I've written songs and poems for over 35 years and thoroughly enjoyed the process. Self-expression, fun, focus, struggle, failure, success, inspiration, acceptance, joy, collaboration and even service are a few of the gifts art may bestow upon us. I recommend watching less (TV/video/computers/phones/etc) and creating-experiencing-participating more directly. Invest yourself. Use your energy. Only YOU can do YOU. As Yoda says, 'Don't think, do!' (or, 'Don't watch, do!') Lyrics and message seem to be my main interest; due in large part to my limited musical talents (ha!..true) My musical collaborator/friend for 30 years has been multi-instrumentalist (lead/rhythm guitar,bass,vocals) and songwriter Mike Taylor. I think Mike's one of the most talented musicians around. I'm not sure what he can't do. (Just listen to the quality and variety of lead guitar he puts on these songs, and a great voice for lead or harmony). This compilation also includes the talents of old high school chum and singer/songwriter Sean Harrison (bass), singer/songwriter and poet Derek Van Lynn (keyboards), songwriter and my engineer for 7 years Dwight Chalmers (engineer/owner 'The Listen Laboratory',drum tracks) and singer/songwriter Michelle Obana (vocals). These guys are very talented and have added a great deal of beauty and color to the words and simple chords of my songs. Mark Vanderhoof (drums), Chris Brothers (keyboards), Randy Julich (keyboards), Paul Hughes (bass), Zenith Starr (keyboards) and Arnab Banerjee (keyboards) also put part of their talented souls into this project. I really appreciate all their beautiful music. I feel that inner-satisfaction is important, but, in such a troubled world, change for the better is more central to my faith. I hope these songs help somehow. 'Joyful participation in the sufferings of the world.' Buddhist teaching I wrote Engine 54 with great admiration for the example of love that New York City firefighters and police and emergency personnel showed on 9/11/01. Everyone's running away from the destruction, except them, they run toward it. Selfless compassion. Their committment to others was limitless. I believe that type of courage and giving is divinity on earth. The last verse was not written by me. I read it from a transcript of a Larry King Live show about 9/11. I use it because it expresses so well what many of us feel when someone we love dies. I really wanted the song to end with up-tempo harmonica (and someday it will) to reflect the great spirit so many people have that give selflessly to the community. They are up! People, not down. They're a positive force. They're not perfect, but many times what they do is 'good' for the world. We need to release more of that from within ourselves. 'I do not know who among you will find happiness, but I do know that those of you who do will have learned how to serve others.' Albert Schweitzer 'Soldier Come Home' does not mean to politicize any particular war (surely some wars are necessary and some are not). I wrote it from the perspective of a family member,saying, basically, 'Come home alive; we love you'. We need to respect and honor the sacred balance and diversity of creation. We are just a very lucky and divine part of this very lucky and divine natural world. Quite rare we are! We need to pay better wages to workers (firemen, cops, nurses, janitors, garbagemen, maids, cooks, cashiers, everybody). We need higher taxes on multi-millionares and billionares. We need a more equitable economy with less concentration of wealth, property and power (that's undemocratic!). All this inequity creates so much stress and strain and anger and violence and frustration that even the richest must see that more equality would help create a community for all to live in (including the richest!). Consumers need to see that buying from multi-national giants continues to concentrate wealth and power. Lowest prices come at a cost. We need more affordable housing and health care, 35-hour work weeks, 8 week vacations, neighborhood parks, mass transit and a better distribution of love and wealth and power. We need more of US and less of ME. We need to realize we are ALL 'the best and brightest'; we are ALL 'gifted and talented'. Sometimes the ones with lower IQs have bigger hearts, and sometimes the smartest ones are too cunning and self-absorbed. Together we're better. I believe these are keys to our civilization's development and our spritual enlightenment. Let's realize potentials! Go Big Team! Bring the Dream! Happiness and peace requires your essence... Have some fun Share baby!