Stand over there

From my Album “The Things I Hear”

My wife and I were in St. Louis on the way home from a two-week vacation. We decided to stop at a restaurant before heading home. While we were waiting for a table, another couple approached the restaurant. The guy gruffly said to the lady, “I’m going in to see how long it will take.”

The lady replied, “Should I wait here?”

The guy looked around at the ground, pointed to a spot about 5 feet away, and said, “Stand over there.” The lady just walked to that spot and waited.

It sounds like it might be a comical moment, but in reality it looked abusive and controlling, and it pissed me off. I pictured their future, and the lady standing up for herself and leaving that loser, and it led to this song, and the song title.

Arborvitae in the Wild

In 2013, Janelle and I were driving the 14 hours or so to Montgomery, Alabama, Janelle said, “look at all the wild arborvitae!” We drove in silence for about 45 minutes, then out of the blue, she sang out at the top of her lungs, “ARBORVITAES IN THE WIIIIIIIIILD!!!!” I told her it was an amazing imitation of Eddie Murphy imitating James Brown.

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Guess We Dig – Matthew Bennett

My wife and I were traveling, and we decided to visit Memphis. We parked at a lot by the river on Beale Street. As we walked through the lot towards the river, we passed three guys standing in hardhats, and I heard a conversation that stuck with me, and I’m not even sure why. I don’t know what they were talking about, but the conversation was kinda cool.

Worker #1: Where is it?

Worker #2: I don’t know.

Worker #1: Well then how are we going to find it?

Worker #2: I don’t know.

Worker #3: Guess we dig.

Quora: How do I choose chords or scales to make people feel specific emotions ?

clef-799259_960_720There is no mathematic formula for this part of the art of composing music. But it’s also so subjective because different people feel different things. What are some songs that make you feel moved? Study those songs. Which chord changes in those songs felt the most powerful to you? It’s not a crime to write songs with those changes. Nobody has a copyright on any chord structure.

You are asking us to tell you which chord changes make you feel emotion, but we don’t know which changes do that for you. Only you do. Study good songwriting, but also study the songs that move you. Learn them inside and out. Which chord inversions are your favorite songs using? Moving from a Bm to a C might not be powerful to you if both are in root position. But if the Bm is in 2nd inversion and it moves to a C major in 1st inversion, you may feel a burst of emotion. There’s no telling what chords will move which people.

I’m glad you’re searching for an answer. Remember that any art is just a series of corrections. So if you are having a hard time finding the notes or chords, then you are getting closer to an answer, because each time you try something you are eliminating things that don’t work.

You have my best wishes in your journey – find what moves you.

Traveling West – day 17 and 18, the end game

She's too young for a mirror selfie, so I did it for her.
She’s too young for a mirror selfie, so I did it for her.

Day 17 (June 17) – Cheyenne, WY to Des Moines, IA (652 Miles). Finally out of the mountains and into the flatlands. As nervous as the mountains made me, I’d rather have the scenery and excitement than the boredom that hit me driving through Nebraska and Iowa. There was some amazingly safe driving going on in these states, but myself and others, but the boredom was incredible.


Janelle, letting me sleep.
Janelle, letting me sleep.

Day 18 – Des Moines, IA to Erie, PA (765 Miles) HOME! It was a great trip and we saw some friends, and I’m no longer scared of another trip west, because I have been indoctrinated into mountain driving.

So there it is.

Our trip there:Screen Shot 2015-07-04 at 1.15.21 PM

Our trip home:

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5504 miles plus just over 300 miles of driving around towns and such, 5800 mile journey total.

It is hard to drive home after an experience like that. Somewhere in Idaho, I started getting sad our trip was coming to a close. But it’s nice to get home.

Off to the Rodeo!!!

IMG_1497-ANIMATIONOn July 3rd (2015), my country music band played after the rodeo that took place Hickory Creek Wilderness Ranch & Campground in Tidioute, Pennsylvania. I haven’t played music at a Rodeo since the late 90’s, and back then I didn’t pay attention to things the way I do now.

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Chris_LeDoux_promo_photoThere is one story that stays with me from the 90’s, though, and it involves Chris LeDoux. Broncos, a bar in Alliance, OH hosted a rodeo every year. We had an in because we played Broncos bar several times a year.

So we were the opening act for LeDoux after the rodeo, and our bass player got word to us that his wife went into labor and he wouldn’t be coming (pre-cell phone days for all of us!). This was a huge show for us, and we were contemplating what to do. The bar was closed, and the crowd was outside, so the only people inside were my band (Coyote Joe) and Chris LeDoux and his crew. His bass player heard us talking, and came over and said he’d be glad to help us out. It was a pretty fun time, and I’ll always remember how cool it felt at that time of my life to be playing with this musician. When I was young I didn’t really pay attention to detail, so I never got his name. Sad.

Moving forward to the July 3rd rodeo:

I was able to learn a lot at this rodeo, much of it was interesting: (All of these names are made up for my benefit. I don’t think they rodeo clowns “clowns” anymore, but who has time to do accurate research?)

The Riders: The riders are crazy insane. They have to ride a bull for as long as they can. 8 seconds is the goal, and not too many of them made it. But even if they scored big, they were still going to get thrown. Nobody can ride a bucking bull. 

The Clowns:  The clowns are crazy insane. Their job is to make the bull chase after them after the rider falls, so the rider can get away, off the field. If your job is to make a bull chase you, you are crazy insane. Life is hard enough without getting a job like that. 

The Horseman: The man on the horse is crazy insane. If the clowns can’t get the bull, or the bull runs off in another direction, the horseman chases the bull and ropes him, and pulls him back to where he’s supposed to be. But on Friday night I saw this guy get in some pretty hairy situations being chased by a bull as well. 

The Timer: This guy is just a little bit crazy, because he stands on the field with a timer to time the riders – how long they stay on the bull. He’s not crazy insane – he’s close the fence, he can get away pretty quickly. But his job is still inside the ring with an angry bull. 

All jesting aside, this seems to be difficult job, and these guys were the hardest workers I’ve ever seen in my life. They had to constantly move, they were good at their jobs, and they fearlessly took on dangerous animals.

(My pics were all taken with an iPhone, at night, against bright lights – it was the only place I could see, or I would have looked for better shooting conditions.)