Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Let's Find Out

Well, MandoMama asked Santa for a GPS this year, but he couldn't find one with Buddy Woodward's voice.


That's ok. At 44, I'm finally enjoying life with a little less navigation. Lord knows the last year has been full of twists and turns for all of us, but for me anyway, at the moment the road seems to be evening out just a little, either that or I'm just a more confident driver. Maybe it's a combination.

There's something to wandering, to getting a little lost, that is a little terrifying and yet, we want to know, to find out, whether we can make it. The meltdown of the economy was a tragic but near-wholly preventable catastrophy that led to the ruin of many everyday Americans. It also called into sharp relief how even the perceptibly stable can be pulled under by what might be a minor health crisis in a normal economy. Data show that more bankruptcies are being sought because of medical bills than any other reason. YOu can have a good job but still not be able to pay your medical bills thanks to the insatiable greed of the pretend health care system of HMOs.

So you just have to keep going. Everyday people who do good work and keep their heads above water and pay all our bills on time, we're just always some crisis away from disaster. I stopped looking back a long time ago, although I don't take kindly at all to people who try to make it any harder than it has to be, that's for sure. And there's always someone who'd like to see you have it just a little bit harder, who'd like to see you fail.

And what if you do? What does that mean to you? What are your expectations? Mine are to take the lessons of the last year and completely transform my relationship to work. Unless a match is made in a heaven I don't know about, I will probably never work for another pasty monolithic corporation. Don't let them fool you. It's all about the headcount. And my ability to contribute was completely, entirely dismissed. We've made more progress in the last two months than we did the last twelve with the supposed help of a giant company. It's crap.

There's been a lot of attention paid to the fact that after taking it in the arse for their fat and happy corporate masters, some folks are biting the entrepreneurial bullet, and loving it. Sometimes, you just have to try to make your own way and be the bread on the table. That takes a lot of risk, but you know, musicians, the folks who make our lives bearable and who put themselves out there day after day, sweating and toiling in the studio and on the stage to make us smile for a couple of hours, well, that's how they live.

The last year took a toll on me not just financially but because I was so focused on preventing an overdraft and juggling what at one point was three different but related part-time jobs under one roof, my involvement in music had to take a back seat to keeping the trains running and making sure my kids were whole. In fact I'd say it sat several rows back as events, concerts, and even my quiet time with the mando slipped away. That's starting to turn again. I'm finding that I missed talking about this music, dragging all of you along for some musical journey and sharing the joy that music brings me and so manyh others. I am still committed to contributing to a roots music community with more vitality here at home, building awareness and interest and most importantly participation. It would be fun to play and actually, to sing again. The veil of worry and doubt over my eyes last year would never have allowed me to think that way.

But nothing is cut and dried. You can make all the plans you want but in the end you control nothing. Not a thing, except how you react to what happens to you and what you do with what you're handed. It's all about the journey and what you make of it not just for yourself, but for others.
The Dixie Bee-Liners gave us a spectacular new effort this year. Susanville is the Bee-Liners' brand new, bold and brave adventure, a regular road trip through the complex emotions of the constant cycle of being lost and found again. That's another way to describe the road we're all on, the road of life. You might think you know what's around the bend until you blow a tire or you get sick or someone you love leaves you along the way. You might stop in some little town for a quick bite to eat and end up staying 20 years. You might unpack your new place only to realize it's not where you belong at all. You never know. You just have to find out. It's a lot more fun with good music so take the Bee-Liners along on your next adventure.


from Susanville, released on Pinecastle Records, Nov. 2009

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