09.28.09 - From 19 to 25
I'm listening to Ben Folds Five from behind a writing desk while it occurs to me that I've completely forgotten how powerful "Evaporated" is as a song.(go listen to it) In fact, the entire album brings back a flood of very unexpected emotions.

Although I remember being a much more enthusiastic fan of BFF once upon a time, I'm now recalling "why" as I re-hear WHATEVER & EVER AMEN. Before Ben Folds became the caustic, and wildly entertaining, international showman he now is, he was once a confessional, earnest singer with a wry and uncomfortable sense of his own self-awareness. Sure, that describes most liberal arts people at 20, yet there is something wholly original about the record that I'm hearing now and I probably heard(without knowing it) 12 years ago....the richness of the characters, the sloppy loveliness, the melodies. Amid some of the more somber tones there is a boatload of playfulness (the fan screaming, "Ben Folds is a f-ing a$$hole", random name dropping of what I like to think are real local people) that makes me yearn to be drinking in the backyard of some college rent house anywhere in the Research Triangle circa 97.

As "Fair" begins playing I can almost taste the keg beer or feel the antipation of a hall party while perusing the weekly for upcoming club gigs between classes. What emotion today replaces those emotions felt then? Although the feelings associated with marriage, promotions, your song on the radio, having children, taking vacations, reading your name in the paper are all sweet in their own way, they do not replicate that feeling of uncertainty and possibility, youth and wisdom, control with inebriation that takes residence at 19 only to leave you around 25 without saying "goodbye". I'm still waiting for that strange passenger to show up and surprise me in some other context.

What's the closest thing to that emotion for you?

07.30.09 - Dallas Cowboys Training Camp
It all begins today. Like clockwork, I timed the release of the new cd to coincide with one of the Texas high holidays....Dallas Cowboys training camp. It's here and I couldn't be happier. Like the homeward return of the prodigal son, football season is showing up and I'm willing to easily forgive it the 6 month absence just to have it back.

I forgive you football, I forgive you for putting me through the toil of dating around. Yes, I've lived through the mundanity that baseball bathed itself in only to then drag into my living room like a bad prom date thereby leaving me bored and bitter. I'm over blaming you for the musk of arrogance and body art paraded out on the court by the NBA like so many High School con artist wanna-bes. Bygones I say, because you're back and you're mine and just in time.

A couple musician friends of mine speak/sing of "the promise of Summer". I'll take the reality of football season any day. Go buy the new cd, get out your fantasy football draft guides, crack open a cheap, cold beverage and let it all begin. I'm ready if you are.

cew

P.S. Feel free to send me your sleeper football picks.

11.13.08 - Past reflections on AFTER THE LETTERS
Fall 2008

Friends,

I noticed the first acorn of the season this morning. Although Messrs. Acorn maliciously pinched the soul of my foot during my daily sun-up, shoes-off march for the news, it also served as Sergeant of Arms in calling my attention to Fall's presence at the seasonal table. Autumnal anticipation rivals Christmas morning for me. Whether it's the first scents of a neighbor's wood-burning fireplace or the last signs of Summer's coconut oils.

It might be the muted cheer emitted from a nearby football field or the silence of the little league dug-out. All I know is this time of year starts as empty as the drained community pool, but before long the leaves let go and fill the once green grass with a parade of contrasting colors as beautiful as stained glass beneath still water. The movement of what once lived as it floats from yard to yard until eventually becoming invisible should be depressing or overly earnest, but it ends up utterly perfect for simply being what it is. For being a remnant of what was, now carried on the wind to what it will be. Ultimately, though, the best gift is the new window that is left behind as I look through the limbs into a sky wider and deeper than I remember. I know that it will return, but it's the waiting, watching, changing and promise that makes it so lovely to simply let go and "Fall".

"After the Letters", the follow-up record, is a Fall record that will see light this Spring. It is what it is, but the allure in sharing it makes it something so much larger than 12 songs jangling along in the artificial confines of places where albums are packaged. Never mind that, this record was made in real life and I look forward to seeing where the wind leaves it.

07.17.08 - Forgetful Jones......
Libradores and Labrodores,

In fitting, two-day late honor of Forgetful Jones birthday, I bid you hello from central Texas. A place so sweltering in July even the asphalt wears a tank top, Old Spice roll-on and complains about the humidity. Candidly, I speak of this heat somewhat speculatively as I've been safely burrowed in the arctic goodness of a Nashville recording studio churning out a batch of scorching new jams for the upcoming record. No kidding, they are "hot" and by "hot".... I mean stolen. Just kidding, sort of.

This oft referred, but embarrassingly delayed record is reminding me that time fixes everything for the better...and these songs have really taken on a new life with the inclusion of new talent on this record. They seem like my songs, just better. In Perez Hilton-ian fashion, I shall self-indulgently divulge that the folks who worked with bands from The Goo Goo Dolls and Toad The Wet Sprocket all the way over to the Neville Brothers, Graham Colton, Jars of Clay and Jewel have shown up and, as Randy Jackson might exclaim, "brought it". I can't wait to take all the credit for their work and blame them for anything unpopular. I digress from self promotion to small talk.....

So how is life among you? Are you as enthralled with Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo as I am? Man, it's like I don't even have time to keep up with Nicole Richie, Lauren Conrad and the Brangelina twins anymore. Serves me right for canceling my Teen People subscription I guess.

Well, I reckon' I'll mosey back to the studio where I can have my 67th jolly rancher, stare at the control board lights and ultimately scream at Cary to hurry and complete this doggone album before Miley Cyrus finishes grad school.

Check in with me and let me know you're good.

cew