Monday, May 21, 2012

An Explanation of the Gap

It's been a long time since I last posted!

Since January, last I checked.

An update, for the curious:

I've switched jobs, from sales back to a technical project management position. It's a welcome shift for me, back to the role of a technical tradesman of sorts. If this were the 30's I'd be a mechanic, and if it were the early 1800s I'd probably be a blacksmith or something. At any rate, I'm pleased with the new job, the new surroundings, and the satisfaction of a job with certain, obvious answers. Working in sales was a great ride, but I needed a rest from the pressures that the job put upon me.

My wife and I also went through a medical ordeal that pretty much sucked the energy out of me for a few months. It's not that I didn't care about politics, but between that and the employment transition, my free time was spent in the space that I've often found the most solace: music.

I've been writing songs for years with various bands, as well as material that just hasn't found its home in a band yet. After the death of a good musical friend last fall, it seemed to be a duty of sorts to produce what I could, when I could. My friend Troy Jackson was nearly old enough to be my grandfather, but he played harmonica with the enthusiasm and spirit of a 20 year old kid, until he could no longer breathe a long enough breath to hold a note. Through his example, Troy taught all of us: if we have opportunities to play and to share,we should take them. Our days are short. Music is one of those things that keeps us alive in the dark times, and keeps us smiling in the good times.

With this in mind, I got together with my good friend Matthew Probst this spring, and we recorded a handful of tunes in his upstairs apartment in St. Paul. I've begun work on a socialist gospel project, and I also had some lingering tunes from the years gone by that needed a home. Slowly, as the songs come around, a solo set is emerging.

One of the songs that has been sitting in my care for awhile is the tune attached here. I wrote this song for a friend of mine who was called up to serve in "Operation Iraqi Freedom." Upset by the propaganda, he was feeling forced into a war that we had no business starting. His mother was a devout patriot who believed in the war with a fervor.

My friend was (and remains) a punk rock kid who learned early to be skeptical of authority. Despite this, he was a man of his word, and honored his commitment to the military. The conflict he felt was far closer to home than most of us feel; of course I watched in horror as the news media repeated lie after lie. But here in our presence was a 20-something year old boy that had to face a living adherent to the propaganda. This song is a mirror of his frustration, and probably mine as well.

So far we've got four songs recorded, enough for an EP. This was enough to garner me a set at Phoenix Park in Eau Claire this summer at their Sounds of Summer Concert Series on June 28th.

I'm looking forward to playing more events, progressive and otherwise. If you, O Reader, find an event that needs a Woody Guthrie substitute, I'd love to hear about it. I will continue to blog here. I'll also be sharing more music as it becomes available.

On a final note, PLEASE continue to fight, canvass, make calls, make donations, and TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBORS about the recall election on June 5th. We're almost done! Now is the time, in the marathon, for that final sprint across the finish line! Wisconsin will be ours!