February 22, 2005

I have been busy for over a month planning a very special concert to be held this Saturday, February 26th at Launer Auditorium at Columbia College, and the planning has taken precendence over everything else, hence the reason I haven't written in so long. The sad part is, there's been SO many wonderful things that have happened in the last few weeks that would have made for expansive blogs, but now you'll probably be left to a short run-down of all the facts.

This Saturday's concert is a special benefit for the Officer Down Fund in memory of Molly Bowden, a Columbia police officer killed in the line of duty. She was only 26 years old, a wife, stepmother, sister, and daughter. Her story resonated with me as it did with so many people, and while police officers have good insurance coverage, they often have continuing medical costs or are unable to work for a period of time, and the Officer Down Fund is for those officers. It's relatively new in many cities, and Molly's tragic death has called attention to its importance here in Columbia. I was glad to donate my time and music to this cause, I know how much it hurts to lose a loved one, especially one so young and full of life who was only trying to live the best life she could and help the rest of us in whatever way she could. We hope to raise $10,000 for the fund this weekend, as well as provide comfort and hope to Molly's family and friends, and the community at large since the recent rash of violence in Columbia has shaken us all.

In the past two weeks I've had many radio and TV appearances to help promote the concert, and have had the challenge of waking up early, singing in the wee hours of the morning, and then trying to make it through the rest of my day on minimal sleep. I guess it's good practice for what I say I want to do with the rest of my life! :) Seriously though, last Thursday evening was our appearance on the Amy Miller show (93.9 FM) with Tim Fancher who organized the concert, Friday morning I was on David Lyle's show on KFRU AM 1400, Sunday morning I was on BXR 102.3 FM and sang live on Tony Barbis's Acoustic Sunrise, today I was on KMIZ Channel 17's morning news show, and this Thursday morning Tim and I will be on Y107 FM's morning show. I've always been comfortable talking and even singing on air, but the interesting highlight of these media appearances came on Amy Miller's show when a caller phoned in to say some very thoughtless, rude, and critical things about all of the attention Officer Bowden's death has gotten. He used the non-word "heroizing" and said we shouldn't be turning Molly into a hero because so many other people risk their lives every day. Hmmmm....I'm sure, dear reader, that you can see the inherent flaws in his argument. First of all, it takes so much more energy to be critical like this than it does to simply be glad Columbia is coming together and supporting the law enforcement community. Secondly, there are many people who RISK their lives every day, but Molly actually died. Third, for those people that die every day, they are mourned by friends, loved ones, and acquaintances too, and the nature of their death and how it resonates with people determines their 'hero' status. And let's not forget the heroes we create that are still living. Finally...acknowledging Molly as the hero she is does not take anything away from all those other people who are also giving the best they can to the community each and every day. We should celebrate them too...

The caller also said I must be getting great publicity from this. Well, the publicity is certainly the farthest from my mind on my list of reasons for doing this show. I have gotten pretty decent media coverage in the past so I didn't need this for my career. It's just been wonderful to see how many media outlets have been willing to help out. It's a fact; the more people hear about this on the radio or on TV, the more likely they are to buy a ticket and attend the show, and the closer we get to our $10,000 goal. If more people learn about me in the meantime, I certainly don't scorn the publicity, but this man had no clue what I've done to make this show happen, how much it means to me to be part of this, or how much time I've given to other charitable causes in the past, never being paid a penny, just hoping to make a real difference. Perhaps if this man had ever listened to my music he would know that. Here's lookin' at you, Joe...if anyone who was a friend or family member of Molly heard your call, I'm mortified for you, and you should be ashamed...

On to happier subject...the weekend before last we travelled down to West Plains and played a show at the Yellow House Performing Arts Center. It was a great show, about three times as many people there as last time, although since it is truly in a HOUSE it's still an intimate crowd where emphasis is placed on telling stories and bantering with the crowd, which I did a lot of. We got to stay with one of Michael's friends near Doniphan in a cabin right on the river. It was quite the experience. We had some bonding time in the long ride there and back, and our photographer Kevin Dingman came along to donate his talents.

Then last weekend we had a Friday night show at D'Agostino's which was a blast with Rob on electric, Mike on bass, and Michael on percussion. Saturday we played for the University of Missouri Women's Leadership Conference and sold CDs like crazy...they were a great audience.

Sunday's live show at BXR was a lot of fun. It was the first time Tony had done an in-studio on his show, but it went very well. 40 minutes flies by when you have so many things you want to talk about. Jeff Sweatman might play one of the live cuts on his lunch online show, and has been very supportive of the upcoming show as well.

Press kits are going out to major labels, radio, festivals, and reviewers, so the big push is just around the corner. Several investors are also interested in funding another writing/recording project in Nashville, so we are ironing out those details as well. Early reports from Belltown are that Out of the Wilderness has gotten great reviews from radio DJs especially in Chicago, and Europe is taking more notice as well, with a possible article about me in Aktueel magazine, a Netherlands-based men's magazine somewhat akin to Playboy. (I'd be fully clothed however...)

Well, there is the long and short of it (OK....mostly short) and here's to hoping I stay more on top of my blog writing in the future. But don't I always say that?


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