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On "Marking Time"... 

We usually measure time less by the clock or the calendar and more by moments marked and milestones reached. Birth and death loom large in the way we measure our days… things begun and things ended… entrances and exits. Much of this is connected to the people we love and the connections with those people but it also applies to the work we do and the things we create. 

Just over a year ago I released a collection of songs and stories and that moment was a marker. It provided the context for other markers…

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On “Genevieve” and her birthday... 

“Pretty as a movie star, homecoming queen in’61…” 

Today is her birthday. 

Lori McKenna’s new song “People Get Old” wrecks me. It wrecks me because I am getting older. It wrecks me because I am a grandfather. But mostly “People Get Old” wrecks me because she never did. 

She was pretty. She was so pretty… pretty enough at 18 to stand on the 50-yard line in a gown and a tiara. At 26, she kept the books at Justin Boots and looked like Bobbie Gentry. At 46, she decorated houses and looked like Dixie…

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on meeting your heroes... 

In the late 1980s, I worked in a high-end electronics store. Pre-Best Buy, we sold specialty audio and video gear. There were a lot of large-screen TVs on display (rear projection!) and I always kept at least one tuned to The Nashville Network. I did not consider myself a country music fan but I kept the TV tuned there in hopes of catching a music video from Dwight Yoakam, Allison Krauss, The Sweethearts of the Rodeo, or… Foster & Lloyd. The first time I saw the video for “What Do You Want From Me This Time” I was blown away by the tight Everly Brothers harmony, the Telecaster twang, and Radney Foster’s long hair, John Lennon glasses, and dangly earring. It was the earliest stage of my return to country and roots music. 

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On Redefining Success 

I was, in many ways, a late bloomer. I played my 1st real gig in Little Rock when I was 46 years old. I released my 1st record at 53. I skipped over all the young musician angst and the accompanying dreams of record deals and arena shows. I married my college crush. I got a “real job”. We raised a family. I played and sang at church. Then, with my kids more or less grown, some buddies and I put together a band and we started playing a regular monthly gig at the city’s most revered dive-bar. I had nothing…

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My new baby... 

Releasing a record is a lot like having a kid. Now that I have done both I can see this more clearly. When you have a kid, especially the first one, you stand at the ready with pics and videos to show your friends and even strangers (whether they want to see them or not). And you silently speak to them all: “Please love my baby… please tell me she is beautiful…” Your need for affirmation of this thing you made (with a little help from a “friend”) can be downright overwhelming. You find subtle ways to drop…

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Writers Write... 

Most of you guys know that I am fascinated by stories and storytelling. Songs, short stories, film... well-told stories are what inspire me and they are what I try to create. I've tried a lot of different types of writing over the years. Sermons, screenplays, essays, and short stories have all helped me hone my eye and ear for story and have informed what I do in the context of songwriting as well. 

More important than my own writing, I try to expose myself to great storytelling wherever I can find it. The…

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