Text while driving? Watch this!

“From One Second To The Next”
It just might help save your life or somebody else’s!
Xzavier, Chandler, Debbie, and Reggie all know the horrors of texting & driving firsthand. Acclaimed director Werner Herzog tells their stories in this powerful It Can Wait Documentary. Learn about the dangers of texting while driving and take the pledge at http://www.itcanwait.com.

9 to 5 Legalized Slavery

Girl at Keyboard in LA

As part of Broadjam.com’s 6-pack competition, the 6th can challenge was to write a song inspired by the above photo.

Here is my take on it.

Hollywood, boy, you’ve been good to me
The vis-à-vis well you just won’t believe
As I play this song I’m grateful to be free
From the 9 to 5 legalized slavery

They say that dreams come true once in awhile
After breaking down on life’s longest mile
When the vision that you hold sets you free
From the 9 to 5 legalized slavery
From the 9 to 5 legalized slavery

Don’t you know you can make it to your dreams
Don’t you know you can be anything

Hollywood, boy, you’ve been good to me
The vis-à-vis well you just won’t believe
As I sing this song I’m grateful to be free
From the 9 to 5 legalized slavery
From the 9 to 5 legalized slavery
Yeah from the 9 to 5 legalized slavery

Is This Real?

My entry in the “Get in Bed” category of Broadjam’s 6-PACK challenge in October 2013.  Recorded overdrive guitars (sus2 chords) on chorus, vocals on verses/choruses, and wrote the lyrics.  The funny thing is, most of the time you aren’t told whose music you’re collaborating on.


In this dream
This fantasy

(In) between
The old and the new me

At a crossroads
All dead ends

Only the lost
May enter

Is this real
or just a dream?

What I see?
What I feel?

Fill the void

Along with (the) mysteries
of (what is and) what might have been

Reasons uncovered
Peace renewed

The desire to begin again
To start anew

The journey awaits (you)

What I see?
What I feel?

Songwriting Contests – How They SHOULD Be Run #songwriting #contest #songwritingcontest

Many contests are fairly local/small in scale, others are regional, some national and international, and some genre/topic specific. The more specific the entry requirements and the larger the contest, often the better.

A contest restricted to, or dominated by a smaller scene, has its players, politics, and organizations all supporting one another and as they should – but here arises the problems. When the top semifinalists are all from that town/scene and all know each other and all work with and/or know the people running the organization and holding the contest – the same organization that depends on those key players on the scene – it all makes more sense why they win. Even the harsh subjectivity of art is thrown out the window and it becomes a “I help you because you help me or might” bias game where new players are truly not considered fairly. Have you ever been offered an interview or a job by a friend?

Here’s what every organization holding a contest SHOULD do –

Do NOT require a bio – why? you ask – because that too creates a bias completely unrelated to how good a song is. If the song can’t stand on its own merit or is the best song in the world, would it be more or less so if the person’s background impressed you?

DO hire an outside/third party organization or independents to judge the songs and at least have a designated person mask the entries prior to passing the songs on to the judges (see next point). Ask Berklee College of Music’s songwriting department/classes to judge, or other if possible.

DO keep the names confidential, and keep a spreadsheet with each song/songwriter assigned an ID (whether numeric or alphanumeric is not important). The listener/judge doesn’t need to know the name or location of entrants in case that creates bias, and sometimes they will know the person/name and either love or hate them depending on how they know them.

The best contests give song specific requirements, for instance, the title this time is “Angel” – that way songwriters can take their best stab at writing the ultimate song containing “Angel” in the chorus. Other specifics could be tempo range, using certain instruments, etc..

Please feel free to leave any comments (i.e. – any wisdom you might have).

A Song For Ayla

I feel I was called to write/record this song so that through the power of music we will be reminded to keep finding Ayla a top priority and not give up until her truth is known; we must remain hopeful and diligent. If you or someone you know has any knowledge about her disappearance, contact investigators immediately (207)-624-7076. Never hesitate to do the right thing!

Since my involvement with the song, I have had some interesting retrospective realizations come to the forefront as to why something called me to stand up for a victim. When I was ten years old and in the fourth grade, I was bullied and injured to the point that without immediate emergency surgery I would not be here; I was left for dead. Thank goodness for the EMTs and the doctor from another country (who was just in town visiting!), because without them I would have been history long ago.

We must stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. We must be there when others are too busy or don’t care.

My response to some of the BDN article comments –

#1. the chorus is somewhat “upbeat” because it’s a song for a toddler and it’s celebrating who she is. Would you want your name sung in a downer tone? What young person wants or needs depressing music? I wanted strong vocals to represent the dedication and community behind finding her. I pictured her dancing to the congas and bongos.

#2. Jeff, Trista, and BDN wanted the song to go public and I agreed because they thought it might help.

Be the best person you can be!

That’s what bass legend Charlie Haden said at the MIFF after show Q/A session of the eponymous documentary when asked by an audience member what he would suggest doing to become a better bassist. The film illustrates his life and career, featuring interviews with the artist himself, as well as close friends, family, and fellow musicians. I was fortunate to have been at MIFF (Maine International Film Festival) in 2009 to meet him and have this picture taken. He would know what it takes to be a great bassist! And what a beautiful thing to say!



“Be the best person you can be.”

BTW… can’t believe I wore the ugliest hat in the world that day, but oh well! Maybe that’s why Charlie’s smiling = totally worth it! :)