On The Day…

Today so many of us remember where we were 20 years ago. Those of us not in NYC, or Arlington, Virginia or a field in Pennsylvania glued to our TVs or radios. I couldn’t seem to get out of my car in front of my Austin office at Antone’s Records. Not the kind of “driveway moment” NPR is famous for.  Old school desktops wouldn’t load CNN. For good or bad, we couldn’t watch the destruction in real time. Our boss, shaken, “OK, back to work.” Really? There is no back to work. There is no, back to anything. That afternoon, or was it evening, members of our US Congress emerged onto the Capital steps. What I remember is them, all of them, holding hands and singing, “God Bless America.”

We live in divided times. We lived in divided times. Less than a year earlier throngs of news media camped out (literally) outside Austin’s Governor’s mansion awaiting the results of the contested 2000 Gore vs Bush election. Hanging Chads and all. Democrats and Republics were not BFFs. Some felt, perhaps, an election had been stolen. All that to say, the sight, the sound of our leaders, dropping their weapons and singing oursong – together. THAT sticks to me.

The next day, with that scene in my head, this song poured out of me. A few weeks later I recorded it with Matt Hubbard at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales studio. And later that year, recording another version with Austin producers Chris Gage and Christine Albert, roping in my Antone’s Records buddy, the incredible Miss Lavelle White.

I am one of the fortunate not to have lost a loved one on 9/11/01. I ache for my fellow citizens. Their names are being read today from a podium by those left behind. A little girl knights an uncle she never met, as her guardian angel. I am yet again glued to the images coming from lower Manhattan this morning, and the gravel of Bruce Springsteen singing “For death is not the end. I’ll see you in my dreams.” Thank you, Bruce.  Clintons, Obamas, Bidens, firefighters, police, standing in silence with the rest of us, all of America surrounding them. (And the Bush family in Shanksville) All of us. Together.

I share in the collective trauma of our country. Writing is my avenue to get out the feels. “On the Day (September 11, 2001)” is my grieving and honoring space. It’s been played and sung in classrooms, universities, community memorials over the years to offer a reflective space.

However you grieve, or honor, or mark this day, those moments… However you find solace, bring peace, reflect, and conjure spiritual recovery… May you do so.

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The making of “Can’t Take My Heart”

I’m a songwriter. And sometimes songs come out of me and it’s not quite what I intended, but what the song demanded. A few years ago a song came to me. One of my good friend’s battle with cancer took a turn for the worse. This followed several other friends having run ins with cancer and my beloved aunt having died from it years before. The song that came to me was –  “FU Cancer!”. Continue reading

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INDI ROCKS! BENEFIT CONCERT 9/14, 1-5pm Old Dog Tavern, Kalamazoo

Hello Friends!

I am helping to raise support for my 7-month old friend, Indi Stroven – She’s the miraculous, awesome daughter of our dear friends Jen & Chris Stroven, who was born at 2.5 lbs. with multiple challenges that required her to stay in NICU for 5 months. She still has several surgeries and care taking needs in her future and we are trying to help cover some of these expenses through a number of fundraising efforts:

1. The INDI ROCKS! BENEFIT CONCERT at Old Dog Tavern in Kalamazoo, MI on Sunday, September 14th from 1-5pm.  Indi Rocks Benefit Concert 9/14This family friendly concert (w/kids activities) will include some of Michigan’s top bands: The Red Sea Pedestrians, The Corn Fed Girls, and Red Tail Ring. John Austin and I will play a set as well! (Suggested Donation: $25 adult / $5 kids). Check out the Facebook evite!

2. GoFundMe site: And you can buy advance tickets (real or virtual for you out of town folks) and donate to the cause at the Fundraising Website: http://www.gofundme.com/indirocks

3. Silent Auction:  Participate in the Silent Auction that will be posted in advance at the GoFundMe site soon!

And though she be but little, she is fierce!” – William Shakespeare 

More Information about the Cause:

As a community, we have witnessed Jen and Chris Stroven celebrate great triumphs and endure perilous tribulations during the last couple of years. From Jen being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, and that limiting her ability to carry a child safely, to Chris’ amazing niece stepping forward to be their gestational carrier. And this year, their miracle baby Indi was born. 

However, this blessing came with significant challenges. Indi was born 10 weeks early at 2 lbs. 5 ounces, and was also diagnosed with VACTERL association, a constellation of birth defects requiring multiple surgeries and ongoing medical interventions. As a result, Indi spent her first five months of life in the NICU, an hour from the Stroven’s home. 

Through it all, Jen and Chris have been brave and resilient and have taken each challenge head on. They are so deeply loved by us all; our fantastic community has rallied around them with love and support, offering prayers, meals, and care for Indi’s big sister Mia, and more. 

And yet, there remains a growing financial burden. We would like to help offset the debt they have incurred (from hospital bills, travel expenses, childcare and the like), and help them prepare for future expenses. 

We hope to see you there and thank you for your support! 
The Stroven Friend Network



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THIS Thursday, 8/14 7pm: Lamb’s Songwriter’s Showcase, Jackson, MI



THIS Thursday, 8/14 7pm: Lamb’s Jackson Songwriter’s Showcase, Weatherwax Hall, Jackson Symphony Orchestra, 215 W. Michigan Ave., Jackson, MIThrilled to share the stage with these amazing songwriters: Drew Nelson, Ralston Bowles, Emily Rose and our host, the incredible John D. Lamb! AND what a great venue (Weatherwax Hall) in Jackson, MI. Hope you can come!

Jackson Showcase 8-14-14

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