Dust in the Wind

music musings, beaverdamusa.comYou know there are songs that can immediately transport us back in time the second you hear them.  Often, it takes you to a happy place such as the beach or maybe a particular relationship.  Today’s musing is about a song that takes me back several years to a very tragic event.  

Every time I hear Dust in the Wind by Kansas (1977), it reminds me of probably the only time my hometown of Waverly, TN made the evening news.  The date was February 24, 1978 which was the day a railroad propane tanker exploded in downtown Waverly, eventually killing 16 people, injuring hundreds more, and forever changing the lives of everyone in our town of 5,000.  It was the lead story on NBC’s Nightly News and John Chancellor uttered the words “there’s been a train explosion in Waverly, Tennessee.”

This year will make 40 years since the explosion.  Each year on February 24, I think about that day; however, I also think about it whenever I hear Dust in the Wind.  One of my good friends at the time was the son of the police chief.  The chief was one of the 16 killed.  I remember my friend had a Kansas concert shirt and Dust in the Wind was very popular at the time.  After the explosion, I thought the words were very poignant as the town attempted to recover.  There are friends who still carry the literal scars of that day.  More carried the emotional scars as they pushed through their new normal without spouses, children, parents, co-workers, or friends.  For years, people around Waverly would flinch whenever they heard a helicopter go over them.  It seemed like choppers filled the skies for days carrying wounded to all parts of the country for burn treatment.  A monument and caboose stand at the site now to honor all of those impacted by this tragedy.  The number of people who pass it and understand what happened are dwindling.  I was 14 years old when it happened, so my generation is the last one to remember it.  That in itself saddens me.

I took the liberty of including the lyrics to Dust in the Wind.  

I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Oh, ho, ho

Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind
The wind

Musing on the past


P.S.  If you are interested in learning more about the Waverly explosion, please see:

Love Songs

music musings, beaverdamusa.comAs I write this musing, it is Valentine’s Day.  I thought I would wax poetic on how love has impacted different music genres through the years.  Then I realized I didn’t know what the hell that last sentence meant.  In football terms, I dropped back and punted. 

I then decided to see what my music catalog turned up when I searched for “love”.  It returned 926 songs that had “love” in the song title, performer’s name, or album title.  Once again I am amazed at the diversity in my catalog.  Contrary to my sweet Valentine’s belief, there are songs more recent than 1995 in the list.

I won’t bore you with all the songs, but here are some that grabbed my eye as I scrolled through the list:

  • Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love by Van Halen – my favorite DLR era song.  Don’t think they had Valentine’s Day in mind when they wrote this….
  • Anything for Love by Meat Loaf – this song revived his career in the 90’s.  Love this song and glad to get to see him do it live.
  • Burning Love by Elvis – E loved him some love songs.
  • Calling Dr Love by KISS.  Again, this goes in the category of “don’t think Valentine’s Day was on their mind”.
  • Cool Love by Pablo Cruise – have always loved this song.  Still hoping Dave Jenkins will do it live someday.
  • Deeper Kinda Love by Sammy Hagar – a hidden gem by the Red Rocker.
  • Endless Love by Lionel Richie – don’t hate.
  • Heard It in A Love Song by Marshall Tucker Band – a classic that causes me to pause every time I hear the opening notes.
  • I Wanna Learn A Love Song by Harry Chapin – one of my favorites by Harry.  
  • Love in the Midnight by Styx – I can still hear the 8-track fade out and back in as the track changed on this deep cut on Cornerstone.
  • When It’s Love by Van Halen – my favorite Sammy-era song.  
  • When You Need My Love by Darryl Worley – the twist he puts on the lyrics on the last verse is great songwriting.

As you can see by the sampling above, love appears in all kinds of songs with a variety of meanings.   Regardless, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Musing on Love



Garth in Nashville: The Big Finale

music musings, beaverdamusa.comA few years ago, I got to see Van Halen in Atlanta on the opening night of the tour.  I loved it even though the show was a little rough around the edges.  The energy level was off the charts like the guys were anxious to get out and play.   

Right before Christmas I got to see the other end of the spectrum – the last show on a tour.  Garth Brooks closed out his massive World Tour in Nashville with seven shows at Bridgestone Arena.  How big is massive? Since September 2014, Garth performed 390 shows in 78 cities.  Over these shows, 6.4 million people paid to see him. For you non-accountants, that’s 82,000 people per city.  He played seven shows in Nashville to close out the tour.  The one I went to was the final show of the run.  While seven seems like a lot, he did nine shows for the Nashville flood relief in 2010.  The Nashville Predators even hung a banner to honor him for those shows. 

garth bannerI previously mused about seeing Garth in Memphis (Garth in Memphis), but this show was a little different.  Since Garth was only performing one show a day instead of two shows, there were opening acts. First out was one of his backup singers – Karyn Rochelle.  When I saw the show in Memphis, she got to sing during Trisha’s set.  She sang Georgia Rain which she wrote and Trisha recorded.  Karyn has some pipes and is a great songwriter.  Next up was Chris Janson.  This made the trip downtown worth it.   He was a one-man band and very down to earth.  I became a fan of his that night based on his song “Drunk Girl”.  He introduced the song by telling how he has a daughter and hopes that she would meet a guy like the one he describes in the song.  Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.  

IMG_0094Rather than try and weave my thoughts and observations into sentences and paragraphs, I will just give you bullet points:

  • Garth played a little over 2.5 hours.  The only “intermission” he had was when Trisha came out and did her set.
  • He wore a classic Jack Daniel’s t-shirt under his long-sleeved shirt the entire night.  Don’t know if he is a fan or just showing some Tennessee pride.
  • While introducing the back-up singers, he noted that Robert Bailey was in the band that played Shout in the movie Animal House.  He took the opportunity to play Shout and let Robert have a go with vocals.
  • Trisha came out and did a few songs.  After a while Garth came out and it was interesting to see the way he looked at her.  He was doing some fine acting or he is seriously in love with her.
  • Garth indicated the Nashville run of shows were being recorded for a live album.
  • During Trisha’s She’s In Love with the Boy, the camera operators did the “Kiss Cam” where they would zoom in on couples who would then kiss for the crowd.  Trisha did give a warning that if “you were there with someone you weren’t supposed to be, it might be a good time to go to the bathroom or concession stand”.

IMG_0096In closing, it was a great show and I can honestly say that there wasn’t a fall off from the show I saw in February to the last one as far as his energy or the music.  I must say that over the last couple of years, I have become a Garth fan.  You should too.

Proud to be a part of the largest tour by a musician ever – 


Set List:

  • Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance
  • Rodeo
  • Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House
  • The River
  • Two Piña Coladas
  • Papa Loved Mama
  • Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)
  • Unanswered Prayers
  • If Tomorrow Never Comes
  • That Summer
  • Thunder Rolls – including the “lost verse” which they took off radio.
  • In Another’s Eyes – duet with Trisha

Trisha’s Set

  • XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl)
  • How Do I Live
  • Wrong Side of Memphis
  • She’s in Love With the Boy

Garth returns

  • Shameless
  • Shout – with Robert Bailey
  • Callin’ Baton Rouge
  • Friends in Low Places
  • Dance – Garth, as well as everyone else got choked up during this song.  Damn dust. 

IMG_0097Encore – G said he would do songs he wanted to as well as what the crowd wanted

  • She’s Every Woman
  • Don’t Close Your Eyes – Keith Whitley cover
  • She’s Gonna Make It – deep cut off Sevens
  • Wild Horses
  • Turn the Page -  Bob Seger cover
  • Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old
  • Fishing in the Dark – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band cover – lyrics on screen.  Indicated it would be on album
  • Walk Away Joe – Trisha (requested by Garth) 
  • Where Your Road Leads – Trisha 
  • Song Remembers When – Trisha
  • Bus to St. Cloud – Trisha
  • Standing Outside the Fire – full band with Trisha singing with backup singers

Up Close and Personal

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThrough the years, I have attended musical events at various sized venues.  Sizes ranged from stadiums to small listening rooms.  However, I had never been to a house concert until a couple of weeks ago.  A house concert is exactly what it sounds like, a concert at someone’s house.  The seating is very limited due to the fact that the show is in someone’s living room – usually.

This house concert was held at the home of my friends, Ric & Helen Olsen.  So you don’t pry yourself away from this riveting musing, Ric was the guitarist for the band Berlin (Take My Breath Away from Top Gun).  In his basement, Ric has basically set up a small stage complete with sound and light systems.  So the setting was great to listen to music.

The musical guests were Jaime Kyle, Dave Jenkins, and Walter Egan.  I’ve mused about Jaime and Dave before (Jaime & Dave).  If you didn’t know, Jaime is a singer/songwriter extraordinaire from Nashville and Dave (her husband) is the founder and lead singer of Pablo Cruise.  Walter Egan is known for his hit Magnet & Steel back in the late 70s.  The couple of times I have seen Walter out, I have really grown to appreciate his songwriting.  

The house concert was a great opportunity to see some fine musicians and songwriters up close and personal.  The format was the typical songwriters round with each taking turns showing off their proudest achievements like a parent does with their children.  Sometimes their proudest achievements are not necessarily the most well-known.  My favorites of the evening were:

  • Walter’s Old Photographs which was inspired by Walter reclaiming personal photos from the May 2010 flood here in Middle Tennessee.
  • Jaime’s Untangled which has been a favorite ever since I heard it back in 2000 for the first time.
  • Dave’s Living Inside Your Love about Jaime.  As I told him that night, this song has legs and I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear it on the radio sometime.

Regretfully, someone forgot the keyboard, so we couldn’t hear Jaime’s latest song Grace.  Do yourself a favor and go find this song on YouTube.  You will thank me.  The forgotten keyboard and other technical glitches just added to the evening in my opinion.  It made the performances human and real.  Not some slick over-produced show that is the same night after night.  

My first house concert was a blast and I hope Ric & Helen do more.  It is a great way to listen to music and interact with the artists.  Go find yourself one and go.

Musing on a cold December day…


It Happened Again

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI found the Christmas spirit again.  It was right where I found it a couple of years ago – at a large church in downtown Nashville.  A couple of years ago, I mused about finding the Christmas spirit by listening to of all things – tubas playing Christmas carols (Tuba Christmas).

Regretfully, work prevented me from attending last year, so I made sure my calendar was blocked off to allow plenty of time to make it there for this year’s performance.  The performances have become so popular that there have been two performances for the last few years.  

This year didn’t disappoint.   As I sat in the pew, I again found myself singing along with over 120 tubas as they played through Christmas classics such as Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and the witty Santa Wants a Tuba for Christmas.  Again, I was amazed at the sound these instruments made.  It truly is surprising how beautiful these instruments are.

Though I didn’t get to go last year, a couple of co-workers went based upon hearing about it from my Musing column.   They loved it and vowed to come back this year.  They kept their promise and even took in both shows!  This year was extra special because my beautiful bride got to attend with me along with a good friend of ours.  Since they were TCVs (Tuba Christmas Virgins), I was worried that they would be disappointed after I had hyped it up so much.  I believe I do have a couple of converts.  

I guess the Joy I feel in sharing Tuba Christmas is indicative of a lot of things.  I am reminded of the old Sunday School song goes “Hide it under a bushel? No!”  We all get caught up in the bustle of Christmas and worry whether we have enough presents.  As I age, I realize that joy comes from sharing experiences and feelings – not necessarily things.  

Take some time this Christmas and throughout the year to share things that make you happy with others.  Whether it is going to an event together or just letting someone know about a great new artist you discovered, share it.  It will bring you and the other person joy.

Peace to you at this Christmastime and go share some joy.  Thanks for reading throughout the year.

Musing in Music City


Recapping the 51st Annual CMA Awards

music musings, beaverdamusa.comHey, remember me?  Yep, I’m back.  You can guess which answer describes where I’ve been:

  • Witness Protection Program
  • Roadie for Sammy Hagar 
  • Stuck in Nashville traffic

I do apologize for the delay between musings.  In all honesty, sometimes life just gets in the way.  What better time to come back than the 51st CMA awards held on Wednesday November 8?  So, here are my thoughts on the show as it unfolded.

  • The show’s opening was very well done with what looked like all of Nashville on stage singing Hold My Hand by Hootie & the Blowfish.  The start with Eric Church singing Amazing Grace a capella was very haunting.  How did they embalm Ronnie Dunn with him still being alive?  
  • Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley’s opening dialogue was spot on, especially when they poked fun at the CMA’s quickly rescinded rules on what the media could ask the performers about.  
  • Single of the Year – my girl Miranda should have won with Tin Man.  Dang short Aussie (Keith Urban) won with Blue Ain’t Your Color.  
  • Song of the year – Again, Tin Man should have won.  Bet Miranda needs comforting. 
  • Dierks Bentley singing My Town by Montgomery Gentry was a nice touch.  The Rascal Flatts dude should have just sat down.  Cool that Eddie Montgomery came out.
  • Here comes Luke Bryan – time to get a drink.
  • My girl Miranda’s outfit sparked a debate between me and the Mrs. on whether certain “assets” were enhanced.  Those earrings…..
  • Garth – thought the sound funky, then he came out the next day and said he had lip synched to save his voice since he was doing something like 12 shows in 10 days.  Not the first to lip synch on an awards show, but wouldn’t have thought he would have done it.  
  • Brothers Osborne – still confuse them with Rocky Top singers.  
  • Tim & Faith – Faith challenging Carrie in the “how much leg can I show” contest.  Did you know that I’ve been in her bedroom?
  • Nice touch to have songwriter Jimmy Webb playing the piano on Little Big Town’s tribute to Glen Campbell, Lineman for the County.  
  • Thank goodness Lo Cash or Florida Georgia Line didn’t win Duo of the Year.  There is still hope.
  • Glad that Musician of the Year is back where it belongs with Mac McAnally.  
  • Stapleton – needs to wash that hair
  • Carrie singing Softly and Tenderly as a tribute to the musicians lost and Vegas victims was spectacular.  Dang allergies.  Carrie showed again that she has some pipes.  She also showed her humanity by getting choked up during the song.  We all did.  
  • Female vocalist –I’m torn between Kelsea and Miranda –but happy that Miranda won.
  • Eric Church – those shades creep me out 
  • That tall girl (not Nicole) behind Keith Urban needs to move.  Makes Keith look even shorter.

I hope you enjoyed my commentary and know that I mean no disrespect to any artist – well, except for Florida Georgia Line and Lo Cash.  It was neat to see all of the country artists come together in the first major event since the Vegas shooting.  

I promise it won’t be as long before the next blog.  


The Perfect Country Song

music musings, beaverdamusa.comFor years, people have said that You Never Even Called Me by My Name (John Prine & Steve Goodman) sung by David Allan Coe was the perfect country song because it mentions all of the requirements for a country song – mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk.  These are all wrapped up in the final verse:

I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick’er up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned ol’ train

That song may be the perfect country song, but I have a theory about what will make a song popular.  Does it involve drinking, mama, or trains?  Maybe.  What is my theory on a guaranteed country hit? Repetition. Not repetition like Hall & Oates who take a single phrase and repeat it a hundred times.  But repetition in which you take a phrase and put it in different scenarios – especially throughout a life.

Maybe it is because people can identify with it as they go through the various stages of their lives.  Maybe it is because that phrase is the hook that you hear.  Either way, I am convinced it works – here are country songs that are written in this manner:

  • How Can I Help You Say Good-bye – Patty Loveless
  • Something in Red – Laurie Morgan
  • There Goes My Life – Kenny Chesney
  • Don’t Take the Girl – Tim McGraw
  • Austin – Blake Shelton 
  • Waitin’ on a Woman – Brad Paisley 

I just ran the numbers based on online sales and I am not sure I can make it on $2.37 a month.  

Oh well, back to the grind.  Thanks for reading.

Musing and looking for a hook in Nashville


A Glimpse into Hell

music musings, beaverdamusa.comVacation time is typically a time where I will read two or three books.  My book selection can range from fiction (Coban, Baldacci, Grisham, etc.) to history books and everything in between.  Over the last few years, I have enjoyed reading autobiographies by some of my favorite musicians such as Sammy Hagar, Jimmy Buffett, Heart, and all of the KISS members’ take on their rise to fame.

nikkiOf all the music books I’ve read, Peter Criss’s Make-up to Break-up – My Life in and out of KISS has been by far the most graphic depiction of the hedonistic “sex, drugs, and rock & roll” lifestyle we all imagine.  Until now.  Meet the new champion – Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue with his 2007 Heroin Diaries.  

I never have been a huge Motley Crue (don’t know how to get those dots above the u) fan.  It’s not that I didn’t like them, I just wasn’t that big of a fan.  I knew their radio hits, but didn’t see them live until 2011 on one of their reunion tours (see Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad from a previous blog life).  The show was loud, foul, and full of every rock and roll cliché’ possible.  I remember seeing a Motley Crue Behind the Music which documented their rock and roll lifestyle.  The one thing I recall most vividly from that show was Ozzy recounting the story of how they were touring with him and basically had a contest to see who could snort what.  Ozzy threw in the towel when they stopped the bus and the Crue snorted a line of ants in the parking lot.

Enough background and on to the book.  Sixx describes himself as one who is constantly scribbling notes, journals, tapes, etc. regardless of his state of mind.  The Heroin Diaries is a one year journal of Sixx’s writing from Christmas 1986 through Christmas 1987.  Alongside each entry, SIxx or others mentioned in the entry, would document their reflections on the entry.   This allows the reader an additional perspective on the entry.  

Not only do you get a glimpse into Sixx’s mind, but you get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of a big time rock & roll machine.  You see how when a band or artist can be used by the record label.  Regardless of what is going on, the label puts the cash cow out there and uses it until it is used up.  

Several things stood out while reading this book – Tommy Lee (Crue’s drummer) and Sixx are dangerous together.  Put Slash from Guns N Roses on the tour with them – hold on to your women and children.  It was exactly what you would expect from a sex, drugs, and rock & roll fantasy on steroids.  Throughout the year there were people that had to see what Sixx was doing to himself, but they apparently turned a blind eye to him.  There were times in his writings that Sixx would acknowledge his addiction and confess to trying to hide it.  He admitted how hard it was to find a vein to shoot up, so he even went as far as shooting up in places (starts with a “p”, ends with an “s” – 5 letters) that make you cringe.

The yearlong diary ends with Sixx resolving to quit cold turkey after he literally died and woke up in the hospital.  Word had gotten around and he actually walked out and saw a candlelight vigil outside the hospital.  Over the last few pages he covers several years and hits the high points of being sober, getting married, having kids and the low points of divorce and falling off the wagon.  

Currently, Sixx can be heard on his syndicated radio show and his new group Sixx A.M.  He is also working on a photography project and who knows what else he has up his sleeve.  The book is truly a glimpse into hell and how someone came out on the other end.  It is a story of reaching out for help and then someone finally pulling themselves out of hell.  All I can say is that I have a new admiration for Nikki Sixx after reading the Heroin Diaries.  I suggest you do the same.

Musing in Music City


Beach Music

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIf you read my last musing, you know that I headed to the beach with the family, and we actually made it back.  While I was lounging in the pool or at the beach, I had plenty of time to think about what kind of music I relate to the beach.

Zach beachMany artists have carved a niche labeled as beach music or perfected the beach bum lifestyle – I wish I had that job!  Names come to mind like the Beach Boys, Pablo Cruise, Kenny Chesney, Sammy Hagar (of late with his Cabo brand) and the king of them all – Jimmy Buffett.  In the case of Mr. Buffett, not only has the beach lifestyle and persona contributed to music and concert sales, but sales of food, liquor, restaurants, and now even retirement villages.

Often we associate songs with the beach even if they aren’t by a “beach” singer/group.  Years ago, it seemed that the radio stations in Florida played songs earlier than the stations at home.  Whether that is true or just perception, I remember many times hearing songs for the first time in Florida.  If you don’t know, I am a beach bum at heart who loves the ocean and all its beauty.

For what it is worth, below is a few (in no particular order) of the songs which I associate with the beach-

  • One Particular Harbor – this Buffett song speaks to going to a particular harbor where the days just disappear.  To me, it is about going to that harbor in your mind.
  • Changing Channels – this Buffet tune is written by the great Mac McAnally and really doesn’t mention beaches.  It is on my beach list because one night many years in Destin, I got to see Mac at Harbor Docks.  He warmed up by playing this intricate song.  Will never forget that.
  • Boys of Summer- this Don Henley classic just naturally begs of the beach since it talks about summer love.  Whenever this song comes on, you just naturally picture yourself cruising in a convertible with your shades on.
  • Rock & Roll Fantasy – I always think about playing this song over & over on the jukebox in the game room at a campground in Destin when I was a mid-teen.  Those times at the Destin campground were examples of lightning in a bottle – met some great people who I still call friends today.
  • Diver Down – this whole Van Halen album takes me to Panama City Beach in the summer of 1982 and our senior trip.  This album had been out a month and Joe Dillingham & I wore it out on the way south.
  • Sailing – yes, the Christopher Cross song from the 80’s.  How can you not imagine the beach and water as this song plays?
  • Second Wind – this is the deep cut on the list.  This song on Darryl Worley’s debut album is about going away and getting your second wind.  It talks about watching the tide roll in until you catch your second wind.
  • When the Coast is Clear – continuing the “getting away” theme is my favorite beach tune.  This Buffett song (written by McAnally) talks about going to the beach after the tourists have gone.  I guess that is why I am drawn to the more remote beaches in my progressing years – it is a time of reflection and rejuvenation.  

As always, thanks for indulging me as I go down memory lane – or should I say, memory beach.   I hope you find your beach wherever it may be and unwind.

Musing on the sand,


The Family That Travels Together…

music musings, beaverdamusa.comAs I type this, I am sitting on a deck looking over the ocean on St. George Island, Florida.  It is my family’s annual pilgrimage to the beach so we can refresh and rejuvenate.  We also need to recover from the ride down which is the premise of this musing…..

Imagine putting Eddie Van Halen, Zac Brown Band, Aretha Franklin, and Lil Dickey in a car together for eight hours.  That happened on the way down to the beach.  Nothing will start a family bickering quicker than music selection.  

The rule used to be that whoever had the wheel controlled the music.  Somehow, this rule got tossed away like last week’s leftovers.  It seems there was a mutiny against my beloved music by the rest of my family.  Keep in mind that there are over 10,500 songs in my library now. I could probably meet their needs, but alas, I was thwarted.  I even attempted to placate them by selecting the 70’s on 7 Sirius channel, but that didn’t work either.

Whether it was my sweet bride’s “do you have anything other than John Waite” or my youngest blurting out “oh my, it is a throwback to the 1930’s”, it was a solid eight hours of verbal abuse at me or tonal abuse to my ears.  The eldest tax deduction proceeded to play something out of an underground dance club in Harlem.  My virgin ears were tormented and there were words that I had to look up.  

However, there are bright spots in this mash up – like when the eldest sings along to Heart’s These Dreams”.  I must have done something right along the way.  I think the lesson learned is we each have our own musical tastes and if we open our ears, we may actually find something new we like.  We just have to listen…..

Working on my playlist for the trip home……


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