Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Ah Thanksgiving, how I adore your simple mission. Let us all take a day, just one day, to be thankful for what we have, for who we have and for another year of life. Wait, what's this? The consumption machine wants us to go shopping instead? But isn't that the antithesis of what this one day of 365 is about? How could we let this happen?

Thanksgiving, we're sorry. You deserve better. Here, then, is my Thanksgiving prayer, in honor of the greatest Holiday that has ever or ever could be conceived.

Thank you, God, whatever you are. The Great Life Force that moves everything has been good to me this year and I will continue to seek harmony with it. I'm thankful for so much this year, the year of my daughters birth and my fifth anniversary of marriage to the most wonderful woman in the world. I live a privileged life with a beautiful family, a nice home in a perfect spot, meaningful work, a reasonable schedule, and good health. I'm so thankful for the abundance in my life, and to further my sense of abundance, I intend over the next year to continue to simplify and hone in on my personal mission. My possessions will become fewer, but of higher quality and usefulness. More doing, less screen time. I'm thankful that I have skills and I will demonstrate my thankfulness by putting them to good use.

Thanks again, Travis

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Is music an endangered species?

We all know all about the issue with the selling of music. "Music is free" the artists shout, "how can we keep making it if we don't get paid for it?" And they're right, you know.

But there's something bigger and even more ominous than the "freeing" of music. People just don't engage with music like they used to. Music is not near the center of our cultural sphere anymore. Social media and television, iphones and video games have taken center stage. After a long day of meaningless work (I have written and will continue to write at length about this subject) the sheeple head home to plop down in front of their TV to watch Top Chef while they browse Facebook. I know this is what we do because this is, very often, what happens in my house. There was a time, arguably before I was born, before computers got awesome and television really figured out how to get us to watch advertisements, when music was everything to a lot of people. A new record came out and it was THE THING that everyone talked about. There were Black Friday-like lines at record stores for Led Zeppelin II and live music was something that everyone engaged in.

I'm optimistic. In my career, specifically as part of The Stringdusters, I continue to see more people out at the shows and every well run, well intentioned festival continues to grow. I may be wrong about this endangered species thing, actually. But I have a sense that ours may be the last generation that craves music, that needs the kind of experience and community that you get from being a fan.

What is to be done? We need to spread the word, turn our family, friends and co-workers on to what moves us, drag the couch culture out of the house and drop them in the front row of our favorite band and make a habit of going out to see music at local venues. Perhaps more importantly, we need to get our children stoked about music, it should be part of their culture. Let's cultivate music, help it grow and make it better, before it vanishes.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Road to Boulder

The Stringdusters have just released an EP, Road to Boulder, to benefit flood victims from the September flood in Colorado.  The song Road to Boulder features the incomparable Bruce Hornsby on accordion and the EP includes three songs recorded at Bluegrass Underground.  This is an easy way to help those in need and get some good music in your ears.

The Road to Boulder Tour kicks off December 4th with stops in Columbus, Madison, and Lawrence before two nights at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado.  The road FROM Boulder goes through Austin, Fayetteville, Chattanooga, Chapel Hill and Wilmington.  Full details and tickets available at

Monday, November 11, 2013

Honduran Goodbye

"People are thrilled that you showed up, but no one really cares that you’re leaving."

In my circles we call it the Honduran Goodbye.  I hadn't ever thought about it being derogatory, as it's actually a really thoughtful, considerate, and efficient thing to do.  A friend forwarded this great blog post, I won't be redundant, I'll just drop you a link.