Plan Your Work & Work Your Plan

I didn’t put up as many Facebook posts as I would like the past couple of weeks because I was too busy doing to talk about it; when you do what you love for a living that’s nothing but a good problem to have! It freaks some people out when things go quiet here, but those who’ve been on the ride with us before know exactly what it means… the lists are big and full of cross-offs, the weather has been perfect, the tools are all working, and the music is happening. I’m in the zone and you don’t stop the song to talk about the music. These are the glory days when the hours blur and outside time seems so distant, like another river. The past two weeks I’ve been hard to get a hold of, slow to respond, and not as talkative as I like… but man oh man you should see the stack of routed bodies, the stack of glue-ups ready to be worked into their place as they go into the sanding hands, and the pile of emails I answered…

All this and more, because it’s also time for the ALBUM OF THE MONTH! I’m releasing a full album every month through 2016 and probably into ’17. February’s album is It’s Morning Somewhere, one of the big “real studio” productions I finished up last year. 16 songs, 14 original and two versions of tunes from the late, great “Uncle Johnny” Kirtland. It takes a bit of doing behind the scenes to get them all in order (literally and figuratively), posted, labeled, and get all the little words up all over the place (here included), but there’s a system to it and it is being worked. Launching this month’s was easier than January’s, which will remain available too. More info on the albums can be found at

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An album a month and all those guitars? Yes. I have been aimed and my trigger pulled, what can I say? The instrument designs and their building (just as the buildings they’re crafted in, for that matter), the company, my backlog of songs… none of this is a happy accident. I’m extremely grateful for the shared & gathered knowledge, the gifts as bricks and opportunities as cement. But none of this built itself, it came as a kit. An incomplete kit, much assembly and a bit of improvising necessary. Whether it’s an album a month or however many instruments a year, there is the part you see and the tremendous preparation beforehand you don’t. It’s only partly magic – the rest is blood sweat & tears, and lists, and steady application of one’s tools and time towards a goal. And refusing to be veered despite the external winds and internal clouds, both of which pass. Holding the course. Working the plan.

For anything in life to multiply and become a bountiful garden, you have to live it and breathe it – you have to make it a part of your life every day, not just what you do but a big part who you are. Near total manic devotion is all it takes, at least until it’s done to a point where maintenance is all that’s required. In my case, the goal was creativity itself – manifesting the music. That came at 13. At 47, some is still word & notes and much is wood & wire. For others it may be a numbers thing, or personal growth, or a move to a different kind of life; whatever the plan is, the goal. One step or a lifetime journey, it all starts the same. 

The difference between what was and what will be is what you have spent of yourself in the effort. If you’re lucky or blessed in moments it changes from devotion and work into results and distance fairly efficiently and measureably… what some refer to as success in ways. Other times it’s like getting a truck out of the mud – lots of spinning and splattering but not all that much forward motion. You’re still working towards it though; if it’s going to take an hour to get unstuck or a year to get out of an unhealthy situation, a month to put up a building or a decade to knock out a big debt… or three years to parcel out the time & dough to record your next five albums, start now right? You’ll be halfway through before you know it. 

Plants grow the root systems first. We see the pretty flowers or tomato but that’s on the other side of most of what has happened. A little at a time. Every day. Push through the dirt and use any shit shoveled at you as fertilizer. You become that magical machine that turns crap to gold – but it’s a process and it takes time. Direction and force are key. For me I breathe, I eat, I write songs, I build guitars. Sometimes I sleep. Stay on it and things happen.  

Here’s a big secret: inertia carries you through what washes away lesser dreams and goals. You build it in layers over time, whatever it is. If it doesn’t take, you rebuild it again with what you now know. I’m nothing special; I just force fed my quirks to my interests with the supercharger of passion and steered towards being of service, and held the heck on! I hope that makes some kind of sense. All of that turned into a way and then I locked on target and over time the mountain moved. Being prolific is a result, a result of devotion. The skills take care of themselves; you walk better by walking.

Jamie just got her real estate license – a simple sentence to say, but it was a year of preparation, studies, testing & training, much of it self-guided. She locked on target (of the day or week or year), set many short term goals, and went after it. I know the “Why try guys” who naah this and “F that” that because they see the deck as stacked, the game as rigged. Guess what? It is! So what – I still have seed and I can still make a garden. Throwing rocks or planting seeds – that’s the choice. Plan your work and work your plan. For your own world, in your own way. Make it mean something and do it from the service aspect… the results are nothing to be attached to – they’ll take care of themselves if you’re “all in” and stay on it.

If my music can be a part of lives being lived, of moments happening; if these guitars and basses can be tools of creation and talismans of inspiration; if these words can be fuel and spark something… why on earth would I NOT make the music, build the instruments, or write the sermon? Why would I NOT spend myself on the doing? It built to this, it didn’t begin as this. Neither did I. Go create something. That Netflix original series, these little friggin’ screens everyone’s faced are so glued to, the news and needs and nexts of your world – they can all grant you an hour to connect a part of your inner self to the inspirations and potentials of your life… and that’s where it starts. 

Be well and play from the heart.

Listening to: Niyaz - Nine Heavens (disc one); John Coltrane – Live at the Village Vanguard “The master takes”; Zen Guerrilla – Trance States In Tongues; Keith Richards – Cross Eyed Heart; Killing Joke – The Gathering 2008 Part One; Eh, Paisano 100% Italian-American Classics (Dean Martin, Jerry Vale, Louis Prima etc.).