14 March, 2011

"the clatter of keys" has moved

here's our new digs.....

http://theclatterofkeys.tumblr.com/

join us!!

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this article first appeared here. and it was crafted with the help of my friends at the Future of Music Coalition.

The most important piece of furniture in the living room of my cabin in western Massachusetts isn't a comfy chair or functional table, it's a vintage radio and record player from the early 1920's. Almost as big as a modern refrigerator, it's a monument to a time when music had a physical presence that was hard to ignore. Next to it, you'll find my laptop and smart phone charging, taking a brief rest from their daily toil of communication, commerce, and yes, entertainment. Seeing them side-by-side reminds me that, while the core of what we love about music has remained constant through the years, the way we interact with it and its creators has changed dramatically.

08 March, 2011

tears of a clown

last night i watched a fantasic movie about bill withers, "still bill". besides his music being deep as all get out and more than standing the test of time, it was amazing to watch a man who is truly in touch with the humanity around him and his own feelings. and he is totally able to show it. or, really, he is unable to hide it, stuff it, or mask it like so much of "masculinity" demands.

the movie reminded me too of one of my favorite sports clips where then USC head-coach pete carroll (who got out before the shit hit the fan) brings in bill to speak to his team about the power of asking for help. i've probably seen the clip 10 times, and i cry every time.

on sunday miami heat coach erik spoelstra tweeted that some of his players were "crying in the locker room" after a season-series sweep of losses at the hands of the chicago bulls. it launched a monday morning debate about weakness, leadership, privacy in the locker room, and a coach's responsibility to protect his players.

so what if a basketball player was expressing himself after a loss, one that obviously mattered to him? why should emotional displays be limited to women? tears come from frustration, exhaustion, grief, anger, or joy. or any combination. or sometimes we dont even know why we're crying. those are my favorite tears.

when kevin garnett pounds his chest, screams to high heaven, then proceeds to dismantle his opponent, his intensity and display are lionized. tears are of the same coin, and whether it's bill withers or the miami heat, they show a whole, human man moving through the world. how exhausting must it be to maintain a masculine front, with so much going on inside?

18 February, 2011

ain't nothing neutral in how i feel

it's late, here in grenada MS. i'm out on tour, and i'm just getting to the hotel after my 7th show in a row. 3 more to go before a day off monday in austin. so you can see why i have been behind a bit in my po-litical work. let's catch up....

there's some important net neutrality stuff happening this week. house republicans succeeded today in attaching an addendum to the upcoming spending bill that would block funding for the recently adopted FCC net neutrality principles. except now we call it "the open internet order" because the republicans have commandeered and poisoned the term "net neutrality". either way this is seriously important stuff. it directly affects how we will access information and how new applications and platforms are developed (and by whom). for a primer here. watch me talk about it here.
here's what i have been able to do this week, in between hauling gear, selling CDs, and driving our rented minivan through chicago, st louis, kansas city, oklahoma city, memphis and new orleans:

a letter to congress that myself and some other incredible artists have signed on to.

and a site that gives you 3 specific actions that you can take on this issue:

The Internet Strikes Back

it's really easy to get involved. and the fight will continue on way past feb.17th.


06 February, 2011

green and yellow

i just finished the latest version of my "Cabin Fever" webseries. episode 5 was "Songs About Sports". in it, i took wiz khalifa's "black and yellow", followed the lead of some awesome MCs (Prophetic & Pizzle, Lil Wayne) and did my own version for the green bay packers. go pack go!

you can watch the complete episode here.

lyrics below the vid, check em out, because i didnt get all of it right in the performance:

yeah, ah hah, you know what it is
everything i do, i do it big
3 feet of snow, that's nothing
western mass, keep on dumping

step into my cabin you know everything
green and yellow, green and yellow
cabin fever, we webcasting
green and yellow, green and yellow

2 teams, big game
1 quarterback droppin my name
hotter than the hottest flame
aaron rodgers spells it different
but we shine the same
i drop tracks like a quarterback drops back
tossing deep cuts off like a triple threat wild cat
not an athelete but still a player like that
green like the earth, yellow gold like money
the riches go to those who play as one, see
the politics of a non-profit corporation
i'm a citizen of a democratic packer nation
steel city's a dope place, yes
but i will never ever root for a rapist

19 January, 2011

the times, they are new orleans

i've got a routine like anyone else in the northeast: work and snow. but i'm just getting back from breaking that routine and visiting a place that continues to be a touchpoint for every important conversation going on in our country.

i've been to new orleans now 8 times, 5 before and 3 after. i've been to play shows, to write, and to record an album. i've passed through with friends; i went once for a retreat with like-minded activist artists. this time i went for a novel purpose: vacation.

i did all the touristy things i never do. we rode the street cars. we ate at coop's, the camellia, and cafe du monde. we visited cemetaries and museums. we went to see brad pitt's houses he's building in the 9th ward. we walked and walked and walked. we stayed with friends. we slept alot. unconventional as it was as a "vacation" choice, we definitely got away from our own lives for a few days.

but new orleans has changed. it isnt the city i remembered from my last trip, taking small but firm steps toward recovery. or the city i had fixed in my mind from "before". it felt like an entirely different place.