Parents who use kids against another parent

 

A parent who uses a child against the other parent should be strictly corrected somehow.

*Im trying hard to dedicate my social media outlets to music promotion, but many of you know my hatred of bullying and my praise for parents who are not together anymore, yet are decent human beings and choose to co-parent properly for the children's sake. So from time to time you may hear these types of posts as well.

A parent who talks badly about the other parent in front of their child should be ashamed and called out.

Ex-husbands and Ex-wives if the both of you are sincerely trying to love and care for your children, do NOT make it hard on the other parent to be present and involved.

There's a reason you're not together anymore. Remember it, but don't keep your children from knowing the loving arms of the other parent if they are choosing to be there.

Oh, and a huge side note: If you're gonna label yourself a "godly parent" and act like you're on some faithful daily pathway to heaven, be sure your private nasty words and messages are not being logged, saved and recorded. That shit will prove the real you while your Facebook page and Sunday morning hand raising says something totally different. That's disgusting and you're a huge part of an eternal problem.

Thanks for reading. Just be good to one another. Love your kids, encourage them, build them up and stop being assholes to one another.

Your kids will thank you someday.

JVC

 

A nut shell view of my life

 

A Nut Shell View Of My Life:

I was bullied for years in school as a child while teachers and bus drivers did nothing to protect me.

Where are those big bad bullies now?

I’ve broken free from years of religious fanaticism and I respect all humans in their personal interests and searching for possible origin and purpose.

I’ve been married and divorced three times, accept my good and bad parts of each AND choose to be friendly with my previous partners (as we are all different people now).

Through it all I refused to be dishonest and I’ve told hard truths to people that deserved nothing less along the way.

I kept two jobs between the ages of 15 and 39 in various fields of sales, service and entertainment.

I’ve been told several times I would never make it as a career artist.

I’ve raised two amazing sons and continue to watch them grow into smart, focused young men.

I am not the most knowledgeable musician and I want to learn so much more, but I knew that music would never be only a hobby.

Nothing stood in my way and I chased my dream.

CHASE YOURS.

Stay close to people who lift you up and encourage who and what you authentically are.

STAY AWAY FROM THE OPPOSITE.

WHEN YOU FALL,  get up.  Keep moving.

I have NO regrets because all of this is making me the man I’m still growing to be and I’ve learned SELF WORTH, SELF RESPECT AND SELF CONFIDENCE as a result.  How could I ever give the same to others had I not first found it myself?

People will come into and out of your lives for different reasons and periods of time.
Accept that they will not all be like you (and they will not all LIKE you).
It’s ok.
Keep moving.


I have no right to TELL YOU what you should or should not do.  I can only tell you my story with words and music.

I hope this “nut shell” view of my life encourages YOU today.
EMBRACE what feels natural.  
BE WHO YOU ARE.

James Vincent Carroll, 2016

 

So I'm 41 today...

 

So I'm 41 today... and I've never felt so happy, at peace, accomplished and ALIVE. I can't even begin to list all of the changes I've gone through personally over the years and I'm not even sure the old me and the new me would get along very well, but one thing is for certain: I do not regret one step in the journey to here. I spent too many years living under the direction and influence of a system of beliefs being taught and followed by good people who were just as brainwashed as I was and I've never felt more free being far away from it all. Still I'm glad I made good and bad choices along the way and every single experience was making me the man I would grow to be. The best thing I've done through it all? I've been, am and always will be one of the best fathers on the planet. Period. Once I heard an angry religious man say that good fathers stay in the home regardless of the state of the relationship between the parents. I've called bullshit on that all my life. People change and I refuse to remain in any toxic relationship and allow my kids to grow up in a fake home life. I spent many years watching families look and act one way on Sunday mornings and then be completely different the rest of the time. I believe in peace, love, romance, friendship and intimacy in a solid relationship and I damn sure would not want my boys growing up in a home where mom and dad yelled at one another, discouraged one another and were totally unhappy with one another. I've always been honest with my kids. Life can get hard, people can and do fall out of the love the fell into if they do not nourish the relationship. People should also never, ever want to change the person they claim to adore. We are who we are. Friends and aquaintences have come and gone as well. Some relationships are seasonal, temporary. As we all learn, grow and change- so will the people we associate with. Real friends will always be around- even if months pass with silence we will pick up where we left off with no hard feelings. I'm ok with blowing in the wind like a leaf and living where I land. I love my traveling life living out of a suitcase and a van. Here's to 41 more!

 

Simple and uplifting thoughts from me to you

 
*The following was taken from my facebook page...
Simple and uplifting thoughts from me to you on this book of faces where anger, hatred, political/religious opinionated soapbox rants do rage on:
If someone discourages, belittles and hurts you in life, leave them behind while you move forward.
If you don't like, support and/or approve of someone's posts and views on your friend's list, unfollow/delete/block them (even if it's me).
If you don't know the entire story/details behind your "views and/or beliefs", be careful of putting a label on yourself (you may be asked to defend/explain yourself and not be able to). I put a label on myself for too many years. It feels way better to be free and simply human (if I don't KNOW, I'm perfectly happy with confessing that which I do not KNOW).
If you don't like a radio station, turn it.
If you don't like a specific grocery store, don't shop there.
If you don't approve of someone's lifestyle choices... Easy... Don't hang out with them- but please, also don't lash out at them (don't be an asshole sums a lot of this up).
If you have hate and anger in your heart already, you will naturally lace it with whatever political, religious and/or corporate brainwashing you've been led by others in your lifetime to believe... And I am truly sorry for that because before any of that there was... Humanity.
Focus on what we all have in common (and there is SO much!).
I leave you with these thoughts AND the lyrics to two songs that could have and still could change the world... "Imagine and Let It Be".
Imagine there's no heaven It's easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today... Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace... You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people Sharing all the world... You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one***
**When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me Speaking words of wisdom, let it be And in my hour of darkness She is standing right in front of me Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, let it be. And when the broken hearted people Living in the world agree, There will be an answer, let it be. For though they may be parted there is Still a chance that they will see There will be an answer, let it be.Let it be, let it be. Yeah There will be an answer, let it be. And when the night is cloudy,There is still a light that shines on me, Shine on until tomorrow, let it be. I wake up to the sound of music Mother Mary comes to me Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. Let it be, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be. Let it be, let it be, Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
 

Another social media rant

 

*This was taken from a facebook post I made recently:

I learned something valuable from a conversation with a friend and wanted to share it with my fan base to hopefully relieve many of un-needed, self induced anger, stress and worry. Regarding individual social media posts about anything that one chooses to promote, support, believe, disbelieve, etc. How many years have magazines, books and newspapers been publicly sold in book stores and newsstands? How many years have movies been released to the big screens and to our homes via redbox, Netflix and other outlets? Out of all those news, entertainment and artistic sources they all have one thing in common for sure... They are are someone else's opinion, translation or publication and WE do not all subscribe to them all. My point this morning for myself and others is simply that if you are friends or acquaintances with somebody on the social media outlets, you do not have to follow their pages in order to be connected to them. Many of my friends and acquaintances post things that I do not agree with or that I have no interest in seeing, however I still have an interest in staying connected to them for other reasons such as family, get-togethers or promotion of their business or my own. On the same note I have said many times that I appreciate everyone's support and that I know how much I promote music on social media so if people want to un-follow my page, I encourage them to do so and that way if they want to see where I am going to be playing music they can actually access my social media outlets or my website at their own desire to do so. Remember that there was once upon a time something called friends before Facebook. Here on social media we can post and should post whatever we decide to because it has been given to us in order to do so. Social media can help us connect with others that see things the way we do or don't and THAT is okI learned a long time ago that I have no reason to try to persuade anyone to think a certain way. I have grown to enjoy letting people be who they are and having discussions about our differences is something I enjoy as well. So today I would say to all of you if you have people on your social media outlets that you need to un-follow, do it (even if it's me). The people that mean most to you and your life you will see on a personal level daily, weekly or monthly basis anyway. If you don't like a movie, don't watch it. If you don't like a certain style of music, don't listen to it. If you don't want to read a book, don't read it. If you don't like certain food, don't eat it. If you don't like someone's posts on social media, don't subscribe to them. It's easy. Focus instead on getting to know yourself, love yourself and except yourself better daily. This world is full of people that are completely different from one another and I personally think that is a beautiful thing. I hope this message brings many a little bit more freedom today! Smile, laugh, enjoy this life and it's resources.

 

South Port, Oak Island and living each moment

 

My lady and I set out on yet another journey to the coast of NC where we are most certain we will end up someday sooner than later as a “home base” while I travel the various highways of the USA.

We arrived in South Port, NC sunday afternoon where my father personally escorted us into town.
Instead of taking the “tour van” we hitched up a trailer and took my harley down for the week to get some wind time in with dad and I loaded my little car down with music gear, bags and a cooler for some much desired beach time with my beauty and an old friend.

We checked in to the River Side Motel (one of my favorites) and went over to The Fishy Fishy Cafe to setup for the evening performance.

We were greeted at Fishy Fishy by a lady named Marci who made us feel welcome before we even got there.

The staff there was friendly and acted like they were happy to have jobs (imagine that).

Once I did a quick sound check I looked up to see not a few…but at least 10 people who had driven down to South Port FROM the Winston Salem area to spend the evening with me!  Talk about a good feeling!!

After giving some hugs and talking a bit I looked up to see two more folks from the Elkin area walking in who did NOT even know I was going to be there!  We had been friends WAY back years ago and had to catch up.  They stayed all night and added to the evening’s already great energy.

The music was especially important to me that night because my Dad was there.

I hand selected each song JUST for him (or because he had once introduced those selections to me as a child).

The 5pm start time quickly turned into 9:30pm when after only one short break (I usually take two) I had to stop playing just to have time to clean up the stage, talk to more folks and leave the venue.

The crowd was more than generous in purchasing my new album and my darling life partner’s jewelry and crafts.  Kimberly and I looked at one another with amazement at how all the people wished to speak with us and asked WHEN were “we” coming back!  The answer to that by the way is Labor Day, Sep 7th, 2015 (and I will be performing in Wilmington the night of the 6th as well).

Needless to say we both slept very well that night.

The next morning we awoke very early, had coffee and took a walk along the river side.
We talked ONLY of how connected we felt and how “at home” we could be in this place.

Around 10am I heard the rumble of my Dad’s Harley as he pulled up to the motel to meet us and lead us on a half day ride along the coast of Caswell Beach and Oak Island (two more favorites of mine).

We made some stops, talked to some locals and had lunch (taking a few pics along the way)… then we said goodbye for now.

The next day was spent at Oak Island Pier with one of my oldest friends in the world (someone I met in pre-school and went through elementary AND high school together).  We had a blast at the beach and of coarse got a little too much sun, but it was worth it.

This life I’ve gravitated towards is more than I ever dreamed it would be.

I am so thankful that I never signed any record deals or got “famous” so that I could enjoy every moment of this musical journey played to my own tune.

All you folks who love what I do?  All you who show up time and again at all the shows?  YOU ARE PIECES OF MY OWN PUZZLE and without you it would not be complete.

I can’t wait to total up how many performances I will have done from Jan to Dec of 2015, but I CAN tell you that as of today there are ALREADY 82 CONFIRMED dates in 2016 and I have no plans of slowing down.

Once my oldest son moves on from high school I will be looking for a new home base and I do believe it will be somewhere near, around, in (or very much like) South Port and Oak Island, NC.

As I grow older I hope to perform more on the NC Coastline sharing my classic rock tribute and original songs every step of the way.

Thank you….ALL…..  for being WHO you are and making this all possible.

Cheers!

James

 

 

 

Camp Ground Music, People being human and together

 

I have a few days off and this morning with coffee I am reflecting on the last few days out on the life I call "the road" and how amazing it all was.

Friday night's show at Lake Myers R V Resort​ was EXACTLY why I do what I do.
There were too many people to count in the crowd and they ALL loved the music.
Instead of everyone looking down at phones or kids crying out from boredom, they were ALL up dancing, singing with me, smiling and living life together!
The adults and kids... were ALL together.  They paid attention to the music, to my song selection.  They sang along with the classic rock greats AND... they LOVED my original songs!

ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE.  ALL TOGETHER.  NO ONE TRYING TO CHANGE THE OTHER...  JUST...  being WHO they are and LIVING life.

Local artist Sam Foster​ played a powerful set during my break and I've never seen him posses so much confidence.  The crowd sang every song with him too.

It was a night to remember AND a night I hope to see MANY MANY more of on this full time journey of music I am on.

The managers and staff at the place were super PRO.  They were kind, respectful and constantly asking if my lady and I needed food, drinks, anything!

We got a personal GOLF CART TOUR of the camp ground and she and I both are pretty sure that's the kind of "life" we are headed towards over the next few years.

Making music, art, love, friends, connections.... on the road together living as small and simply as we can :)

Thank you Patrick Brooks​ and Anna Miller​ for the hospitality and experience!

We can't wait to return AND I hope to do performances at all your other camp ground networks in 2016!!

 

Love Revolution (Part One)

 

I wonder... If every Republican and Democrat and christian and atheist and everyone else in this world that likes to give themselves a title... Would simply begin to worry about and love themselves... And not try to spend their time changing everybody that believes or thinks differently than they do... Would this world then begin to live in complete peace because we recognize we are all different because of the way we are raised and brought up to believe or think? Instead of trying to change everybody and trying to impose our personal views on everybody else we could actually learn to live with each other in this world that has been around for SO many years... Regardless of what color we are, what nationality we are, what gender we are, who we choose to love... We could simply learn to appreciate one another's differences and find interest in the same... And not worry about each other being different but celebrated instead... Could this planet then find peace? Could Facebook and every other media outlet not be laden with rebel flags, rainbow flags, racist remarks and the like? What if we were to realize that we are not being told the whole truth to begin with? What if we were to realize that our leaders are not actually our leaders? What if we were to realize that someone else behind the scenes controls every bit of it? Politics, religion, media… Every bit of it... What if I am wrong? What if I am right? What if those last two questions pertain to us all? What if we were all completely honest and confessed the fact that we do not know the truth? Could we then decide to celebrate one another's differences and learn from one another? Could we then agree that ALL lives matter? Not just human lives but even animal lives… I have met enough human beings to know that most animals have more right to life than they do (even the deer that almost killed me and my lady last year in October on my Harley). What if… we all decided to not follow a man-made way of looking at things? What if we decided to be human? To be real? To not worry what family or friends or a religious organization thought about us? What if we decided on 100% complete peace and love? I choose to follow this idea. I choose to call it a love revolution. I choose to dedicate my life and my music to this very idea. I don't care what you or I have been taught, what we have been led to believe, or what we have been told is the truth… rather I challenge everyone of you and myself to discover what our very human heart and soul tells us is right. Once we have realized the simplicity of being human… I encourage us all to share it with everyone we possibly can. Just… Be… Yourselves and share peace, love, encouragement, patience, life... With one another and try your best to ignore and shake off the lies you're being told. Thank U all for years of support.

 

Morning coffee and recent events

 

Morning coffee thoughts... My life long friends and current friends are the best a man could ask for.

Many of them do not believe the same things I do. Many of them have more (or less) knowledge of politics, religious history and other "modern issues" than I do, yet NONE of us try to change one another.

In fact, I enjoy our differences and it makes real conversation interesting.

I'm not talking about "Facebook friends".

I'm talking about real ones.

Still yet- my Facebook friends and real friends have something very important in common; we are all human beings.

Some of our pictures are covered in rainbows and/or flags. Some of our pictures display our kids or mates. Some of our pictures display cars, motorcycles or our favorite musician.

All of our pictures are reflections of who we are and that... Is ok.

This week I've heard the word "offense" more than I ever have.

I'm not easily offended for several reasons, but mainly because I don't carry offense in my heart to begin with so when I hear or see things that I may not (yet) agree with I just think about it... Or I don't... Or- I simply don't give a shit.

I love my friends.
I love that we are all different, yet the same.

I hope these words inspire those of you who are "deleting friends" from Facebook to know it's also ok to delete them from your real life. Not everyone will like... Everyone, but you can also "unfollow" people on Facebook which means they are still in your cyber world, yet you do not see their ongoing posts about what they are passionate about (just as you and I post what we are passionate about). I've "unfollowed" many, many people in my real world as well and I feel great for it.

I'm a peaceful dude for sure.

Keep your eyes and ears open. Don't be so easily distracted by what is posted on the book of faces. I assure you there is SO much more going on that you and I have NO clue about or will ever even be allowed to find the truth about.

Simply stated... Just be and do and love YOU and leave everyone else to do the same. Watch your own world begin to become brighter and more positive.

 

Leave people alone and just DO YOU

 

Make decisions for yourself and your family. Believe what you want to believe. Do what works for you. Do what makes you happy and peaceful. Don't push those things on others or expect others to feel like you do about it all. Just- simply- be you, love you, take care of you and when it comes to other people that are different than you... Leave them alone and like the Beatles sang... "Let it be". I assure you- the more you let go of concern for others and focus on making your life and the life of your immediate circle better- you will find the same peace I've found after 40 years of searching and trying different "plans, beliefs, views, etc.". Just... Be... You. True peace to everyone and goodnight.

 

The Book of James Chapter One (my personal review)

 

My first studio album since 2006 is finished.

We started this process in April of 2014 and finished in March of 2015.

This is the first of FOUR “chapters” and are all songs I wrote taken from notes in my hand written journals over the years (with a few co-writes with Doug Davis and Sam Henley).

I recorded this album to be listened to from the first song to the last song.  

I believe in clear vocals, big group background vocals, bass guitar that sounds like bass guitar, electric guitars that are not over processed, yet very gritty and raw, and drums that sounds like real drums.

I believe in writing lyrics that actually mean something.  

I believe in a song that tells a story of something that truly happened to me or someone else.  

I miss the days of waiting for an album to come out from a favorite band so that I could unwrap the plastic and listen to side one (then get up and physically turn the record over to start side two) with anticipation or open a compact disc case or cassette tape case just to smell the new ink print and READ the notes inside.  Back then we had to spend TIME with our albums and truly LISTEN to them.  These days it's all about what's "free" or the current "hit download".  I am not opposed to downloads (in fact you can download my music at bandcamp, itunes, amazon and more), BUT I am a believer in buying a physical album and listening to each song, IN THE ORDER THE ARTIST PLACED THEM ON THE ALBUM...for a reason.

My personal review of these first 7 songs?  I love them like adopted children.
I can hear my breath between verses and the sound of my fingers slide across the acoustic guitar strings.
I can hear my voice crack from many nights of singing all those songs I didn’t write from the depths of my soul.
Corky’s drum style is SPOT ON.  He played exactly what needed to be played while Jerry Chapman (a fellow artist turned friend over the years played the bass guitar parts to hold hand with the drums as they should.
Sam Henley (who co-wrote “getting over you” with me) totally NAILS DOWN the lead guitar part of that same song with a melodic rock SOLO (yes there are guitar solos on my records) that makes me do the “stank face” and hold up both my hands forming the “for those about to rock we salute you devil horns” with NO APOLOGIES at all.
Susan Snow jumped in on two songs at the last minute (thank you dear) and added the most perfect ghostly, chilling background vocal harmonies to two songs- “late night lies” and “liars and lawyers” and now I have to listen to the chorus parts of both those songs over and over as I’ve realized I am now addicted to Snow’s voice (she’s a kick ass singer/songwriter AND a true human being.
All that being said… leads me to Mr. Doug Davis…  who was at the “wheel” on this entire process.
Doug was there when I brought the songs into his studio as acoustic demos.  He listened to “me” and guided me into making a record that I always wanted to make.  He then recorded this record with patience, dedication and love as if it was his own album.  He allowed me to record a song he wrote “liars and lawyers” and we put my own classic rock spin on it.  He played all kinds of instruments on this record as ONLY he could play (the way I wanted it to sound) including electric guitars, bass, piano, organ and layers of background vocals on top on my own (or the “wall of doug” as he calls it) and I could NOT be happier, more satisfied and pleased.

Many will hear this album and think how it could sound this way or that way, but it sounds like me and a band of local musicians with true soul, emotion and desire walked into a studio and played some rock and roll with real instruments, smiles on our faces and love for one another and the craft in our souls.  THAT is a good record and THAT is what I do.  This world can take that over produced, soulless, non lyrical, money making, big machine, corporate “music” and keep it far away from those of us who still desire to KNOW…  MUSIC.

If you have never heard me before, I hope you hear this album first before any other piece of music I’ve ever released.

If you have heard me over the years, I hope you will…  HEAR ME for the FIRST time on this album.

My journey has been a long one.

Writing, performing and recording since I was… 15 years old.

Years of experiences, lessons, relationships, marriages, divorces, blood, sweat, tears, finding and losing myself, yet finding my true self just before age 40 and being happier and more focused than ever before.

Do I regret my path to here?  Do I apologize for any of it?  Only if sweet, kind people were somehow hurt in the crossfire of my own chaos along the way, BUT NOT FOR BEING ME, FOR BEING REAL, AUTHENTIC, HONEST AND HUMAN.

That is what THIS album is about.

It’s more than my best and it took over a year to complete due to schedules and finances.

Thank you to all the folks that helped me by buying shirts, pre-ordering CD’s and coming to the shows.  Every little bit helped.  With no investors or “record company” I continue to do it ALL… alone, yet not alone…  because of YOU, my fellow family, friends, fans and supporters.
Get ready.  I am about to do it all AGAIN for the initial stages of recording and producing “Chapter Two”.  The songs are already written.  Now to the grindstone.

Onward we march, Mr. Davis!

James Vincent Carroll, June 2015

 

Zeppelin, Real Music and Stuff...

 

Love them or hate them- for me, there's NOTHING like the songs, melodies, arrangements and general FEEL of old Led Zeppelin albums. The band bouncing off each other's energies (and drugs I'm sure) BUT certainly FEELING each moment, each note... to make songs that would go on to inspire future generations of real rock bands...forever (including this little small town song writer and cover song performer). One of my favorite albums is "houses of the holy" where you hear them at their peak (in my opinion) - drums that "sound" like NOTHING, but Zeppelin. Acoustic guitar tracks that sound like acoustic guitars. Bass guitar tracks that don't sound like Nickelback or any other over processed modern band. Vocals from Robert Plant that were more than likely recorded without much practice, rehearsal or even awareness, LOL..... no matter what- it was a SPECIAL time in the history of music and I am thankful for it reminding me that once upon a time there was this thing called "rock n roll" and.... that mythological creature called..... a BAND. You know? Those human beings that got together and wrote songs with real instruments? I love my job. I am thankful I get to cover good songs in classic rock. I am more thankful to keep writing my own new material. Thanks for listening to my random public service announcement today.

 

What I thought I wanted

 

I wrote this in hopes to share the freedom I have found with anyone who may still be trapped in some other person's desire and vision for YOUR life.

We all grow up in different families with all sorts of beliefs, opinions, raising, direction (or lack of some or all).

Somewhere along the way we begin to feel like we know what we "want" in life.

For some it's a successful career, marriage, children, a nice house, vehicles, etc.

For me, from a young age it was all of those.

As I got older I obtained it all too.

Moving on I LOST everything I once had as well (mainly due to my own bad decision making at the time).

I've had so many jobs since I was 15 years old I am not sure I could make a list of them all, BUT I WORKED.

I also played music as a second job ALL of those years.

I tried college a few times (WAS NOT FOR ME AT ALL).  Wasted my family's and my own money as  a result.

I tried marriage a few times as well.  (THREE TIMES TO FAST).  I was still trying to figure out WHO I WAS and learn to LOVE MYSELF so how could I possibly do that for another fully?  *Don't misread that.  I was a good man, a faithful man who believed in family and hard work.  I still do.  I believe a man and woman SHOULD honor and ADORE one another EQUALLY and I do not buy into that "man is the leader of the home and his wife should obey him" bullshit.  I learned several times that the moment one or both drift away OR try to change the other...  it's already over.

My two kids are the best things that came into my life as a result.  One vow I continue to keep is to be there for them, support, love, guide and ENCOURAGE them until they are men (then it's up to them).

I am happy to see my former partners in life moving on and living happier than ever (just as I am now).  That is something to be proud of.  Moving on and letting NO ONE keep you down or hinder you from YOUR journey and dreams.

One thing remained constant over the years:  MY RELENTLESS CHASE OF BEING A FULL TIME ARTIST.  And it happened.

I've had the big house.

I've had the new cars.

I've been a leader and manager of many.

I've performed on huge stages for thousands of people.

I've had more money in the bank than I probably ever will now or in my future.

I've had a 401k (key word "HAD").

I've had success.

I've known worry.  I've known struggle.  I've known loss. 

I've experienced bankruptcy.

ALL OF IT WAS A PART OF MY PERSONAL JOURNEY IN LIFE AND I DO NOT RESENT OR REGRET ANY OF IT, however it two things I never want to know again are DEBT AND BURDEN.

So here I am.

Age 40, living in smallest home I've ever been in and loving it more than any I've had.

I don't own it and I don't want to.

Always wanted a swimming pool (so I bought one at Wal Mart and although I have to air it up every morning it is JUST AS FUN for me and my kids!).

Instead of 15 guitars just hanging on my walls I have sold them ALL and I have THREE that I actually USE to work and make money to survive.

The the only furniture in my home can be sat on. laid on and LIVED on.  There are no "museum pieces" in this place and I am thankful.  The only things I keep in my buddy's storage building are old photos in boxes, some tools, my Harley and our bicycles.

Even my Harley will have it's last day.  I've been preparing for that one!  My plan is that when my oldest son is out of High School and moved on to his choice for adult life (college or whatever he chooses) - I will sell the Harley, buy a camper of some sort and hit "the road" with my sweet lady partner in life.  Together we will write journals and songs.  Perform music and create arts and crafts as a way of life.  THAT... is MY "american dream".

I am pretty sure I will end up with a homestead between Raleigh and Oak Island/Southport NC someday (or somewhere such as that).  In order to continue doing what I was born to do for a career I MUST "go where the music takes me" and I am thankful my lady is COMPLETELY on board with this lifestyle.  We're not even sure if we want to "own" anything.  Here's something to consider:

NOW- am I saying we should not have nice "things"?  No way. 

I believe strongly that YOU DESERVE EVERY GOOD THING IN LIFE THAT YOU YOURSELF HAVE WORKED HARD TO HAVE.

Just don't let work drive you to obtaining more than you can pay for (or handle) as I did in the past.

And as my mother always told me, "learn to live within your means" - (something I did NOT do for too damn long).

NOTHING is worth debt, worry, burden and anxiety.

But what about JOB SECURITY James???

That's a good one.  There is NO SUCH THING as "job security".  Ask the many people that I am sure we all know who worked day and night for YEARS at certain companies and then one day without notice were told to go home.

Anyone who was lucky enough to get in to places like Lowe's Hardware and the like "back in the day" will tell you that although retirement paid off - it was not as "easy" as it was made out to be.  Then ask the ones who lost HALF OR MORE of their retirement earnings in a divorce.  Yeah, what's that about security again?

Security is a frame of mind.  Period.

I feel secure working for myself and plugging away, looking for the next gig, the next custom song write, the next event and service I can offer.

It took OVER a year for me to obtain insurance for my son and I (THAT IS ANOTHER JOURNAL ENTRY ALL TOGETHER), but I finally got it and although it is an outrageous expense and the deductibles are unreasonable... I "have insurance" in case of a severe emergency (and let's face it- I can feel good knowing that the high premium I am paying is providing insurance for someone, somewhere who is fully capable of working, yet chooses not to).  That's something to feel proud of yes?  :)

Sorry for the side street there...

I've ALWAYS had to learn the hard way.  By experience.  Trial and error.

**I wrote this in hopes to share the freedom I have found with anyone who may still be trapped in someone else's desire for YOUR life.

If you have "stuff" that is burdening you, LET IT GO.

If you have bills that will NEVER be paid off, seek a debt relief agency OR file a bankruptcy that will relieve you immediately (YET WILL DESTROY YOU CREDIT SCORE FOR SEVERAL YEARS).  One thing it taught me to do (years later) if I don't have the cash on me or the money in the bank, I DON'T BUY IT.  *And NEVER put un-needed things on credit cards unless you CAN pay it off every single month.  That is a MONSTEROUS machine that I believe was created to choke the life out of us all and keep us "in a certain place".  Credit scores can be rebuilt, but if you never plan to use credit, why does it even matter what some fictional number is?

BE FREE MY FRIENDS.

BE VERY, VERY FREE.

Start today and relieve yourselves of any thing and ANYONE that holds you down and holds you back from being WHO and WHAT you truly are.

Thanks for reading.

 

Random notes from last night's show (and authentic ramblings)

 

Last night's original show really has me thinking this morning. The room was full. The people were there to listen to me (and drink some truly amazing craft brews). I did not use a set list- instead I just pulled my songs out of my tired brain one by one, telling a few half true stories as I went...last night reminded me why I play tons of "cover song shows" just to make a living... In order to finally arrive at those few all original song nights.
For as long as I remember I've been writing songs, recording them in anyway I could at that time period and then either selling home made demos OR giving away tapes and CD's with my "progress" along the way to the people who gravitated towards me while on this journey. When I had the chance to record my first "professional" album in Nashville, 2006 I was told by producers and industry executives to "stop releasing crap and junk and hold out for only your professionally recorded material" so for a short time I agreed and stopped releasing anything at all while I allowed "them" to "shop my pro album" and try for a recording or publishing deal. As many of you know that never happened so I can home to NC, continued raising my kids, working two jobs, trying to make marriages work, finding myself-who I truly was becoming and wrote more and more songs then released them ALL as demo albums. I made recordings with laptop computers, tape players (anyone remember those?). I even began recording myself using my iPhone and it didn't sound bad at all so.... I even released many of those songs. You can hear and even download many of those songs at my archive site www.jamiecarrollmusic.bandcamp.com Bill Mallonee has done this much longer than I have and he's mastered the art of being... An artist. He's realized what took years for me to realize: No one owns me, my art, my music, my life. No one dictates my next move on this highway. It's mine just as you all have yours. It's up to us individually to make our own choices and decide what's best for us in every area (especially us artists) who love what we do and choose to share it with others daily. So now, years later I've released hundreds of demos and a few "pro albums" and one thing relates the two: Authenticity. I can not and will not be anything other than me. My song lyrics will continue to mention love, hate, truth, lies, questions, ponderings, facts, fiction, gods, devils, faith, lack of faith, belief, lack of belief, sex, lust, embarrassment, resentment, regret, celebration, mourning, joy, tears, laughter.... You know- the human experience in all its glory and wonder! That- is me. That- is my music- demos, studio recordings and all... And thank YOU for being a part and wanting to be a part of it all. When you eventually hear my first of four new albums "The Book of James Chapter One" I hope you will hear all of those emotions listed above, but more than anything... I hope you FEEL something, several things really... I created this album to move you as it moves me and I hope it will do what it was created to do. I hope you realize one important thing as well: these songs were made right here in Winston Salem, NC. Not in Nashville, California or any other place that producers have told me "you need to be". Also- polishing up your finished product is generally desired and needed in order to "fit" with other contemporary productions, HOWEVER... While polishing and mastering this one, I've been very picky about not making it too shiny. I want you to hear a production that did take over a year, BUT I want you to hear what authenticity sounds like... From my soul to yours. Until again ya'll...

 

Today I killed a snake. Wouldn't you?

 

Today I killed a snake.

I went out my back door to clean the Wal Mart Swimming Pool and before I got off the stairs I saw it.

Black.  Slithering right at me!

I jumped.  Yes, like a scared child.

Then it moved towards the house and began climbing the wall!

The first thing I thought was, "no way you nasty thing- you're NOT getting in MY house!"

I grabbed the first thing I saw... a shovel.

I quickly aimed at it's head and stabbed at it with the shovel until I killed it.

My heart was racing and I felt sick.

I hate snakes.   HATE.

Why?  Well, other than the fear of being bitten by one I truly don't know.

My son came outside (he likes reptiles) and asked me what was going on.

When I told him- he dropped his head and said, "Dad, please if you see another one, please don't kill it.  Please tell me so I can get my friend who rescues snakes to come get it and take it somewhere safe."

I first thought, "NO WAY.  THE ONLY GOOD SNAKES ARE DEAD ONES"....  then.... I thought about it....

Why DID I kill it?  I was scared.  It was a snake.  My son noticed what kind it was and told me afterwards.... it was NOT a poisoness snake and it actually was one that killed rats and bugs.

Hmm.

Now I wonder-  are we so quick to judge people too?  Because of color?  Beliefs?  Gender? 

Do we see certain people and feel scared, threatened, uncertain?

Do those thoughts makes us want to... remove...or kill them off?

I think so.

History is proof enough.

Snakes.   I don't like them, but next time... unless it's trying to hurt me in some way... I think I will just try to scare it back into the woods... where it came from... where it's "HOME" is.

I feel bad for killing it out of fear.

Ask me sometime why I have been a vegetarian for OVER a year...  my answer will make you think.

 

 

Wal Mart Pool and Living with less

 

This is my Wal Mart Pool. I love it. It sits behind my little home on a dirt road where my kids and I shall splash, laugh and chill all summer long when I'm not on the road. I've had big things in life and I've realized that having the less and smaller things make life easier and more enjoyable. Today, while I take my only day off before performing all week I hope all of you will take inventory of your "stuff" and see what you could just let go of. I can only tell you that for me- letting go of a lot of storage and "stuff" was a huge step in the direction of personal freedom. Who would have thought that by age 40 I'd be this happy (only after years of making decisions to please others). Go be you my friends. Enjoy this day while you have it.

 

This morning my grandmother moved on...

 

This morning my sweet grandmother took her last breath. She raised me as my own mother did. When my grandfather went to Germany with the U.S. Army he met her and fell in love and brought her home. My best memories are all of the Harley Davidson rallies that I got to go to as a child because of her and my grandfather being a part of such a big writers group. She was the absolute best cook I have ever known. She was kind and generous to everyone. Her smile and her jokes were the best! Although our family has seen her decline for quite some time it does not make it any easier. Rather than me making some long post about needing prayers or comfort I would like each of you that read this to show one another peace and comfort and love while you have time to do so in this life. Please do not comment on this post as I am not looking for 100 apologies. I would rather you love yourselves today and call someone else that needs to hear those words come from your mouths. Again I urge you, do not comment on this post, but please remember life is so terribly short and we are the ones who choose how we live it. Peace, be with us all.

 

Storage and stuff...

 

I am finishing up a custom song for someone today who hired me to write about something important to them. Before I hide away in my humble so called "studio" I wrote down a few things in my personal daily journal that I would like to share with you all. I hope these words help any of you who have or are struggling financially in these times of "buy it now, you must have it to be happy, blah blah..." - I've learned harder than "the hard way" over the years that "stuff" doesn't matter. Some things are needed to survive, but everything I once paid almost $100 per month for inside of my former "storage unit" was just... Being stored... For nothing. It ALL ended up being given away, trashed or sold eventually and I never made back the money I wasted storing the "stuff" to begin with. We've all been born into a "free country" that is not free at all. It took me too many years, too much hard earned money wasted to finally become self employed and now... I feel more than ever how every... Single... Penny... Matters in my house to simply survive. Sure I have my Harley and my record collection... But even all that did not come for free and in many ways (including scars and pain that will never go away) I will keep paying for that Harley long after it's gone someday. Why am I sharing this with you my friends? Because I am living lighter, simpler and Feel more FREE than I've ever done before and I'd love to see others experience the same feeling of not "wanting more stuff" and living with what we already have.

 

Words from a new friend

 

I have been through a whole lot in my 39 years. I never meant to hurt anyone in the crossfire of my own chaos but it was inevitable. The following words were sent to me in an email by a fellow musician that I highly respect. Needless to say there were tears in my eyes and I did not know how to respond. Not everyone in this world will like you but someone in this world will.  Here is what my new friend wrote about me:


I first met James Vincent Carroll on Facebook. I was preparing to move to North Carolina in the summer of 2014, and I didn’t know anyone. I did Google searches for acoustic performers in the Triad area, and I happened upon James. He had lots of music on his website, and I thought all of it was great. I sent him a Facebook message, like a long-distance stalker, explaining that I was a singer-songwriter looking for gigs in the Tarheel State. It took about ten minutes for me to see the real James Vincent Carroll—congenial, friendly, helpful, eager, and always enthusiastic. He quickly replied to my message with one sentence: “Call me right now.” He offered his phone number, and I called him from my home in Pennsylvania. We started a long conversation that is still going on in many ways, and now that I’m living in North Carolina, I’m proud to say we’re friends.

James Vincent Carroll is, in a very real sense, not a performer. I say that because when he gets on stage with his guitar and that masterful, raspy voice, he doesn’t need to perform, he just needs to be himself—the most enthusiastic, happy-to-be-here cat you’ve ever met, ready to sing songs for you with heart planted firmly on sleeve. What you see is what you get, if I may use a cliché or two. And the songs? They’re pretty great and very honest, just like James. I hope you get to spend some time with James Vincent Carroll and his music, and get to know him in the same way that I have. James Vincent Carroll is going to look you in the eye, and he’s going to tell it like it is. There will be no secrets between you, and you’ll be the better for it. And did I mention that masterful, raspy voice?

Gerry Stanek—March 2015

*Please check out Gerry at his official website:  www.gerrystanekmusic.com

 

Ten Questions (Part One)

 

Awhile back I asked many "facebook friends and fans" to send over ten questions they might have for me.  I wanted to list a few with my answers periodically so here goes!  Enjoy :)

 

 

1- Why did you change your name from Jamie Carroll to James Vincent (Carroll)?

 

*I didn't "change my name" at all.  I was born "James Vincent Carroll", named that by my Father and Mother.  "Jamie" was a nickname that became my "face" so to speak over the years.  I even recorded many years of music under that name so you will STILL find that guy on itunes, spotify and more.  I personally grew very tired of "that guy" in many ways.  I've gone through SO many changes personally and musically over the years that when I finally became a CAREER Musician (full time) I wanted a rebirth, a new beginning.  I chose to use my first and middle name "James Vincent" to start things off.  Knowing that I will never "make it big" and taking a realistic approach to what I do musically the plan all along was to eventually use my full, legal birth name "JAMES VINCENT CARROLL".  Why?  I am proud of my name.  I am proud of the man I have become over the years.  I am proud of my music AND I want my name to continue to reflect that of my two sons and my family.  I will always be "Jamie or James or even J" to many people.  CARROLL is the bloodline, the origin, the ongoing "legacy" if you will.  James Vincent is the artist, the gypsy soul, hard working man who continues to move forward and do the best he can :)  What's in a name?  MUCH.  I am proud of mine.  James Vincent Carroll.  *My new albums will all be labeled "James Vincent Carroll Presents" - The Book of James (Chapters One through Four).

 

2- Where can we find ALL of your music over the years?

 

*You can find both Jamie Carroll and James Vincent music on itunes, spotify, amazon and more.  You can also go to www.cdbaby.com as well as a history site I set up called www.jamiecarrollmusic.bandcamp.com

 

3- How do you keep a family together and still play music full time?

 

*This one is close to my heart.  I got married (several times) FAR TOO SOON in life.  I didn't even KNOW and LOVE myself then (how can you possible give that to another properly). Although I am not "married" now, I remain friendly with past relationships AND I have two sons that have ALWAYS been first along the way.  I have amazing relationships with both my kids.  The oldest stays with me most of the time and his mom and I are friends and work together for his benefit (we always have).  I certainly believe in "family", but I believe there are different types of families and that ALL FAMILIES should be recognized, encouraged and accepted.  All that being said, I am very much in love with someone who is an amazing friend, supporter, partner and total kindred soul.  We work together very well and she is also an artist, gypsy soul like myself.  Future plans?  I have learned to live IN THE NOW.  Advice on marriage?  DON'T EVEN GET CLOSE TO MAKING THAT COMMITMENT UNTIL YOU HAVE FIRST LEARNED WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU TRULY WANT IN LIFE.  YOU CAN NOT POSSIBLY LOVE ANOTHER FULLY UNTIL YOU FIRST...LOVE YOURSELF.

 

4- How long have you been a musician?

 

*Since I was 15 years old.  I have also worked full time jobs since that time so I have been working and creating music for over 23 years at this time.

 

5- You used to sing in churches when you were a kid.  Why did you stop?

 

*I could write a book about this one, but allow me to humbly and honestly answer this way:  We are all different.  We all believe or disbelieve different things.  We all come from different family backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, etc.  I spent around 15 years in that "market" and although I met some amazing, sweet people- I also saw and learned things that many typical "church goers" never see.  I could no longer be apart of something that was continually putting such weight on my shoulders to be "so perfect" when that is impossible.  I am an artist.  I make music for ALL PEOPLE, not just one group of people.  Some of my best friends are the same people that that "market" turns away and speaks harshly of.  I wish to have NO PART of it.  My spiritual life is VERY personal.  TAKE ME OR LEAVE ME... you don't have to like me and I don't have to care.  LOVE and PEACE for all people.  THAT is what I wish for.

 

6- You promote more on facebook than anyone I've ever seen.  Does it help and does anyone ever complain about all your postings?

 

*YES.   Facebook is without a doubt the best FREE marketing tool I have ever used.  Due to it being free, I don't freak out and complain about all the changes it makes.  I hope they never charge us for this service, but if they did, I would probably pay for it at this point.  I have met SO MANY great people and made some of the largest connections musically I have ever made.  I enjoy promoting local artists, businesses and connecting the same as well.  I must admit I wish some days I could just quit using it, but at this point in my career it is by far one of my largest forms of promotion and interaction.  People have never "complained" about my daily postings because they are smart enough to know that anything you don't wish to see on facebook you simply "unfollow" or "delete".  I am happy that most of my facebook connections are supportive of my daily promotions.

 

7- What is your favorite food?

 

*HA!  I wondered if anyone would ask that!  My favorite food is FOOD.  LOL!  Nah, honestly I have been full vegetarian for well over a year now and have been healthier and happier than ever!  I still love cheese (but it doesn't like me).  I LOVE Indian Food (probably my ultimate favorite).  I also enjoy Mexican, Japanese and of course... CRACKER BARRELL :)  *Sometimes I sneak a bit of fish into my soul (especially if I am at the coast... or at The Full Moon Oyster Bar!!).

 

8- Do you listen to your own music?  What is your favorite music?

 

*ONLY WHEN I AM WRITING and RECORDING IT.  Then a little after the production and albums are finished.  Other than that...NOPE.

I listen to Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac more than anything else during a week.  I also enjoy stations such as Pandora for turning me on to new unheard artists that you won't hear on "pop radio".  I REALLY enjoy "Trance, Trip-Hop, Noisy Beat" type music such as "Beats Antique, 8mm, Portishead, etc" as well.  My favorite will always be Classic Rock and Blues.

 

9- What are your political views?

 

*I truly don't know.  If I have "a view" at all it would CURRENTLY be this:  I have a strong feeling that NONE of us know the real truth.

We only see what's on TV or read what's on the internet or papers.  Even history is laced with truth AND lies.  I hear politicians speak and right when I become a fan of one guy... he ends up saying other things that just don't feel right to my inner core.  So, I stay out of it these days.  I wish I had more time to study it all, but even if I did I would not believe everything I hear.  Do I vote?  Yes, as best I can.  Do I believe my vote "counts"? NO WAY.  I think it's all a game to keep us busy.  That being said, the last politician I ever resonated with (understood) was Ron Paul.

 

10- Why don't you try out for THE VOICE?

 

*I saved this one for last.  FIRST of all, I appreciate it every time someone thinks I sound good enough to go there.

I've said too much about this publicly over the years and it has offended and hurt some good people that support those types of "shows" so I want to be clear that it is NOT my intention to hurt friends and family with my opinion.  Now, if one of my young sons ever wanted to try out for any of those TV talent "SHOWS", I would allow them to simply for the experience.  In fact, if they ever "made it through" I would support them based on them being my children alone.  However, my kids already know the difference in being a real, hard working, traveling musician (big or small) and what I've gone through alone, musically and personally in 23 years is enough to make me not support or want to be a part of that type of thing.  I've had to come to peace with the FACT that The Voice, American Idol, X-Factor and any of that stuff is ALL A SHOW MADE FOR TV.  It's pure entertainment.  Scripted and PRE-PLANNED IN FACT (regardless of what we've been told).  I should be no more angry at those shows than I am while watching Star Wars or any other work of fiction.  There are MANY amazing musicians that have been told "this is the way to make it" and THAT may be my main issue with it all.  "Making it" is a personal view.  I have learned that the hard way.  I spent years trying to get record deals.  I got two.  Lost them both.  I spent more years trying to "make it", but then I realized... I already have.  Thanks to local supporters, long time friends, fellow musicians and especially the venues and places that hire me... I have "made it" and am a full time artist.  I did this without a TV show telling me how to sound, how to dress and how to live.  So my days of being bitter about all that are OVER.  Someone made a good point recently when they said, "You can always change the channel" - Exactly.  We can ALL change the channels in life when something does not resonate with WHO we are.

 

 

Well, there's the first ten questions!  Keep emailing them in and I will keep answering :)

Email your questions or ANY other communication to booking@jamesvincentcarroll.com

 

Goodbye, 2014

 

2014: Lost day job, sold two properties, rented a new home, became totally self employed as an artist, fell in love with my kindred soul, survived a motorcycle accident caused by a deer, wrote over 50 new songs, began recording my first studio album since 2006, performed 178 shows as of last night... It's been a ride, it's been amazing. I'm happy to be me... I'm happy to be alive.

 

Healing up from the accident...

 

My Harley BEFORE the Oct, 19th meeting with a Deer. It's being rebuilt right now by my good friends and brothers at Clemmons Motorcycles. Many have asked if I will ride again. YES. I have to. I was raised on these machines with my grand father and it's in my "blood" like music thanks to my father. Also- I won't let fear dictate my next (or any) move in life. I've always told my kids, "you WILL fall... But when you do, GET UP and keep moving forward". That goes for me too. In all areas of life. Thanks for everyone's well wishes and support while Kimberly and I were healing up over the last 9 weeks. We're both feeling MUCH better. Stitches are out, scars are fading and bones have mended. I can't wait to ride again, feel the wind in my face and hear the thunder of that V-Twin Engine rumble through that duel exhaust! Maybe I can finally get some more road time in with my Dad too!

 

When a deer meets a Harley...

 

I realize everyone has heard by now, but yesterday around 6pm my girlfriend and I were taking the Harley out for a very short ride to enjoy the sunshine. I was going 45-50mph on Hwy 158 when without notice a deer jumped directly into the bike, throwing us both off and into the highway. We both rushed to help one another off the road while good people and paramedics stopped to help. We were rushed to the ER where X-rays were taken and I received 7 stitches and full body road rash and scrapes. My love has a broken foot and minor scrapes. After 7.5 hrs in the ER we came home to rest and today we are thankful to be alive and well. A few days of rest and we will both be better than new. The Harley is gone, but it's a "thing" that can be replaced. Thank you to everyone for your well wishes, love and support.

 

Radio Interview

Some of us

 

I wrote this in the hospital this morning while waiting on my mother's antibiotic treatment:

All of us are born into this world the same way. All of us begin our own journeys and begin to learn and grow in our own ways. All of us make good and bad decisions. All of experience happiness and sadness. All of us are the same, although we are different. Some of us eventually realize who we truly are and what our purpose or calling is. Some of us do not realize this as quickly as others, but that's perfectly alright and understandable. A few of us find it acceptable to point out the faults and failures of others. A few of us do this for years. A few of us somehow believe it's alright to assume we know what's best or what's right and wrong for others. A few of us actually believe that we are the only ones who know or understand the truth. A few of us will live and die focusing on other people's decisions and pathways rather than focusing on our own self development.

Then there are those of us who realize that we are in control of only our personal path. Our journey. Our authenticity. Our lives. Our plans. Our beliefs or lack thereof. We are the ones who love others regardless of our differences. We are the ones who are patient with others while they figure it all out... While we also realize we should be patient with ourselves as we also... Figure it all out. We are the ones who realize... We may never... Figure any of it out. And we... Are peaceful and happy here.

We are the artists, the vagabonds, the hippies, the dreamers, the sinners and saints of the "church of life".

We are born with "suitcases in our hands" and our only true home is... Wherever we spontaneously are.

We are the gypsy souls.

We don't ask others to follow us. We don't expect others to be like us. We war against no one. We defend only our relationships and love. We have no time and choose to waste no time regretting our pasts, our failures, our shortcomings. We choose instead to take each new day as a gift as we look forward and move into the future. We are happy here. We are peaceful here. We are free.

 

Sunshine (at the end of the tunnel)

 

We should all remain prepared to accept the fact that not everyone will agree with us or see things as we do in life.

This has helped me to co-exsist with other human beings for 39 years now.

Sometimes we just don’t agree.  It’s not a bad thing either.

We are all raised by different families, cultures, backgrounds, convictions and beliefs.

It’s really just simple.   It’s ok to live in a world full of people that are different.

The most difficult part for me is when it involves those closest to me.  Those whom I love and have loved me in return.

THAT is where some serious patience and understanding of one another’s views really weigh in.

I read a quote yesterday that said, “Not everyone will understand your journey.  That’s fine.  It’s not their journey to make sense of.  It’s yours.”

How many times in life do we ask ourselves, “How did this even happen?”.

Do we sincerely make important decisions, promises and plans in the beginning thinking that they may not work out?  No. 

But sometimes things change.  People change.  Beliefs change.  Situations change.

And when they do… we are left with HOW we will work through it and move forward.

We can’t allow the opinions of others (even those closest to us) to bring us down or make us feel unworthy of the perfect human right we all have to be happy and be in touch with who we are and the traits, gifts and even things (yes, I said things) that make us WHO we are.

I’ve seen this too many times in my own life and with the many couples I have had the honor of playing music at weddings for over the years.  Some make it and some don’t.  I have EVEN played music for the same bride… at up to three different weddings.  Did I judge these folks?  Did I decline the offer to do it again?  No.

One story that remains painful for me is when I see a couple so deeply in love in the beginning… they both appear to know one another, love one another and also they love certain “things” about one another.   Years down the road I see that same couple trying to put an end to the very things that they originally loved about one another.  I see that a lot in my circle of artist friends.   I’ve heard, “he loved my dedication to art in the beginning, but now he sees it as a problem.”  Or, “she loved my music and talent in the beginning, but now she sees it as a hobby that I can do WHEN I have time…”.

Those are PRIME examples of people who either did not spend enough time getting to know one another OR they simply… should not go any further in my humble, dramatic, unrealistic opinion that is.

SO…  today…  I ask any of you who read my blogs to have another cup of coffee and brace yourselves for the let downs in life.   Prepare yourselves for the bad news that comes every day, but remember there is ALWAYS sunshine… at the end of the tunnel.  Here’s a song to help you through…

http://jamiecarrollmusic.bandcamp.com/track/sunshine-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel

 

Always moving...

 

"Lord I was born with a suitcase in my hand- liven in a life that few can understand…" (Little Big Town)

This morning-  2 days away from my 39th birthday...

I truly was born with a suitcase attached to me and little did I know I would spend my entire life living out of suitcases, guitar cases and constantly moving...

Even in the recent years of "settling down" I never truly feel "settled" and I've always known why.

I work a lot… always have "boy nothing ever comes for free" (thanks papaw)...

Even on my days off I find it hard to just calm down.  Maybe it's the coffee addiction?  Maybe it's the gypsy soul I was born with…. much like my own father although he and I are different and spent little time together…  we are the same….  travelers, wonderers…..  that's the blessing and curse of being from a lineage of artists….and me?  I don't regret it….in fact I am embracing it more than I ever have.

As I sit here listening to Mumford and Sons on Vinyl… I have a few tears in my eyes.  The music moves me.

I don't just "listen to the radio" - I never have.  I can't just listen.  Some would say that my relationship with music is unhealthy….  some would say I've replaced the very belief of "god" with the tangible existence of this beautiful, powerful "thing" called music…. and guess what?  They're right.   No apologies either.

As my kids grow older I see the same in my oldest son.  He does not just "hear a song" - he dissects it… the music…the lyrics…. the FEELING in it all.  One of his favorite recordings… like me…is Dark Side of The Moon by Pink Floyd….  wow.  He's almost 14.

I do not want him to have to work day and night like me.  He is much smarter and much more focused at his age than I have ever been or even am now…. and I am more proud of him that I've ever been.

I know he watches me, listens….  sees it all.  I know it's up to me to "lead" him… but there's something else I've grown to accept already and that is this is also HIS life and he will make his own choices…and I will support him in any choice that he makes that doesn't hurt him or hinder him.

Every time I load up my car for a show and then unload the car and set up all the equipment… 23 years now by the way…  I LOVE it… all of it.

The people at the venues.  The ones I see singing along with me nightly….

I've said it before and it's true now more than ever with my new album approaching… THIS IS NOT AND NEVER HAS BEEN A "HOBBY"…   Thanks to Tommy Jones, Doug Davis, Jerry Chapman, Bill Mallonee and one of my most recent encouragers and muses….Mr. Owen Poteat…. for showing me that I am NOWHERE NEAR FINISHED… yet it is ONLY the beginning of what is just around the corner.

Sadly… some do not understand this about me, but that's ok for there are some….who do and always will.

Lifelong friends like my brothers Jeff, Mark and more recently Greg… who ALL "get it" - who all "get me" and understand that my true "home" is….out there…. moving, creating and doing "the best I can".

Thank you all for 39 years of love and friendship.  When I have failed… I have gotten up and kept moving…and when I fail again… I will do the same.

I better drink this coffee before it gets cold.

Now off the be my true self…  

Peace to you ALL.

 

My name and more...

 

Sometimes I have to write the first thing that finds it’s way into my heart and head in the morning because those thoughts could or could not be “something worth writing”…

This will be as random as I usually am so buckle in for a few moments (if you will)…

My mother and father named me James Vincent Carroll when I was born.

Not sure where James came from (other than one of my papaw’s brothers being named that along with one of my father’s brothers the same)…

Vincent, however came from my papaw’s middle name – Alphonso Vincent Hall, Jr.

As a child I flipped from James to Jamie to Vincent throughout school and finally everyone settled with “Jamie”…

That’s cool and all because that name also became the one associated with my music since I was 16 years old.

“What’s in  a name?”

I can tell you that as I get closer to age 39 on the 30th of this very month I find more association with my birth name – James Vincent.

Maybe it’s the tie to my papaw?  Maybe it’s that that name meant something to my mother and father when they gave it to me?

Either way… my new album (currently in planning and writing stages) will be called: Jamie Carroll Presents – “The Book of James”.   That’s all you get for now (anyone who cares of course).

While driving to work I noticed things that brought a smile to my face:

Seeing people drive pass me (cause I drive a lot slower these days, lol) with steam from their coffee rising into their vehicles,  people singing songs in their cars, even the homeless guy with the “please help” sign… I wanted to stop, get out, take a pen and ask if he would mind telling me his story… before I took him for coffee and breakfast… but I was on my way to my office to plug away at another day of work to support my family and our decisions over the years that gave us this life we chose.

Moving on…  coffee.   Thank the great spirit of all that is for that amazing beam beverage…  brings me clarity and focus (at least until it wears off and I get to my gig tonight to follow it up with a few scotch’s) to bring more clarity, energy and comfort while I share another night of song I didn’t write… playing them as if I did.

What now?  Due to the nature of my “business” in music I have NEVER made a habit of asking any other artist to do anything for me for “free” – in fact, in bothers me when artists such as us are expected to do anything for free due to all the years of preparation, traveling, hard work, money spent and wear and tear on our very bodies and vehicles that we’ve incurred….  So what am I saying here?

I need a videographer.   I need a new one.  A young one.  Someone who nobody knows yet.  I need someone who can spend a good amount of time with me over the next year or so… riding along to some shows, in my studio, while I am writing…  I want someone who has the time, artistry and “vision” to follow my random brain activity…  I need them to log the journey of the creation of the new album.  I want them to interview me, talk to me, listen to me.  I want them to video log it all in “parts” and I would like to release these videos to Youtube to allow people to “SEE” how it all happens, what it takes, how long it takes…and more than anything…. WHO I AM.

I will be a big help as I have MANY ideas and much direction.

As most people that have “followed” me knows – I have recorded over 15 albums since I was 16 years old… then in 2006 I was able to go to Nashville for my first and only “Professional Studio Produced” album…  since that album “flopped” – I was forced to go back to my roots and record home made recordings…demos….  I’ve used laptops, tape recorders and most recently even my iphone to release these new songs to the people who…”care” and truly want to hear “THE SONGS”…. Most of those songs are located at www.jamiecarrollmusic.bandcamp.com by the way… and I could use all the downloads you could give a guy…

AND NOW….  I’ve been talking with one of my favorite people in the world for SEVERAL years about doing another STUDIO ALBUM… that could be released as hopefully (MY BEST EVER) and put me back on “track” as an established recording artist who plans to be full time again someday sooner than later…

Doug Davis (look him up now) – has the knowledge, the soul, the studio and the power to make this happen – I feel honestly as if he “gets it…gets ME” and will KNOW the sound of my very soul.   We are closer than ever to beginning the process and I have new songs that will certainly describe this crazy journey I have been on.  These songs- convey messages that I want my kids and friends to KNOW about me… if I were to die…. My “last letters” if you will.

Some don’t understand us gypy soul, tortured artist, (vagabond saints- thank you Doug)…but they don’t have to understand us.  Those who do… will congregate and be brought together by whatever it is… that helps us RECOGNIZE one another as friends… and family….   As free people.

Side note-  Doug’s new albums are available and I encourage you ALL to buy them, download them… just GET THEM…  so you can hear and feel WHY I will be working with this man.  Also- keep your ears open for the best collection of songs ever written by my friend and brother… the infamous “mooch 1 – Tommy Jones and The Southern Empire Band” – coming soon.

So-  any videographers out there who need the practice, want the face time and to get your name out to a group of the best musicians I have ever played with, PLEASE contact me ASAP.  We will meet for coffee or a few brews OR BOTH…and get this “movie” rolling….  I can assure you that it will “pay off” in the end and I will do whatever I can to help you in return.

Thank you all (those who “get it”) – for all your support over the years, for not thinking I am crazy or need pills to fix things that are not broken….   Thank you.

 

THIS GUY

 

I’ve said many times… all I have is MY story.  I don’t know anyone else’s…. only mine.

Trial and error… mostly error, but… I’ve tried and I keep trying.  What else can us humans do really?

We form relationships and we find which one’s we fit into.

The one’s we don’t fit into… we eventually check out of… and more times than not I would say it’s for the best.   This has happened to me over the years with friends, family and even marriages.

People either recognize one another or they don’t.

People also change.  I for one… have changed many times in my life.

I am closing in on my 39th birthday at the end of this month and I cannot believe the man I have become, the things I believe…and the things I no longer believe.

If anyone told me 10 years ago I would be this guy… I would have disagreed and said… “NEVER”.

Here I am however… “this guy”.   When I was caught up in the churchy world of modern popular Americanized Christianity I was in deep depression daily FOR YEARS trying to fight off things that I called sin when indeed they were perfectly natural and human.  It took too long, but I got through it all.  I quit beating myself up for being natural, being human, being…  ME… and I began feeling much more comfortable as “this guy” that I’ve become.

I took a bit of pride in never trying to change anyone if they didn’t see things my way… I even realized that “my way” may not be “the right way” for other people.

I still feel that way.   Even now that I am this guy.

I finally like this guy.   I don’t understand why I made certain decisions along the way, but I just keep moving.   I try to tell myself every morning that THIS…day… could be my last (as with us all) and I should try to make decisions according to that possibility.  It helps sometimes, but other times I just fall on my face again… BUT I GET UP.  I never stay down…and I won’t.

I’ve also learned to not allow ANYONE to walk on me, put me down, make “fun” of me.

It’s an amazing feeling when you find enough confidence to put your “bullies” in their place.  I’ve written on bullies several times.  Look back through my journals and enjoy.

The fact is… for me…. That NO ONE is better than anyone else.   Yes, they may hold a higher office than me… they may have more schooling than I do…  they may even be more experienced in certain areas…BUT – no one of them are “better” than me and when they act as such… my mouth will not stay closed.

I am proud of who my sons are becoming.   My oldest speaks his mind daily with no fear.  I do try to direct him to be patient and LISTEN before he speaks and to remember it’s not about being right… instead it’s about CONVERSATION.   Non agenda based conversation with those who think they are or know better than we do.   When the person can’t be dealt with…  WALK AWAY from them.  You don’t need them in your life anyway.  There is a world full of human beings who we connect with and can share our lives with that will love us for WHO we are….and…who we become.

This morning’s online journal has been brought to you with two cups of dark magic black coffee and a touch of nicotine (not much, just a touch) – I’d hate to be judged wrongfully by the same people who use these vices much more than I do.   Peace to you all….  And shit.

 

Quotes from Bram Stoker

 

I love good quotes.  These are a few from Bram Soker's "Dracula" that I just love and feel.  Enjoy!

“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the
lights, the light of all lights.”


“There is a reason why all things are as they are.”


“Once again...welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave
something of the happiness you bring.”


“Remember my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should
not trust the weaker”


“Oh, the terrible struggle that I have had against sleep so often of late;
the pain of the sleeplessness, or the pain of the fear of sleep, and with
such unknown horror as it has for me! How blessed are some people, whose
lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes
nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.”


“I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together
freely and build our castles in the air.”


“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to
his heart and eye the morning can be.”


“How good and thoughtful he is; the world seems full of good men--even if
there are monsters in it.”


“Oh, my dear, if you only knew how strange is the matter regarding which I
am here, it is you who would laugh. I have learned not to think little of
any one's belief, no matter how strange it may be. I have tried to keep an
open mind, and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it,
but the strange things, the extraordinary things, the things that make one
doubt if they be mad or sane.”


“Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and
yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there
are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men´s eyes,
because they know -or think they know- some things which other men have
told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain
all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain.”

 

Church of life...

 

Like much of my life in almost 39 years now today did not go at all like I planned it, however I've learned to always expect whatever happens every moment and I try to teach my kids the same. I was geared up and ready to take a LONG ride on the Harley with some friends and although the morning started off wonderfully I found myself on the side of 421 with many vehicles passing by and me calling my friend Jeff Lambert to bring me some gas (as I though I had just ran out do the the light coming on and the engine stopping so quickly afterwards. While Jeff was only 2 exits away one other Harley riding couple stopped to ask if I was ok… I told them I had someone coming and we tipped helmets and they drove off. Just then a truck stopped and a young man got out to ask if he could help. I said, "Thanks man, but I have a friend bringing some gas." - The guy said, "well I saw you while heading up the highway and I just knew you were not taking a break in that specific location so I stopped and got you some gas just in case." - He brings a gas can to my bio and helps me fill it up. We talked a minute and found out we were both from the Clemmons area and that he knew MANY of the same good people I know. After talking he actually realized I was the same guy who plays music all over the place and we couldn't believe how it worked out. More than anything I could not believe that he took time out of his road trip to take a chance that I needed help…got some gas… doubled back to help me. I got his name and and he drove away. Due to knowing the same people, I got his number and sent him a thank you message, but I can ASSURE you that I will be buying this guy dinner and a pitcher of brew to show my thanks as well. My Bike started and I got to the gas station, but as I was pulling in it died again. This starting and stopping went on for over and hour so Jeff and I had lunch and eventually called AAA to pick me up and get me back home. The day… did NOT go as planned, but it was a great day and another part of my trial and error life… and I would not change a thing. The AAA driver and I shared the most awesome conversation as well about his lifestyle being on call 24/7 and never knowing where he is going to be or who he is going to meet next. I did not have any cash to tip him with so I gave him my last two albums and he acted more grateful for that than anything as he said, "Now I will have something to listen to on the road the next few days." - Why am I sharing all this today? Because just when I am about to give up on humanity… I am shown that there are still some decent people out there who will help a stranger. THIS… is my church. The church of life. Peace ya'll.

Copyright 2014, Jamie Lynn Photos.

 

2014 Grammy's, Modern Music and Me...

 

2014 Grammy’s, Modern Music and trying to be more positive:

Last night I watched the 2014 Grammy Awards with my wife and son.  I will be honest as usual and tell you the ONLY reason I was going to watch it was to see and hear Metallica perform (as I’ve been a HUGE fan since I was younger than my son).

As many people know I am NOT a “fan” of much modern music for many reasons, but last night I decided to shut up, pay attention, watch and listen.

Although I am still not a supporter of certain lyrical content and over produced/fabricated “music” – I am a lover of MUSIC and I’ve always taken a hefty amount of pride in being open minded.

So here goes:  I realize that it was TOTAL TELEVISION, but I was actually impressed, pleasantly surprised and certainly entertained by most of the performers.

I’ve never been a fan of rap and hip hop, but I took interest in Maclemore and Ryan Lewis when they first hit the scene.  One thing about the guy, regardless of his personal beliefs and opinions (which we ALL have the same and are free to do so) -  he is real.  His writing is spot on (much like Marshall Mathers I think).  Did you know that those guys made that first album… WITHOUT a RECORD LABEL?  THAT is impressive.

It was also awesome to see the many classic artists in there such as the living members of The Beatles, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Stevie Wonder, Peter Frampton, Carol King and several others.

After all were it not for many of those artists, we wouldn’t have any of our modern ones.

I’ve never been a fan of “Pink”, but she did a beautiful acrobatic performance WHILE singing (not lip syncing).

I’ve never been a Taylor Swift fan, but she delivered a beautiful song on piano and then when her band kicked in she turned into a head banging, hair flying rock star.  Good girl.

I’ve also never heard of the electronic/dance/beat duo “Daft Punk”, but they did an interesting collaboration with Stevie Wonder and a few other classic players that was fun to see.

Metallica was there with an Asian Piano Player (which they are no strangers to collaborating with other artists and even full orchestras) – although the song “One” sounded out of tune and a little “to busy” with the Piano going crazy, it was STILL awesome to see the boys bring the ROCK as only they can.

There were other moments I enjoyed and some moments I did not (those of which my opinion does not even matter).

Many know me to not be supportive of television “talent” shows like The Voice, Idol and X-Factoe as well.  My wife asked a question that made me think just a bit differently as well…  “What if one of you sons made in to one of those shows?” – I then realized that I could support my son, but still not the show, haha.  Kind of like supporting my troops, but not the wars.

Basically I am trying to realize that music….art…. is ever changing and always has been.  Even with me playing cover songs many nights per week I try to make those songs my own.  I don’t even play most of them “correctly”, but I try to deliver them to the crowd as if I created the song.

I realized last night that MANY, MANY stars, classic artists have also “covered” one another’s material.

From The Beatles to Joe Cocker.  Bob Dylan, Hendrix,  Elvis and Motley Crue. 

I love it all.  I love music.  When I was a teenager all I thought mattered was METAL, lol.  I didn’t want to hear my grandfather’s AM radio greats such as Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and the like.

Then over time I realized that these classic radio greats…. Had “IT” and that many of the modern artists respected and loved them… even sighted them an influential.

The modern collaborations that I see from time to time of CMT Crossroads proves refreshing and satisfying to my soul.  Fleetwood Mac and Little Big Town.   Jon Mayer and Keith Urban.  The list goes on and on and I for one…. Would not know how to feel being on stage with ANY of those greats.

I wrote all that to say that it’s time for me (almost 40 now) to continue realizing that my place is where I am, in each moment and that instead of ranting about what all I hate about modern music… maybe I should praise my children for not only knowing the words to a Justin Timberlake song (but they also love Dark Side of The Moon and all of my Zeppelin Albums).  Real music?  Well, of course I have my ideas, but then again I also don’t understand why so many local songwriters are not WORLD KNOWN such as Tommy Jones, Doug Davis and the others that I love and respect.

As far as “Daft Punk” or any other strangely named artists….  I just have to realize that not everyone goes by James, Jerry, Austin, Katelyn, Nicole, Owen, etc…. some go by something deeper to their own core such as “MoocH 1”.

Time to empty out the bitterness….the ignorance of my own misunderstandings.  I don’t have to like it all, but I do have to realize it’s here to stay and it will continue to change.

Thanks for reading.  I am waiting to get my spandex and chains out from storage, grow my hair back out and tie some bandanas on my microphone stand again someday.  We can only hope right?   Peace.

 

Mebane Knights

 

Last night I performed for the first time at a place called Mebane Knights.   The weather was perfect for me... COLD.  I love the winter air.  I can breathe and move better.  I walked in to the venue and was immediately drawn to the décor and the "feel" of this small room.  There were beautiful rugs on the floor, vintage furniture everywhere and PLENTY of room to sit, chill with your friends and talk, eat, drink, etc.

There were artful tapestries hanging on the walls, low lighting and a gorgeous bar in the back.

This is not your "typical bar" and another thing I loved was there was NOT ONE TV in the entire room.

The food, wine and beer selection exceeded my expectations!

The staff and ownership should write a book on how venues should treat musicians as well.  I felt right at home.  They even asked me to perform MOSTLY ORIGINAL MUSIC.  I was blown away.

The room was made for a nice sound.  I wasn't too loud or too low.

During my break I walked the room and tried to speak to as many people as possible like usual, but I didn't make it past Mebane's own "Table #1".  These folks were a riot and enjoyed meeting and talking to them and their lives.

After the show I was invited a few blocks down to hear a band at another venue.  The band was a TWO PIECE Female Rock Band called "Sayer McShane" and I was totally SOLD on their talent when I heard them belt out Heart's "Barracuda" without missing a note or beat.  The two women pure flat out ROCKED on guitar and drums.  I am already stalking them and looking to get them booked in the Winston area.

Thank you to EVERYONE who made my night worth the travel and time.  Thank you for being a part of this gypsy life I live (and YES, it is a gypsy life because I do what I must, go where I will and NEVER know what the next day holds).

Someday I will return to full time music when the time is right.  Until then I will wait and live to perform in moments like these.

J.

 

Tell your bullies to sit down!

 

Today is YOUR day.  Take it and share it with others who may need your smile and kindness.

When I was younger, I was bullied for years in school.  As I grew older I experienced the same bullies in the workplace.  Bad bosses and co-workers are all around you so let today be the day YOU STAND UP and respectfully remind them that you will NOT be treated as inferior or worthless.  STAND UP and look your bullies in the eye with conviction.  Gather your truths, your facts and your CONFIDENCE and make a statement today.

This applies in school and the workplace…. As well as everyday life.

Have you been wrongfully blamed?  Fingers and eyes pointing at you falsely?  STAND UP.

Has anyone ever told you you do not DESERVE the good things in your life?  THEY ARE LIARS.

YOU DESERVE ALL THE GOODNESS LIFE CAN GIVE IF YOU’VE WORKED FOR IT.  STAND UP.

Have you been convinced that you are worthless?  YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN WORDS CAN DESCRIBE.  STAND UP.  Do NOT believe the liars.  They are everywhere and like the vampires they are, they wish to suck the very life from you.

STAND UP.  SMILE.  LAUGH…. Be encouraged and be CONFIDENT.

I remember hearing sermons from “preachers” when I was younger about how we deserve nothing and are worthless…..  BULLSHIT.  Go back to school young, uneducated “preacher”.  Go back to the school of compassion, encouragement and real life.

WE WORK HARD and WE PLAY HARD.  We deserve any goodness this life can give.

WE ARE WORTH IT ALL.

ALL OF US.

So STAND UP people!  BE YOURSELVES TODAY.  Make peace with the war inside you and start new.

Tell your bullies to SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP.  Take life by the hand….and LEAD AND LIVE IT.

 

If only you knew...

 

My friend and fellow Singer/Songwriter Austin Simmons has the words "If only you knew" tattooed across his chest.  Those words mean something to me more now than ever.

Over the years I have performed THOUSANDS of events and have only had to cancel one or two based on sickness or family issues along the way.

Several months ago I was asked to perform at a local benefit and I agreed to do so.  I was excited to be a part of it all and promoted accordingly.

The very day of the event I came down with a horrible migraine which led to a weekend sinus infection and cold that put me in the bed and on antibiotics for a week. That's the universes way of laughing at me for bragging about always being healthy I suppose!

I called the only contact # I had for the event to explain why I would not be there and no one answered so I left a message.  I also posted on facebook and in messages to those kind folks who asked me to be there to further explain before I turned in for the night to rest and heal.

The next day I found that facebook was painted with mean comments about me being a "no show" and how I had cancelled and let everyone down.

Furthermore I received a horrible, mean, angry email from someone I had never met telling me that I was a "low life" and they would never support me.

I failed to mention that earlier that day I was ALMOST ran off the road by a car while riding my Harley home from my day job.   Now... I was sick and that should have been enough, but WHAT IF I had been in an accident?

The point here is that these people made judgment calls on me, my word and my character BEFORE they looked into the FACTS or contacted me personally.

I could have been hurt or even dead and those comments left about me would have been the first and last thing they ever said about me.

Thankfully, the hundreds of people who support me and truly KNOW me understood.

As a result of the cancellation I offered my services for the next year's event and even offered MORE stage time.  They event promoters were sure that I "had this planned based on denying a facebook invite to the event..." - THAT is not only childish, but a terrible way to judge a situation.  Some people don't even check their facebook events.

For this reason I think I will go back to booking over the telephone.

If ONLY YOU KNEW...

 
Some coward left several drunken notes on napkins with mispelled words and writing I could barely read in my tip jar last night. It was a number of suggestions that I should engage my audience more, invite them to dance and make better eye contact.
 
Obviously they've NEVER seen me perform in 20 years and did not know the agreement to perform a low key show at this specific venue (not to mention she arrived during the last 30 minutes of our two hour gig and sat at a table in front of a patio full of people who came to see us play and were happy with the evening. You judgmental wannabe critic... we're not hired to stroke your ego. Go somewhere else.
 
If only you knew...
 
One of my new songs is called "Cheap Shot".  It's about several things, but mainly about how some people walk into a venue while an artist is performing and decides that the night is not about the artist or the venue, rather it is about THEM getting attention from the crowd.  They do this by liqouring up real good and dancing ON the stage directly in front of the artist... normally with drink in hand and spilling such on the artists' equipment.
 
They've also been known to yell out loudly while the artist is sharing an original song with a message that sounds like this... "play something we know!".
 
I am thankful for everyone at Table #1 (which is the name I gave my repeat supporters over the years) who have yelled out even louder, "Play something you wrote!".
 
Once I get through this upcoming surgery I will return to the stages with all original material.  I will tell stories and share my soul.  I hope you will all join me, but if not, I understand.  No matter what- please support local music and I hope to shake some hands and make new aquaintances along the way.
 
Concerning other people, artists and venues... concerning the waitress that doesn't get tipped enough... concerning the bartender who puts up with men talking to her chest all night... concerning the single moms, single dads, co-workers and the rest of the population of human beings....
 
If only.... wait..... IF ONLY WE KNEW.
 
 
 
 

 

 

Thanks to all local venues

 

As 2012 is already half over I wanted to send out a VERY soul driven THANK YOU to all the local venues that have hired me over the past few years.   You may not realize it, but you have added to the food on my family's table and that has always been why I work from morning through the late nights.

True there was a time when I looked for that great record deal in the sky, but age, experience and just plain reality sunk way dow deep and I realized more than ever that my song writing and performance of classic songs that we all grew up with was best acted out on the local level.  Thanks to the venues, owners, managers, employees and the public you serve I have continued to do what I love and will not quit until I someday am doing it full time again (maybe on a local/regional level).

With dog and pony carnival shows like American Idol, X-Factor, The Voice and more just like them STILL growing in popularity I continue to rely on what my "idol" Billl Mallonee calls "Grass roots fans".  You are the ones that will continue sharing my music with your online and REAL friends and family.  You are the ones who continue to show up and bring new people to the shows.   You are the ones who pre-order my little albums over and over again and without you...  I am a car out of gas.

As I continue working my 40 hour per week office job like many of you I have cut way back on "gigs".  Some of you remember meeting me during the nights that lasted until dawn and I had to clock in to the office shortly after loading the car and leaving the show.  Those days were fun for awhile, but my oldest son came to live with me last year and EVERYTHING had to change.   Now I play one or two shows one week,  none the next week, four the next and maybe one the next (or none again).  The key thing was playing less and still trying to make the same income so I am already focusing in that direction for 2013.

I will still be playing monthly at some Winston Salem favorites, but will also be doing more in the Greensboro, Yadkin, Charlotte areas as well as MANY private events including house parties and weddings.

I wanted to send out one last THANK YOU to the high rollers who hired me over and over again.  If we part ways, it is on a hand shake and a smile and for no other reason than to make the changes needed to eventually make me a full time entertainer and song writer/recording artist HOPEFULLY before I hit 50, haha.

Someday I hope to play the beach areas like my buddy and local musical machine Owen Poteat (the one man boogie band).  He's got the right idea I think :)  Until that day comes I will be raising my sons with a smile (and a headache here and there), working my Leasing job with the best co-workers a man could ask for, writing more songs, recording more albums at home, playing some music here and there and just trying to spread some kindness.  I hope to see ya'll out there along the way.

Thank you again.

J.

 

 

I want to live

 

Lately I’ve been thinking more than ever about death.  I want to live.

I know death is in the future for every one of us, but I want to live. 

I don’t just want to live…  I want to live forever (like a vampire, but not as cold, sad and violent).  I want to live.

Being a parent for 12 years has changed me in so many ways.  I want to live.

I want what any decent human being would want for their children.  Safety, success, happiness, education…  I also want to see them grow older, have their own kids and then I get to be the cool grandpa that my Pa Paw was to me.  I want to live.

I lost my Pa Paw several years ago and since then I have watched the sweet bride he left here on earth decline more each year (and much quicker lately).  I want to live.

I’ve watched my own Mother MORE than care for my grandmother daily, nightly…weekly….  I want to live.

I have to be honest with and prepare myself before I can ever hope to do the same for my family WHEN my grandmother’s last day approaches… and it will as will my own.  Hell, haven’t we all been dying since the day we were born?  I want to live.

I want to see those around me live and enjoy each moment, each breath, each meal, every drink, every sunrise… all the music our ears can handle… riding the highways with the windows down or the bugs splashing into my face as my Harley hits 70 mph on Hwy 421.   I want to live.

My Pa Paw used to pick up hitch hikers and take them to wherever they needed to be (that act of kindness is NOT advised these days), but he would have a full conversation with his passenger all the way to where they were going.  His kindness is that I wish to share with others…and I hope I do.  Pa Paw LIVED.  I want to live.

I want to enjoy the coffee in the morning and the late night brew. I want to live.

I want to smile as I punch the clock at the office and laugh when the work day is over and the night begins.  I want to live.

I want to listen to Vinyl Records more than CD’s and my Ipod (and remember WHY as I am doing so).  I want to live.

I want to enjoy cold beer by a pool side (but mostly on a North Carolina Beach Shore).  I want to live.

I want my kids to learn respect for ALL people and be interested in our history/origins, our political and religious structures (or lack thereof).  I want them to experience art and music, read classic books and watch great movies.  I want to live.

Family, friends and fans… go out and live.

 

Friends before facebook

 

Do you remember what friends were to you before this world wide phenomenon called facebook?

I do.

We called one another and sometimes talked on the phone for hours.  We actually talked...you know...had a conversation without 25 or more other people listening in and commenting.

I am thankful for so much of technology and how it has helped promote my music business over the years, but I am also confessing that it is all too easy to be sucked in like a vacuum and become addicted to hours of being too interested in other people's lives.

It is also too easy for people to get too interested in your lives.

I loved how facebook would notify me of people's birthdays and share new places they have been.

I loved being able to "tag" people that I wanted to see the same message or know about a venue I was performing at.

It was also neat that you could connect with "friends of friends".  There's just one problem...

"Friends" are people you have grown up with since childhood or folks you've met along the way that you just can't get enough of.  You want to spend physical time with them and talk in person.  You want to have them over for dinner and go out to movies together.  You help one another move from home to home or give baby showers, etc.  You don't need a "book of faces" to keep up with your FRIENDS.

Again, it is an AWESOME networking tool and I will probably regret giving up some of it, but I'm not going back.  I want to concern myself with my wife getting home from work and giving me a hug.  I want to look forward to that amazing smell of her hair after I've been at the office all day.  I want to look forward to picking my son up from school and skateboarding outside before turning in for a good movie and junk food.

I want to focus at work and give my company the talent they hired me for.

So hopefully anyone who wishes to remain connected to my music will stay tuned here on my website.

I still have miles of figuring myself out to go...I just want to enjoy the ride.

 

Simple Man (To my boys...)

 

Over all the years I've played music I have heard the words, "Play some skynard!!!" yelled across many bar rooms.  Most of the time I truly HATE that cliche' old joke, but one night awhile back we played a Skynard song called "Simple Man" and as my friend Josh sang the words I think I truly "heard" it for the first time ever.   

What a truly beautiful song.  A suggestion.  Advice from a parent to a child.

So to my sons I post this journal...the lyrics to Simple Man.

 

Simple Man
Songwriters: Van Zant, Ron/Rossington, Gary

Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it'll help you some sunny day

Oh, take your time don't live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
Go find a woman you'll find love
And don't forget son there is someone up above

And be a simple kind of man
Be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won't you do this for me son if you can?


Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you my son is to be satisfied

Repeat Chorus

Boy, don't you worry you'll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this if you try
All that I want for you my son is to be satisfied

Repeat Chorus 2X

 

Blessing and Curse

 

There is a verse I wrote at the end of my song "Music Man" that was never recorded.  Someday I will re-record that song and everyone will hear it.  Here is the verse:

"Music man, we're both the same.  I've grown to understand your pain.  Like father like son, yeah come what may.  Oh, a blessing and curse is what you gave..."

Maybe I was created to be a lover of music and not a creator of it.

Maybe the one true love that most relate to a romance novel or a Nicholas sparks movie was never meant to be flesh and bone, yet invisible sound waves, vibration and mood altering, beautiful noise.

For as long as I can remember there has been a soundtrack playing in my head and ears for every day of my life and every situation.  In times of sadness certain songs just comforted like no human words or touch could.  In times of happiness other songs added to the natural high and escalated my already great feelings.

In times of indifference (of such times I am deeply familiar with) music is the only thing that makes sense; the only thing that needed no explanation or translation.  It’s been a language that I’ve spoken and understood since birth without a word being uttered.

I never get angry at it and it never gets angry at me.

It never asks anything of me outside of just spending time with it.

It assures me that no matter who passes on…it will remain.

For years I’ve spent THOUSANDS of hours studying, writing, practicing and trying to learn more about it and I still…know nothing. 

In my little corner of this planet, of this universe I do the best I can with what little I know.  My three to four guitar chords and my technological buttons, lights and foot pedals… I have grown to love and hate them.  Blessing, curse, madness and peace.

I want more for my sons than the road that’s led me here to my current position in life.  I can only hope that they do not fall in love with this art as I have.  If they do, however, my only choice will be to encourage them and support them…and I will do so in anything they choose to study and master.

Moving forward…as usual is the only thing I can and will do.  My religion, my church as I’ve stated many times…is this creation that many only understand to be what they hear on the radio waves and the television.  For me it will never be just that and it will always be far more.

I will write, I will sing, I will record and perform the best I possibly can with the least and best resources I currently have at my fingertips….and I will never apologize for doing so.

Cheers to you all.  Thank you again….for being….WHO you are.  Don’t ever change…for anyone.

I wrote this one with several sweet souls in my heart:

My Dad

Bill Mallonee

Tommy Jones

Jerry Chapman

Doug Davis

Steve Lindsley

 

 

Me, on me.

 


WHEN I SING I FEEL EVERY NOTE FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY FEET, THROUGH MY LEGS INTO MY KNEES THROUGH MY GROIN INTO MY STOMACH AND CHEST THROUGH MY NECK AND INTO MY HEAD. MUSIC HAS NEVER BEEN, IS NOT AND WILL NEVER BE JUST A “HOBBY”. IT IS MY CHURCH, MY RELIGION, MY LOVE AND LIFE…and I’m not even “professional”.

My body aches when I leave a performance. I could sleep for two days straight, but I get up and do it all again. I am fortunate beyond measure to be supported by so many wonderful people and venues. Thank you all for helping me feed my family.

People want to get close. Sometimes, too close. Some people think they “know” me, but they only know the me from the stage or the me that makes an intoxicated trip through the room to make sure I speak to everyone who showed up for the night.


This little “note” if you will, is an attempt to put myself…in a nutshell so to say.

I have no complaints (other than what the general public is led to believe is musical talent these days). I am happier than ever, yet I still struggle with my own “demons” mostly from the past, but thankfully they know not to mess with me now (as I look them directly into their lying eyes and say, “You are wasting your time”). I am stronger and weaker than ever. I am wiser and more ignorant. I am faster, yet slower. Things that used to set me on fire with anger I now laugh at.

I hope to someday be my own boss again, but for now I KNOW what I must accomplish.
For anyone who’s ever wondered… here’s a day/week in my life:

Mon-Fri (every week) Wake up at 6am. Make breakfast for Micah. Take him to school by 7am. Come back home (sometimes lay down for another hour). Clock in at “real job” by 8:30am. Work 8:30 to 5:30/6pm as an Apartment Leasing Specialist (nice title huh?). Pick up Micah from after school by 6pm then drive back home for a HOPEFUL quick dinner with him and my wife (while helping son with any homework) before I leave to setup a stage with heavy equipment for a show that will last from 2 to 3 hours. I generally play 3 to 4 shows a week (and am uber thankful for the work). Nights that I do not play are spent laying on the couch with my son, dogs and cats watching “How I met your mother” and “My name is Earl”. I love those moments. I wish there were more of them, but we don’t get paid to lay around (my Grandpa would be proud). Every other weekend my younger son visits (I HATE THAT WORD) and we are a complete family. Then he leaves and I begin another two weeks of the above mentioned schedule (all the while wishing for more time with him).

I write and record when I can. I go to see my fellow musicians perform when I can. I spend MUCH time promoting myself and other artists. I build and update my website and facebook info. I make calls. I respond to emails and messages. I even try to call my mom (she’s always been the BEST by the way). I play solo shows and from time to time duo shows with a young man named Tommy that has surprisingly become a great friend as well as co-writer, producer and stage mate. More on that some other time.

I drink too much coffee. I like good beer (especially when it’s free). I love cheese omelets and chocolate cake. I love Bojangle’s, Cracker Barrell and Taco Bell.
My favorite movies are ones like “The Matrix”, “Star Wars” and “Battlestar Galactica” – There is more truth in those stories than anyone knows.

I spent years being brainwashed by certain religious organizations and now I am free from all of that as personal and intimate experience and study has led me into the reality of LIFE and the acceptance of ALL people regardless of how and where they were raised or what they claim to think they believe or not believe. I just enjoy sharing my music with everyone. I love hearing your stories and trying to answer your questions.

I think about my kids constantly. I want them to be a better man than I am. I want them to make better choices. I want them to LEAVE NC someday and see the world and the many cultures of it.


My co-workers at the “real job” are the best and most understanding people ever and we’ve become friends. They will never be rid of me (even if our ways part someday).
It’s hard to wear so many hats, but idle time is my worst enemy so I choose to wear the ones I must…and keep moving forward.

So for those of you who might have wondered just what goes on in my head and in my day to day life… this is just a glimpse. I plan to post journals again, but be prepared… there will be no holding back.

Lastly I would like to quote Foo Fighter’s Frontman Dave Grohl’s Grammy Acceptance Speech for 2012 Album of the year” –
“"This is a great honour, because this record was a special record for our band. Rather than go to the best studio in the world down the street in Hollywood and rather than use all of the fanciest computers that money can buy, we made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine...

"To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what's important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that's the most important thing for people to do.

"It's not about being perfect, it's not about sounding absolutely correct, it's not about what goes on in a computer. It's about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head]."

Sincerely,

Jamie Carroll, Feb 2012

 

What do I see?

 

Another gig.   Another night I set up the speakers, plug the guitar in and begin singing all those songs I didn’t write (and a few I did).

A quick shot of courage.  A cold drink from a friend.  It’s time to play.

Ever wonder how it is from my point of view?

Singing my soul out every night.  Usually until I have no voice left.

While I am in the middle of the show I see the same ol’ guy hitting on the pretty bartender.  I watch the girls’ night out group take hundreds of pictures of one another and then look at the camera to approve before “tagging” it on face book.

I watch the drunk guy in the tap out shirt give me dirty looks because he can’t hear the ballgame on TV due to me being so loud. (Hint to that guy: they hired me to play; maybe you should go home and watch the game?).

I put up with the staggering lady who asks me to play a song I ALREADY played, but she continues asking because “she wasn’t there when I played it”.  Too bad really because there is an entire room full of people who WERE there.

Then there is the guy who always asks for a Dave Matthews song when I’ve made it clear over the 20 years I’ve been playing that although I love Mr. Matthews I do NOT cover his songs.  Why?  He’s that good…I’m not.  Ha!

I watch the waitresses hustle all over the room trying to make everyone happy while most people are mad because she overlooked them by accident.  Don’t worry Miss Waitress I see your hard work.

I focus on table #1.  The faithful few who actually come to HEAR me sing.  The few that know my lyrics.  THEY are what keep me going sometimes while the rest of the room could care less that they are listening to a musician who actually cares about every note he sings and every simple chord he plays.  20 years I say again.

It’s been a long and interesting ride to say the least.  I’ve seen so much and will see so much more.  I remain thankful, yet self-righteously bitter that this may be as far as the road leads for me musically.  My confession of narcissim makes me feel a little better just because I remain honest, yet will it help me continue filling these rooms with music?  Have I realized that I am truly background music and that these “gigs” are not “concerts”?  Am I sabotaging my own stage?

I don’t know what you see, but I see a lot from that stage.

Thanks to you all again…and again…and again.

 

Tonight at O'Brady's

 

Started the day with no food and a sugar free red bull.

Leased 5 Apartments between yesterday and today.

Picked up Ethan (my youngest son at lunch and he spent the rest of the day with me at work).

I work for THE BEST people in the world.

Micah was at summer camp all day.

Played at Beef O' Brady's tonight.  

Thought it would be JUST another Thursday with me and Mooch playing all those songs we didn't write.

I was wrong.

Mooch invited Mr. JD Leonard to play guitar and sing with us.  He is visiting home from New York City where he plays two to three show...PER DAY.

I was happy about him being there as he IS one of those musicians that I MARVEL at.

Mid way through the set, Mr. Court Wynter showed up to play Bass Guitar with us.

IF you ONLT knew WHO this guy was....  I was stoked.

THEN after I took a break (and ANOTHER Scotch on the rocks) Courts Father, Mr. Wynter showed up to play Saxophone with us for the duration of the evening.

THIS IS MUSIC.

THIS IS WHY I've been in love with it all my life.

Thank you Mooch for reading my warning signs of...well, you know....  and inviting these guys in to make it ALL better.

Thank you JD for somehow playing the way you play...singing the way you sing and being WHO you are.

I am NOWHERE close to the knowledge you have of this thing called music and I appreciate you honoring me with you presence tonight.

Jr. and Sr. Mr. Wynters?  You guys??? Are THE BEST.  I hope to perform with you again.

Old friends met new friends.

Shots were taken...  drinks were served...laughter was in the air on the patio.

I RUSHED home to put my kids to bed, but they were already asleep....

They know why Daddy works day AND night...

They know I love them MORE than my own breath.

To everyone on the patio tonight; THANK YOU.

To Mooch; I only wish people would get to know you the way I have.

To JD and The Wynters; You are welcome on my stage ANYTIME.

To the Owners of O'Brady's; Thank you for allowing me to be WHO I am and for giving GOOD people a place to be WHO they are.

Cheers....and goodnight.

 

J

 

Letting it die

 

When someone dies they are gone from here.

Keeping them in our memory is a good thing of course, but treating what they left behind as if they were still alive is not.

Material possesions.

Some get sold while the more important things are most of times divided among the living family members and close friends.

Some things get fought over by the selfish vampires who feel they “deserve” it.

Come on, you know we ALL have those in our families.

So why the grim introduction?  Why the talk of death?

I am referring to my dream of becoming a full time musician of course.

From the magical age of 16 I just knew I was different.  I knew I would someday be on stage under lights and traveling the world just like my idols Jon Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, The Eagles and many more.  True I have had thousands of chances to do just that along the way and I am thankful as I know that many others will never have the chances that I had.  Yet here I am age 36 and as Paul Thorn said, “still no hits”.

I’ve entered countless contests and even won a few local ones.  I’ve been included in articles, magazines and even a TV spot or two.  Several of my songs have been on the radio through the years (but none of the paying stations).  I’ve been blessed with a local following of wonderful people that I refer to as “table #1” and I would not trade the friendships I have made for anything in the world.

I’ve gotten more “work” than most blue collar musicians will ever find and again I am overjoyed, yet working a full time job on top of a FULL TIME JOB is killing me.  My mind and my body are far past tired.  I do not sleep much and when I do sleep I do not sleep well.   Any day past Monday I usually have to glance at a calendar just to remember what DAY it truly is.

My “dream” of making it died a long time ago.  It has just taken a long time to LET IT GO…and like the Foo Fighters sing, “Let it die”.

I look up to my local contemporaries who play the clubs, churches and bars every night and I wonder just how they do it without working a day job, but then I realize that somehow along the way they were able to choose their dream over a 40 hour clock punch and convert that dream into their “job”.

I would like to say that this was the case with me, but at this time I cannot be away from my family that much and so the “day job” is a MUST and something I must choose over what I’ve always felt to be my “calling” if you will.

My current plan is to play less solo shows and focus on playing with other artists and bass guitar/singing backup for the Katelyn Marks Band (an amazing group of human beings who I just love being around).  After this year, hopefully I will not feel the NEED to play SO many solo shows for money.  Maybe by then the financial load will be a bit lighter and I can finally go to my real job each day and be able to focus and not spend the day trying to keep my eyes open.

I would love to finish a few more Albums as well, but every time I’ve tried to get into the studio I realize there is more work to be done and that my “creative juices” are not flowing due to working so much and not having enough time to write and create. 

Doug Davis has told me several times, “slow down and don’t get burnt out”.

Doug also sings, “something’s gotta change…”  YOU GOT THAT RIGHT BROTHER.

Another thing…  for 20 years I have played the same 3 or 4 chords on my acoustic guitar and have tried to learn more.  When I hear freaks of nature like Bill Mallonee, John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Coldplay, Wilco, Darrell Scott and many “underground” artists that I love I feel like quitting AND playing harder at the same time.  These guys are AMAZING and I just don’t know HOW they do it.

While I was in Nashville I realized something as well:  If I ever go back, I will say I am a vocalist, but I will NOT pick up an instrument whatsoever.  Those guys out there?  I think most of them were born with a golden guitar in their hands or something.   What I am saying is I would LOVE to play like that, but have NO time to even begin trying to take lessons from some of the golden teachers even here in the Winston area.

Do you realize JUST HOW MUCH TALENT IS IN THIS CITY?

Here is a song by Wilco called The Late Greats:

"Late Greats"

The greatest lost track of all time: 
The Late Greats' "Turpentine" 
You can't hear it on the radio 
You can't hear it anywhere you go 

The best band will never get signed 
K-Settes starring Butcher's Blind 
Are so good, you won't ever know 
They never even played a show 
You can't hear 'em on the radio 

The greatest singer in rock and roll 
Would have to be Romeo 
His vocal chords are made of gold 
He just looks a little too old 

The greatest lost track of all time: 
The Late Greats' "Turpentine" 
I can't hear it on the radio 
I don't hear it anywhere I go 

The best song will never get sung 
The best life never leaves your lungs 
So good, you won't ever know 
I never hear it on the radio 
Can't hear it on the radio 

 

I love that song.  How true.  So is this a childish angry rant on not getting what I want?  No way.  It’s hopefully a mature step in the right direction and a realization that where I am now is where I am…period.  My family needs me, my job needs me.  They need my focused attention.  Right now I feel they both may be getting leftovers.  That is not even close to right.

I wish I could choose between the “real job” and the music path, but life has been pretty clear in choosing that for me so it’s time to accept it.

I cannot wait until I can rely on just my 40 hour job to supply our needs.  THEN I can actually go out and hear local music favorites and hang out with friends again.

For now I am determined to finish out the year the best I can and have many more fun nights singing those cover songs that everyone knows and hopefully a few of my own.

Like I said at the beginning of this entry, when I was 16 I thought I was different.

Now I know I am just another guy with a guitar and some songs.  There are MILLIONS of us out there and as long as “Ke$ha” is singing lyrics like, “blah, blah, blah…” on what the world knows as popular radio,  we have no hope of being “found”.

 

Here’s to you Jerry, Doug, Steve, Brian, Austin, Mooch, Nicole, Timothy, Tammie, Vel Indica, Sam, Katelyn and the rest!  Keep chasing your “dream”, but don’t lose sight of “reality” like I did.  My Mom once told me, “don’t expect anything from anyone and you’ll NEVER be disappointed”.  That’s a good one mom.  I do expect the best from myself, however and I hope I am at least giving everyone around me just that….  My best.

Maybe someday I will be the vocalist of the best cover band in the world?  Ha!

There’s plenty of those.  Maybe I will be able to buy an RV and tour America with my Acoustic and the few chords that I know, singing songs about my life as usual?

Alanis Morisette sang, “Life has funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right”.   Who knows?  For now…I just gotta keep working and let that “dream” lay where it fell instead of trying to resurrect it weekly only to remind myself that although memories remain, the dead…are gone.

Raise your glasses high my friends….  Here’s to real life, tangible evidence and common sense (I hope)…. Cheers!

 

Back where I started

 

210361_127796493961349_100001929982031_194366_1994688_o_resized.jpgThis one is gonna be direct.  Here goes.

I did everything the “music business” asked of me.  I wrote catchy chorus lines and allowed a producer to even change some of my words.

I grew my hair long (which many people began to identify me by).  “You know, the guy with the hair?”

But what about my voice?  My songs?  A few of you truly came out to hear my stories and my lyrics just the way I had written them…with NO expectation of change.

Instead of picking my lyrics apart and asking me, “what does this or that even mean?”  YOU, the REAL music lover just learned each verse and sang right along ALL night as if you knew EXACTLY what I was trying to say.

THAT…is where I am returning to musically. And it begins NOW.

From now on I will write just as honest as I used too when I first met many of you.

I will write what I feel…and FEEL what I write.

It’s my story, your story…OUR stories.

Gonna try to let go of the pop radio bitterness that I continue to feel every time another #1 “hit” comes along that sounds JUST LIKE THE LAST ONE and just begin enjoying my songs again, regardless of if a “producer or record label” doesn’t “get” what I am trying to say.

I may write a classic rock tune.  I may write a folked out blues country song.

I may write a lullaby and put you all to sleep, but I will do it with honesty, conviction and STYLE.  My own style.

I have plans of creating a FULL TIME MUSIC CAREER by the time I am 40.  I would like to join the ranks of such artists as Paul Thorn, Darrell Scott, Bill Mallonee and many others who have actually turned down record deals JUST TO DO IT THEIR WAY and be loyal to the TRUE fans of what they are really doing.  By the way, GOOGLE those last few names and you will see why I admire them so much.

I am planning another acoustic album as soon as inspiration kicks back in.  I will record it from my home again (much like the Reality Album).

Then I will continue working on my real STUDIO Album with Doug Davis (a real producer in my book) and I will continue making the music and writing the songs that so many of you have gotten to know me (and one another) through.

American Idol, X-Factor, The Voice, etc???   Whatever.   They can have those “popular” TV Shows…and that’s what they are folks…SHOWS.   Wonder how music would be without TV?  What if all we had was radio…or ONLY “Live”?

I will take heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, laughter and the sound of clanking glasses in a crowded room of friends just trying to find our way through this messy 40 plus hour work week with one another’s help.

THAT is my music ya’ll.  That is me.  Explaining to my kids that the reason they can have that pair of jeans, that Pizza, that family vacation is because Daddy worked late every night singing until his voice left his body, came home and slept a few hours, got up at 8am, went to work a full time job and then took another stage the next night and did it ALL over again…with NO regrets.

Someday I WILL have a full time music career again.  I would love to take what we have built here in the Winston Salem area weekly and share it with surrounding areas…then states, etc.  It can happen.  It’s all just timing and I am finally in no rush.

I thought I had to make shiny, polished recordings to be accepted.  I thought my hair had to look a certain way and my jeans had to be a certain “brand”.  Really?  Is that what music is?  Is that artistry?  No way.  Not anymore.  Thank you Jerry Chapman for wearing many “hats” and performing outside on damn hot summer days wearing cut off shorts, no shoes and a bandana.  THAT is being real.  THAT is where I am returning too. 

Thanks ya’ll.  Thanks for the support.  New and good things are coming.

 

Remember when?

 

Does anyone else remember the feeling of walking into a Record Store? The Band Logo Shirts hanging on the walls? Flipping intently through EACH LP or CD looking for...anything that just LOOKED cool without even hearing it? Taking chances on NEW releases? Does anyone remember when rock bands had LEAD GUITAR solos and Singers with amazing VOCAL abilities? I remember well and miss those days.

 

Things I'd Never Do

 

I receive emails from old friends a lot.  Today I received one from someone who said my music "used to have heart".

Out of the hundreds of songs I have written over the years THIS ONE sums up where I've been, who I have become and the simple TRUTH of my humble humanity.  I have nothing to hide and I dedicate this song to all the people out there who do not wear masks.

Do you think this one has "heart"?

Thing I'd Never Do/Jamie Carroll, 2010 (From the Album "Reality")


keepin up with movie stars/sellin all my cool guitars/things i said id never do

burn a bridge/lose some friends/find some new ones/start again/things i said id never do

it was hard to plan my life at age 16/back then i though i knew everything

so many jobs came and went/so many prayers to god were sent for things i said id never do

alcohol and nicotine/jokes that are a bit obscene/things i said id never do

little white lies/suit and ties/quittin school/divorced two times/things i said id never do

well it hard to plan my life at 35/all this time i just been gettin by

so i wake up early and i stay out late/i play my songs for drunks and saints/things i said id never do

ive had dirty hands and one night stands/ when i walk on water i learn to swim

things i said id never do

 

Music

 

This one is dedicated to all the local, blue collar working musicians:

Music.   (deep breath).  And continue….

Music.  Blessing and curse for certain.

For some it is nothing more than noise and they choose to stay away from it all.

For others it is nothing more than what they hear on popular radio and it makes them scrunch their noses, whip their hair and shake their hips and… oh yeah…. The “booty”.

Music has many faces and many sounds.

For some of us…it is MORE than all of the above.  It is more than radio.  More than CD’s and IPOD’s.  More than MP3 Downloads and Commercial Jingles.

It is the same as breathing at the least for if it were taken away I feel I would suffocate and part of me would even begin to die.

For some of us it is MORE than a simple hobby and we refuse to let it ever become such.

Music as a hobby is wonderful for anyone who wants it to be just that, but for those of us who wake, walk and slumber wearing invisible headphones that play the soundtracks of our lives…it will never do to be anything less than a partner to our very souls.

 

Bittersweet.  Blessing and Curse.  Music.

 

Please don't be this person

 

The following is a revised conversation Mooch and I had over email today.  Most of it was his reply, however I changed it to better describe WHEN THIS HAPPENS…  I hope you all laugh as hard as I did… and IF you see this person at any of our gigs, feel free to ask them to sit down..or leave. 

 

While we have put hours and sometimes weeks of preparation for the songs we play and setup lots of equipment to do our nightly show, please do not be THIS PERSON:

 

You sit on the front row and yell out stuff we don't cover, get hammered and booty dance in front of the mic while messing with our guitars and keyboards.

 

Then you start a conversation with us during a ballad while we’re actually singing. At which point you'll then tell us that even though you’re at (insert current venue here),you are really a record executive and you will act above us.

 

After the show you can get totally crap faced drunk and tug on our arms while we are in the act of breaking down. You'll tell us what songs SHOULD HAVE BEEN in our shows , as we are obviously not qualified to evaluate our own capabilities.

 

Because we are not familiar with the material you are referring to, you'll fix that by saying "it’s the one with the drums and guitar that goes- da da da da-" and magically we will know what song you are speaking of.

 

You'll top it off by stumbling passed our tip jar without a cent of contribution and pat yourself on the back for your wonderful performance as we realize you sat a saturated beer container on our mixer/amplifier with a card that clearly says you work for time warner and are a local.

 

Yes, this happens.  It has happened too many times to count.  Funny as it is to tell the story it’s sad and true.

 

Note to persons described above: Stop it…and thanks from Mooch 1 and myself (on behalf of every other artist that feels the same way).

 

Why are you not famous?"

 

Many, many of you have asked me in person and via email over the years, “Why have you not made it??”  “Why are you still singing in bars?”  Why are you not…..famous?”

Well, I hope to help you understand something you may not know about the music industry and the snakes that are slithering in the grass of it.

First of all for all you American Idol fans (which I am not) who ask me over and over why I have not tried out:  I am too old for that Circus and even if I were younger I’m not sure I would care to go that direction as they are not interested in original, blue collar song writers like myself and the crowd I run with.  They have certainly paved the way for some great Singers and I respect that, but until there is a contest for Lyrics, Originality and true soul filled performance while connecting with the audience…I will be happy where I am.

Take a trip back with me to 2006.  I was blessed to be able to go to Nashville and record with a #1 Hit Making Producer who recorded my self-titled album “Jamie Carroll” which now appears as “Disc #1” in my double disc set for sale at the shows including the polished versions of “I don’t wanna know, Run to you and I myself and me” to name a few.

It was a great experience period.  I met the most amazing musicians in the world who played on that album and reminded me JUST HOW MUCH I DID NOT KNOW.  It was humbling to say the least. 

The Producer was amazing too.  He had years of experience and even two #1 hits on the rock charts in the 80’s.  He was also kind enough to let me stay in his home for the several weeks we were recording.

Once the album was complete we “shopped” it to several Record Labels.   All of which rejected me.

Here are a few of the lines that were said about me and the album: “Your music is too dated, you’re music is too Christian, your music is not Christian enough, your lyrics are not deep enough, and your lyrics are too deep….etc, etc.”

Since 2006 I have released several “unproduced” recordings as you know just due to the fact there is no more money and time to re-create another professional Album (until Doug Davis and I finish the Broken Beautiful Album HOPEFULLY this year).

Lately I have been sending in some of my songs to a service that Reviews the music and then either forwards it to TV, Movie, Record Companies and Already Famous Artists for possible Recording.

I was interested in this service due to them promoting that the music I enter could either be Professionally Recorded and Produced OR just a clean home recording.

They told me that they were more interested in “the song” than the recording quality of the song so I thought it would be worth a shot to enter some songs.

 

Out of 15 songs so far 14 have come back to me and one had been forwarded (which I am thankful for), but I still have not heard of the forwarded song has been accepted by the artist considering recording it.

The 14 songs returned also come with “critiques” which is a good thing, but I am a bit puzzled (and slightly pissed) that some of the home recordings I sent in were labeled as “unsatisfactory recording quality”.  One of my biggest decision making points was that the Demo’s did not have to be perfect so what are they talking about?

Again I heard confusing and inconsistent reviews such as, “your lyrics are too dark and your lyrics are too funny”.  What? 

Well…these are the “professionals” we are talking about here so they know what they are talking about….right?

I wonder if Bob Dylan was worried about making #1 hits for the radio when he was in his 20’s?

All I know is this friends:  I love music and making it.  I am not “professional” by the “Music Business” standards, but because of YOU and local venues I am making a living doing what I love.

Jerry Chapman said to me once, “I’ve already made it because I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to do what I love to do…as a job every night”.  He’s right.  He’s also humble and will share a drink with you after his show.  Will Jon Bon Jovi do that?  Could he if he wanted to?

So friends, does this help you understand why I am not “famous”?  

I did leave out one small reason….   I don’t want to be famous anymore. I will be 36 in March and I would rather write songs that get recorded by other artists and maybe have a few make it to some TV Shows or Movies.

I am finished with the “local star” contests and things of that nature.  They are a waste of time and energy.  I cannot wait, however to get back in the studio with Doug Davis and begin recording what is sure to be my best Album to date, Broken Beautiful.

Bitter?  Angry?  Maybe…but not enough to stop me from what I love and from sharing it with you.  I think I just don’t understand.  That’s all.  Some of the music I hear these days…just….makes me….raise my brow and…shake my head in disbelief that it is even considered “popular”.  I don’t want to be a “hater”, but honestly people….  Where have the bands gone?  Where are the drummers and guitarists?  They have been replaced with light up suits and dance crews and one person sliding down a rope from the ceiling….lip syncing!  Good show yes….   More like Vegas or Broadway I think.  More like a Circus.

So…back down to earth, back to the streets of Winston Salem (thank you again Jerry) and back to REAL, three chord, un-tuned live vocals with real sweat…real blood on fingertips… real art from real artists and local bands who still LOVE what they do…and love you for being a part of it.

And by the way- If you are supporting musicians that do not support you in return by at least shaking your hand and saying an occasional “thank you for coming”, then I need to introduce you to my Family of Singer/Songwriters and Performers…. WE appreciate you and KNOW we’d have no stages (or paychecks at the end of the night) without YOU.

See ya’ll soon.

 

J.

 

Another New Year, 2011

 

Here we are again friends.  Another year is new... 2011.  What will this year hold for us all?  Ups and downs...surprises and amazement...  happiness and sadness.... general life as most of us know and accept it :)

As most of you that know me would agree, I am NO ONE to preach or make human judgement, but one thing I have learned is that the choices we make in life early can effect us til our last breath.

Forgiveness is a strange and wonderful thing if we can truly do it.  

Don Henley's song "Heart of the matter" is a lyrical art that explains this.  

"I'm learning to live without you now, but I miss you sometimes. The more I know, the less I understand all the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again. I've been tryin' to get down to the heart of the matter but my will gets weak and my thoughts seem to scatter, but I think it's about...forgiveness, forgiveness even if, even if you don't love me anymore. Ah, these times are so uncertain
There's a yearning undefined and people filled with rage. We all need a little tenderness how can love survive in such a graceless age? Ah, the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness they're the very things we kill I guess Oh, pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms and the work I put between us you know it doesn't keep me warm.
 There are people in your life who've come and gone they let you down, you know they hurt your pride. You better put it all behind you baby, 'cause life goes on If you keep carryin' that anger, it'll eat you up inside..."

NOW.  If you're reading this and you have experienced life lessons like me such as: Separation, Divorce, Loss of friendships (maybe they were not real to begin with), bankruptcy, foreclosure and/or anything like these that hurt and tear at our emotions...  I beg you to do something that I have even tried...and it is not easy... but just try...

FORGIVE SOMEONE TODAY.  Forgive someone you think you hate.  Forgive an ex wife or husband (even if they don't want it).  Forgive YOURSELF (even if you don't want it).  Forgive a arrogant boss or co-worker.  Forgive a distant parent who maybe does not even know that they hurt you (some people are just that way for some weird reason...they truly are ignorant of WHAT their wrong was to begin with).

When I look back at the choices I made along the way that STILL hurt me I have no choice, but to CHOOSE to forgive myself and the others that were there when the choices were made.  Continuing to "carry that anger...will eat you up inside..."

Let's make this year, "Bring New People to the shows YEAR!!"

 

Sincerely,

 

Jamie

 

Sometimes Silence is a louder message

 

63297_435402567529_502412529_5092746_564124_n.jpg6:55am and I have been looking at the alarm clock since 5am or so.  Usually I don't budge for anyone or anything at this time of the morning.  I've always been of the belief that the work day should not even begin until AFTER 10am, but here I am waiting on the coffee to be done and sitting at my Apartment Office writing...again.  Ahha....coffee is finished...be right back! --------------- THAT'S better!  The aroma of good fresh coffee as I look down at my desk...  I see a few things: A Led Zeppelin CD, a stack of unfinished songs I have been working on, pictures of my children (and already tears are filling up my eyes)......then there are a few books stacked up...  a bible and the zombie survival guide (what on earth are we preparing for around here anyway? haha).

First sip of the bean beverage from a cup with my youngest son's picture on it...and here we go...

A few days ago an old friend died.  He was the father of a high school friend from my graduating class of 1993 who I got to know well enough back in the late 80's/early 90's.  Though time and distance separated us over the years I thought about him every time I would drive a certain highway and pass his house in my old home town.  HE wrote a song called "Father Dear Father" and though I am not sure when he wrote it I am sure the first time I heard it was 20 years ago and I have been singing it ever since.  Some songs deserve that kind of endurance and need to be shared with as many people as possible.  A few days ago I was asked to sing his song...at his funeral (I would rather call memorial).  I was honored and so I traveled back to my old home town and shared his song once again.  As soon as the service was over I left quickly as I needed to return to Winston Salem for the evening and all I could think about was times past, old friends and the long road to my present life from way back then (in the days of innocence) as I like to call it.  I generally feel very uncomfortable in traditional American Churches for many personal reasons, but I felt peaceful being surrounded by Bruce's family as I was invited to be there by them and THAT was what mattered to me most.  Funny thing really... I spent my teen years finding refuge under the steeples whereas now I find more faith, grace and kindness as far away from them as I can get (by the way kids that's just my story and it doesn't have to be yours).

I have said it before and I will say it again...and again I am sure:  I am not perfect and not long ago decided that was ok to confess.  That night when I returned home I went out for drinks at The Old Winston Social Club with a friend.  We had already been talking about life and "the beyond", but what happened next was truly one of those "wow" moments...

Two ladies walked up to me and said, "you were wonderful at the funeral today and thank you for singing Bruce's song".  Here I was over an hour away from where the event took place and thinking what are you two doing here...in this place (where by the way I had never been before) and what strange timing this possible fortuitous encounter might be!

We talked for a few minutes about our friend who past and music and life, etc...then they sat down and I continued my discussion (and a few more good drafts) with my friend Greg.

We left the Social Club and continued our conversation at Burke Street Pizza just across the street then we went home for the night and continued more conversation outside my door in the cool night air while we enjoyed a few tobacco pipes and general laughter (it's just waht we do).

Why all of the above?  Other than my usual random ADD self...  just last night I arrived at my gig, setup all my gear and was getting ready for soundcheck when suddenly.... NO SOUND.  Nothing.  I checked all the cables...all the connections...  unhooked things...re-hooked things....  asked for help from another sound professional....and  nothing.  No back up plan.  No one to borrow from in a timely manner... nothing.  Just silence (other than the room FULL of wonderful people who had arrived and traveled JUST to hear us perform).  Speaking through a very small speaker that barely amplified my voice I said, "To all of you who showed up to hear us tonight we are more than sorry that we will not be performing due to extreme equipment failure".  Thankfully my people are the kind to understand that if I don't play...something is DEFINATELY wrong.  Yes I could habe gone the Bob Dylan and Bill Mallonee route and just stood in the middle of the room with no amplification, but this was one of those for sure moments where I knew it was just time to say thank you and good night... before we even hads a chance to begin.

Why these two stories in one journal writing?  Because life is a journey and no matter what I feel one day...  I am allowed to feel differently the next.  So are you.

I spend much time seeking for answers and explanations and am finding more and more peace as I realize that I may never find either.  What I do find every day, every night at a show, every week....  are wonderful, kind hearted people who truly want to share their lives and gifts with me (and my family). I meet people who are REAL and who are tired of wearing masks of pretention.  People who have amazing stories and lives.  People who love and accept other people just for WHO they are.  My friend Greg calls those people "real humans" while many would argue that they are "lost".  I just call them friends and I am thankful they are in my life.

If I ever teach my kids anything, I hope it is to love themselves and respect others regardless of what they believe or where they come from.  We are all on this planet together and thankfully most of us only have to focus on a small town or city to thrive in.

One of these fine friends wrote to me this morning (or possibly last night) "Maybe your sound system didn't work because you needed some down time?".  You know what?  I think you're right.  Sometimes silence may be the louder message.

Chance?  Coincidence?  Whatever YOU call it is fine with me I am just thankful to be a part of it...even if "it" can't be explained.

To all my friends, to my family and to my local fans:  THANK YOU and I love you dearly for your kindness. I hope I never let any of you down.  Heaven knows I've had my share of failures.  I can't wait to see what's around the bend.

Here's the lyrics to Bruce Evans' song:

Father Dear Father:bruce.jpg

Father Dear Father, where did our music come from? Little wooden churches singing someday we'll be together.  Father dear father would you be proud of me if I sang a song like nearer my God to thee?  Would you care if I sang out of tune as long as it came from my heart?  Would you care if it was less than perfect?  Lord please listen to my song.

Rest Easy Bruce.

Jamie

 

 

To be completely honest...

 

To be completely honest :

I am NOT the same person at age 35 that I was at age 18 or 25.  If you know me, then you know how many changes and obstacles I have gone through over the years.  One thing for certain: No matter where I’ve been, what I’ve done or what I claimed to “believe” at the time I always meant well and the songs I wrote reflected my views of the specific time and situation.

I will never regret singing at so many church events from 1991 through around 2005 or so. 

I am a work in progress and so are you even if you don’t know it yet.  I have found joy and life in acceptance, understanding and respect of others in this world and their personal beliefs, traditions and practices. One thing I do swear: It is NOT up to me to declare someone’s personal beliefs right or wrong.  I am more interested in WHY. 

I spent too long being angry about all of my doubts and questions.  Finally I realized that it’s a big world out there that goes FAR beyond Wilkes, Yadkin, Surry and Forsyth Counties.  There’s an even bigger Universe above all that cannot and probably will never be explained.  I could get caught up in trying to think about it all and figure it out OR I could be happy that I have it all to ponder!

Shocking?  Offended?  Why?  Because you’ve always felt one way?  You’ve only been taught one thing?  One path?  Was it Mom and Dad’s personal beliefs?  Was it Grandparents?  If so, then that’s wonderful and you like the rest of us should cling tightly to what works for your life’s journey.  I beg you though to re-consider a life of trying to change other people or fix things that are not even broken.  Instead continue working on loving yourself, your family and close friends… and everything else will work itself out somehow…someway… someday.

I welcome emails and discussions with pure and kind thoughts and questions, but I refuse any argument or hateful attempt to convince me of any certain views.  Those days have passed for me and I look forward to each and every day that may come.  May I have many more to see my children grow into men who love and respect all people. 

 

Peace and love to all, this 11th day of September, 2010.

Sincerely,

Jamie Carroll

 

 

"Broken, Beautiful" (Domestic Violence)

 

Recently I learned of a long time friend who was almost murdered by her abusive husband. My friend is an amazing artist and her husband (in a angered frenzy) slashed many of the paintings in her gallery with a knife and then came after her. Though injured and scared she survived and he was locked away. Somehow she has been able to regain her strength, heal and now she speaks out against domestic violence and takes her damaged gallery on the road for all to see. One painting in particular was of a beautiful woman in black and white. My friend said to me, "though she is broken she is STILL beautiful". This is when my newest song and the title of the record we are currently recording came to me in a matter of hours. I stayed up most of that night many times breaking into tears while writing my new song "Broken, Beautiful". Below is a copy of the painting and a link to her website. I encourage all of us to be envolved and be aware of domestic violence. Thanks for the support and thank you Michelle for the humble inspiration. I will be posting the song very soon for you all to hear and it will also be included on the new record.

 
 
broken, beautiful words/music: jamie carroll, 2009 broken, beautiful, black and white as if painted on broken ice words in darkness close behind though your sunlit hair forever shines in my eyes oh, they forever shine tattered canvas torn apart blade of madness razor sharp no pretending with those scars now the world can see who it is you truly are how did it go this far? broken, beautiful rise again in the gallery with your friends tell your story, break our hearts some see failure, we see art in your eyes oh, they forever shine never left behind *Words and Music COPYRIGHT 2009, Jamie Carroll Music.

 

Wilco: The Band "Beautiful Noise"

 
A few weeks ago I went to see Wilco perform in Aseville, NC with my friends and fellow musicians Jerry Chapman and Doug Davis. I heard about Wilco a few years ago through another Singer/Songwriter I have much respect for named Bill Mallonee (of Vigilantes of Love). The first Wilco recording I purchased was the "Sky Blue Sky" record. At first listen I was not a fan, but something drew me back to the record from beginning to end time and time again until it soon became the ONLY record I listened to for months. I seriously could not stray from the music I was hearing. The song writing was pure, simple and addicting. Lead Singer, Jeff Tweedy does not have the vocal chords of Steve Perry, nor does he need it. His humble, yet passionate vocal method is captivating to me. Last night's concert could possibly be the best Live show I have ever seen and heard. All 6 members of this band bring something like magic to the studio and the stage. The energy and control amazes me. The ballads are sweet and the rock songs are energetic and extremely unpredictable. Just when you think they might play a "pop song" they collectively create the most beautiful noise I have ever heard. There have been several changes in the band lineup of Wilco since their formation, however the best yet is the current band. For more on Wilco's history, please research online at Wikipedia.com or google. Nels Cline is the lead guitarist/multi instrument player (I should enter here that all members of Wilco play multiple intruments). Nels is more than a guitarist. I dare say one of the best and most inventive/creative players... EVER. From Jazz to folk to real country to "Beatle Like" rock n roll this guy is not just there to play three chords and say goodnight. He is probably my new guitar hero. Glenn Kotch, the drummer wants his drums to sound real...you know, like drums instead of over processed "modern rock" drums that drown out the importance of the songs. He is a part of his drum kit. He dances effortless with the drum beats and plays exactly what needs to be played and nothing more or less. He along with the other members of the band also incorporate many different percussion sounds as the concert/songs move forward. Shakers, Tambourines and other noise makers I have never seen before. I could go on in detail about the rest of the band, but there would not be enough paper to pen my amusement at Wilco. If you love music, PLEASE introduce yourself to Jeff Tweedy and the Wilco guys. I suggest starting with "Sky blue sky" as I did. You must remember to give it time. Each song. From beginning to end. I assure you that you will truly be amazed. After that record I suggest getting "Kicking Television" which is a Concert recording (double disc) that spans their early material as well as the current songs. Another personal favorite is a record called "Being There". No matter where you start, please just start some Wilco flowing through your speakers soon.
 

Beautiful Boy (No one will ever see what I see)

 

“Beautiful Boy” No one will ever see what I see Some people complained about his crying all night when he was a newborn baby. I have to admit those many sleepless nights…many I said… were very challenging. There were times when I would cradle him and dance him around the living room while listening to The Cure’s Disintegration Record until he was asleep again. There were also times when I had lost so much sleep that I broke into tears and called my mother asking her to please come get him for one night so I could try to collapse into a chance to actually rest. Mom’s back yard was my front yard (not a strange thing in Wilkes County, NC) so she was close. As time went on and my first born son’s mother and I learned to become friends for his sake I quickly realized that she and I were the only ones that would ever see the potential he has and the beauty in his personality. Of all the hard days that parents will have I would still not change a thing about my son. There were some who would rather have him tied to a chair, doped up on medicine to keep him from talking so much or being so energetic rather than spending quality time with him and taking him to a park to make up a game called “Micah, run from here to the tree as many times as you can before I count to 100!!!”. That’s all he wanted. Time. Attention. He did not ask for what his mother and I created in our divorce. In fact the only thing he ever asked for was maybe more cookies! In separation and divorce there is never much sunshine until months and most times years have passed with a lot of grace, forgiveness, allowance and understanding flowing under and away from “the bridge”. I am thankful for the measures that Micah’s mother and I have taken to become friends for our son’s ultimate benefit. After all if we are going to be good parents and try to make his life worthwhile, he needs to be nothing less than first. Our needs and wants mean nothing until his have been met. Some people would be angered by my son’s never ending questions. Not me. If he ever stops asking questions, that’s when I will be concerned. Some were bothered by me lying down with him at night to say our prayers and hold him until he fell asleep. Not me, now that he’s almost 9 he does not really want me to do that anymore, lol, so I am glad I did while he was younger. Some were angered at the way I tried to remain friendly with his mother. Why hold grudges and promote hostility? We ALL make bad choices and some times we manage to make good ones. We can learn from both. We should grow from both. There is a movie called “Mr. Holland’s Opus” starring Richard Dryfus. It came out in the 90’s I believe. That movie touched me deeply as it showed the struggling relationship between a father and son. My son does not have any kind of “handicap” as the boy in the movie did, however the patience that the Father showed was the pathway to an unconditional love that EVERY parent should have. My daily visit to Starbuck’s have also drawn my attention to a new book called “Beautiful Boy” which is about a Father’s struggle with his son’s drug addiction. Again, my 8 year old is not an addict, however this story is about another Father’s unconditional guidance, support and love. I plan to read it soon. The title “Beautiful Boy” comes from a song by the immortal songwriter, John Lennon. Listen to it. It was about his son. Both of my sons, Micah and Ethan are beautiful to me.
 
I hate… daily…hate the fact that we are together only every other weekend, holiday’s, etc. I think about them every minute it seams. I call them weekly. I used to call daily, but they are too busy with sponge bob and hot wheels to talk to Dad right now! Ha-ha.
 
Before I was a parent there were many things that I did and viewed differently. One was that spoiled brat, crying baby in a restaurant that I always made the judgment “that kid needs an ass busting… does that mom not teach that child anything? If that was my child, I would put the fear of god in them… blah- blah- blah…. Like I knew what was best for someone else’s child. What an arrogant, selfish thing to believe about myself. Now when I hear people say, “I’ll tell you what will straighten that boy out…” I cringe and shake my head in disbelief of the demonstration of self-righteousness that in standing before me. We always know what’s best for someone else don’t we? We always know that what worked for us will certainly work wonders for others. Why are we so stupid? Why do we think this way? I love my son just the way he is. There will be a day in the future when the things that sometimes get on our nerves will be things we miss about him. We will laugh about the things that once made us mad. There are some who would say, “he needs medication” for his energetic, bouncy personality. How easy that would make it on you huh? Then you would not have to take the time he is actually asking for to go outside and ride bikes, play ball and run. That… is true medication.

 

Never coming home

 

Allow me to quote Bill Mallonee as I do so often... "All of these places I intended to visit, somewhere I got lost and became a permanent resident..." The past 5 or more years for me have been nothing less than your own story I am sure... Good choices and bad. Rainy days and Sunshine. Smiles and frowns. Peace and anger. Worry and relief. For me, musically I have seen MANY different venues and met many great people. I opened myself up to playing ANYWHERE that called and for awhile it was great. These days I am really particular about where I go. To perform music as a career and for fun can be a struggle at times. Many times I would "forget where and who I was" if even for a few hours. That is what Bill was talking about when he said "getting lost and becoming a permanent resident". I will never regret where I have been because all those roads have led me to now...and here. I will tell you that coming home is wonderful... I have learned however, to FEAR never coming home.... It can be dark out there friends... and everyone longs for that front porch light to be on...somewhere in all our lives.

 

Thankful

 
Today I want to say thank you to all of you who saw more in me than I did all these years. Thank you for never giving up… and always encouraging me. Thank you for being there when I needed you. To pray with, complain, cry and laugh. Thank you for seeing the positive when at times I could not see past the negative. Thank you for the calls and emails… the cards and letters. Thank you for the food, the beds, the $20 and more here and there! How will I ever repay such kindness and giving? How will I be able to prove to you just how thankful I am for you all? All I know to do for now is sing and write in a manner that shows just how thankful I am. Songs about gain and loss. Songs about uniting and leaving. Songs about doubt and assurance…pain and healing… fear and faith… Songs about Marriages and Funerals… the pain of Divorce and the joy of starting over… Songs about your life and mine…. Our secrets and our lies… our foolish boastings and our wise truths… Songs about Love, Grace and Forgiveness.
 

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