Barrens and I made the news!

The next Barrens show is Oct. 20 at Bomber’s Pub in Montgomery, AL, and the Montgomery Advertiser ran a feature on us today that includes a live performance of the song “All Those Lights” and some photos.

Read it here.

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Photo by Shannon Heupel, Montgomery Advertiser

They also include a section on me as a solo artist, adding in a live performance of my song “This Barren Land” (and since I have been asked before, no, neither the song nor lyrics are about the band.)

Fun fact: I had a sinus infection and had lost my voice the week leading up to that recording, but the show must go on, right?

Anyway, my next solo performances are scheduled for the Huntsville/Madison area on Oct. 26 and 27:

Oct. 26 at Wish You Were Beer (at Campus 805 in Huntsville)
Oct. 27 at Rocket City Craft Beer (in Madison)

Both of those shows allow me to share the stage with my friend Mike Slaten (of Tres Locos, Duos Locos, and Forest Haven.)

Be sure to follow this blog via email, and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thanks for reading. Much love.

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Sept. 2018 Guitar Pull photos are up!

Click here to see the full gallery on my Facebook page.

Music video for Megan McMillan – “Things that Change”

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The music video I directed for Megan McMillan was released this morning! Check it out below:

Thanks to Jake Maben, Kandy Shoults, Jarrod McMillan, Dwight and Pat Hutson, Jamie and Barbara Terry, Eric Hull and Black Warrior Brewing Company, and Royce Williams for helping make this happen.

The song was produced Shawn Byrne at Great Hill Studio in Nashville, TN. Video produced by Terrible Master Films.

Her full album will be released Oct. 17, 2018.

View this post on Instagram

#thingsthatchange video TOMORROW!

A post shared by Megan McMillan (@meganmcmillanmusic) on

 

Live music photography

This past Friday, I photographed my friend Megan McMillan and band as they performed at Tavern 1831 in Tuscaloosa, AL. The gallery is on my Facebook page.

Now – Aug. 2018 update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, so here’s another “now” post… Here’s some background info on where the “now” thing came from.

Along with normal life and work stuff, I’m currently working on two documentary film projects, writing and recording music with Barrens, still working on a new solo album as time permits (time? what is that, right?) and I’m gearing up for a music video and photo shoot, and working on a script for another music video.

I recently helped C. DeWayne Cunningham of Carolyn Jean’s Son Visions with a promo video, and I directed another promo video for hip-hop artist/actor Pro Status under the Terrible Master Films banner.

I also got to see Manchester Orchestra, (Sandy) Alex G, and Kevin Devine with some friends last week. That was a great show.

The best way to keep up with all of that (other than signing up your email to follow this blog for detailed updates… which would be cool) is via social media. I tend to use Instagram more than others, but I’m also on Facebook and Twitter. Hit me up. I’d love to hear from you.

Much love.

Show at Goat Haus this Friday! (and other ramblings)

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Photo credit: Britt Powell, April 2018.

This upcoming day of Frige – July 27 – in the year of our lord 2018, whether there be clear skies or rain, as the light of the evening turns to dusk followed by nightfall, I shall be standing with ye acoustic guitar, performing sadness in song form at Goat Haus Biergarten in Montgomery, AL. 7:30 postmeridian. Details.

Rambling #1 – I find interesting the use of days named after various gods that make up our seven-day week combined with the use of the Christian “A.D.” (And yes, I am also familiar with B.C.E. and C.E., but it’s interesting nonetheless.) Language and culture are funny things sometimes.

Rambling #2 – I feel like it’s taking me forever to record a new album (note to self: because it is.) I’ve been working on it for a while, and I have one song that is complete – mixed and mastered – but the others are taking a while. And in the meantime, I’m trying to work on new songs – one of which I may perform this Friday – along with some film projects that are in progress.

Rambling #3 – This is too many ramblings.

I hope to see you this Friday.

The hate continues…

“Racial segregation had a long and enduring history in America, supported by courts, laws, and elected officials. The pervasive effects of that legacy are still felt today.”

That quote is from the new “Segregation in America” website from the Equal Justice Initiative in my hometown of Montgomery, AL. The site features their report on the subject, an interactive map of Confederate monuments, a list of prominent segregationists, and more.

I took time to read through the segregationist list. Each person has a short bio and a quote. Some names I recognized for their role in being on the wrong side of history – the prominent ones like George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, “Bull” Connor, Bob Jones. Many of the names were new to me.

Myself and most of my peers were born after the days of segregation, after the Civil Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act were the laws of the land. We never experienced separate water fountains, mandated segregation in schools, or “whites only” signs at businesses.

It can seem like it was all so far in the past.

But it wasn’t.

Many of my friends’ parents grew up experiencing this level of hatred directly, their grandparents even more so. As little as one generation away.

When reading through the hatred in the segregationist list on the website, I looked at the lifespan of some of them – the latest death year I saw on the list was 2010.

2010.

Some died as recently as eight years ago. And the ones who still held the racial hatred in their hearts and took it to their deathbeds… I don’t understand. And I don’t want to understand.

I don’t want to understand how a human can hate an entire group of other humans simply based on skin color. But the history is important to learn and to acknowledge. Here’s a quote from a KQED interview with the founder and executive director of EJI, Bryan Stevenson:

“I don’t think any of us are free, to be honest. So rather than thinking that there’s something discretionary about the teaching of this history. I think it’s essential. I think you do a disservice to children of all colors and races and ethnicities by allowing them to be ignorant of the ways in which our country has yet to deal with the history of racial injustice.”

The reason I titled this post “the hate continues” is because while reading some of the quotes from the segregationists, some of that hatred seems so familiar. We’re seeing viral videos of it on social media. We’re seeing the coded language in tweet form from politicians. It’s current, not some distant past.

Philosopher George Santayana is quoted as saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Let’s learn from the past, and do better.

June 2018 Guitar Pull photos are up!

Click here to see the full gallery on my Facebook page.

…and also…

…this weekend…

DCSF kicks off Thursday night!

img_4564Thursday night kicks off the Druid City Songwriters Festival in Tuscaloosa, AL! There are multiple venues hosting performances by songwriters from all over.

Check out the full schedule here.

If you’re in the area, I’m scheduled to play three sets:

Friday, June 22 – 6:15pm at Billy’s Sports Grill

Saturday, June 23 – 4:30pm at Tavern 1831 and 7:25pm at Black Warrior Brewing Co.

A number of songwriters I’ve met through the Joe Thomas Jr. Guitar Pull at the Cloverdale Playhouse are also scheduled to play. It’ll be really good to see them again. (Speaking of that event – it’s TONIGHT! And Abe Partridge is playing, who will also be in Tuscaloosa this weekend as part of DCSF.)

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‘The good half live in arrogance’

Celebrity suicides tend to bring discussions of mental health and society back into the forefront. I wrote about this subject a bit last July, and with the recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, it’s back again.

I think there’s a sense of helplessness when we see it. I’ve seen many people sharing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (which is 1-800-273-8255,) and I’ve seen people pointing out that in most cases, a person who is contemplating suicide is less likely to reach out, so we should be checking on our friends, even the ones we think are the “strong” ones.

I think we crave answers. We want to be able to understand why some people who seemingly have everything going for them could end it like that. And I think that for some, that desire to understand crosses into territory where people can spout so-called answers, even when those answers have no tangible roots.

And that got me thinking of lyrics from the song “Magazine” by Pedro the Lion:

This line is metaphysical
And on the one side
And on the one side
The bad half live in wickedness
And on the other side
And on the other side
The good half live in arrogance
And there’s a steep slope
With a short rope
This line is metaphysical
And there’s a steady flow
Moving to and fro

“The good half live in arrogance.” That’s the line that stands out to me. The reason is that a few days ago, I saw religious people in a Facebook thread being judgmental, claiming to hold the answers as if religion was some magical cure for mental illness.

I don’t think these people are bad people. I don’t think they were intentionally being judgmental, but I think their words were not rooted in empathy or understanding.

I’m still thinking about some of the things that were said. I’m going to post some pieces of that thread below. I have covered the names and profile pictures (except for mine) because of two things – 1. The post was not public, and 2. I’m not posting this in an attempt to shame anyone. My intent is to get people to think about what they’re saying, how it comes across, and who might be reading it (i.e. a person who’s struggling.)

This was the original post:

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Before anyone starts a #NotAllChristians hashtag, I found this comment to be much kinder and empathetic:

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Then we have a blanket judgement about journalists:

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In this, I learned that non-Christians don’t have morals or values:

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And then this happened:

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If there is one thing you get out of any of this – one thing at all – yelling “suck it up!” to a person who is struggling with depression or suicidal ideation is not the way to help that person.