Cover – Elvis Costello’s “Lipstick Vogue”

New posts coming soon! In the meantime, take a look at my latest release!

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Free Album – The Blind Watchmaker

I’m about to release my new album on May 21. For those of you who happen to read this blog, I’m attaching the youtube links for free streaming of the instrumental track which makes up the vast majority of the album.

If you like it and wish to support, my Patreon can be found at https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2526738 along with a download of the full, unsegmented track

Playing the Changes

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The music, once lifeblood, is wallpaper now.

Distraction packaged to a T. No more introspection.  No more grand concepts to espouse. Where once we found a wellspring of honest communication, a power for true consciousness raising, an untainted form of collaborative self-expression, now we see these things collapsed and eclipsed by the weight of ego and braggadocio.

Somewhere, there was a change. The true talent of expression has given way to the vapid skill of claiming talent at expression. Have we gone so far down the rabbit hole that we are willing to accept this as our escape from the world? Does the call for shallow entertainment carry further than the call for meaning?

Deaf, dumb, and blind, the children dance to rhythm without reason, and rhyme to meet a word count. Futile exercises in formula. Mindlessness. It’s hard to speak wisdom when appealing to the masses. It’s hard to pull the weeds from the garden when you’re sitting on the fence. Still, what’s good to sell is good to buy, and what’s easier to sell than the surface?

We stand close enough to the canvas to see the finer strokes, but not the bigger picture.

The middlemen are multiplying. It’s getting harder to make out the voice of an artist among the others squabbling for position in his work. Platforms are sold according to expected outcomes, and advertisements bring more revenue than human beings.

It’s the coldest kind of war. The separation of life from life. And those who sell the mortar want to build the walls.

In consequence, only marketable beauty is allowed the privilege of generating art. So much for being made of star-stuff, as it turns out, you need to look the part. When you rely on the promotion of others, you need to play the game by their rules. No biting the hand that feeds you.

Short of some cultural revolution, it’s nothing more than a waiting game now. We’ll lack the means to fight the fight when there’s no one left to show us how. And one by one, the men and women who used to lead the way fade away.

When our daughters and our sons have been diluted, then maybe we’ll decide to make a difference. And even now we gamble on the fact that our hindsight will remain just good enough to remember how. To protect innocence.

Meanwhile, we continue to buy these lies. Cheap at the price of the true artist’s livelihood.

Stars are born. Hope dies.

The bottom line is the bottom line.

 

Poem – “One Day”

One day, a man with no allegiance shooed the songbirds from the trees.

One day, a priest with no religion shunned his flock to wear his fleece.

And in one day, everything had changed.

 

The victims were saddled with blame, as if by sleight of hand.

And those who were more equal than others grew fat from the land

At the expense of the man who once gave a damn.

 

Great desperation makes sweeter the call of the dice.

And blind indignation breeds hatred between you and I.

 

And one man couldn’t change a thing.

So one million men didn’t change a thing.

 

Poem – “Hiding in the Forest”

 

Life lies in the minds of mortal men

 

I etch my thoughts onto paper

Hearts carved into trees by a young lover

Pressing myself into the world

 

Until all of me is secreted in my writing

Life as an idea in the mind of another

 

I commit myself to paper

Like a child, I hide in the forest

And as long as I can speak to other hearts and minds

I live forever

 

In the end, we are more fragile than paper

A simple sentence can hold its worth longer than we can hope for ourselves

Some of us will change the world

for the simple sake of being remembered

 

But time heals even the cuts of paper

Eternity is finite too

And with no minds left to hold ideas

They fade, as we do

 

Words without meaning

A universe without eyes

Existence without perception

All for nothing

 

Poem – “Public Consumption”

 

If this is your calling, you’d best stop this fuss

You haven’t the time. It’s a spent luxury

Exhale for luck. Odds are for supper

Evens supplies for the next work to be

 

The painter who hangs on the wall for a change

Sees Darwinist nature in sharper relief

While the young art collector, the market projector

Determines his fate with a glimpse of his teeth

 

She’s an unfaithful mistress

Unshakeable sickness

She’ll enrich your life and paint you a clown

You’ll gain traction with charm

But right now

Her arms are holding you

Down

 

If you must take the chance, put your shoes on to dance

You must play the game or be lost in the noise

And if fashion desires, you’ll stay for a while

Losing your passion as you serve with the boys.

 

And you may find it strange, as they move into range

The audience turns on the fool at the feast

At the end of the day, something’s got to hang

You may as well make it a canvas, at least

Joe Walsh’s All-Rosewood Neck Stratocaster

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Joe Walsh has often been seen with this instrument. It has toured with him and the Eagles, and perhaps most infamously, was his guitar of choice for the “Strat Pack” concert at Wembley, an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stratocaster in 2004.

Rumours about this Strat abound on the internet, but Alan Rogan, guitar tech to Joe, Pete Townshend, George Harrison, and the Rolling Stones among many, was stage manager for the Strat Pack concert, and gave an interview to Guitar and Bass Classics magazine, where the had this to say about the Strat:

“Joe likes the sound that rosewood gives… It’s very different from the usual maple. It’s really hard, so I had it refretted with Joe’s preferred frets, which are higher than normal so he can get under the string.

At first we had the neck on a ’54 reissue body, but now he’s put it on an Eric Clapton body and it’ll probably stay there, because it’s really working out. It’s from the Fender custom shop, and the pickups are noiseless.”

So there you are. For those still wondering about the origin of the instrument, it is a Rosewood neck from a ’54 reissue (something like the one pictured below), on a Clapton body.

Rosewood Neck Jason Smith MB full casevlcsnap-2017-08-20-22h05m11s164