"If I were you and I had a back catalogue of songs as large as yours, I'd release one a week on my website." That's what my friend said to me over a country ham plate and coffee at a Waffle House. It was 2 in the morning and I should've been asleep. Instead I was cementing the walls of my arteries with my favorite late night diner food and throwing around ideas about music and business and how to be successful at each of those things simultaneously. And so the idea was born. A little planning, a little brainstorming around what to call it and how to present it on the website and I was ready to get going.

And here it is: Project 52. Between June 1st 2013 and June 1st 2014 I'll release a song every week to my website.

Please enjoy!

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Week - 47 - "Mama, I Miss Bein' Free"  

I wrote this song in 1999. It was the first song I wrote that felt like a real accomplishment. It was a breakthrough
I was listening to a lot of Steve Earle at the time and I'd had a family member who had just gone through a bit of a rough patch with the law. 
So I cobbled together his experience with some far heftier details; "I took her to the ground, then I took her life...", thankfully, his circumstances weren't that dire.

This song is extremely important to me, it was the beginning of my career, it's the origin. 
Funnily enough, it ALMOST made the upcoming album; "Prophet On The Barstool". The music was recorded, however, the lyrics changed, completely, the title changed. 
It's now a song called "Unbroken".

So, please enjoy and share "Mama..." as it is the beginning of all I do now and all I'm known for as a musician.

Thanks.

Week - 46 - "Gospel Wind" (Unfinished)  

My favorite thing about Project 52, has been discovering old songs, discovering bits and pieces of demo recordings and old ideas worth coming back to.
I haven't heard this in years. It's obvious that I left a few places for harmonica or guitar or other instrumentation that I never got around to adding. 
That's part of my process. Part of the game of writing is leaving the holes.
This is a simple, simple idea and melody, pulling on a larger tradition of folk and spiritual music. It's a call to overcome, to keep moving.

Someday, I'll finish it. 
Enjoy!

Week - 45 - "Rains Left to Fall"  

Hard times come for everyone. It's one of the few certainties in life. Most folks can shake it and keep moving forward, knowing that a better day is on the horizon. Some folks get so caught up in the desperation that they forget to keep moving, or they choose to quit living. 
Desperation is no sin. 
This is a song written for a friend going through a really dark time.
If you know someone feeling desperate, feeling broken, feeling like they've got no reason to keep moving. Be sure to reach out to them, love them, help them, let them know that the sun's gonna keep coming up every day and that one of these days, if they'll just hang in, it'll look bright and promising again.

Week - 43 "While You Dream"  

I used to sit around an apartment on Ridgewood avenue in my hometown of Gainesville, smoking, playing guitar and dreaming, dreaming, always dreaming. I spent about 3 solid years there as a bachelor, rarely sleeping, just writing. I must've written 500+ songs in that apartment; most of them really rotten, but occasionally, something good would come out of it. 
This is a song written and recorded then, a song about the time period. A wonderful snapshot of an extremely formulative time in my life. 

Week - 40 "Wicked Me"  

My first album had a lot of songs on it that still mean a great deal to me. 
As I'm preparing for the release of my follow up LP, I've been revisiting the songs that shaped "Hands Of The Wicked".
"Wicked Me" is the center piece of that record, autobiographical and intimate and still moving. 
This is an early demo of that song. I've always loved the melody of this demo version. I abandoned the melody for the album version in favor of a more passionate reading. I'm not sure it was the right move. 
I find both versions satisfying. 
Which do you prefer?

Week - 36 - "Nashville Woman"  

I woke up this morning my eyes filled with rain
I woke up this morning my eyes filled with rain
Everyone I used to know they've forgotten my name

I got a woman in Nashville, I promised her the sky
I got a woman in Nashville, I promised her the sky
She's a brown haired woman, I swear she never told a lie

Take it easy baby, there are children in this temple now
take it easy mama, there are children in the temple now
If you take away your mercy we'll just fall in the river and drown

I owe my rent to the state Lord, they'll take away every cent
I owe my rent to the state Lord, they'll take every cent
there's some folks I used to know that just act like we never met

Week 32 - "Gypsies & Lunatics"  

I wrote and recorded this when I was about 21. I lived in an old house built in the 20's. I'd stay up all night, most nights, writing and playing songs with folks. It was a highly productive time in my life as an artist.

My kitchen was plastered with pictures of my musical heroes, magazine pics cut from Rolling Stone, SPIN, etc.
I had several pictures of Dylan on the kitchen cabinets. Dylan never ceases to be an inspiration to me, never ceases to be a mystery. His music has kept me company through many, many nights. His songs have a way of repainting the walls, dimming the lights, moving the furniture.  They're almost tangible, concrete, often ethereal, at once unmovable and fluid.

In a recent interview he claimed to have been transfigured at some point during the 60's. I might believe him.

 

Week 31 - "Options"  

Happy New Year!!!

It's good to reflect, take inventory and move forward.
The will of God is for us to get behind the mule and plough. The field is HIs, the harvest is shared.
May you enjoy the wine of the new year from the storehouse of the Lord.
"Options" is about contradictions... we all got 'em, just don't let 'em undo you. Recongnize 'em and move forward.
Leave behind what you can.

God bless!
 

Week 29 - "7 Candles"  

"...a palace of memories 
can fall like anything else
beautiful, white washed on the outside 
but inside baby, there's only death."

Relationships can die just like house plants, pets and life-insurance salesmen.  Sometimes it's quick, sometimes it takes years, piling old emotions and bad memories up like trash in a land fill. 

Here's a tune I wrote about one of those.

Happy Week!