Akron & Lots of Ohio Bars

Got home from Ohio tour via Amtrak the other morning, did our laundry and enjoyed a late breakfast with my Wendi- it truly was a deep week, the first night w. my bruthas Eddie Day and Rex Carroll. Both long-time friends and truly gifted guitar pickin’ artists!

Slept in the next day after loooonnnngggg train trip due to mechanical issues prior to boarding and a sad drunk individual leaving their car on the crossing ahead of us -a freight train demolished the empty vehicle and it all tore up 500 feet of track. We heard the person walked off and left their ride so hopefully nobody was injured or killed… whew.

Well all this only added appx. 12 hours to our trip… but he was in fine form as was (as usual) Eddie and I was at least happy in the show:) -sweet folks at Akron Bible Church which is a whole lot of bikers. Nice!

Ok… “Bars?” Well, read on.

Got up very late the next day and man, the weather was fine, sun, partly cloudy, perfect breeze and as I heard and saw so many motorcycles movin’ (plus our hotel was about a quarter of a block from the local Harley showroom) I thought “Really sweet day to be out!”. And it was. Or might have been depending on where you are.

My friend chaplain John McClure, Rex and I did a total of 8 Ohio prison sets/services with guitars, harmonicas and love. Ain’t a person behind bars who wouldn’t rather be outside that day and any day regardless.

This is why we kiss our wives, kids, grandkids goodbye and hit the road for such people, all sorts, because every one has a name and is someone’s dad, mom, brother, sister, etc.. Some are innocent yet locked up, and some are as guilty of crimes just as all of us are guilty of sin. God offers mercy to “Whosoever will, let them come to the water of life”!

There’s a line in one of my very old signature songs -“But I will trust in Your mercy… share Your mercy where I go”. Yep. This is why we do it. There are a few perks on these tours though:

Before we boarded our trains for home John asked Rex a few questions about the experiences of these gigs and as expected, it was about the men and young men (we made two visits playing music and sharing at the main juvenile prison) and how we were so touched by their situation and need as well as willingness to come to these gigs knowing that at times they’ll possibly make themselves more vulnerable to others there. Many, as in many, prayed with us and we with them.

You may wonder why I don’t just blog the pics re. the issue? First, it’s a no-no to take pics of/in most state prisons. And it’s also because even I have to keep my perspective of hope and even humor in the midst of injustice and “justice”. God only knows which is which in each case.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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Lancaster, PA Report

Rockin’ on every cylinder! Sweet friends, bikes, nice weather and truly One Big Roar indeed!

My good friends Steve Fry, Eddie Day and Shane Speal all jammed it like royalty and “King of the Cigar Box Guitar” Shane and I had some good tuneage on our little guitars as well as good chats together Sunday. So good to hang out with these brothers -and Shawn cooked them drums too! Fun day with a nice crowd.

Check the pics for an overview of the happenings.

On to Ohio this week and a lot of prison gigs as well as Akron Bible Church blues jam with Rex Carroll and Eddie Day… YES!

See my June Appearances post here for details, and as always, thanks for stopping by.

-Glenn

Channahon Bike Blessing

And a blessing it was, a lot of sweet people, bikes, great food and da blues on what was the best year for weather yet. Wendi was able to come along and that’s always sweet!!

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Here are a few pics, and again Kudos to the kind and rockin’ players who joined me for the set, Big Thanks to Pastor Joe, Ronda and crew for the invite and work to make it all happen. And CONGRATS to the winner of the Motorcycle raffle -NICE!

PrayerTime

On to another bike rally near Lancaster, PA next Sunday, jammin’ with friends! See the June Appearances post on my site for details.

Oh- and my fave T shirt on the day 🙂 MyFaveShirtOfTheDay

As always, thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

 

FLOW? Unexpected Changes!

Now right from the top I can say the Spirit was with me today in that so many things happened in the course of “a normal day” that I claim zero credit for keeping calm. My Christian friends would say “Well He’s ALWAYS with you of course!” and that’s true but I’m talking about helping me (The Helper as Jesus refers to Him) in the most immediate, direct way in terms of attitude.

Further, what follows are an artist’s (or agent’s) booking commonalities as well as family and basic stuff that is truly (and rather Mickey Mouse) “first-world” change-ups, not life-threatening, survival, minority landslide and two-thirds world experiences.

In an upcoming month four concerts/appearances were on the calendar fairly solid. Three of them needed to make changes to re-schedule but within the same month due to both their and my commitments, so no cancellations, just re-doing the dates. As I was already working on other concert-associated matters online another change came up, and then I received a phone call re. yet another!

All this happened within about a twenty-minute span between my doing our laundry which was a tad backed-up, then finding out our building’s alley was being torn apart for re-surfacing the roadway which affects several things including my wife’s breathing and sleep, and then another change having to do with at first, my not having to take her to her physical therapy session but then being her only way to and from that -and lastly a meeting with a couple leaders canceling due to one of them having vehicle issues.

NONE of this was expected, most of it all happened within an hour’s time and the truth is I was a little amazed I didn’t freak out.

Poor Wendi said “Well maybe I just miss the pool rehab this week” and I was able to say “Don’t worry, I think we can work it out -shall I fold and put the dried laundry away when we get home, and hang the no-dries up before we leave? Can that work?” She said “Sure!” and now I sit typing as she’s doing her pool work.

Flow. Yes, it’s a word some of us are more comfortable with than others, or at least sometimes. It’s also a word some truly hate because in life we don’t always get things to go (or finish them, get stuff done) exactly as we wish.

But it’s these changes, the right-now-boom stuff that often seems to weird me out and if I’m not careful, affect my mood and therefore my attitude and therefore interaction with others. Impatience, lack of flexibility is of course a common thing among humans, but this is where one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit -patience- as well as creative thinking -meaning finding a work-around, taking a breath, a prayer and at times outside-the-box thoughts, considering the other person’s angle on an issue or solution and finally, THIS AIN’T LIFE AND DEATH SO CALM DOWN DUDE/DUDETTE!- can all help one’s perspective when the unforseen changes hit and of course, hit they will!

One of the many beautiful things about an actual faith relationship with Jesus and His Word is that HE never changes.

All the rest of life -well I think you know that’s not how it goes.

Something to help encourage you on the journey I hope -because we all experience this stuff.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

New Simple Diddley Bow (1 Stringer)

Anthony&CleoDiddleyBow

Yup, just hadda. Amazing how cool cardboard can sound w. a little neck, a slide and a chopped-up credit card pic 🙂

Oh, and this one made for playing slide only, with a bass string.

The cool bit on that is though it’s so very short and small, dinky box too, still it has depth of tone. Right now I’m liking it with one of my 3 way copper plumber fittings for a slide.

Dimensions:

Tip-to-tip length: 19 1/5 inches

Box: 6 3/4 in. x 6 3/4 in. x 2 in. thick

Scale: Bridge to upper (not actually a nut per say) screw string guide 17 1/4 inches

“A” bass string tuned to Db (D flat) -I am liking this!

It’ll easily pack into a little bag for travel. Maybe I’ll add a pickup… hmmmm… got several to choose from around the shop.

Anthony&CleoDiddleyBow

Very light but enough weight it can sit to be played in my lap or upright as per typcial guitar playing yet no string/strap needed. Fun!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

The “Christian” BRANDING Scandal

I’ve already blogged on the immaturity and at times foolishness of folks preferences shared as though they were with certainty THE plan of God for all people everywhere.

Here I want to say that as Bible-based as you’d like to think you are, or as led of the Spirit as you are convinced you are… you’re often wrong, laden with mistakes, out of balance at the very least. Me too.

Honeymoons end. All of them. Now IF you are in some place of serious power, leadership, even control over the feel, the form, the atmosphere of a Christian gathering be it Sunday or whenever, you may well not want to read this or even consider it.

When you tout YOUR BRAND of CHRISTIANITY as though it was the only authentic, genuine, valid and life-giving form of The. Church. you have likely become -besides enthusiastic and blessed- a judge of the rest of the believers on earth as “lessers than” if not “in error”. Your own sense of value, protection, personal likes and preferences are simply not found as a template in the New Testament. One size DON’T FIT ALL y’all! What of it?!

We pimp our brand and brand others who don’t do it like us.

Well I like really deep-flavored vanilla ice cream, even coffee ice cream… and rich, deep, caramel and/or butterscotch topping. You may prefer something else. There are folks who could care less about vanilla and even hate caramel.

Ice cream is ice cream though it may not be your chosen flavor.

How some talk about how they “do” church, outreach and service as Christians at times becomes far less of a witness for Jesus Christ and His kingdom than it does their favored brand. Status and classism anyone??! “Christian class and caste system” ‘eh??! Not humble, not mature, not encouraging to other Christ followers and in the end, a self-righteous and carnal judgment on the rest of your family in Christ who “just don’t get it!”.

There is nothing wrong with being immensely thankful, sharing the graces God brings among the people of God you gather with! There is something truly wrong with sounding like an advert and cheerleader for you-and-yours continually and especially when bringing negative verbal salvos at “those other guys” who neither see things nor do it like you do.

History brings us continually to the lessons of the aged clinging to the old ways of music, preaching, evangelism and you-name-it in their comfort zone, and at times railing against the young and new forms of doing these. History also teaches us that the new and exciting, the mountain-top experiences of fresh goings-on among groups of Christians eventually fade. They often get fully supplanted by the next generations’ fresh ideas. Around and around this goes and has since the earliest days of the Church.

Consider the number of persecutions brought BY CHRISTIAN AGAINST CHRISTIAN on this very thin and in my view, quite lesser-important matter vs. actually loving one another, serving one another, forgiving one another, in honor preferring one another.

Straining at gnats and swallowing camels comes to mind.

I’m not saying we must cozy up with icons and ancient liturgies if we find no personal intimacy with God in those ways… .nor am I saying everyone must for example, embrace deep blues music or ecstatic dance or dub bass at 150 decibels as part of most every local church service. I’m simply saying at times our sense of right and wrong, our sense of spiritual discernment and judgment of one another is petty, childish and at times so far away from the clear, core commands of Jesus that our brand and not our Lord and Savior gets the big nod or the worst condemnation.

That, my friends, is simply another way of demonstrating idolatry.

Form does not equal substance. What floats your spiritual boat may drill a hole in mine -or vice versa.

Let’s take care to keep focus on the One Who alone is God, the God of infinite variety, style and color, indeed the God of churches you and I sometimes wonder about!

The wonder is how incredibly patient and gracious He is to you and me -as He also is to those we want to diss because “they don’t do it like us”.

Mercy triumphs over judgment.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

(PERSON OF) FOUR WORLDS

I was just now sitting in one of my happy places- sun shining, soft cool wind blowing, temperature just right, Spring flowers in bloom all around me with trees budding directly over my head. Oh- and a large iced coffee. The small cup of hot java came a bit later.

Moments of rest and reflection are a tonic to me.

But as the title says, I’m a person of four worlds. I originally thought to title it “Two Worlds” but as you’ll see, for me it’s really double that.

I was born in a town of 10,000, then our family moved in and around smaller towns, also several rural places in Dodge County Wisconsin and then finally to in a working class suburb of Milwaukee. After I graduated high school I lived in Milwaukee’s inner city, then to Florida (Jacksonville for a month or so, Gainesville several months more) and finally here in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood where we’ve lived ever since.

All this came back to me as I sat sipping my cold drink in the chair you see in the pic, while perhaps 4 feet away and unbeknownst to him, a dude stood just over the brick wall that boarders two sides of our garden, cursing, every so often rattling off unintelligible complaints. He may suffer mental illness, addiction, homelessness, may be a gang member who is high or even in a one-sided conversation with a real or imagined friend or enemy, or even God. I couldn’t make much out to say one way or the other. I’m not “judge of all the earth”, but what I did think about in that moment was this:

We need places of refuge, peace and quiet, but we also need to wake up. We need noise and discomfort in order to get beyond our walls whether we or someone else has built one. We NEED times of solitude, prayer, reflection, and we need times and a person/people/God to complain to and all of us need all of these or the weight of living in a fallen world can be crushing and nearly unbearable.

My jaunts into the woods are always a tonic because the critters, trees and brush, the hills and hollows don’t care what you look like, how you dress ,what your position/station in life is or is not, how much money you make or whether you need to brush your teeth. You can relax because the woods and waters aren’t going to judge your performance or whether or not you’re “cool enough”. Nice. Peaceful.

On the other hand I can’t imagine (yes I can actually) living away from most people off in a secluded area where I am essentially focused on my own little kingdom where in practical reality most everything revolves around me and my wishes or whims of the moment. The “interruptions” of people “just over the wall” are often exactly what I need to turn my mind, heart and focus on others and their needs -and this my friends, is something too many of us like to have control of. We love the escape hatch of self and personal pursuits.

As much as I relate to rural life, hunting, fishing, gardening and a quiet lifestyle I find God often stirs me via the noise of broken people as well as moves me to MAKE NOISE hopefully in such a way via music, writing or chatting, that others might get beyond their own walls -including the one’s we/I may build.

So I am a person of two worlds in terms of a rural, quiet, peaceful and personal-thoughts mindset but also one who lives in a large and often shouting Big City with a great many demands, hurts, sirens and noise that keeps me moving in directions I am convinced God has called me to move in -mostly TOWARD rather than AWAY from people in need.

Yet as I think, pray, write lyrics, blog and write other social media posts, listen to/focus on as well as speak with individuals and entire groups I find myself in two more minds -those being a saved, born-again, Spirit-filled Christ-follower AS WELL AS varied views of a pre-believer.

I listen, read a ton, ask questions and try to not only hear but understand the words and body language of people around me best as I can. That means thinking outside of a purely regenerate, sanctified, Christian world-view and framework. I well remember my pre-Chistian days and nights. Making it a point to get with individuals and sometimes large numbers of out-right antagonistic unbelievers is also a tonic for me because it forces me to consider other points of view, to ask questions, to try to understand the reasoning and often the sense of confusion, pain and loss that is common among both professing Christian as well as those who do not walk with Jesus in saving faith.

For me it’s four worlds: urban, rural, believing, not-yet.

In a word, “balance”. We need broad experience and a mature view from both sides of the walls, whether self-built or not.

We need ears to hear.

Perhaps some of this may resonate with you?

Living cloistered behind a wall will never allow for us to become salt and light in this often very dark world.

Jesus Himself regularly went off and away from the crowds to rest, pray and humanly speaking, refuel -though He was “filled with the Spirit beyond measure”. He often brought His disciples with Him in this, but sometimes went to meet with the Father alone. Yet He daily interacted with the broken- friends and enemies alike. He did not hide Himself away in his earthly Dad’s carpenter shop, for His work was ultimately –us-.

Things to consider along the path!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn