1. Febrrrruary Greetings (from Pittsburgh!)
2. News-in-Brief: TK song in cool PBS music special, Ireland 2015, Excellent songwriting retreat with Tom
3. TK (Very) Short Story of the Month: “Mama and the Real L.A.”
4. Food for Thought: Emily Dickinson on ecstasy, Nathaniel Hawthorne on happiness, Herbert Read on love
Greetings from the Pittsburgh International Airport, where I’m changing planes en route from Phoenix to Memphis… by way of Pittsburgh and Chicago(!) Reminds me of a solo tour of England a few years ago. A friend took a look at my highlighted highway map and declared that my route resembled the Star of David.
Whatever it takes! Greetings everyone…
2. News-in-Brief: TK song in PBS special, Ireland with Tom 2015, Tom’s writing retreat
a. “When You Know” is featured in PBS Special
In case you missed it, my song When You Know (written with frequent collaborator Jeff Franzel) aired January 9 as part of a terrific PBS music special called American Voices—and it can now be viewed online in HD HERE.
Famed soprano Renee Fleming is the host, and jazz great Diane Reeves brings down the house at the Kennedy Center with her performance of When You Know, which begins at 52:28 in the program. (You can drag cursor over any spot on the timeline bar of the video to begin watching where you like.)
The entire show is wonderful. Other performers include Josh Groban and Alison Krauss, and the program features backstage workshop segments with each artist. (Ms. Reeves’ backstage jazz workshop segment begins at 48:11, and it’s fascinating.)
b. Come to Ireland with me (and co-host Sue Riley) July 15-24, 2015
It’s a special, unforgettable trip—the highlight of each year for me—and this summer I’ll host two tours of Ireland’s gorgeous southwest: Counties Cork, Kerry & Clare.
Great reason #56 to go this year:
—The US dollar is stronger against the euro than it’s been in many years. A dollar spent in Ireland today goes 30% farther than it did 5 years ago and almost 20% father than just last summer.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, and you can see lots of pics from previous tours at my website HERE.
c. June 2015 Songwriting Retreat with Tom in the beautiful NC mountains
I love to teach and share songwriting—especially in a retreat setting.
This coming June 7-13 I’ll be leading my Second Annual Doe Branch Ink Songwriting Retreat. Last year’s retreat went so well that retreat host Jim Roberts said, “Hey you should host one of these here every year.”
This is an intimate (10 participants max), hands-on, write-share-learn-and-have-fun retreat. I relish these opportunities and so look forward to July’s retreat in the Appalachians of North Carolina.
The retreat is open to songwriters on all levels. Our small group provides the opportunity for focus in a personalized way.
For the whole scoop, click HERE.
3. TK Very Short Story of the Month
Mama and the Real L.A.
Back during my early days near Nashville I lived for a couple of years in a ramshackle farmhouse, and I traded work for rent so I could afford to write songs full time. At various points I rebuilt a fallen-in front porch, nursed a blind calf, tar-patched a rusty tin roof and helped dig a new hole for an outhouse. I raised chickens, tended a large garden, bathed in an old claw-footed tub on the kitchen hearth in the winter… and rigged an outdoor shower in warm weather. I also heated the old place with wood, and thus I quickly learned that a person can burn an unfathomable amount of wood in an attempt to stay warm through a Tennessee winter.
Around that time my father took a job on the West Cost, and it dawned on me that winter was an excellent time to fly out for a long visit.
Now Dad seemed to adjust pretty quickly to Southern California, but my dear mother, a native of the real L.A.—Lower Alabama—was another story.
“Well I like our little place and everything,” she said. “but something just doesn’t feel right.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well if you order something in a restaurant and you thank the waiter, they say, No problem.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Whatever happened to You’re welcome?”
“Not only only that,” she said, “but nobody seems to be able to say anybody’s whole name. It’s never Barbara or Sally or Richard—it’s Bar, Sal and Rich. If one more person calls your daddy Gerrinstead of Gary I might lose my mind.”
“I guess they’re a little more casual out here,” I said.
“It’s called tacky. And I’ll I tell you another thing. Some of them leave their Christmas lights up year round.”
“No!” I said, “Well maybe they’re a little bit free-spirited.”
“They can be free-spirited all they want,” she said. “but when Bubba comes to visit she’ll be horrified.”
4. Food for Thought: Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herbert Read
“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”
-Emily Dickinson, American poet (1830-1886)
“Happiness is not found in things you possess, but in that you have the courage to release.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, American author (1804-1864)
“Love works miracles in stillness.”
-Herbert Read, English poet & critic (1893-1968)