The Blues makes us aware of how the universe perceives harmony through our ears. Its “source material” is not so much sadness, but a universal alienation. Everyone fears loneliness from different directions. Handy’s song says to me, “There’s no use for home where you always lose who you are,” which was the launch point for my recording. Suzassippi lends wonderful visual, grounded context to all the tracks she highlights, and quotes me at the end of her article.
Back a number of years ago, I first read about where the Southern Cross the Dog in a Farm Bureau magazine quiz. I had never heard of it, and it was an intriguing story about the town of Moorhead and the junction of the old Southern Railway system and the “Yellow Dog”–commonly thought to mean the Yazoo Delta Railway.
Winner: Westy Reflector cover of Yellow Dog Blues. Of it, the judge Marc Anthony Thompson said “I just wanted something that I really liked to listen to.” Westy Reflector said “no one in the story is in a fixed place” and “blues was never fully about composition as an end, but about a rich community of shared source material.”
My faves: All of which, “I just really liked to listen to.”
Published on Jul 22, 2017
Welcome to the next episode of a seven day North Otago road trip that started on Waitangi Weekend (early February 2017). Today’s film continues the journey south of Evansdale, and on toward Waitati where we detour off the State Highway One and opt to head over to Dunedin via the Mount Cargill Road.
Mount Cargill Road is a narrow and often winding road, but the views down to the Otago Peninsula from the ridge line, make the detour worth it. Probably not suitable for large campervans, but easy for our nimble Boom Mustang trike.
Fortunately the rain cleared, leaving that fresh shower breeze and minimal traffic for the short run.
My track Through The Looking Glass pops up in the critical scene (at the 27:00 mark) of a natural hair-care video by Puebla, Mexico graphic designer and lifestyle guru Debbie Yee. So xclnt when my songs soundtrack harmony with the Earth.
via YouTube: Published on Jul 18, 2017
Finalmente mi primer video informativo sobre mi cuidado de cabello natural. Les muestro los dos métodos que utilizo actualmente: 1. Arcilla caolín y bentonita 2. yema de huevo. Actualmente me lavo el cabello cada 3 días y el lavado con yema de huevo es de una a dos veces al mes máximo.
Les cuento a detalle el porqué, el cómo y ¡todo el tema sobre la transición :O!
Espero les sea de utilidad y se animen a cambiar a un régimen natural de cuidado de cabello.
Finally my first informative video about my natural hair care. I show you the two methods I currently use: 1. Kaolin clay and bentonite 2. egg yolk. I am currently washing my hair every 3 days and washing with egg yolk is one to two times a month maximum.
I tell you in detail the why, the how and the whole theme about the transition: O!
I hope you find them useful and encourage you to switch to a natural hair care regimen.
“You and everyone” by Portrayal
“Departures” by Portrayal
“Solecism” by Portrayal
“Never adjusted” by Portrayal
“Black waters” by Portrayal
“Universal Libraries” by Portrayal
“Rooms” by Portrayal
“Out of light” by Portrayal
“Back up plan” by The Berreracudas
“Through The Looking Glass” by Westy Reflector
“Month 2 month/ Love St.” by Connections
Published on Jul 4,2017
The Trammel family visits Atlanta in the summer of 2017. Hitting all the major stops along the way such as the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, The World of Coke, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, and the Center for Puppetry Arts. Plus visits to other area establishments like The Varsity and Pallookaville!
Windfall by Westy Reflector is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Puebla, Mexico graphic designer “with a non-stop anxiety bug” and organic lifestyle documentarian Debbie Yee takes a few of my songs on a journey to create the perfect homemade Kombucha.
Links to her universe below.
via YouTube: Published on Jul 4, 2017
Hoy les cuento sobre la deliciosa bebida Kombucha, para que la conozcan, sepan cómo se hace (primera fermentación), para qué y cómo pueden llevarla a una segunda fermentación. Today I tell you about the delicious Kombucha drink, so that you know it, know how it is made (first fermentation), for what and how you can take it to a second fermentation.
Si algún alma por aquí quiere un bebé scoby, ¡contácteme! Si están en algún estado de México, podemos checar métodos de envío ¡y listo! If any soul around here wants a scoby baby, contact me! If you are in any state of Mexico, we can check delivery methods and you’re done!
“One City” comes from the 9 track LP, “Transient Lines” from New York City based indie-pop artist WESTY REFLECTOR. He wrote, performed and programmed all songs on this release from late 2013, described as “fragments and fractals of an enlightening, challenging year.”
His unique and powerful voice sits somewhere in the realm of old favorites Terry Prine or even Colin Meloy, but definitely distinctly unique with some beautiful and imaginative tales to absorb.
Charlotte & George, an online British-French children’s fashion boutique based in Paris, opened its virtual doors in mid-2016. This past October, C&G’s owner Sarah wrote me seeking to use my track Since I Heard The Sun off Almost X (bandcamp | freemusicarchive) in a video showcasing a new “magic raincoat” they carry. Designed by British fashion house Holly & Beau, the coats change color in the rain (the “magic”). Sarah found my track via a Creative Commons license search (all of my music is licensed cc-by-nc-sa), requested permission for commercial use and made a lovely gesture asking whether I wanted compensation.
So what’s it worth?
I’ve been asked more than once, “Why aren’t you famous?” All I can do is shrug. Sometimes I answer “Because I’d rather you pick up the next round”; other times “It’s a punishment for refusing to use google as a verb.” The question I most get, though, is “What do you do?” I’m on the more weightless end of the what-you-want-is-in-the-limo success scale.
I’m obscure, not unknown is a fave affirmation. I’ve seen my tracks travel the world, and the simple release of a song has seen positivity and stories come back at me from strangers in random wonderful ways. But obscurity also means anyone’s finding my music, let alone spinning it, still isn’t a rational event.
So when people take time to let me know why or where or when they connect with a track, I’m always a bit mystified; not because someone thinks the track is supercalafradulous, but because my track must have been so supercalafradulous and the timing so right that, for a few minutes, all the clutter of this life faded away for someone listening. When that happens, I am allowed to know someone felt what I felt as I wrote and recorded. I am allowed a crystalline connection between a perfect-something I wrote and a perfect-someone-else. For un-perfect flawed me, that’s the songwriting drug right there.
But what’s it worth?
Now, Almost X was my 10th record, and the last few years have been good. I’d been interviewed on NPR, made some best-of lists and connected with a slew of wonderful people who found meaning in my songs. That said, any indie self-released-one-horse-town knows your value is only as high as your last work. And let’s just say my 2015 record Sunrise Highway, well… underperformed. Whether that was fair or not, I’ll leave that to you, but it was loose, fun, full of crashing guitars and contained a few favorite songs that I finally recorded correct. But for some unknown reason(s), the record didn’t take as well as its predecessor, 2014’s sprawling clawing-at-the-world paean to justice, rights, escape, and love Particle Theory, which all my other records will always be judged against (a happy admittance). Sunrise Highway song There Goes The Sky ended up on some compilations and got a bit of airplay, but still, when Sarah’s note arrived, I had just released Almost X amid thoughts that maybe my recent successes were not a launch pad, but rather the world giving me the signal to stop — to go out on top, with my boots on.
Needless to say, my music almost never buys dinner. On the one hand, this is a liberation — I get to make whatever music I want. On the other hand, however, I’m hungry. The most difficult aspect of creativity is to keep any judgment on your art’s value to the world at arm’s length from any value you assign to yourself as a person. Asking me what my work is worth always ripples waves of confusion through me. It’s worth everything and nothing at the same time.
In any case, my insecurities notwithstanding (or perhaps with them overarching), I needed to name my price since Sarah actually contacted me about the track’s CC license restriction — most producers don’t. In the last few years, concurrent with my increased (albeit limited) exposure, my music’s popped up on random commercial youtube channels resulting in hundreds of thousands of views for which I’ve gained no ad revenue.
Now, the unauthorized uses do result in other views, more visits to official sites, word of mouth, and search-on-engine action. And every once in a while, a gilded soul will send real money my way via Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, or the “Tip The Artist” link at my freemusicarchive.org artist page. So I let it go. And direct record sales are a unicorn now, anyway. Through recent years most of the hard currency generated by my songs has come from streaming sites like Spotify, Rhapsody and Deezer(!?), in $0.0067 per-stream drips. (Yes, I receive regular accounting statements with line items in fractional cents). As a musician you achieve intimate acute awareness of the concept of a loss-leader, even if you never studied consumer-goods pricing strategies.
Sarah’s honorable request to use the track proved her integrity in this dirty-robot world. I thought about asking for cash, and if she’d offered whatever she believed it was worth to her, I would’ve given her my bitcoin address and left it at that. But, she left the assignation of value up to me, and sometimes there’s more value in being a conduit than a receiver. The coat looked genius.
“I don’t need cash,” I wrote her. “How about one of those magic coats for my nephew, Austin. His birthday’s coming up.”
“A song for a coat,” she chimed back. “That sounds perfect.”
So there we netted out — she was free to use the song and I would receive a “monster magic raincoat,” size 5–6, to give to my nephew Austin for his birthday.
Charlotte & George’s video went out, garnered thousands of views on a couple of platforms for them, and a couple weeks later, a wonderful air-mail stamped package arrived from Paris in time for Austin’s party.
Rain was not falling on the day, but we tested the magic of the coat on Austin in my parents’ living room using a spray bottle, and he loved every second. Now, after wearing it a few times for real, he can’t wait for the next rain. The true magic in the coats, upstream, is in alleviating kids’ fears of inclement weather.
In the Internet’s highwire infancy (often in a 3-page business plan with one positive-linear-sloped graph on page 3), the World Wild-West Web promised infinite direct connections among people outside traditional entertainment, commerce and journalism channels. For artists, this environment promised a new economy around creativity, in which they would gain ever-increasing control of how their work is used and valued.
“Are we there yet?” asked the musician and writer from the backseat in the way-back-when.
“Almost,” said the driver in the now. “But the future present won’t look much different. The old world was not displaced — just given blind spots. We’ll have to get even smarter. Open our eyes and ears a bit wider.”
In this story, I wrote a song and then a few months later the stars aligned to give my nephew a coat. My track became a future present. A fractal of a 21st century creative economy? Maybe, the future’s still here, lying in wait for a watershed. Or maybe just waiting on a magic coat to change your perceptions of the rain.
All the luck and fortune to Charlotte & George. If you’re looking for a well curated collection of kids clothing and a means to support a still-fragile, vital new relationship between art and commerce, they’re one click away.
Professional wrestling cuts a deep, diverse and cross-generational swath through America (the WWE represents only a glossy major-label equivalency), threading across many eras with stories of soaring courage, unabashed victory, gritted determination and dream-shattering heartbreak. The 2008 film The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke touched on these themes and conveyed a raw just-below-the-surface look at someone akin to Donst. Aside from that film, I knew almost nothing of Donst’s indie wrestling world as I hit the play button here. Now I can’t imagine our world without his.
Life outside the mainstream too often is marginalized to appear frivolous or inconsequential – struggles too “real” for popular consumption, perhaps. I feel a kindred spirit with Donst. In the way he wakes conscious with wrestling moves in his head, I wake thinking only of writing music. DNA isn’t just physical – it’s also spiritual. The moment you tap into what makes you you, life starts.
YouTube liner notes
Published on Aug 16, 2015
In February 2015, Tim Donst told the independent wrestling world that his in ring career was possibly over. He had a tumor in his right kidney. His future was uncertain.
In this documentary, Donst reflects back on his career, his passion for wrestling, thoughts on death, talking with Mick Foley, and the road to recovery.
But was his career really over? Would he ever set foot in a wrestling ever again as an active competitor? Find out as he goes back to AIW (Absolute Intense Wrestling) and is confronted by the King of Ultra Violence Nick Gage.
Small streets of Yazd. (Iran)
Music: Soma by Westy Reflector
Les petites rues de Yazd. (Iran)
Musique: Soma par Westy reflector
The Bellais family from France (DAvid, CAmille, LUcile et Félix) is traveling around the world in a converted old fire truck for two years. They’ve used a few of my tracks in their video journal, and riding along, hearing my songs pop up every so often, is an absolute kick. Follow them here: