Rest … Reflect and a Reset!

Greetings Good People,

It is with mixed emotions that that I say goodbye to 2022. It was a year that was full of contradictions and outlandish revelations, rife with global conflicts, hosted one of the most contentious US midterm elections and saw divisions and nationwide tensions widen.  And with all of that, it was also a year of new connections and community restarts. Unlike its caustic predecessors, the year had a bit more promise with more opportunities to open things up to exploration of in-person gatherings and letting go of fears that 2020 and ‘21 hardened into place. We began to trust that there was some small windows of hope on the horizon, even if they were clouded over with haze.

For the first time in several years, I actually saw many of you in real live concerts, festivals, and later in the year I took journeys in person to explore sites of the Civil Rights Movement with the Living Legacy Project. It was a year of resetting and restoring relationships. Thanks to all of you for coming out and sharing in those moments of humanity. We all needed them.

December provided me with a unique opportunity, mostly by choice, to wind down more than in most years. Usually I have acquiesced to the temptation to work up until the last minute and into the holidays. But this year, by scheduling  fewer concerts than normal, I sought to establish a new tradition: a time of personal reflection that allows me to sort through the emotions and challenges of the year in a way that I hope to make a regular pattern. It seemed to work to make my year end more of a gradual time of a personal respite.

It was in that precious time that I rediscovered something that the veterans of the Civil Rights Movement and elders like Pete Seeger and Holly Near passed along in conversation about self care. (Holly continues to do so). That is the simple but critical fact that in the midst of community activism and global concern, failing to attend to your physical and emotional well-being sets up situations and emotional deficits that don’t serve any of us well.  It’s critical for each one of us to remember to care for ourselves SO we can care for others. Taking time to recharge and restore our emotional and physical energy benefits the world and those we love. In that way, the music and the feeling behind it can  actually work to help us to recover from the constant bombardment that has become our everyday world.

My earliest memories of playing the guitar are of finding such  joy in spending hours alone in a room, enjoying the sound created by my fingers pulling on the strings and soaking in those vibrations that resonated as my mind  and heart were free to wander.

In those early days, I remember that there was a barking dog that lived across the alley, that responded to the sound of my playing and made its way onto every tape I recorded. My reverie of solitude this month was shared by Carmel, a sweet little pit bull, who sat quietly in the chair next to me, keeping me company. A few of those moments are captured here.


Apparently, my guitar playing has improved. Carmel didn’t bark once.

I look forward to seeing you in 2023, in concerts and at festivals, and occasionally on Zoom, as we continue to rebuild our lives and meet new challenges in a world that needs more music and more love.

In reflection, renewal, and song,