Angels & Devils
"I wear my angel face
I wear my devil face;
I wear them everyplace and no one is the wiser
I smile an angel's smile
I grin a demon's grin;
here comes the switch again and no one is the wiser
true colors trickle mix and splatter on this canvas
what lies inside I cannot hide from you
you couldn't miss this
I love an angel's love
I hate the devil's hate
they both sit on my plate and no one is the wiser
sometimes it's angel's food
sometimes it's devil's food;
it just depends on my mood and no one is the wiser
one shoulder carries all that's right and pure and loving
the other carries quite the opposite, they're pushing and shoving
I can hope
I can pray
I can't leave but I can't stay
there's no wrong and there's no right and no one is the wiser
suspicions tell me truly, neither side is winning
the real ending is revealed at the beginning"
"Angels & Devils"
32,827 miles driven back and forth across this country on tour in 2016 and I spent a goodly portion of it with the radio off. Just the sound of Imua's tires whirring on the the asphalt and the godawful clattering of the loose window in the cabin door. It eventually just becomes white noise, all white noise. The sonic atmosphere around you is just a cushion for your thoughts to wriggle around upon.
Sometime in the middle of the summer, don't ask me any details because I don't know, eyes snapped open in the middle of the night and gazed at the shadows dancing upon the ceiling while I wondered, where in the hell am I? My sense of time and place was starting to blur around the edges of the picture as I moved from town to town and gig to gig. Once I got to within a couple of hours from the next destination, everything fell into place; the details that had been flittering about like a stampede of butterflies suddenly all took five and had a bit of a smoke. Purpose does that to you, sharpens your instincts and gives you the eye of the Tigress.
It's the flotsam and jetsam of the in-between that kills me.
Hands on the wheel, vape in the hand, eyes flicking regularly between mirrors, a self-automated thing, just being still and letting the mind float. Listening for voices. Looking internally for red flags and green lights. Away from prying eyes and Facebook follows and inquiring minds, far from the scorn of the judgmental and the praise of the giving, the light of whom can burn and tear and slice at the darkness. You can't lie to yourself. Where virtue shines there can be no veil with which to cast a shadow over it, and if you've got any good in you, then you see that good and know that it exists. It's only by light that we cast a shadow.
Jae and I went to see the always-bodacious Dolly Parton last night and it was absolutely one of the most mind-blowing concerts that I've ever seen. What a talent and what a genius! Her "Pure and Simple" Tour is just that, for the most part; pure and simple. It consists of Dolly, accompanied by her longtime band, playing scaled-down versions of her early hits and new material. Dolly, ever the entertainer, ties it all together with stories of her upbringing, bawdy cracks, inspirational testimonials and flaming virtuosity on guitar, mountain dulcimer, banjo, Irish whistle, piano and saxophone. Yes, saxophone. That first half of the show, Dolly was clad in a dazzling white fringed cowgirl outfit with shimmering rhinestones that dazzled in the constant spotlight; a glorious being in white who joked about the frustrations of having that angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.
The second half of the show (after a 90 minute first-half!) announced its intentions rather quickly as the soft, snowy palette of her intro gave way to a hellish orange and ochre punctuated by blasts of steam as Dolly emerged wearing a devil-red and black skin-tight jumpsuit, slinging a matching electric guitar and announcing that "the party was about to get rowdy." Wish that we could all reach 70 and have this kind of explosive energy, I mean, she brought the house to its feet all night ("y'all should sit back down, it's a long show, and those people behind you would probably appreciate it, but you can dance if you want to!") and sounded just as pure and fiery as she ever has been. It was a single, wonderfully-crafted thread from start-to-finish, and by the time she had sung her new song, "Hello God", mixing it with her intensely fabulous "He's Alive", she'd brought us through the course of one life, with a commentary on where we are today and where we're going tomorrow. There's never ever been anyone in the world like Dolly and I'm thrilled that we got to see her. The concert also came at a perfect time for me, coming back from tour and preparing to launch into a busy season of production. Lots of inspiration came off of that stage in the Amalie Arena last night and I'm betting that Dolly will end up in the liner notes of a release that I'm working on, coming up very soon.
Was doing a little research on the song "Digging In The Dirt" by Peter Gabriel, trying to, heh-heh, dig a little deeper into its meaning. I've had my own take on it, which is healthy to do from a listener and artist perspective. It's important for the artist to write a song that expresses themselves somehow, but also leave it open to interpretation so that other's may project their analysis upon it and maybe that's part of the medicine that music can be.
Turns out that I wasn't far off the mark. Gabriel wrote the song, and visualized the video, in response to the divorce from his first wife Jill Moore, his break-up from Rosanna Arquette, trying to reconcile with his estranged daughter Melanie and reflect upon his decision to enter therapy in order to self-heal. This song's been a cathartic listen for a good long time, one of those "pump it up and head bang and make Billy Idol faces" kind of tune. It just makes you want to grunt and sweat and let it all hang out.
After Dive, I was determined to have a little fun with my recordings and I'm working on some fun stuff now, but there's this other project that's getting really insistent and rude about matters, so it just might be time to prep for it.
It's either called Fallen Angel or Angels & Devils. Either way, I'm really not looking forward to it.
And, I'm exhilarated at the same time because the process of recording the demos has been really, and I mean, really fucking good. When I get that demented over a project, then it usually turns out okay in the end, so we'll see how it goes, right? All I know is, it's going to get me into trouble again. Just like Crazed Bunnyz got in trouble back in 1988 for "Blütgasse", which may, or may not, have been the first Contemporary Christian record to drop many a "fuck" as well as launch into a Beastie Boys-styled riff on an ex-girlfriend who got name-checked in the process.
Kind, the reviews were not.
But I didn't give a shit then, and I don't give a shit now because I won't lie to myself and I won't lie to you, the people who buy my records. Besides, I'd like to think that most of the people who have heard my stuff won't be terribly shocked by the subject matter. It's forming up to be a rock opera, and those are usually full of all kinds of crazy crap.
It's just one of a few things that are in the production queue right now and, not to worry, the Disney Dulcimer album is still happening and there's plenty to be hopeful and excited for, the demos are talking on both sides of the chasm and that's good, balance is what keeps us from falling off of the wire. Inquiry and understanding. They balance the scales.
I leave you with two different flavors of "Digging In The Dirt". Go ahead, dance around. Take your shoes off. No one will be watching.