Things we forget

To be honest, sometimes we feel really hypocritical. Here we are, writing and performing songs that (hopefully) inspire people to their own greatness – and what do we do most of the time? Work too much, laugh too little and complain about things over which we have no control.

They say admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

This was really the impetus behind writing Love Can Change the World. These lines from the second verse sum up our realization that, most of the time, we’re just not paying attention:

I see the world in black and white, and rarely hear the gray

I don’t take time to read the lines, and then I turn the page

I came across a great blog the other day, Things We Forget: Post it Notes Left to their Fate in Public Places.  Its a series of post it note drawings and reminders of the little things we forget when we go about our daily lives of well intentioned busyness.

Here’s today’s entry. What a powerful reminder.

Just this afternoon I also saw a quote on the Festival of Enlightenment’s Facebook page.

“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” – unknown

Tonight we celebrate Greg’s daughter’s birthday, and you can be sure we’ll be paying attention – with laughter among family and friends, gratefulness for good health and the warmth of our home, and lots and lots of love.

Because, Love Can Change the World.

Image by TO DO (writer) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Spook Handy’s Canadian Border Crossing

Here’s a fun story from New Jersey-based folk singer Spook Handy.  Spook had a house concert tour scheduled in Canada recently that had been set up by a non-profit group called Home Routes, and his story affords a first hand look at border crossing as an event between two people, rather than between two faceless countries.

We belong to several email discussion lists for musicians, music presenters and others sharing issues from working in new media to touring. A few weeks back, Spook asked for help on the Folk Alliance list, because he wanted to make sure he had is ducks in a row with right paperwork to take his CDs into the country. There are specific rules for taking product for sale into Canada – and most countries in fact.

We’ll, Spook got a lot of advice on the list – and a couple phone calls from friends who actually knew what they were talking about. The bottom line was, no matter how big or small your operation, you need to get the paperwork in order. And the next word of advice was to  just be honest. Don’t try to scam anything, its not worth it.

This was right up Spook’s alley – he’s a pretty straight shooter.

Spook’s  most recent release, Whatcha Gonna Do is all about encouraging individuals to make a difference in the world. Check out Spook’s Whatcha Gonna Do page and send him your suggestions… as he says,

People all over say they want to live in a better world. I believe it is up to us as individuals to make a difference and not depend on someone else to do it for us.

Back to the story. Spook obviously walks the walk. In this case, he walked it right into Canada. In a time when we see and experience fear all around us – especially at our borders – we just loved  Spook’s account of his Canadian border crossing, used here with his permission:

I successfully crossed the border but not without trepidation.  I told the guard I was here to work – to play house concerts and she sent me into immigration.  There, an unhappy fellow asked me the purpose of my visit.  I said to play house concerts.

“What’s a house concert?”

“People gather at someone’s home and sit around listening to and singing songs.”

“Are you doing this for money?”


“Do you make a living doing this?

I didn’t know how to answer that.

“What’s your definition of making a living?”

He was not amused.

“Where are you playing this concert?”

“In Mississauga”

“Where in Mississauga?”

“At a friend’s house.”

“What’s their names?”

“Umm, I don’t remember.”

“How do you know them?”

“Well, I don’t really.”

Just being totally honest.

“How come your playing music at their house?”

… and on the questioning went.  I told them about Home Routes and the folk music scene.  The fellow asked for my tour book and contract which he read thoroughly.  Then he asked,

“Why would people want to do this?

I paused for a moment.  Do I tell the honest truth?  “Well, we’re a subversive anti-government movement out to brainwash the public with left wing propaganda.”

I decided to tell a slightly different version of the truth:

“Beats me”  I said.

The fellow looked me up and down, handed me my papers and said, “Enjoy Canada.”

We’d love to hear how Canadian songwriters like John Wort Hannam have been treated coming into the US on similar ‘business.’

Stewart and Colbert March Together – or Against Each other?

Ok, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have our attention. We’re all about looking at the world from a place of love, not fear, so Colbert’s mission to bring people to Washington DC for a  March to Keep Fear Alive is just too much for us to take sitting down. We all need to stand up and listen to Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon sing Love Can Change World. You can watch the video right on this Web site.

Her’es what Colbert says on the March to Keep Fear Alive Web site:

“America, the Greatest Country God ever gave Man, was built on three bedrock principles: Freedom. Liberty. And Fear — that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty. But now, there are dark, optimistic forces trying to take away our Fear — forces with salt and pepper hair and way more Emmys than they need. They want to replace our Fear with reason. But never forget — “Reason” is just one letter away from “Treason.” Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but America can’t afford to take that chance. “

We’re not sure if Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity counter measure is the answer, but its worth thinking about. We might be too busy to actually do anything about it, but then again, that seems to be the whole point behind the movement.

The Huffington Post pulled it together with an analysis of these these two video clips from each satirist’s recent shows, saying either way, to expect lots of  Stewart and Colbert fans to show up in Washington on October 30.

We can’t be there though, we’re too busy.