Letter from God
Saipan is a tiny little island in the western Pacific where I've lived since 1993. It was on Saipan that I became a husband and a father. It was here that I decided that I'd rather make a little bit of money playing music than a whole lot of money doing anything else. These songs, all recorded on Saipan, comprise my debut album. The tunes range from romantic cowboy ballads to philosophical ponderings to tender reflections on love and parenthood. The overriding theme throughout is Fun with a capital 'F' - folk music with a smile. Because of MP3.com, I've been able to measure my music's appeal outside of the two or three bars I'm used to playing at on Saipan, and it's been encouraging. One of my songs, 'She Loves Me,' has been in the top 10 of the MP3.com Acoustic charts five different times over the past three years. Another song, 'After You Let Go,' went straight to Number 1 on that chart as soon as I released it in February 2002. But my biggest hit by far has been 'Growing Marijuana In My Yard.' Released in December 2002, this humor-based political anthem has topped the MP3.com Bluegrass chart almost every day since Feb. 10, 2003. It has also reached Number 5 on the MP3.com Country charts, surrounded by acts such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, George Strait, Mark Chesnutt, and Shania Twain (Mark's grand-niece, I guess). On April 17, 2003, I was invited to perform the song at the NORML conference in San Francisco, after which High Times senior editor Steve Bloom called it 'the musical highlight of the conference.' I'm a responsible family man, first and foremost, and I proudly support and promote reform of U.S. drug policy, which destroys families by incarcerating nearly 700,000 otherwise law-abiding Americans every year for simple possession of a natural plant. My good friend and award-winning Texas songwriter, Billy Walden, wrote 'Long Distance Blues,' and he and I share writing credit for 'Where Does A Cowboy Go?' I wrote 'Who Got Da Pugua?' with my island braddah Ezra Johnson, a Hawaiian native who's lived on Saipan since the early 1980s, and who continues to teach me the true meaning of 'ohana' ('family' in Hawaiian). Thank you, Mahalo, Si Yu'us Ma'ase' from Saipan.