Memorial Day 2015

Remember

Put a flower on the graves of all the fallen soldiers
Who have sacrificed their lives for you and me
Say a prayer for each mother who has lost her son in battle
For each father who’s been stricken bitterness and grief
From Gettysburg to Baton Rouge
From World War l to World War ll
From Germany and France to South Korea
From Vietnam to Panama, Grenada to Iraq
For all of those who went to war and never made it back
Remember
Remember

Let us celebrate the freedom we’ve been figting to preserve
Let us honor those who made that freedom real
Let us reach out to the veterans who have had to bear the scars
Let us show them all respect and the gratitude we feel
From Tripoli to Italy
To the date that lives in infamy
From Russia to Red China to Japan
From the Persian Gulf to Bosnia
The Taliban, Afghanistan
We realize now what it cost
In term of loved ones that we lost
Remember
Remember

Don’t try to make no sense of it
Cause it makes no sense at all
You just gotta try to keep your hope alive
Renew your faith, rebuild your dreams
Answer to the Spirit’s call
Too many people lost it all
Too many brave young soldiers died
Remember
Remember

From Gettysburg to Baton Rouge
From World War l to World War ll
From Germany and France to South Korea
From Vietnam to Panama, Grenada to Iraq
For all of those who went to war and never made it back
Remember
Remember…

Rights Unprotected

Below are the lyrics to Rights Unprotected, the first track off of Tight Connection. What initially drew me to them was their neutrality. This is not a song about being for or against gun control. It simply paints a picture of our world, while exposing some of the dark truths we must all face, no matter what side of the argument we happen to be on. Yes, taking away our rights can have a devastating impact on the moral fiber of this nation. On the other hand, abuse of those rights, especially by some of the deranged psychopaths we’ve managed to breed, can be equally destructive. The images I selected for the video depict many of the tragic events that have occurred in recent history, but they are not meant to make a case for stronger gun control laws. What they are meant to do is to remind us to always keep our minds and hearts open, to carefully analyze what it is that makes people behave the way they do, and to continue searching for ways to resolve the underlying issues that have left us, as a society, so disturbed and desensitized.

Rights Unprotected

The right to life and liberty
Pursuit of happiness
The right to choose divergent views
All these we possess.
Freedom of religion
Freedom of the press
The right to earn a little more
To pay a little less.

The right to guard our families
Our homesteads and our farms
So it’s reckoned, by the second
Amendment . . . . and the right . . . . to bear arms.

Free from fear and free from want
With freedom of expression
The freedom of assembly
To take aim at oppression

At Congresswomen who pass laws
To register and wait
Handguns, rapid fire weapons . . .
. . . thou shalt not regulate.

Thank goodness for the good guys
Who keep us safe, unharmed
ArmaLite, Bushmaster,
. . The right to keep us armed.

He buys his weapons one by one
On the internet
Just yesterday a good guy
But today he feels upset

A semi with a pistol grip
Made of carbon steel
Exerts his right to keep,
To carry and conceal

He picks a school or movie house
But triggers no alarms
Just the children he’s selected
Unprotected . . . by the right . . . to bear arms…

An Eye for Detail

My friendship with Andy Clingempeel goes back a long way, to a time when he was an established creative director and I was a fresh Mass Com graduate, just starting off in the work force as an errand boy, at the greatest Ad Agency Tampa has ever known, Louis Benito Advertising. Through the years, we established a working relaionship, as we ventured off into our own respective business’s. Over a decade or so ago, he moved away from Tampa, and we lost contact with each other, until last year, when we were able to reconnect on Facebook. And in that year, I have been able see a part of Andy that I had never seen before, in a form of photographic expression that goes beyond the realm of the “Mad Men” mentality that we originally got know each other in. I got to see the deeper, more introspective imagery that he is capable of creating. And his personal artwork has managed to affect and inspire me in ways that his commercial artwork, though equally significant to the world of marketing, could not. So after months of seeing these magnificent images on his Facebook page, I decided to put together a video, using samples from several different series of his works, with the intention of introducing his talent to potential viewers in my social media networks. I selected a song that I felt was conducive to the mood, and a rhythm for the images that I believe will have an impact on those who watch. So please, be my guest: sit back, click play, and enjoy this collection of images that have emerged from the mind of Anderson Clingempeel. For additional information on the artist, visit his website at www.andersonclingempeel.com.

Longing for a Tight Connection

20150211-223551-81351170.jpg

Two years ago, I visited the Reverbnation page of Mitchell Small, a writer who goes by the name of Songs Unsung. He had begun writing lyrics a few years earlier, then posting his quirky a cappella renderings of them on RN, with the hope that other artists might take a stab at interpreting his work in their own styles. As I scrolled through his song list and listened to his words, I began to notice a special quality about them. Not only were they rather witty and entertaining, but his themes were relevant to the times. And on top of that, his lyrics were sprinkled with many pertinent historical references, as well as insightful thoughts that expressed a heightened sense of social consciousness. Here was a full time college professor of civil engineering, moonlighting as a songwriter, and coming up with some very profound literal perceptions of the world around him. I took my interest in his work one step further, and produced a song called My Mountaintop. We were both very pleased with the outcome, and thus began our unlikely long distance union. Twelve songs later, here we are releasing our first full length CD, appropriately titled “Tight Connection”, not for the song of the same name, but for the bond that we’ve come to share as a result of our mutual passion for music. We have recently registered our project with CD Baby. They will handle it’s worldwide digital distribution through sites like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. Neither of us have any delusions of grandeur regarding fame or fortune as a result of this project, but we are both very enthusiastic about the potential of it’s wide range availability. We invite you to visit the link provided and to sample, comment, and share our work with others. Perhaps you will be affected, as I was, by the power of Mitch’s lyrics. Perhaps my arrangements or my vocal attack will move you. And perhaps you will feel that connection, too…a connection that is real….a connection that bridges whatever distance there is between us all….a Tight Connection.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/balujaandsmall

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

If you’re thinking about the profits that will be rolling in from your new digital distribution deal, think again. Here is a link to the quarterly royalty statement of a Grammy award winning artist:

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/04/03/streamingstatements

Chances are, you’ll do much better playing on a park bench, with an open guitar case beside you, inviting passers-by to toss some spare change your way. This is a tough time for songwriters, singers, musicians, and bands as far as finances go. On the other hand, there are many more opportunities to be heard than there was 20 years ago. So if spreading your your music around the world is something you’ve always dreamed about, guess what? Your dream is within reach. Keep writing, recording, and putting your music out there. You may not make a fortune from it, but there are treasures far more valuable than gold. Aspiring artists must be content with doing what they go for the love of the game.

20150131-154506-56706220.jpg