Why are you two so excited about Toyota?” “I saw a commercial and they look awesome.” “Yeah, we want to convince you to buy a Toyota.” (I’m having some vehicle issues and might be in the market for a new truck.) “I’m glad you’re excited about Toyota but why do you think they are better than anything else?” “It says ‘TOY’ right in the name.” “Yeah, it’s obvious.” “They are so cool, it even says ‘YODA.’” “Toy-Yoda.”   

Garbage Truck

I finally carved out some time to work in the studio today.  I’ve been kicking this can down the road for a while and it was long overdue. I’ve been distracted by many other things.  It was so good to set up some microphones and get to work. 
Everything was set up, I had the exact right amount of coffee, and it was all perfect. I was just about to hit the blinking red button and I heard the beast approaching.  It was the garbage truck.  My studio is really quiet but it can’t block out a beeping garbage truck.  Do you ever feel like the universe is conspiring against you?  I started to get angry.  Then I remembered that it was some other people doing some important work. After a slight delay ( I folded some laundry) we all got back to work. 

Library Rules

My little girl (age 6) was excited to tell me a story from school.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
“Cleopatra found a book in the library with my name on it.  She came over and showed me the book.  It had my name on the front.”
“Wow, the book’s title was your name! That’s so cool that she found it and was excited to show you.  What did you say to Cleopatra?”
In a tone of utter disbelief, she replied, “I didn’t say anything. We aren’t allowed to talk in the library. It’s a rule.”

Beneath the Sod

Wednesday Words
“Devil’s Horn” began as a kernel of a song idea. It turns out that it might be a murder ballad. 

Nobody knows
Nobody really knows
Who laid the grave
Put her beneath the sod
Grab that old devil
By his crooked horn
And let him know
It was my own two hands

A Quick Change of Shirt

I recorded a batch of videos for my One Minute Cover Song series. I’m happy about this batch of fall songs. It’s good material. I like to record my short videos in batches.  Setup time can be expensive.  When I get everything ready, it is more efficient to record as many clips as possible at one time. The problem is that I feel weird recording multiple videos while wearing the same outfit. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence out loud. This is particularly odd because I am famous for wearing the same shirt until the smell peels the paint from the wall. When recording, I make a point to change my shirt for every video regardless of the smell. It’s easier now that it is sweater weather. I can wear the same stinky shirt for every video and simply change up my sweater.  
I grew up watching the legendary Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood.  At the beginning of every episode, Mr. Rodgers would walk through the door, take off his fancy coat, and put on a sweater.  When I switched from a sweater to a flannel shirt and then to a jacket, I felt like Mr. Rodgers. 

A Watched Pot Never Boils

We were having some pasta for dinner.  I was running in and out of the kitchen, doing some odd jobs while waiting for the water to boil.
Me: This is crazy. That pot of water has been on the stove for over thirty minutes.  I can’t believe it still isn’t boiling!
My wife: I know, I’ve been watching it the whole time.   

Pull Up the Covers : Scooby Doo (2022)

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
We are approaching the spooky season which means it is time for scary cover songs. I can’t handle anything scarier than a cartoon. When I was a kid, my favorite thing was Scooby Doo. Who am I kidding?  I still love to watch Scooby and the gang solve a mystery.    
Watch on YouTube.  

or you can find it on Instagram.

Way Bigger

At bedtime, my boy (age 6) said, “Hey Pops, when I am a grown-up, I’m gonna be way bigger than you.”  I replied, “Oh, are you gonna be a really big guy someday?”  “No, I’ll be normal size but when I’m a grown-up you will be really old, and old people get way smaller.” He is not wrong.   

The Devil You Know

The company that owns Facebook is allegedly purging 15% of its workforce. I am worried about the longevity of the platform. For a while, I have been concerned that we may need an alternative. I regularly live stream on Facebook. For a lot of people in our community, it’s the only way that we communicate. If the platform would suddenly disappear, I would miss a lot of great people. I have been contemplating a move to YouTube. I don’t know if it would be an additional thing or an alternative thing.  To be honest, it feels like swapping one evil for another.  It might not solve the problem.  What is that old saying about the devil you know?  

Hand Song 2.0

Wednesday Words
I thought about writing you a poem
With words like cherish and adore
Too bad, I’m not a poet 
I thought about picking you some flowers
I would put them in a vase with water
Too bad, they would make me sneeze
So, I’ll give you my hand
It’s all I can afford to lose
Hold it as long as you want to

I wrote these words more than 20 years ago.  When I read them, I instantly feel all of the things that were happening along with these words.  If I were writing it now, there would be many different word choices.  It isn’t bad but I think I could do so much better.  I have wisdom that only comes with age. If I were writing “The Hand Song” now, it would be a completely different song and I wouldn’t have this song.  These words are like a photograph.  This song represents a very specific moment in my life.  I would never change a single word.  

Taco Tuesday 2022

It’s national taco day.  I know it is the food equivalent of a greeting card holiday.  It’s a fake occasion created to enable restaurants to attract customers and sell more. I am fine with all of the deceit because I love tacos.  Whether you are celebrating this fake holiday or not, you should listen to my song called Taco Time.   


I was helping Hannah study for a giant U.S. history test.  A lot has changed in the last five hundred years but people are basically the same.  She knows a tremendous amount of random facts.  She will do great on this test.  I am an idiot and know nothing.  


We are in the middle of a weekend roadtrip to visit my in-laws.  I had forgotten about the leaves. The trees were not yet in their full splendor but they were showing their colors.  There were some deep purples and some bright reds.  All of the colors made the trip magnificent.  
	“I’m so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers.”   
	 -Anne of Green Gables

1MC : Brown Eyed Girl

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison is a perfect fall song.  It has nostalgia, unrequited love, school references, and a sing-along chorus.  Here you go, sing along with me.  
Watch on YouTube.  

or you can find it on Instagram.


To the best of my knowledge, my post from yesterday was never sent.  It was posted to the website but the email version is missing. I am sure that your life is no different without my daily dispatch. You probably didn’t even notice that you missed it.  Normally, when I tap the button labeled publish, everything is set into motion.  The new post goes to the website at the scheduled time.  As soon as it posts to the website, my mail service provider sends out new posts at the same time every day.  I can’t figure out what went wrong. I have no idea why yesterday’s message didn’t show up.  Maybe it will show up tomorrow. Maybe some random day in the future you will get an unexpected message from me.  It was supposed to show up yesterday but you will get it precisely when you need it.  Automation is great until it fails.  Hope you get this message sometime soon.  

Festive Fall Party

On Saturday we engaged in some autumn-themed activities. We traveled to a nearby orchard and purchased season-defining produce. The van was full of apples, squash, and pumpkins for carving. We ate apple slices dipped in caramel. We dug Halloween decorations out of the attic. We listened to some music on a “fall playlist.”  We declared it to be an Autumn party. If you call it a party, the kids are more likely to be pleasant and agreeable. Be careful, this trick only works when used sparingly.
At bedtime, my boy asked, “can we continue our Autumn celebration tomorrow?” 
“Sure, what else should we do?”  
“We could eat a lot of festive fall candy, you could watch some sports, and then we can all learn to dance a jig.”    

Crooked Horn

Wednesday Words
Grab that old devil
By his crooked horn
And let him know
Today’s the day that you’re…

What word is next? Gone? Born? Done?
These words have been simmering on the back burner for almost a year.  One evening last October, I stumbled upon a great riff.  The riff will probably receive a dedicated post at some point. This phrase about the crooked horn showed up with the riff.  It all fits perfectly.  The problem is that I have no idea where it is going.  I have been chasing the macabre and it isn’t going anywhere.  It occurred to me that I should define the old devil.  Maybe he is a metaphorical old devil.  Who is he? What does he represent?  
If you were to grab the metaphorical old devil in your life and put your boot on his/her throat, what is the one thing that you would need to say?  

One Minute Songs – end of summer 2022

I made a batch of my One Minute Song videos.  I’m not sure when they will get posted to the general public but I thought you might enjoy them today.  All of the links below will take you to the corresponding video on YouTube.  
“Johnson’s Reel” is the ultimate summertime song.  This is the verse about Uncle Leroy getting drunk and playing bass.  Watch here.
“Johnson’s Reel” was the first time that Uncle Leroy and Grandma showed up in a song. This verse is about Grandma doing laundry and dancing in the yard.  Watch it here.  
Grandma and Uncle Leroy show up again in this one. Everybody is coming over tonight because it’s “Taco Time.Here it is.   

Every Day

I’m supposed to write a post every day. It’s called the Daily Dispatch. Daily is in the title.  It’s something that I have decided is important.  It’s a goal. But not today. I don’t feel like writing today. I’m tired and I don’t want to sit down and write. I’m skipping it today. I will not write my daily post… I guess I already did. 
Writing a daily post is not hard. Coming up with something to write is not that difficult. Making the commitment is the hard part. Commit and don’t quit.   

Open Windows 2022

In the fall of 2020, I worked on a record called Open Windows. It is two years old today.  I made this record with my friends in the band Dragonfly Grove.  I love the people in this band.  It was great to collaborate with them.  The songs are great representations of who we are individually and they also flow together cohesively. I am grateful that I’ve gotten to know them and that we were able to make this record together.   The crazy thing is that we have never met in person.  Someday we will sit down together in the same space and make some noise.  
It’s only available on bandcamp.  You can listen here.  

1MC : Free Fallin’

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
She’s a good girl.  
I’m a bad boy.  

“Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty is one of my favorite songs to cover on the banjo.  
Watch on YouTube.  

or you can find it on Instagram.

A Sailing Metaphor

I realized yesterday that I have been sailing through the water at full speed without a rudder.  I’ve been productive and I’m getting a lot done but I have no plan or direction. I’m going through the motions. I have a firmly entrenched routine that has allowed my creative process to continue.  Everything is smooth sailing but if I find land at this point it will be due to dumb luck.   It will be nearly impossible to ever arrive somewhere meaningful without a map or charts.  I think I need to spend some time studying the stars to figure out where I am.  All of this deep introspection doesn’t mean anything regarding the big picture. I’m in this boat and I won’t be abandoning ship. We just need to determine at which port the SS Weird Folk will dock next.  

Happy Autumn 2022

This is one of my favorite days.  Christmas is fine but I don’t go crazy for it. I’m rather indifferent to my birthday.  I love the autumnal equinox.  Grab your favorite old sweater.  Happy fall!!!
Listen to some fall vibes here.  

Good Characters in a Bad Story

I’ve been reading a disappointing book. I won’t mention the title because I would hate to accidentally recommend it. To be honest, I’m near the end and I’m embarrassed about the amount of time that I’ve lost with this book. The story is weak and the style is weird. I would simply stop reading it but I seem to be invested in the outcome for the sake of the characters. Some old friends are in this book.  It is related to a book series that I have read and loved. My history with some of the characters has made it difficult to walk away.  I know there is a metaphor here.  Personal history is not a good enough reason to spend time and energy in a bad situation.  But when you can’t walk away, we won’t judge you. It’s so hard to give up on someone when you’ve been through so much together.  

Boring is Best

Somedays, I have trouble thinking of something to write about. Somedays are very boring. Today was a boring day. I had some phone calls to make.  I needed to run an errand.  It was the boring kind of errand, no fun adventures. I paid some bills. I didn’t do any laundry.  It was so boring that laundry would have made the day more exciting.  The high point of the day was when I opened the windows and listened to the rain.  Boring days are the best. 

Queen of Hearts

I recently missed a family discussion about Halloween costumes.  We have twins and they have very different personalities. We have rarely dressed them alike but Halloween is an opportunity that can’t be missed.  A cohesive theme is too cute to pass up.
Mrs Brother Jack:  Tell your father about the theme for Halloween.
Little E:  It’s Alice in Wonderland!!!
Me: Wow, you will make a great Alice.
E:  No way.  I want to be the Queen of Hearts so I can walk around screaming, “Off with her head!!!”   
This kid is scary.   


If you live in the northeastern part of the United States, you are aware of deer ticks and Lyme disease.  It’s a part of life.  If you have a dog, you deal with ticks often.  If you spend a healthy amount of time outside, you’ve pulled a tick from a warm intimate spot of your body.  You’ve probably taken the corresponding, high-octane antibiotics. If you aren’t familiar with the many conspiracy theories regarding the history of Lyme disease, they make some great late-night reading.  
I pulled a tick off my thigh today.  It’s already red and inflamed. This is not a good sign.  I’ll take the magic pill and all should be well.  Isn’t modern medicine amazing?  The telltale sign of a problem with a tick bite is a rash that emanates from the bite in concentric circles. My first time dealing with a tick bite involved a giant bullseye on my right butt cheek. 

Let it Grow

When the seasons start to change, I get the urge to change my face.  I’m not talking about plastic surgery. As a beautifully bearded gentleman, I am referring to beard length.  I suppose non-bearded individuals would experience the same sentiment.  The equivalency would probably be the desire to have your hair cut or styled differently because you simply need a change.   
Trimming a beard shorter or completely shaving it off requires a decision.  Sometimes this decision requires much contemplation and some emotional buildup to conquer the moment.  Other times a shearing is an impulsive act.  Either way, when you grab those clippers a change will happen.  Being satisfied with the results is a different subject altogether.  
Deciding to grow hair longer is not a single decision.  A longer beard will require a series of decisions. It’s a commitment. In the fall, I always get the urge to stop trimming my beard.  It’s like there is an internal clock ticking down to zero and I must grow my beard as fast as possible if I am going to achieve a full Santa in time for Christmas.
I think there is a metaphor here.  Many life decisions happen quickly.  You make a change and then you have to live with the consequences. Sometimes, making a change requires a daily commitment. Many (maybe most) of my most important decisions have required a lot of growth and dedication. There was a daily commitment to stop trimming. Personal growth is a lot like growing an epic beard.  
In case you were curious, the verdict is still out regarding my face.  I guess we will find out eventually.    

Robots Love the B-52’s

I shared a video yesterday about my songwriting process.  It begins with an idea for a new song and leads into the song called “Rock Lobster” by the B-52’s.  The corresponding post on Instagram received 60,000 views in a very short amount of time.  I know this doesn’t qualify as “going viral” but it’s a lot compared to my standard view rate.  As a result, I was privileged to have some back-and-forth conversations with people that I would not have met otherwise. There are a bunch of new people that are now following our journey on that platform.  I’m glad this video was well received.  It is a good video but I think the more logical explanation for its success is that shady bot farmers love the B-52’s.  

Rock Lobster

I was working on a new song.  It started with a riff and some yeah, yeah, yeah’s.  I needed some real words.  The riff became “Rock Bottom Revival.” I was playing this over and over.  That is the best way to figure out where a song is going.  It started to sound familiar. Ahhhhhhh.  It was Rock Lobster by the B-52’s. Upon further exploration, the chord progression is completely different but I don’t think I can un-hear it. This song is headed to the bone pile.  
Check out the song process on YouTube.  

Clowns are Trash

Does the proper usage of a trash receptacle require fun and whimsy?  If you know me, you know that I have a pathological fear of clowns.  I don’t understand why anybody thought this was a good plan.  Clowns are trash.  

Short Fuses

Today was one of those days.  When I woke up, I was immediately aware that it was going to require a little bit extra.  Two weeks of a school routine has kicked my kids’ butts.  They were all tired and grumpy from the start. Our cannons were primed with really short fuses. Everything that happened was accompanied by an angry outburst from at least one person. The majority of the time, it was not me.  At noon I found myself longing for bedtime.  I wanted to lay down and go to sleep so that we could start fresh with a new day.  I know you are expecting a redeeming anecdote, something cute that made it all better.  That never happened.  We fought while brushing teeth and had two more meltdowns getting into bed.  
Tomorrow will be a new day.  It may be more of the same but it is a new opportunity to make it better.  Don’t give up.  Some days are constant waves of negativity washing over you.  Keep trying.  Some days you have to fight to get through.  Some days everything is fighting against you.  Go to bed and wake up to a new day, another opportunity, a fresh start.  What will you do with today?   

1MC : Three Little Birds

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
You know that song, you would never say it’s your favorite song, but every time you hear it you feel really good.  This Bob Marley song is that song for me.  It always makes me happy.  What is that song for you?
Watch “Three Little Birds” on YouTube.  

or you can find it on Instagram.

The Wedding Industrial Complex

My baby girl (age 6) is obsessed with weddings.  She was privileged to be the flower girl for some friends at their wedding over the summer. Now weddings are a big deal for her.  She just informed me that when she grows up she will have all her kids before she gets married so that her little girls can be flower girls at her own wedding. It gets worse. She told me that she wants me to be a bridesmaid.  I said that it might be weird to have her father as a bridesmaid.  She said, “It will be fine. The girl is in charge of the wedding. They will have to do what I say.”  
I hope she elopes.   

1MS : I Like to Run

If you have been slacking off with regular exercise, I’ve got you covered.  Just stand up and pretend to run while watching a video of me pretending to run.  The song is called, “I Like to Run.”  It’s all about finding the proper motivation.  

Watch on YouTube. 

Perfect Conditions

Wednesday Words
I like to run, it jiggles my brain
I like to run, it’s quite insane
When I go for a run
I pretend there are zombies chasing me
It’s really quite a thrill
I like to run… except when its raining…
or too hot… or too dark…
or so bright that the sun hurts my eyes…
or cold… or too early in the morning…
but I cant run after I’ve eaten so I have to run before breakfast…
I like to run on the fifth Tuesday of the month 
And there must be a rainbow in the sky

God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise

God willing and the creek don’t rise…
I close my live streams and most of my other videos with this sentiment. It’s an old saying.  It’s the kind of thing that was often said by my grandparents.  It fits my vibe and sets a tone. I like it because it expresses intention with some wiggle room. I will do my best to show up when I said I would show up.  Although life could get in the way and throw off the schedule. But I’m still doing my best to be here for you.  
We received two inches of rain in the last 24 hours. The creeks did rise.  Don’t worry.  I’m still going to be here even if I have soggy shoes. 

Sleep On It

There is an app on my phone that I use to shoot all of my videos.  The camera on a newer phone is really good. This app provides an additional level of control that puts a phone on par with any other professional video setup.  I cleared the day to shoot a batch of one-minute cover songs.  While I was prepping the set (my living room), I noticed there was an update available for my beloved video app. When the update was completed, the app crashed.  It would not open. All I could get was a spinning wheel of doom. I began frantically searching message boards and Facebook groups to see if anyone else was having the same problem.  I could not find a fix.  I tried the old standard - turn it off and back on.  Nothing worked. The clock ticked onward and I spent the allotted block of time trying to solve a technological disaster. This app is incredibly integral to my entire workflow. This was a major setback. I shared my misery with my family.  Mrs. Brother Jack suggested that I delete the app and reinstall it.  Unfortunately, there was some raw footage in the app that hadn’t been backed up yet. I should have known better but hindsight wouldn’t save those performances. I hate being held at the mercy of technology.  There was no clear direction to solve this problem. I had no idea what to do next or how I would continue doing the work that I do.  When I woke up the next morning, it was all back to normal.  I wish I could claim credit for fixing the situation. I guess the app and I both needed a good night’s sleep.  Back to work.  

1MC : Sixteen Tons

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
When it comes to hard work, I’d rather sing about it than participate. This is my favorite song about working for the man.  “Sixteen Tons” was made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford and written by Merle Travis.   
Sixteen Tons

or you can watch it on Instagram right here.

Songs of the Season

The fall equinox is still a couple of weeks away.  The weather continues to feel like summer weather. But my internal calendar has flipped to autumn.  
The Christmas season has its songs. Some songs feel like pure summertime. Every major holiday claims its own songs. But the fall song category is a rare beast. Nobody respects the notion of fall songs. This is my favorite time of year. I tend to change the majority of my repoitore during the fall months. There is a subset of my original catalog that was written during the fall and rarely gets played outside of the autumn season.  There are cover songs that are my favorite during fall that will get no love during the rest of the year.  
Get ready for the fall songs, here they come.  

Do you have a favorite fall song?

Yearly Tune-Up

I just completed my yearly physical with the doctor.  I am blessed to live where I have access to good doctors.  I feel extremely blessed that my family has an adequate health care plan. The doctor said I should be good to go for another 1000 miles. Although I fear that there may be some rust forming on my frame.   

If I Were King

Wednesday Words
If I were king of a nation at war
I would make sure 
He was in the front lines
If I were king
He’d throw himself out the window at my word
If he happened to die
There's nothing anyone could say


1MS : David

I posted a new one-minute song today.  It is funny to refer to it as ”new.”  This song is the oldest song in my repertoire that I still play regularly.  I think it was written way back in 2000.  This song is 22 years old.  It is based on King David from the Christian Bible.  His story is a couple of thousand years old.  I guess he has me beat.  
Watch on YouTube or Instagram.  

Ride the Song : August 28, 2022

I just got finished playing a park concert with my friends in Ride the Song.  It went well and everything worked the way that it was supposed to work.  This is incredibly rare.  It was the last outside event on my calendar for the summer season.  It must be time to move from sweaty outside shows to sweaty inside gigs. 

Pull Up the Covers Again

A while back, I made a video series called Pull Up the Covers.  It involved a green screen, an air mattress, and a photo of an interesting bed found on the internet.  I was working on this series at a time in my history when I was trying to learn how to make great videos.  I am fully aware that I have not learned how to make great videos.  It was fun and incredibly beneficial to learn about using a green screen.  I am proud of the videos that I made as part of this series.  I would love to make more videos in this series but two hurdles make it difficult.  First, it’s surprisingly difficult to find photos of beds that are appropriate and free to use.  Second, these videos were time-consuming to make.  I am thinking about reusing the videos from this series.  I am not sure about the details but I think these videos turned out great and I would love to share them. Keep your eyes open for Brother Jack singing cover songs while in random beds.  

I am thinking of doing a similar series that involves singing lullabies with iconic nighttime landscapes edited into the background.  Something like “Moon River” in front of the Eiffel Tower.  So many ideas, so little time.   

1MC : For What It’s Worth

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
This song was released by Buffalo Springfield back in 1966.  The words feel like they could have been written right now.  It’s difficult for a protest song to stand the test of time.  This song is timeless. Check out my one-minute-version of “For What It’s Worth.” 

or you can watch it on Instagram right here.

The Click

I finally got myself back into the studio. I have been itching to work on a new arrangement of an old song. The acoustic guitar is supposed to be the foundation for the recording. I know how to play guitar.  I have been doing it for a long time.  This part is not difficult but I was never able to get a good take.  I spent two hours doing the same thing over and over and over.  
A common practice in the studio is to use a click track. This involves recording the parts while a metronome ticks at a consistent pace. I hate playing with a click. I could probably count on one hand the number of times that I have successfully used a click track.  It always feels fake. All of the life is sucked out of the song.  I got so desperate with this guitar part that I even tried playing it with a click. It still wasn’t good.  
Another side effect of playing with a click track is that the incessant ticking ratchets up my anxiety.  I wasn’t able to accomplish my goals in the studio and I am incredibly twitchy.  This has not been the most productive day.  However, I now have a great framework for what I should avoid doing tomorrow.  

Bonus:  100 Weird Folk Points to anyone that can guess which of my previously recorded songs this post is about.  (I just made up Weird Folk Points, I don’t think they exist.)

Summer Guilt Trip

At the end of every August, I feel guilty about not doing enough with my kids while they were on summer break from school.  We had lots of fun and spent a lot of time together.  It was all really great but it feels like there wasn’t enough of it.  It’s probably normal parental emotions.  I want them to experience all of the potential fun.  What does that even mean?!?  
When I was a kid, the bell would ring on the last day of school and we would be off on our own until the first bell rang in the fall.  Summer was glorious.  There were a lot of creeks, bike rides, frogs, fishing, thunderstorms, and mud. It was not our parent’s job to provide opportunities for fun.  We found our fun in large part by doing absolutely nothing.  
This hasn’t been as cathartic as I had hoped.  Now, I feel guilty for not providing enough opportunities for my kids to do absolutely nothing.  Maybe next summer we will do a lot more of absolutely nothing.   

Clean Slate 2022

It’s the first day of school for all three of my children.  I always loved the first day of school.  It was a clean slate.  Nobody will remember all of the dumb stuff that happened the previous school year.  Summer is like a magic memory potion.  Not one classmate will remember when you got confused and called the teacher mommy.  Everyone will forget your sparkly unicorn phase and completely recognize your new goth phase.  Everything is possible on the first day of school.  You can be anyone.  On the first day of school this year, I will be an old man that needs a nap and it will be glorious.   

Robots Hate John Prine

I have been making a lot of short videos for the Reels platform on Instagram. Allegedly, this is one of the only ways to find interested people that might enjoy my work on any social media platform without paying the ridiculous expense associated with advertising.  On Saturday mornings I am posting a series of cover song videos.  I posted a video for Mungo Jerry’s song called, In the Summertime. The following week I posted John Prine’s song called, Spanish Pipe Dream.  The two videos are different songs but otherwise identical.  Both videos have the same lighting, the same location, and the same wardrobe.  In the same amount of time, In the Summertime got 10x the views as Spanish Pipe Dream.  This leads me to the only logical conclusion.  The robots that control these platforms hate the music of John Prine.  


School is back in session this week and 4/5 of my family will be back into a regular routine.  I should be able to find more available time or at least something resembling a consistent work schedule.  It looks like we will have to be flexible and adjust some times.  
-My morning schedule will be different and our livestream breakfast show may have to be adjusted (I won’t know for sure until we try it)
-Happy Hour will have to change!!! This is huge, not sure what we will do.  Maybe Mondays?
-Not sure what will be possible regarding our “No Plan Fridays.”  It depends on the plan.
-I should have more flexibility for playing in-person gigs. If you know a great venue where I should play, let me know.  

Cheers to some minor changes and the inevitable total meltdowns that will follow. 

Youth Orchestra

My oldest kid joined the youth orchestra this summer.  She just participated in her first concert with the group.  The kids were the warm-up act for our local symphony orchestra.  Our town is not big enough to have some of the things you would find in a big urban center but we are big enough to have our own orchestra. I am glad my kids have access to a good orchestra.  She did a great job and I’m very proud.  My favorite part was when they played the national anthem and the lady sitting in front of me with the giant hat sang very, very loudly.  

1MC : Spanish Pipe Dream

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
This is one of my favorite John Prine songs.  It pairs well with some BBQ.   

or you can watch it on Instagram right here.

A Singing Koala

I was putting the twins to bed and we were reading a bedtime story about a guy and his pet pug. Thing1 asked if I would ever want to have a pet pug (she knows that I have always wanted a dog).  I told her I would not want a pug because I prefer big dogs.  She said, “I want to have a Shih Tzu… and a koala that I will teach to sing.”    

The Mouse

We have a mouse in the house.  It’s a natural part of living in the world.  Occasionally, a little rodent may find a way into our domicile. It ran across the room, under the tv, and into the ductwork.  Thing-1 wants to catch it and keep it as a pet.   I set out some traps.  My preference is the old-fashioned kind baited with peanut butter.  Thing-2 asked if a mouse could have “wabbies.”  Now they are both terrified of the mouse and refuse to travel the house alone. Such a tiny thing can cause many problems.  It seems as though our 17-year-old cat has some work to do.  

Words From the Bottom of the Barrel

Wednesday Words
Rock rock rock rock bottom
Rock rock rock rock bottom
Rock rock rock rock bottom 
I’ve been scraping the bottom for so long
And all I’ve got is this lousy song
Rock rock rock rock bottom
Rock rock rock rock bottom
Rock rock rock rock bottom 
Someone is trying to keep me down
I always got some weird folk hanging around 
Rock rock rock rock bottom
Rock rock rock rock bottom
Rock rock rock rock bottom 
The water is fine here in the bottom of the barrel 
Jump in, join us… nothing rhymes with barrel


We were at a wedding over the weekend, it was beautiful.  My kids were involved with the ceremony and I think they enjoyed the attention that came with it. My boy danced with every bridesmaid at least twice.  His secret was that he fought hard and pretended to hate every second of it.  I wish I had known that trick when I was younger.  

Lots of Compliments

Over the weekend we celebrated the marriage of some dear friends. It was a glorious occasion and we are so happy for everyone involved.  My twins were in the wedding party. Baby girl was living her dreams. There was a fancy dress, flowers in her hair, and lots of dancing.  The only thing that could have made it even fractionally better would have been a real live unicorn.  The next morning she said, “lots of people gave me compliments yesterday, I looked good.”  Everybody needs more compliments. I’m going to do my best to give out as many as possible.  

Tents > Hotel Rooms

A family of five in a six man tent is better than a family of five in a normal hotel room.  At least with a tent, the entire great outdoors are available for escape.  In a hotel room, you can only hide in the bathroom for so long. 

1MC : In the Summertime

It’s Saturday morning – Pull Up the Covers
Throw open the windows and sing along with this one minute cover song.  Originally recorded by Mungo Jerry this song is called In the Summertime.  

or you can watch it on Instagram right here.

Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back)

I just finished reading a book called Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) by Jeff Tweedy.  I don’t think I would recommend it to everybody but it was a life changer for me.  Jeff Tweedy is one of my favorite songwriters.  Like any good autobiography, it has plenty of childhood material. There is lots of stuff about songwriting and the creative process. There are great stories about being a musician and touring.  He talks about addiction and recovery.  I think the heart of the entire book is generational mental health problems and learning to live with anxiety.  It made me feel better and I am going to read it again. 

What is the difference between an autobiography and a memoir?  

Kisses to the Bone Pile

I’ve been working on a new song called Kiss and Mean It.  I brainstormed several ideas.  One idea involved the biological response the body undergoes during a kiss.  Another idea had to do with a pathological fear of intimacy.  The option that I spent the most time with involved an alternate ending for Romeo and Juliet.  I worked hard on this song but it’s not working.  My most recent iteration sounded familiar.  When you begin stealing lines from 80’s pop hits, it is time to quit. I don’t want to give up on the song but these verses are not good.  It’s one of the best choruses I have ever written.  I don’t know what to do with this song but I think it’s headed for the bone pile.  It will be ready and waiting when the right time comes around.   

Romeo Bails

Wednesday Words
Romeo says 
Hey Juliet
Are you sure this is a good plan
I know all about those passionate kisses
But this seems like a lot
I’ve been thinking about taking a trip down to Venice
I wanted to see what’s going on down there
This has been great… really…
But I gotta go

This was an attempt at a verse for my song-in-progress called Kiss and Mean It.  Don’t worry, it was immediately obvious that it was not good.  

1MS : Naked Eyes

My wife and two of my kids have blue eyes. My baby girl has eyes the same color as mine.  She looked me in the eye and said, “Hey, we match… except mine are white on the edges and yours are red.”
I have a new one minute song out today. It’s about eyes.