Singing the Truth – Bob Dylan’s Words of Wisdom

– from Bev

In one of the non-televised ceremonies of Grammy Weekend, Bob Dylan was honored s Person of the Year by MusicCares – the arm of NARAS (the Grammy organization) that provides financial assistance to working musicians with healthcare needs.

The full transcript of Bob’s speech is here, full of anecdotes, acknowledgements of acts that propelled his career forward and words of wisdom about songwriting


Sometimes the Truth Just Isn’t Pretty

truthDylan lamented a bit about the critics who have fixated on his raspy voice, talking his way through songs. He related a story about when Sam Cooke was told he had a beautiful voice. He said: “Well that’s very kind of you, but voices ought not to be measured by how pretty they are. Instead they matter only if they convince you that they are telling the truth.”

Be still my heart. That truth – that’s what I long to hear in a performance. Its what I hope I’m remembered for. The truth doesn’t mean it really happened. It just means you believe it.

All the vocal calisthenics heard on American Idol, and in virtually every pre-game performance of the national anthem, just leave me cold. Greg says “there’s no there there.”

I can close my eyes and remember a handful of magical musical performances – I can hear them in my mind. One, is songwriter Allen Shamblin singing I Can’t Make You Love Me – the hit he co-wrote with Mike Reid, made popular by Bonnie Raitt. Allen isn’t a great singer. But everyone in that small coffeehouse in San Jose ten years ago knew we were hearing the truth.

And don’t get me wrong, beautiful voices can sing the truth – beautifully. At the Folk Alliance International Conference several years ago, Greg and I were walking through the crowded, noisy hall way between myriad rooms of ‘official showcase’ performances. We walked into one room and heard Canadian songwriter John Wort Hannam sing this song and it just melted us both.


Striving for Truth

Our friend and fabulous songwriter Cosy Sheridan said this of Greg and I several years ago, when we asked her for a quote:

“In a world of fast food and empty calories, Bev and Greg speak their truth and do it well.”

Words we strive to live up to.

Honoring the Forgotten

Greg - HomeFirst MemorialSanta Clara County-based HomeFirst envisions a community where everyone has a home.

However, dying on the street happens with far too much regularity. An annual memorial organized by Homefirst is intended to put names to the numbers, and provide dignity and closure to those who died homeless. Homefirst has organized this memorial annually since 1999, and since then 793 homeless have been remembered. The silver lining is that the annual toll has been trending downward in recent years — dropping from a high of 81 in 2008 to 33 this year.

Greg was asked to share a song at this year’s memorial, and he chose Van Morrison’s Into the Mystic. He’d sung it in 2012 for the memorial of his friend and band mate Bruce Bruckelmeyer, and it seemed a fitting tribute both to Bruce, and to those remembered here.

Read more and see more photos in the Bay Area News Group article.

The names of 28 men and five women slowly were read. Their average age was 56. Causes of death were not listed. But living on the streets was, at the very least, a contributing factor for all of them. Candles, placed in the shape of a heart, flickered for each one.

John Beech, 55, 10/6/2014
Daniel Brillhart, 52, 11/28/2013
Gloria Bush, 72, 11/28/2013
Scotty Davis, 55
David DeLima, 61, 11/19/2013
Dionne Douglas, 47, 6/20/2014
Edward Garcia, 59, 2/6/2014
Manfred Geister, 57
Valerie “Bunny” Good, 73, 4/24/2014
William Graham, 70, 6/19/2014
Andrew Greenleaf, 48, 12/5/2013
Oscar Gutierrez, 38, 3/5/2014
Phillip Haughton, 56, 3/1/2014
Darrell Howington, 49, 11/1/2014
Joseph Indalecio, 56, 12/30/2013
Craig Jackson, 54, 5/9/2014
David Kibbe, 52, 3/13/2014
Jeffrey Knipp, 49
Jeffrey Lim, 56, 7/30/2014
Glenn Masuda, 57, 12/27/2013
George Merino, 50, 3/3/2014
Daniel Moore, 53, 12/5/2014
Sheree Mullin, 38, 2/7/2014
Patricia Orozco, 54, 8/19/2014
Robert Pelech, 51, 3/31/2014
Troy Reichman, 46, 12/20/2013
Steven Ritesman, 57, 5/26/2014
Enrique Rubio, 56, 12/4/2013
David Sanchez, 58, 10/10/2014
Stanley Saso, 59, 4/24/2014
Larry Vallejos, 69
Harold Vaughn, 61, 1/30/2014
Judy West, 68, 10/30/2014

Is our Flame Burning Brightly?

– from Bev

Two CandlesTwo candles burn side-by-side, one noticeably shorter than the other. We know that one will burn out before the other, but until that time – right up until that time – both burn brightly.

This has been a week of emotional extremes for me. We greeted a beautiful, healthy baby grand daughter on Tuesday August 12 – the same day as her aunt Christine’s 23rd birthday. It was a day of celebration – Aubrey Grace brings the joy and perfection of new life to our family once again and we are so grateful.

This morning I was dressed in black, for the funeral of John Foster McKenna who passed away last Friday after a 20-month battle with brain cancer. He would have been 24 later this year.

Christine had let me know about John last Friday morning. Later that day my mom called to tell me that my Aunt Ann had passed away, also that morning. She was in her 80s.

Birth and death. Death at opposite ends of life expectancy.

mama papa aubrey blogThe priest at John’s funeral said he didn’t have the answer to the inevitable question, why? But he offered this illustration – of the two candles. And he voiced what the 500 people in attendance already knew about John: He had burned brightly, even though the flame had not lasted as long as ours.

Love is the source of that flame. It is the fuel that knows no limit and it is equally available to all of us. It can change the world of a young family with a brand new baby, a widower in his 80s, parents mourning an unfathomable loss and yes – the family, friends and fans of Robin Williams who also passed this week and made the whole world stop and think.

Let’s all burn brightly.

Keeping the Pirate Flag Flying

by Bev Barnett

I subscribe to Chris Brogan’s weekly emails. They are free – I highly recommend subscribing. Chris says that as independent entrepreneurs, whether we are musicians, software designers or coffee shop owners, our job is to focus on keeping the pirate flag flying. Its not to go after the fleet.

LoveflagI might change that slightly to say our job is to keep the love flag flying. To keep the music coming. To make sure that we not only creating great music, but that we are mindful about creating a sustainable existence so we can continue to serve our community and create more music, more love.

Our friends Roman Morykit and Cilette Swann – Gypsy Soul – are in the middle of an IndieGoGo fan funding campaign to not only fund their next CD release, but to launch the next phase of service to their community. To create more awareness for the causes they support. To educate other independent musicians based on what they’ve learned.

They are asking for help to keep their love flag flying. Click here to find out how you can help.


Sanctuary for Daniel Neyoy Ruiz at Southside Presbyterian in Tucson

Alison HarringtonRev. Alison Harrington is a young minister at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona. She is also the daughter of Revs. Steve and Nancy Harrington – Nancy married us in 2002. While in seminary, she coached a men’s softball team at San Quentin Prison.

Don’t mess with Alison.

As you might imagine, a California girl with a family and upbringing steeped in social justice has a lot on her mind and a lot on her hands, serving a community in Tucson Arizona. She does it with grace, strength, and most of all, love.

On Tuesday May 13, Alison and the congregation at Southside Presbyterian opened their doors to provide public sanctuary to Daniel Neyoy Ruiz, who faces deportation and separation from his wife Karla, and their son Carlos.

On Alison’s Groundswell page, she explains “what we are asking ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to do, is something they do every day. The Obama administration has said that people like Daniel – individuals with no criminal history, with strong ties to the community, and with US Citizen children are a low priority for deportations and he has said recently that we should not be in the business of tearing apart families.”


Daniel Ruiz FamilyIn an editorial published in the Arizona Daily Star, Alison says “throughout scriptures, people of faith are called to care for the orphan and the widow, but when it is a broken immigration system that is creating orphans and widows, we need to start intervening sooner.”

This is not the first time Southside Presbyterian has offered public sanctuary.

Alison continues… “Offering sanctuary to Neyoy Ruiz was something we prayerfully and carefully considered because we do not take this action lightly. As one of the founding churches of the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s, we know there are risks involved and we know there is a great deal of work ahead as we reorient the life of our church around caring for this family.”

This is truly a case where a small act of love by many individuals and change the world. Will you help?

What is Love?

What a privilege to be a part of someone’s love story.

On their first date, George and Gloria Gates walked into Mission City Coffee in Fremont, Calif., just as we were singing The Miracle. When you create from your heart, you just never know how far your creation will reach to affect peoples lives!

This video interview is part of a new series of stories created by SAVE – Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments, a nonprofit organization in Fremont, Calif, to highlight positive, inspiring relationships.

We love you George and Gloria!


Our Season of Dreaming

This is the season of darkness, but not of gloom. It is the season of cold, but not of bitterness.

In the Spring, the trees – and all of nature – are in their glory. The leaves dance, the blossoms sing and if we listen, they have so much to tell us.

Season-of-DreamingBut in the darkness of winter, if we ask the trees for their wisdom, they might just answer….

“This is our season of dreaming. 
We will speak again in Spring,
when it is warm, and we have leaves.”
-Wayne Porter

Bev’s friend Wayne posted this photo on Facebook earlier this month, taken with a three-year-old cell phone near his home in Ohio. She casually posted a comment on the photo… “what are trees saying to you?” He responded with this beautiful verse, and we wrote the song within the next two hours.

Wish wish you the happiest of holidays, and all that you dream of ….


Finding Your Voice and Speaking Your Truth

Earlier this year, I connected with a powerhouse of a woman: Nancy Mills, founder of – a global women’s empowerment community. The whole idea behind The Spirited Woman is to celebrate the Every Woman Visionary, changing the world one spirited woman step at a time.

Yesterday, hundreds of visionary women began a 12-day Sharefest on Facebook and Pinterest, with an intriguing and thought provoking theme for each day.

Today’s theme is “Finding your Voice and Speaking Your Truth.”

This is a deeply personal topic for me. The bridge to “I Found Myself” which we recorded on our “Love Can Change The World” CD, says…

I lived through the silence, and found my voice

Now I am standing behind my choice

The details of my story aren’t as important as the result of reaching a point in my life when I simply had to listen to my inner voice, allow it to inform my voice in the world, and stand up for that choice.

My choices are what have shaped me. It has taken all I have been, to become who I am.

That is self-love. And self-love is a love that changes the world, every day.

 — Bev

Happy Anniversary to Us! How Love has Changed Our World

weddingAugust 24, 2012 is our tenth wedding anniversary. This photo is of us exchanging our vows – singing Buddy & Julie Millers’ Holding up the Sky. We started to write our own, but couldn’t’ have said it better than they already did.

Wow. Ten years.

It seems silly to say, but it has truly taken everything  we’ve have been, and every circumstance we’ve each been through to become who we are.  Our love for each other has inspired and spilled over into the love we feel for everyone and everything in our lives. Our deep love for our children (and now our new grandson)… for people of all cultures, faiths, and lifestyles… for the things and circumstances that have forced us to grow… for friends with whom we disagree, but love for who they are.

Love is a very powerful thing. And make no mistake, love changes the way we look at the world and everything around us. We are all love, because love is all there is.

Our gift to you, in celebration of our ten years together, is a free download of our love song, Sonnet.

Just click Download to get to the download page then click Buy Now and enter zero (0) for the amount. You’ll see the green download button. No email address required, its just our gift.

Here’s a video of a live, acoustic version of Sonnet from earlier this year, at Russ & Julie’s House Concerts.


Bev & Greg

Loving Colorado and Dreaming of Rain, a gift from Jan Garrett & JD Martin

Its all over the news, Colorado is being hit by heat, extreme low humidity and the worst wildfire season in its history.

Colorado is near and dear to our hearts for many reasons. Greg lived and played music in the Aspen area during the late 1970s, and that experience had a big influence on hint of country rock that seeps into the songs we write today.

We also have a lot of friends in Colorado. We were just there this past weekend for a music conference, and witnessed first hand what it’s like to be anywhere close to a raging wildfire. When we drove north from the Denver area last Monday, we didn’t get clear of the eye-stinging, throat parching smoke until we were half way through Wyoming.

Since we’ve been back we’ve been seeing the heart breaking images of the Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs, and we’re gratefully getting reports via Facebook that the Flagstaff Fire near Boulder was largely contained and didn’t force friends from their homes. And we’re hoping that our friends near Ft. Collins are safe from the High Park Fire that started just West of there more than a week ago.

The people of Colorado are doing what people do… raising funds to help the displaced families, housing evacuees, praising the firemen. Help Colorado Now is a new Web site sponsored by the Colorado Department of Emergency Management and Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Its a good place to start, to determine how you can best help.

Dreaming of Rain

Here’s something everyone can do. Dream of rain for Colorado. A lush, drenching, cleansing rain.

Several years ago, our friends Jan Garrett and JD Martin recorded a beautiful song called “I Dreamed of Rain.”  It began as a poem that Jan wrote in the midst of the devastating Colorado wildfires ten years ago… “I dreamed of rain, and then it rained for real and even the pictures on the wall looked fresher, the colors washed clean…”

They  have been known the perform this song in drought-ridden areas, to find at the end of the evening that it has indeed begun to rain.Visioning is a powerful thing.

Jan and JD are gifting this song to you, to us, to everyone… to dream, sing and dance for rain. Download it at the link below. You’ll also be able to download the original poem and the story behind the song. Spread it wide, and please dream of rain for Colorado.