Music Lovers. . . and Supporters of the Arts
It has been my extraordinary joy, privilege, and luck over these last several years to have turned over my college students—whom I loved—and put them in the capable hands of better prepared and much more organized teachers, so that I could return to my old profession—which is one of the oldest—of vagabond, troubadour, folk bum, and poet.
Though the story of my walk through the dark valley of the shadow of the music business over 25 years ago was a dark one—Nashville burned me out to the point that I put down my guitar and did not touch it, not even the keys of a piano, for five years—I’ve had the encouragement of some great and gifted friends over the last ten years who have fostered me back to life. It’s been a long road, but a rewarding one, back to my first love: writing, singing, and performing songs.
When I recorded my return album, Gypsy Moon, at Blue Rock Studios, I felt something begin again in me. And though there was still a good amount of “walking the long road” to do, I’m here to tell you that the last few years—for reasons you might guess—have been an absolute flashfire of creativity. I have published two trilogies of books—books that will play a fun role in the giving levels for this campaign—and I’ve written more songs than I ever remember churning out in any other time period like it.
The Streets of San Miguel is an album that represents the beauty and stumbling-drunk luck of love, the near loss of it, and the recovery into a life of better dreams, bigger hopes, stronger friendships, and social involvement that dances along the dangerous edges of the political. The ultimate “lift” of it culminates in the song “Rise” that we humbly hope will become an anthem for these times. And you… you are our only hope—my dear Obi-Wan Kenobis—for getting it out into the world.
We’ve had the tremendous fortune of scoring musical talents like Dees Stribling on percussion, Brian Thomas on dobro, banjo, and pedal steel, Warren Hood on fiddle, and the awesome Joel Guzman on accordion—who plays for Paul Simon, among others. My dear friend Dirje Childs plays a cello to die for, and then rise again for. The killer cords of BettySoo come in on backing vocals and one duet, on the song “Beautiful Silence,” that brought me to tears the first time I heard it mixed. And Russell Haight put the squeeze on his sax for the solo on “Good Luck with That.”
My new friend, and ridiculous talent, Patrick Conway, produced, directed, and played every instrument under the sun… every part in the play, except King Lear. Oh… and Hamlet. We need him alive.
I also owe many thanks to the choir on the songs “Rise” and “Let’s Make the Most”—Jon S. Clayton, Patrick Conway, Kit Holmes, Mike Kemp, Mary Louise, Elliott Rogers, Ashley and Nathan Brown. (Hmm… I just thanked me.)
To Billy and Dodee Crockett, who own Blue Rock Artist Ranch and Studio, what you have done for me, but also the music world of Texas and well beyond, is—and many will agree—incalculable.
Along the way, this album grew into something more than I’d hoped for. A tremendous amount of work, talent, and love went into it. And now, nearing the end of the project, I’m more proud of it than I ever expected to be. Alas, however, to make all this happen has required, and now requires more of, a budget that I simply do not have.
So, I ask you to join us in the cause to help make possible the mastering, final product, and eventual promotion of this long-time-coming and hard-earned dream of The Streets of San Miguel.