‘Please, hug your loved ones’

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I was never really a Frightened Rabbit fan. I don’t know why some bands seem to have the ability to just grab me by the soul while others don’t. But I’m currently listening to the newly-released album Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s “The Midnight Organ Fight” which is an album of artists covering Frightened Rabbit songs from that album.

Two of my favorite artists are on it – Julien Baker and Manchester Orchestra. That’s how I found out about it.

I remember hearing about Scott Hutchinson’s death last year. The Frightened Rabbit founder and frontman was 36.

From Pitchfork:

“The fact that his body was found in a body of water called the Firth of Forth, where on The Midnight Organ Fight’s ‘Floating in the Forth’ he had imagined his own suicide (before rejecting the idea ‘for another day’), became the stuff of tabloid news.”

From “Floating in the Forth”

“And fully clothed, I float away
(I’ll float away)
Down the Forth, into the sea
I think I’ll save suicide for another day.”

He was known for being very open about his struggles with depression, as Mental Health America encourages: fight in the open.

Reading articles about how his openness and honesty inspired so many and gave people hope is encouraging. It’s also paradoxical – he gave hope while simultaneously losing it himself.

In his family’s statement, they said:

“Depression is a horrendous illness that does not give you any alert or indication as to when it will take hold of you… His willingness to discuss these matters in the public domain undoubtedly raised awareness of mental health issues and gave others confidence and belief to discuss their own issues.”

Even in his last tweets before his disappearance, he was still putting kindness into the world:

“Be so good to everyone you love. It’s not a given. I’m so annoyed that it’s not. I didn’t live by that standard and it kills me. Please, hug your loved ones.”

Listening to the Tiny Changes album and reading about Hutchinson has me feeling a certain kind of way. I think it’s because of my own struggles with some of the same things he dealt with. It’s difficult sometimes. I just hope I can put some positivity out into the world while I’m here.

To quote Hutchinson: Please, hug your loved ones.

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Film announcement!

You ever want to talk about something, but you know you need to be patient and wait? Like a big announcement or something? Yeah? Me, too, which is why I’m so glad this day has finally arrived.

Last year, 2018, around April, I think – anyway, over a year ago – I had an idea for a new documentary project, and I approached two extremely close friends who happen to be filmmakers as well, and I asked them if they were interested in making this happen.

Both of them – C. DeWayne Cunningham and Royce Willliams – jumped on board as producers immediately, and together, we have completed a new feature-length documentary.

I have talked with people one-on-one, in person, about this project over the past year or so, but I haven’t made any official public announcements – until now.

So on behalf of my producers, I am pleased to announce the completion of our new film, titled:

Remembering Anarcha.

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The film explores the controversial history of Dr. James Marion Sims, who is known as the “father of modern gynecology,” or by his detractors as “father butcher.” If you haven’t heard of him, there are statues that were put up in his honor on the Capitol grounds in Montgomery, AL, the statehouse grounds in Columbia, SC, and in Central Park in New York City. The one in New York has been removed.

But along with his story, the film also explores the enslaved African women that he operated on while in Montgomery in the late 1840s. We know three of their names – Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey.

And within these historical stories, we explore issues of race, slavery, and ethics, and how those issues impact modern society and medicine.

So, I know some people will be asking where they can see the film. Well, we are in the process of submitting the film to various film festivals in the hopes that we can find a distributor. That process can take a while. (It can also be costly, so if you’d like to help us out, we are accepting donations – PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, checks… we’re open to any help we can get.)

In the meantime, we ask that you follow Remembering Anarcha on social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with the film. We’ve also set up RememberingAnarcha.com.

And, be sure to follow my page, along with Terrible Master Films, Carolyn Jean’s Son Visions, and 803 Films to keep up with our other projects.

Thanks!

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Marsellus “Trouble”

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Years ago, I was in a band called Marsellus with my friend Dillon Fiore. We went through probably seven or eight drummers over the years, but Dillon and I kept going for quite a while.

We recorded a three-song EP, followed by an album titled “Our Name in Lights.” There was one song, however, that we never got a chance to record – until last year.

In 2018, Dillon and I went into the Jackelope Studio in Birmingham, AL, with drummer Timothy Stanton and engineer Andy Jackson (Hot Rod Circuit) to record a song called “Trouble.”

It is now available on all digital platforms – Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, etc.

Also, I shot some footage while we were in the studio and put together a music video for it:

Also, if you want to catch up on the previous releases, they’re all on YouTube:

Live at Goat Haus – July 5 and 6

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Just a reminder – I’m performing at Goat Haus Biergarten tonight and tomorrow – July 5 and 6, 2019. Click here for details.

And speaking of Barrens, did you see the video where Bam Margera from Jackass announced our album title?

Well he did:

On the Long Road Home

I didn’t have a title for this post, but “On the Long Road Home” happens to be the song I’m listening to at the moment by a band called The End of the Ocean, so I figured I’d use it for this.

The Black Warrior Songwriters Festival was fun! Many thanks to Megan and Jarrod McMillan, Matt and Nikki Ray from Eat My Beats (who, along with being one of the many wonderful sponsors of the festival, also kept me from being homeless for the weekend.) I got to see a lot of old friends and make some new ones. Always a good time.

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Photo by Todd Souvignier of Abusements.

Other quick news:

BARRENS guitarist “J. Slickwood” is releasing a limited number of Gut Munchers DVDs. I play “Vince,” and BARRENS bassist Clay Smith plays “Buck.” Click here to order.

In film news, Stephen Poff’s short film The Song You’ll Never Hear will screen at this year’s Montgomery Film Festival (which is July 20.) That was a fun project to work on. I play “Ralph” the bartender in that one. Congrats to the cast and crew!

Photos from last week’s Guitar Pull at the Cloverdale Playhouse are up on my Facebook page.

My next acoustic shows are coming up July 5 and 6. I’ll be returning to Goat Haus Biergarten in Montgomery both nights.

More announcements coming soon. Thanks for reading! Much love! Subscribe to this blog below:

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Black Warrior Songwriters Festival – this weekend!

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This coming weekend is the 2019 Black Warrior Songwriters Festival in Tuscaloosa!

I’m scheduled for three performances, as seen in the image above. Be sure to check out the list of artists and the full schedule.

Also… I’ve got a cameo in this video that features some footage from last year’s festival:

 

And speaking of songwriter’s events, if you haven’t seen Commit to the Song: The Joe Thomas Jr. Guitar Pull yet, it’s available for rent and purchase on Amazon. Click here to check that out, and leave a review – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!

Quick update – June 2019

 

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Hey everyone, just wanted to give some quick updates on things. If you’ve been following my Instagram, you might already know what’s been keeping me busy, but if not, here’s what’s been up:

I’ve worked with a number of talented filmmakers and actors on a few projects, including a public service type of ad, two fake ads that we’re hoping will be part of this year’s Montgomery Film Festival intermission, a short film, and continued work on a documentary project I hope to be able to provide more details on soon.

(Speaking of the Montgomery Film Festival, if you haven’t seen the two fake ads from the past couple of years that I was involved with, check out the “FudgeIt Auto Sales” videos at the bottom of this post… language is NSFW.)

In Barrens news, our album is currently in the mixing stages at Headless Dinosaur Recording. (That was the studio where Hail the Titans recorded Hymns of Mare Nostrum.)

That’s it for now. As always, thanks for reading.

 

May 2019 Guitar Pull photos are up!

Click here to see the full gallery on Facebook.

Film and music updates – April 2019

Since it’s the last day of April, I figured I should post some updates on film and music things that have been happening (and to somewhat lighten the mood from my last few posts…)

I recently got back in front of the camera (yea!) to play the role of “Bobby Joe” in a short film called Secret Weapon. Ol’ Bobby Joe is a backwoods arms dealer. See the trailer below:

 

In other news, a short film I served as Director of Photography on – Riding with the Rabbi – seems to have gotten a little film festival traction and some awards. A new trailer was released that has some laurels on it, so that’s always good news.

 

And Barrens is almost done tracking at Headless Dinosaur Recording. I’m really liking the way it’s coming together. And… while I’m on the subject of Barrens, our next show is scheduled for May 25. Here’s the event info.

Here’s a little snippet of a rough mix of a Barrens song:

Also, there’s a very limited amount of new kitty stickers available. Click here for those.

I think that’s it for now… Be sure to subscribe to get updates, if you haven’t done so already. Thanks! Much love.

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Shadowboxing

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I’m not one to post a bunch of inspirational memes or quotes. Nothing against it – you do you; it’s just not really my personality. But hey, someone might need to see it. That someone might even be me.

You never really know what’s going to inspire someone to think, to evaluate a situation or part of their life. Introspection.

I do a lot of thinking. Almost constantly, it seems. It reminds me of lyrics from the song “Shadowboxing” by Julien Baker:

I know you were trying to help
But you’re only making it worse
Tell me that I shouldn’t blame myself
But you can’t even imagine how badly it hurts
Just to think sometimes
How I think almost all the time

That speaks to me. It’s authentic. It’s real. It’s honest.

Depression is a motherfucker. The racing thoughts, the lack of sleep, the internal voice that just won’t shut the fuck up.

So far, 2019 has been kind of a shit show. And I have to admit my role in it – I ignored my mental and emotional health for at least three years. And I’ve had a lot to deal with and process during that time. Shit catches up to you sometimes.

Of course, there have been bright spots – film projects, music events, art shows, my band hitting the studio, etc. I don’t want to discount any of those. But at other times, it’s like my brain is trying to kill me.

Some things just get old. I’m tired of feeling let down by people. I’m tired of my trust being violated. I’m tired of dishonesty. I’m tired of losing friends.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. This is me being open, honest, and authentic. This is me attempting to talk about things that sometimes feel shunned. This is me trying one small way to fight the stigma around mental illness.

And I don’t want to end on a negative. I know other people who are struggling right now. So check on your people. Be kind to a stranger. Spread some love. Share some music. Continue being the badass person that you are. Find the beauty in the world.

Much love.

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