So, here we are! 2018 is almost to its halfway mark and things are even funkier than they were before the year began. Apparently, I can’t help feeling the way I do about the way things are, but I must start to take more of a “casual observer” attitude about certain things of which I have very little or no control. I need to be humored more by the follies of inept or evil (or both) leaders and the blind faith of their sheep. You know, I need to float above it all and look at the big picture as much as possible. Just because I am a human being doesn’t mean I have to wallow miserably in the muck created by other human beings. If everything has to go insane, I get to choose my own version of it. Generally, I have found my imagination to be fairly unrestrained. It’s not all good, though. About five years I ago envisioned a path our country could take which could most definitely lead to, indeed, where we are now; a divided nation, manipulated by the ego and greed of a few. Maybe this is the only place we could end up, especially following eight years of a black president. That entire eight years must have really eaten away at a lot of folks, making ‘em ripe for the pickin’ in 2017. More than I realized. So, when you combine a lack of compassion and empathy with the power of celebrity and fuel the fears of those losing majority status, you might just blow the lid off Pandora’s Box and get much more than you bargained for. And, now I can’t tell if we’re witnessing just how weak and frail our form of government is or how strong and resilient it is. Either way, I think we’d all agree life in the good ol’ USA is pretty stressful right now. But, believe it or not, you and I don’t have to totally succumb to the darkness. Spend a little time figuring out where your personal “safe space” is and hang out there as much as possible. I have several. One of them is in the hall, dragging a string into the bedroom with a cat on the other end. Another is the stage, wherever. Another is sitting behind a bunch of keyboards and synthesizers at the BC rehearsal studio with no plan at all. Another is the van, in the middle of the night, heading to our motel 100 miles away; long enough drive to take a deep breath, put on the headphones and space-out to some weird trance music or show tunes played to a bossa nova beat or something like The Music Machine, one of my favorite bands from my rocking high school days. Someone once told me The Music Machine played a place in Shreveport called The Progressive Men’s Club. I don’t know if I believe that but I did always think it was bizarre name for a club which featured rock and roll bands.
Speaking of bizarre, a beloved classic line-up of Brave Combo has been popping up here and there and it looks like more popping up is to be expected. I’m talking about Danny O’Brien, Alan Emert Mansfield and myself, joined by our former bassist, Bubba Hernandez and former woodwind twirler, Jeffrey Barnes. This is the version of the band which recorded both Grammy Award-winning albums and appeared on The Simpsons. No one seems to know exactly how our reunion occurred, but everyone seems to be having a good time and we’re playing some songs we haven’t played in over a decade. The five of us will be performing, in June, at the San Marcos Summer in the Park series and at the Kerrville Folk Festival. And, you can find us in July, in St. Louis, MO, Pittsburgh, PA, Lancaster, PA and New York City.
Speaking of New York City, well, it’s one darn busy, lively place. Always lots of stuff going on. As it turns out, Carnegie Hall presents and promotes park concerts around the city and the wise folks there have invited us to headline their July 18th concert in Bryant Park, in Manhattan. This will be a super blow-out! What a great time to visit the most exciting city in the world. Make your plans now!
I continue to work on lots of new music for both Brave Combo and my new side project, The Carl Finch Sound (is that too flashy?). I have no guiding light; just whatever happens, happens. I’ve always liked the idea of setting up an environment and then allowing chance to take over. I feel that way many times when I’m on stage. It’s like a playpen or a blank piece of paper. One of my most recent special moments was arranging, for performance, the song, “They Should Have Given You the Oscar,” a minor hit for 60s teen idol, James Darren, who was probably best-known as an actor, playing Gidget’s boyfriend. Check out my inspiration.
That’s it, fellow travelers. You know what the signpost up ahead welcomes you to, right? Well, enjoy the trip. And along the way, come out when you can. I guarantee you we will play music you would have a hard time finding anywhere else. It’s a curse and blessing for us, but, hey, it’s what we do! Check our itinerary now! Happy hot weather!