FIRST, MY THOUGHTS ON TEXAMERICANA.org:
texamericana puts the music of the people into the
hands of the people while supporting radio for the
people…all to say, the circle cannot be broken when we all work together
to keep real music on the air by keeping radio real
ON THE MUSIC FOR LIFE TOUR, WEDNESDAY, OCT. 3, 2007
Last Wednesday, we started the dialogue on the death penalty here in Austin, Texas with #1 in a 12 month series of concerts around the state.
There were a variety of folks who showed up, and thanks to the UT Daily Texan and News 8 for coming out to cover the event.
(But where were KVUE, KXAN, The Chronicle and The Austin American Statesman….?????)
I sang songs of sorrow, songs of hope, songs from a prison inmate’s point of view, a song I wrote from the point of view of Cho’s mother, the young
man who murdered the Virginia Tech students and teachers…
Barbara K sang “my name is truth and you can’t kill me…”
Linda White spoke about her daughter being murdered by two 15 year old boys, how they tricked her into driving towards
a wooded area where they then proceeded to sexually assault and shoot her four times in the head.
And how there is never any closure when your child is murdered. She spoke about how the death penalty does not bring closure: that is a myth.
She said she never once thought of having those boys put to death. She moved everyone in attendance with her thoughts and memories about who her
About what she thinks of the death penalty and how it can not solve anything.
Rev. Bobbi Kaye Jones talked of losing her nephew to heroin, her ex-husband to a drunk driver. She talked about the circle of violence.
She talked about forgiveness.
Rev. John McMullen, of First United Methodist Church (my church), spoke of how our hearts have grown hard. Where is this all leading,
having these hardened hearts? I don’t think I have ever seen him so close to tears, so close to his heart exploding with sadness.
We filmed people in the “Dialogue Nook” talking about what the death penalty meant to them.
We filmed the entire event.
I don’t think I have ever spilled so many tears at an event, on the stage, and off.
I can only hope that criss-crossing this enormous state, and trying to get people to talk about the death penalty, will open up change.
Change in our hearts, our thinking, our ability to look for alternative methods to punishment (life in prison, for one.)
I have been reading about Elizabeth Fry, and how she went into women’s prisons in England in the early 1800’s, and believed that kindness
could change lives. She came from a wealthy family, and put aside all her worldly possessions to go into the prisons, dressed in plain clothes
(so as not to stand out), and she brought dignity, compassion, clothing, bedding, food and education to women who had previously only known
despair, poverty, crime, prostition. There were as many as four hundred women living in a prison with no light, no heat or air, no toilets, and their children
were being born into these sordid living conditions.
Mrs. Fry believed that kindness could bring people out of darkness and into harmony. She was right. Her ideas started an entire movement across Europe, not only
for women, but men’s prisons, as well.
Have we not learned that we need to get to the root of the problems before they command the soil?
IRVING ARTS CENTER, THURSDAY NIGHT, OCT 4
The next day, Thursday, I flew to Dallas to perform at the Irving Arts Center for Gary Goldberg’s photo exhibit of Texas Singer-Songwriters (yes, I am
honored to be included in it!)
Had a delicious lunch with Jennifer, who picked me up at the airport, and then performed in the main gallery while people mingled, listened and checked
out the photos…Joe Ely, Ruthie Foster, James McMurtry, Willie Nelson, Terri Hendrix, Lloyd Maines, Pat Green, Miss Lavelle White, etc…there I was, on a stage, singing in the midst
of so many greats!
Saw Craig Taylor from Killbilly (punk hillbilly). He looked so respectable in a gray suit and tie, with his lovely wife and adorable child in tow! I hadn’t seen him since…gosh…back
in the Deep Ellum hey-days…I thanked him for all the journeys I’ve had in the music world because he really helped me get started…my first midwest tour (my first tour
at all!) was with Killbilly in 1988.
Back at the hotel, I watched “North Country” with Charlize Theron and Sissy Spacek and Woody Harrelson. Wow. What a compelling film. Glad I finally got to witness it.
Frances McDormand makes me want to become an actress every time I see her. She is excellent.
FRIDAY, BACK TO AUSTIN, OCT. 5
Hopped off the plane, grabbed my guitar and bag, and whizzed over to Tequila Mockingbird to sing on a commercial.
Then made it to The Summit, where I sang for about two hours for the elderly. Oh, I could just hug and kiss everyone over and over,
the stories they have to tell, the smiles on their wrinkled faces. That is going to be me some day. I hope a girl comes with her
guitar and sings to me, kisses me, looks me in the eyes when I am speaking to her. I hope that girl will stroke my back
and bring me cool water to drink, too. Or just sit and hold my hand as we watch people wander down the hall.
Go visit a nursing home today!