To My Dear Friends,
I’m sorry it’s been a while since I’ve written something to you but you are always in my thoughts for all the friendship and faith you’ve given me all through the years.
I’ve been doing shows in the Northeast and just returned from a tour of Oklahoma and Texas.
It was a perfect time to be there as full spring had arrived. The trees were filled with leaves, the temperature was in the 70’s and 80’s. The Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, and Flax
Wildflowers were blooming everywhere. I realized that in a couple of months, the heat and humidity would be oppressive, but now it was paradise, especially having gone through a cruel, bitter-cold, unending winter in Woodstock and all the northeast. The ice was as hard as my oilman’s heart.
I’ve been writing some new songs, and learning other songs I’ve recorded but never played on a stage. Songs that were sitting in my notebooks that I wrote, recorded once, and never memorized as I would finish them and move on to another song.
I met some old dear friends in Texas and made a lot of new friends. I did a radio show in Houston with a great radio presenter on a Pacifica radio station bombed by the Ku Klux Klan a number of years ago. His name is Larry Winters and his show “Spare Change” is total free speech and it goes over a huge part of Texas. Meeting Larry was like meeting a soul mate. I felt I’d always known him. I even played my George Bush song “When You’re Back On Your Ranch In Texas” live on the air. I was hoping Bush was listening, but most likely he was out riding his tricycle.
As me and my trusty road manager Fred Kurland drove the long Texas and Oklahoma highways we saw our usual share of “Jesus Loves You” billboards on the roadways and passed loads of gun shops. One ice cream shop also sold ammunition. Ben and Jerry’s it was not. Speaking of ammunition, the week before I got to Oklahoma the state had run out of bullets! Apparently people are afraid and paranoid that Barack Obama is going to take away all their guns and Ammo! It’s no wonder we have mass murder. Though Obama has huge popularity and love in the polls across the rest of America, there is an element in Texas and Oklahoma that hate him. Fanned by demagogues like Alex Jones. These are dangerous people who crazily believe that the US government is building camps all over the country to herd people into when their fantasy “Revolution” starts. I even know people who live out in the Boonies outside Woodstock who believe this! I feel sad for them.
No president is ever perfect, and none will ever be. Thomas Jefferson had slaves, Abraham Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus during the civil war and Franklin Roosevelt interned Japanese-American citizens during World War II…Obama will disappoint some people. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, but I believe he will go down as one of our greatest presidents. You may see him on Mount Rushmore in 75 years.
In Austin I played at the Cactus Café, a great venue backed by Mandy Mercier on violin, Brian Hollander on guitar, and Cindy Cashdollar on dobro. I also spent time with an old friend and great DJ Larry Monroe of KUT radio; the hippest radio in Austin. Though Larry plays all kinds of alternative country, he has a Monday night blues show that won the national W.C. Handy award a few years ago.
In Houston I played two sold out nights at Tom Yeager’s fabulous “Songbird Sanctuary”. Another great place was ‘The Blue Door” in Oklahoma City, and “Uncle Calvin’s” in Dallas. Fred and I drove through Dealy Plaza at night and stopped at the spot John Kennedy was killed in 1963. Yes, the grassy knoll was still there and the place is still filled with mystery and ghosts. I feared for Obama’s life as we slowly drove off. America for all its good points is still filled with nuts; both in the government and on some of its desperate streets. The Internet also fans the flames of anger and paranoia. I’ve always been a passionate believer in free speech but there are too many fires being cried out in too many theaters on these computer screens and those ideas get sucked into the brains of too many psychotics with guns. I don’t know the solution but I get the uneasy feeling that something is going wrong. At the same time the corporate media, or what’s left of it, too often rolls over and accepts whatever its billionaire bosses want it to print. Yet it was the Internet that helped Obama become president, against all odds. So I am at a loss to know what’s right or wrong on that subject, and I honestly admit it.
Anyway, my new CD “I’ll Leave A Light On For You” will be at last released this summer; first in Scandinavia and then in the rest of the world this autumn. My dear friend Steinar Albrigtsen who also sings harmonies with the great Monika Nordli produces it.
To my friends in the U.K. I regret that I won’t be doing my usual autumn tour this year because of the economy and other personal reasons, but I promise I will be back one day as I dearly love coming over and seeing my old friends for 20 years. I feel we are almost family now.
Take care of yourselves and thanks to my agent/manager Nancy Stitham for all her unselfish help and belief.
Until we meet again I wish all of you the very best in these economically difficult times. We will get through it and come out better on the other side.
Your Old Friend,
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