Musings and Ramblings on Music and Life

What a year it's been... 

The year is winding down and while our calendar appears to be rather calm, things are anything but that here at Society of Broken Souls headquarters. That saying about no rest for the weary or the wicked? Feels pretty appropriate right now. (Well, maybe not the wicked part. Or maybe.) 

2017 was a hell of a ride for us. We traveled over 22,000 miles in a 22 year old RV, performing nearly 100 shows in 18 states. We boondocked in Flying J Truck Stops, Walmart parking lots, Cabela’s parking lots…

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Princesses Need Not Apply 

Shit is breaking down — in our 22 year old RV, in my ability to deal with the challenges of traveling in a 22 year old RV, in Dennis’s patience with his wife’s inability to deal with the challenges of traveling in a 22 year old RV. You can see the spiral, watch the ways in which all of these challenges can quickly unravel this life we’re trying to make work. 

We have discovered the source of the leak (which I wrote about last week). We thought perhaps it was the water tank, but then when we hooked up at a…

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Counting on the Kindness of Strangers 

We are parked at soggy, muddy campground just outside of Eureka Springs, our first day off in what feels like many, many moons. It’s spring in the Ozarks — which apparently means cool temperatures and a good healthy mountain wind blowing through the pines and the still mostly bare deciduous trees, and rain, rain, and more rain. There is a leak as yet to be determined somewhere in the water system of the camper, and so the carpet is also damp and cold in places. The Rialta smells like, well, like musty, old…

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Finding Gratitude in a January Rain 

It’s 11:03 pm on Monday, January 16th. Martin Luther King Day. I type these thoughts of gratitude, counting my blessings, amazed at my good fortune — all the while with a bruised and battered rib cage, a brutally stiff back, and swollen elbow. 

I started the day like all winter days, by setting my water to boil for coffee while I sifted out the coals in the wood stove. Separating the ash and coaxing it into the ash pan below, then adding the kindling to start the new fire, is a meditative task that I…

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Prairie Skies, Wildflowers, and Farm Dogs 

The past few months have been a bit of a whirlwind for us, juggling all the different and always spinning plates of our lives, with nary a day off. But this past weekend we decided to take a little mini vacation, an 18 hour vacation, if you will. (I think some folks refer to that as “the weekend”.) We drove our new-to-us Rialta RV out to our friend’s farm, parked it by his little one room, off-the-grid cabin, and just sat back for a little while. No electricity, no running water, not even any cell phone…

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Things Still Left Unsaid 

"My heart feels full and life seems well lived because of listening to your music." 

It is hard to express how grateful we were to read these words, which recently graced our email inbox, from a new member of our band of fearless souls. Sometimes, in the uphill climb that is the independent musician's life, we forget why we do what we do. And sometimes, after years of toiling away at something in stolen moments (our new album, in this particular case), we lose sight of what it is we're hoping to…

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Our Beautiful Scars 

When they ask us to play, lord, we take what we can get.

Those words come from a song I wrote back in 2006, and, honestly, it still rings true 10 years later. So when I was asked to play a "one-off" gig — show up and sight-read the music, no rehearsal — with a community orchestra here, I took it. Every penny helps, right? 

Except when the easy, one-off gig ends with an accidental scratch, caused by a well-meaning hug, to the varnish on my violin from 1925. My 90-year old violin, that I have owned for a full…

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One Day Left 

As I sit at my desk to type this, I see clearly that our story, the story of Lauryn and me, began long before we ever met. There’s a picture in front of me of Lauryn as a child, sitting at an organ with her full attention devoted to the music in front of her. Hands on either row of keys with a posture I’ve now memorized and take great comfort in when I see, she’s oblivious to the distraction of a sibling playing behind her. The profile of the photo only reveals a glimpse of her eyes but I know the gaze…

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It's All in the Details 

I’ve been seeing a lot of dead mice lately. There was the tiny grey one, its fur like the softest cashmere, lying on the sidewalk by our house, and then there was the little, shiny-black one, glistening in the sun on the side of the trail, both of them looking merely like they were settling in for a nap. They tugged at my heart just a little, tugged at my dog’s curiosity a lot. Then there was the less endearing is-it-a-very-large-mouse or a very-small-rat partly-eviscerated thing on the sidewalk near town…

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Break Our Hearts Open 

A few months ago, after a Sunday afternoon at the dog park, I loaded up a dirty, happy dog into the back of the van, got in, and turned the ignition key. The radio came on and within seconds I could barely breathe, as I was pulled deep into a universe of sparse beauty: a color-smeared, upright piano; a lone and plaintive clarinet; single, contemplative bass lines; all supporting gorgeous harmonies and haunting lyrics. As I proceeded to make my way towards home, I moved with deliberate and gentle intention —…

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