Creakin' Kickbacks How many times has Jon Stewart helped get you through the night? Now imagine your mother needing her dose of this man too. Yes, it happens. When reality is too depressing for words, along comes The Daily Show to skewer the latest village idiot and restore our faith in the power of intellect mixed with humor. Nobody does it better than Jon Stewart. In these dark days, nobody else in television does more to insist that we deserve better government, more accountability-even basic truth and justice. If he can do it on TV, why not in the White House? That's the question the Creakin' Kickbacks ask in their love song to Jon Stewart, a song that may worm it's way inside your brain. And here's the deal: this song (and this CD) sound like your mother singing-because it is. This is NOT a professional, fulltime band; it's your mother (with some friends who just happen to be professional, awesome musicians, backing her up.) They're not ready for UTube, but they're mad as hell and ready for prime-time on CDBaby-AND THEY'RE TRYING TO RAISE MONEY FOR A GOOD CAUSE. A little humor, a lot of anger, and hard questions-that's what the Creakin' Kickbacks are all about. There is nothing funny about war, nothing funny about sacrificing sons and daughters to the greed and complicity of power-hungry, shameless politicians feeding their own demented egos. You'll find only FOUR SONGS on this CD, but they're in-your-face-do-something-now songs. The one you've been hearing about, DEAR JON, has it's own kicker-so watch for it. (Just because West Wing was cancelled doesn't mean your mother doesn't miss it every week.) FREE SPEECH expresses the frustration and disgust we feel when we realize the depth of our problems and our hopelessness in trying to solve them. NO MORE GOODBYES puts Congress on notice that we expect more from our leaders; although the balance of power shifted slightly in the last election, we don't trust politicians anymore-not until they deserve our trust. And TRAGEDY demands that we ask ourselves why war even exists? Surely there must be a better way. ___ With music that makes you laugh, think, and cry, the Creakin' Kickbacks invite you to sing along as we hope for better days. Based in Portland, Oregon, with roots in North Carolina and Washington, DC, they perform rarely but work behind the scenes for peace and positive change. Their self-titled album is their first and only CD; they wish these songs would become obsolete and totally unnecessary. The Creakin' Kickbacks are donating funds raised from the sale of this CD to the Oregon Chapter of Military Families Speak Out, a national organization of people who have relatives or loved ones in the military and are opposed to the continued occupation of Iraq. Many of their sons and daughters fought and died there; they feel the best way to honor their memory is to find the courage to end this war and bring our troops home safely. Thank you for your interest and your help. __ Recently published in The Oregonian: In a full life, woman finds voice in protest Thursday, February 15, 2007 By John Foyston The Oregonian Carolyn Wieden, the late-blooming folkie who just sent her new CD to Jon Stewart of 'The Daily Show,' can't talk about the CIA beyond what's in her resume. Given Wieden's diverse career, curriculum vitae -- Latin for 'course of life' -- would be more apt, but she's a down-to-earth woman and resume is what she calls it: 'Government Projects (Washington, D.C.) 1962-63: Edited special reports for President John F. Kennedy, for White House briefings and for agency publications. Received presidential citation for meritorious service (1/63).' 'All I can tell you about the CIA is that I was an editor there,' Wieden said in a voice that retains some hill-country music from decades in North Carolina's Piedmont. 'I didn't wear a trench coat, so I'm allowed to say that I worked there, but I can't tell anybody exactly what I did. My children tease me unmercifully, but it's true; I had to sign papers to that effect -- and they didn't have an expiration date.' We talked in her home office/music room in the elegant Old Portland craftsman house where her husband, Duke Wieden, has lived for a half century, and she's lived since their marriage in 1995. She's a relatively recent transplant -- 'a late-bloomer in running away from home' -- who aims to be reincarnated as a native Oregonian like her husband, she said. Duke Wieden is the former chairman of Gerber Advertising Agency and father of Dan Wieden of Wieden+Kennedy. They met when Carolyn Wieden, fresh from North Carolina, took a fundraising job and had no local contacts. Her son had worked with Dan Wieden, and she asked for an introduction to Duke Wieden, who knows people all around the city. He reluctantly agreed to meet -- for coffee only, not lunch. But the list of people charmed by Carolyn Wieden is a long one, and Duke Wieden soon added his name. Coffee lasted most of the afternoon and included a list of his contacts -- whom he later called and told to be nice to her because she didn't yet know what she was doing. The music room is neat but full of books, CDs, family photos, grandkids' artwork, ukuleles (including an electric uke that was a Christmas present from Duke), a row of guitars on stands and a wooden music stand where Wieden sets her binders of chord and lyric sheets. She likely owed her brief CIA career to learning Russian at Wake Forest University. 'I was not fluent, but I could read enough to do what I had to do (I still remember how to order a beer in Russian, but I don't even drink) -- and 1962 was a very interesting year.' Bet that most of her 65 years have been interesting. She's been an adjunct college professor, a grant writer, president of a marketing firm, a history teacher and a writer of family and church histories and books for her grandchildren. She began guitar lessons late in life and wrote a song for her 60th birthday party. Now she's recorded and released an album of protest songs -- 'The Creakin' Kickbacks' -- with plans to donate most of the proceeds to Military Families Speak Out, a group opposed to the Iraq war who have loved ones in the military. 'She's one of the most interesting, loving people we know,' said Steve Einhorn. He and his wife, Kate Power, comprise Portland's favorite folk duo. 'It's inspiring to watch her move into this chapter of her life with such conviction and heart.' The Veterans' Day premiere of a recent documentary about Military Families Speak Out triggered decades-old memories of when Wieden's first husband was serving in Vietnam and she lived in a world that seemed to care not at all, save for 30 minutes on the evening news. 'I've never felt so isolated,' she said. 'It was a very painful time that I survived by hibernation, by focusing on my children and weaving a cocoon around us all.' The documentary and the families' stand against the Iraq war made her feel like a wimp -- as lazy and complacent as everyone else who refused to speak out. So she started writing protest songs -- a pursuit hampered in her case by a Southern upbringing so straight-arrow that the merest oath often was chased with a mouthful of soap. When her son, Stacy Wall, told her about the guy continually picketing a Los Angeles federal building with a sign accusing President Bush of being a lying piece of . . . well, she said, she couldn't say that; one of her grandchildren might hear it. But she agreed there was a song lurking within. Then he suggested a simple elision that made the song safe for young ears -- and even these mannerly pages -- and 'Free Speech' was all but written. 'That's all it took,' Wieden said. 'The song wrote itself in the departure lounge at Kennedy International while I was waiting for the JetBlue red-eye to take me home to Portland.' The four songs on the CD include 'Free Speech,' the steady-rolling 'No More Goodbyes: A Message to Congress' and the sparse, haunting 'Tragedy': 'Nobody wins a war -- both sides have blood on their hands/everybody loses -- nobody understands.' That song was so new she hadn't yet mastered it's guitar part. She was about to give up trying to record it when recording engineer Jon Lindahl stepped from behind the mixing board, picked up his guitar and started playing the beautiful, bluesy accompaniment on the CD. 'Dear Jon,' the song she wrote to encourage Jon Stewart to run for president in 2008, is lighthearted and saved only by the bleeps that she wrote and sings: 'Dear Jon, you mean so bleeping much to me/ I just don't know where I would bleeping bleeping be/ If I didn't have you for my bleeping hero . . .' 'I actually sent it to his executive director, but I imagine neither opens his own mail,' she said. 'Probably it'll get thrown away unplayed, but maybe Jon Stewart will listen to it and get a laugh. I don't expect my songs to change the world, but I know they can make a small difference.' John Foyston: 503-221-8368; email@example.com ©2007 The Oregonian.