return to main blahg page

Lila, Buster, Cody and Connie Chung have worked up a special seasonal number for y'all!
Merry Christmas from TN!


AND THE WINNER IS...Lila 12.10

For "Best Dog Ever", my vote goes for this girl. Lila. We drive around the park after our daily walks. Today, the pond was frozen, the ducks skidding awkwardly on their butts. Lila posed for this shot after the thrill of duck watching had worn off..

I'm about half-way through the recording process with my new EP project. It'll be January or February before I'm finished - maybe longer, depending on how the Poco recording schedule takes shape. I enjoy the process, although I do tend to get lost in it sometimes. Hours slip away like a handful of oysters..

Merry Christmas and so forth to all!


I just made a list of things for which I'm thankful. It's a long list..



I did some solo work recently - opening a couple of shows for the Little River Band. Rusty Young sat in and smoked the dobro on "Cain's Blood"- a song I co-wrote with Michael Johnson. Originally released by 4Runner in 1995, it went to #26 on the Country Charts. Thanks to Mary Young for shooting the video.


YIKES! HAPPY HALLOWEEN! This guy greeted me this morning. He didn't seem to want my money, so I let him go on his way. spider

In other news, I had a great time opening for the Little River Band at Wildwood Springs Lodge this past weekend. Rusty was kind enough to sit in for a couple of tunes.. And Poco is off to NJ and MD. Idlewheel will be on the bill as well at the Ramshead in Annapolis - Sat.

(this photo hangs above the desk in my studio)beatles pic - studio

I was 13 years old, a half-block from home, riding in Leroy H - - - 's car when “I Want To Hold Your Hand” came on the radio. I was immediately transfixed. An excitement and a new sense of impending adventure awoke in me. My reaction wasn't a choice..

By 1963, I'd had 3 grueling years of piano lessons and a brief duel with the tuba. I liked music – my older brother had a small, contemporary record collection: Elvis, The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash, Duane Eddy – but I hadn't made my own deep connection to music that spoke directly to me..

(The reader will now kindly excuse a brief temporal detour..)

I have this dog – Cody. He loves to fetch a ball. He's OBSESSED with it. I tried giving him a treat for returning the ball, but after fetching it he'd only sniff the treat, try to fit it into his mouth without dropping the ball, and finally decide that he'd rather have the ball. The only way I could get him to drop the ball and continue to play fetch was to toss out another ball.

(and here comes the correlation..)

This was my attitude about music once I heard the Beatles. The only thing that would make me stop listening to a Beatles album was the release of a new Beatles album – which I played ceaselessly on an old record player – the kind with built in speakers and a nickel taped to the tone arm. The added weight of the coin helped the arm to muscle through some minor skips, but it also served to drive some of the scratches permanently into the soft vinyl. (there are some Beatles songs that still 'skip' in my head - “Of all the loves I have won or have lost / There is one lo . . 'ever have crossed”).

It's not that I grew up listening to the Beatles, rather they educated me - dragged me through adolescence - challenging and exciting me at every turn. The psychedelic carrot at the end of the stick. As each new Beatles album was released, I was given a pallet of new, more intricate sounds, more expansive and experimental songs and textures. They blew my young mind – repeatedly.

And the music those guys made has been the goal I've aimed for all my life. Not to copy or steal from them, but to be as open as I can be to the creative possiblities around me.

I followed the Beatles to the creative limits of popular music. They are the reason I've been a musician and songwriter for 45 years. And best of all – I still love it. I still love to make music. How amazing is that?

8/29/10leash guide / tattoo man

I've been using the handy "leash-guide" on our dog, Connie Chung (to see the entire pack, CLICK HERE). These guys (Lila in shadow) take me out for a good long walk every morning. The guide comes standard on this breed.

The economic reality of the last few years has finally taken a good bite out of the concert biz - leaving Poco with a lighter than usual touring schedule this summer. But I haven't been idle.

- Rusty and I completed work on another animated children's book soundtrack. Look for the DVD, "All The World" (read by Joanne Woodward) sometime next year.

- I've started the preliminary work on a new solo recording project. I'm going to do an EP of 6 songs. I move slowly when I record, so I've got no finish date set, but I have indeed started. Believe me, you'll hear more about this as I progress.

As you can tell, there is little or no deep thinking being done by the management of this site. That activity is reserved for those more capable.

Meanwhile - as I like to say, "When the times get slow, the slow get tattooed..

Hope y'all are staying cool. I know some of you were born that way..

Hemifran Home Cover"I Like It Better Here - Music From Home", is a new compilation CD put together and guided by Swedish Independent Promoter, Peter Holmsted. My good friend and musical collaborator, Keith Miles shares this disc with an impressive list of singer/songwriters, including:
• Joel Rafael ( with David Crosby and Graham Nash)
• Jeff Larson (with Gerry Beckley)
• Jack Tempchin (with co-writer Bobby Whitlock)
• Bob Cheevers (with 3 original members of Bread)
• Batdorf & Rodney (newly reformed)
• Jackson Browne
and many more..

oklee 3 pix7/13/10

The July 4th weekend was (besides having some kind of national significance..) the Oklee, MN Centennial Celebration. I grew up in Oklee and went to grades 1-12 at the Oklee Public School. I am forever grateful for the experience. For three days, I walked around town, bumping into someone every few feet that I hadn't seen in 40+ years. It was such a powerful experience.. I've always known that I loved my hometown and that I'm proud of the place and the people, but I was surprised by the depth of those feelings. I got choked up many times, seeing long-familiar faces, sharing childhood stories, hearing once again the time-worn legends of local characters.. There was an often spoken feeling among us all - - How lucky we are to have grown up here, in this town; and how glad we are to be here right now. The only wish I had was that our time together wouldn't stop.

The 2 hour long parade on Sunday was perfect. And my High School Class of '67 was in fine form. When one of our mates showed up a bit late for our get-together on Saturday, we designated him our "float director". So - on Sunday, about 6 of our graduating class of 30 piled into the back of his Chevy pick-up, taped a sheet of letter paper to the door that read "Class of 1967" - and called it a float. We all did our best Princess waves down main street - it was awesome..

Top photo: Parade,main street Oklee. Middle the "Hard Country". Bottom: The house where I grew up. (more photos at: okleecentennial.com)


I'd like to remind my legions of rabid followers that Father's Day is coming up soon. And we all know what that means - that's right, we all need to CLICK THIS LINK - for the official Idlwheel video of the Craig Bickhardt/Helen Darling/Jack Sundrud song, "Father's Day". The day wouldn't be complete without it..


JS - weight lifting Where the hell have I been? I ask myself the same question..

For one thing, I just got back from a swing up north. I spent time with my father, and I went up to Fargo, to a benefit for an ailing friend. It was a bittersweet trip - sad because of the reason for the gathering, yet so nice to see so many friends that I haven't seen in years. Old friends, Overland Stage, reunited after 35 years to play a few songs from their debut album, which came out in 1970. I always liked those guys and that band - and they didn't disappoint. I sat in with many of my old bandmates from Old Socks- New Shoes, the Johnny Holm Band, Over The Hill.. They all played their old butts off. It was an awesomely memorable night. I hope to get back there sooner next time..

Also, I've been lifting weights..

Terrible flooding here in Nashville. We had 14 inches of rain in 2 days. More than doubled the recorded record. Thankfully, we stayed dry at our place. After talking to several friends today, I have yet to hear of any major damage, but I know that a lot of folks in the area were deluged. CLICK HERE TO SEE AERIAL PHOTOS.

Follow MBird (aka Megan Birdsall) via video blog as she and songwriter/partner, Michael Smith galavant all across the USA promoting her CD, "Over the Bones" - co-produced by my own bad self. ("..compelling melodies sung with sepia-toned richness.." - Music News Nashville).

My friend and co-writer, Craig Bickhardt performs his song "Giant Steps" - click to view video.


Poco at Mohegan Sun, 2010

The new Poco line-up was enveiled last Sunday night at the Mohegan Sun in CT. Many thanks to all who came out to support the band. New guy, Michael Webb (left) rocked! He and Rusty traded smokin' solos throughout the night. He's a top notch musician, for being such a youngster.. Anyway, we had a great time. Once again I'm reminded that changes, even changes I initially resist, can put a new fire in the belly.. (photo by Jon Rosenbaum)


"Homeland" - - - - Just came across this today.
I didn't even know there was a video done on this song. Kenny Rogers, from November, 2001.He released this song as a single right after the terror attacks of September, 2001.The song was written by myself and Keith Miles and originally recorded by Great Plains on the CD of the same name.


Pat is one of my closest long-time friends. Let's all send good thoughts his way..


dumb and dummie
Big changes in Poco. Paul Cotton has left the band to pursue his solo career. It's the end of an era, for sure. We'll miss you Paulie - all the best to you.. Poco will continue - albeit with a bit of a course change. You can't simply replace someone like Paul Cotton.. Happy Sailin', Cappy.

In other news, I've worked up a new act. We're called "Dumb and Dummie". I'm the one on the left.

washington monument2/23/10


Ah, the glamorous life of an itinerant musician. See the world, play a little music, get rich, sleep 'til noon -- it's not even like a real job, it's just one long, fabulous party.. I suppose that's how I saw it on some level when I was a lad. The reality of my 45 years in music has played out a bit differently however.

Truth is, I have absolutely no complaints about this life. I've gotten more than I could ever want in every department. I'm healthy, grateful and about as happy as I let myself be.

I have indeed gotten to see much of this awesome world of ours -- but there are also a whole lot of places I've been without really being there. This photo probably illustrates the point. Although I have spent quality time in D.C. -- this picture was the extent of my visit to the George Washington Monument last week. I've seen a lot of places in just this fashion -- or sailed right past them while I caught up on some long lost sleep. Can't be helped -- it's the nature of the beast.

Still and all, I wouldn't trade what I've done and seen for anything. Except for the "get rich" part, I did it. In twenty years I hope to be hale and healthy enough to be the guy who finishes his shift as a Wal-Mart greeter and heads out the door to a wedding or Bar-Mitzvah gig..

And speaking of gigs, I recently had some great ones. Idlewheel did an abbreviated northeast swing, including the fabulous "Casbah" in Union, NJ -- at the home of Charlie and Dorothy Wade. About as much fun as one can have, I figure. Thanks to all who braved the winter night. Also, 5 in a row for Poco. Whew! A bit of dart-board routing, but again, no complaints. No one was hurt during these shows.

And on we go..


IDLEWHEEL CANCELATION NOTICE: Severe weather in the northeast means I can't get up there until Saturday. Tonight's Idlewheel show in Landsdowne, PA is canceled. Friday's show in King of Prussia is still on for Craig, Lizanne Knott & JD Malone. And, assuming the weather cooperates, here's a recap on the weekend:

Wissahickon Chicken Shack
Saturday, February 13 - 8:00pm

Printer's Alley, Doylestown, PA
Tickets $12.00 in advance, $15.00 Day of Show
Advance Tickets:  www.pucklive.com    (215) 348-9000

Valentines Day in The Casbah!!

Sunday, February 14 - Dinner at 4 PM - Show at 5:00 PM
The Wades Home
2259 Morrison Avenue, Union, NJ
Suggested Donation $25.00
Reservations: twojulysons@aol.com  or  (908) 764-6919


Update on the Idlewheel show for Sunday, Feb. 14 at the Wade's home in Union, NJ. The show is still going to be at 5PM, but dinner will be at 4PM. Dinner with this bunch of folks is a beautiful thing.. Don't miss it. Full details for the Idlewheel shows are listed below.


my dog LilaA Dog's Life

I don't know who wrote this, so I can't give credit, but this sums up my feelings for dogs in general.

A veterinarian was called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

The vet examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. He told the family he couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As they made arrangements, Ron and Lisa said they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, the Doctor felt that familiar catch in his throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that the vet wondered if Shane understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. The family and the vet sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."

"People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life - like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?"

Everyone nodded and softly agreed. "Sure, of course."

"Well", he continued, "dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."



Craig Bickhardt and I will be doing some shows together in February. Our band, Idlewheel, also features Tom Hampton on a plethora of stringed instruments and Tommy Geddes on drums/percussion. Look for much fun, body surfing, waking up in strange surroundings, etc.. Our last outing was hilighted by an evening at "The Casbah", aka Dorothy and Charlie Wade's house. More fun than a barrel of meth-ed out monkeys - and completely legal!

"TAKING THE NORTHEAST BY STORM" (hopefully not literally)

Thursday, February 11 - 7:30pm
Concerts at The Beach House (House Concert)
Lansdowne, PA
Suggested Donation: $15.00
To Reserve and for directions, email: bob@bobbeach.net  or call (610) 626-0012

plus Valentine Love Songs In-The-Round with
Jack Sundrud, Craig Bickhardt, Lizanne Knott & JD Malone
Friday, February 12 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
The Pavillion at the Court at King of Prussia

King of Prussia, PA
Free Show

Wissahickon Chicken Shack
Saturday, February 13 - 8:00pm

Printer's Alley, Doylestown, PA
Tickets $12.00 in advance, $15.00 Day of Show
Advance Tickets:  www.pucklive.com    (215) 348-9000

Valentines Day in The Casbah!!

Sunday, February 14 - 5:00pm
The Wades Home
2259 Morrison Avenue, Union, NJ
Suggested Donation $25.00
Reservations: twojulysons@aol.com  or  (908) 764-6919



While walking our dogs in the park last week (during the 18 degree cold snap) we heard an un-earthly wailing. Unable to find where the sound was coming from, and with the dogs getting restless, we continued on. The next day, we again heard the wailing. This time, we tracked it down to a large rock pile in a ditch beside the road. While I corralled the canines, Sue dug through the rocks until the source of the cat-erwauling was at last revealed. A wee baby kitten - lost, cold, ribs jutting out- hungry and not about to take it quietly.. So after looking for her home to no avail, feeding her great gobs of good food and water, intensive cuddling and a visit to the vet (to be poked, prodded and punctured) - we sailed off on an adventure to her new home - with my Dad, Omar - up in Minnesota. Upon our arrival in the northland, the 2 immediately hit it off and a deal was struck. Omar will feed her and clean up her litter box in exchange for purring, playing with various toys and non-toy-like objects, sleeping in excruciatingly adorable positions and generally being loveable. Helga - cat on a mission.. (photo: left panel - at the vet. right panel - assessing her new home state of Minnesota)


frozen pondHappy New Year to all!

Why, it's so cold in Nashville, I saw a chicken with a capon.. I'm actually enjoying the unusual arctic-ish weather we've been having (temps in the teens - VERY unusual here). Reminds me of MN (although MN is currently having WAAY below zero temps). I haven't seen seriously frozen ponds here in many years - and this one's been frozen for a week!

And speaking of ponds, I am interviewed in the current issue of the excellent British Americana/Roots publication, Maverick Magazine.. Check it out. I expound on many subjects - and I somehow appear to know absolutely nothing about any of them..
Stay warm.


2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003