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Jimmie Vaughan

Posted May 2019


JimmieVaughn croppedAs my friends and some Boomerocity readers know, I spent the better part of twenty-five years in the Dallas, Texas, area. Prior to launching Boomerocity in 2009, I was, obviously, a music nut, and it didn’t take long to hear about two brothers from the area who were each amazing guitarists in their own right: Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother, Jimmie Vaughan. SRV was taken from us in August of 1990 but left an indelible mark on rock music. Jimmie Vaughan (I and many of my friends would erroneously refer to him as “Jimmie Ray Vaughan” – sometimes, I still do) was the guitarist and signature sound behind the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

I want to state here that my daughter and I attended Stevie’s funeral. I mention it only because, a) Jimmie and I discuss his brother’s death towards the end of our chat; and, b) I briefly mentioned it to him at the beginning of our chat as we were making introductions and small talk.

Being a Vaughan brother’s fan – both individually and in their duo and respective bands, ever since the launch of Boomerocity, Jimmie Vaughan has been on my short list of artists that I’d give my eye teeth to interview. With the release of his new album, “Baby, Please Come Home,’ the opportunity to chat with him became available . . . and I still have my eye teeth.

After our introductions and small talk, I asked Jimmie if I had counted correctly that “Baby, Please Come Home” is his seventh solo record.

“You know, I don’t know. I’m not sure. I’d have to go figure it out. Let’s see, I’ve got Strange Pleasure – you’re talking solo. You’re not talking T-Birds? I did the Jimmy Reed Highway (with Omar Kent Dykes). I guess you’re right. Seven solo albums excluding the T-Birds.”

When I asked Vaughan how this LP is different for him than all of the other albums – solo or otherwise – in recording, approach, and related areas, he shared:

“Well, I didn’t change my approach. I mean, basically, what I do is record live in the studio. I’ll get together with my band and we rehearse and just play the songs. Then, we just go into the studio and record them. If we need to overdub something, we do. But, basically, it’s live.”

Not to get too deep into the recording weeds, I did want to know if he recorded the disc digitally or, did he go the analog route that some artists are going back to.

“Oh, no, they have everything now. Most studios have digital. We end up on tape. The tape sounds better. These songs are definitely on tape. When you’re recording it, you utilize everything you need and then you put it on tape, and it does the same thing. You get the tape compression. It happens after you record it and you’ve manipulated it. Whatever you’re gonna do, you mix it. Then you play it on tape. That gives you the same thing. I think everybody is concerned and notices any difference, uses tape. You can really hear the difference. When you put it on tape THEN on digital, you don’t lose that (the analog quality). It’s all about the compression and the way you do it. We know how to do it!”

Regarding the story behind this album, Vaughan shared:

“It was just a lot of songs that I love. I went and recorded them down in San Marcos (Texas). It’s my band. We went and recorded what we wanted to and there it is! It sounds more simple than it is, I guess. It’s the real deal for us.”

Artists will often point to a particular song on their discs as a calling card for the entire album. When I asked Jimmie which cut he would choose as this album’s calling card, he was actually stumped.

“Gosh! You know? Listen, I like everything on it. I’ve got Lefty Frizell, Jimmy Donley. Songs by Lloyd Price, Bill Doggett, Earl Garner. Did I say T. Bone Walker? It’s really all over the place. When I first started playing, the first record that I bought was by a band called the Nightcaps. You know them. They were into the same thing. They even did some of the same songs. That’s really what I’m into. If you come see me, you’re gonna get all that and I play stuff from my career over the years. But, basically, I’m playing what I love, okay?”

I commented that the album is a “feel good” album that makes you involuntarily lift up your head and shoulders while tapping your feet.

“I agree with you! That’s really why we did it ‘cause – it might be kinda hard to explain ‘cause it’s just what we do. It’s real and we’re not trying to put on any airs. This is us.”

Recording albums is often a long and laborious effort for artists and wondered how long this project took for Mr. Vaughan to record.

“Ah, I like to record and pretend that I’m making singles. I pretend that I’m making 45’s. I’ll do two or three, four at a time. So, I spread it out over a few months.”

I often ask “tenured” artists this question: If you were made music czar, how would you fix the business, or does it need fixing? I asked Vaughan this question.

“Go-olly! Ha! Ha! Maybe I’d just fire everyone and start all over. Ha! Ha! That would be the most fun, right? Well, you know, first of all, government shouldn’t have anything to do with music. It’s the absolute opposite. If the government told me what to do, I’d tell ‘em to go screw themselves. So, that’s the way I feel ‘bout it. Ha! Ha! Because it’s art and it has nothing to do with government. I don’t like all the government this and that; subsidize this. That’s bull. I think it’s for entertainment.”

Is the business broken?

“I don’t know because I only think about what I like to do, and I don’t listen to all the other stuff unless it’s somebody I know. There are some really good examples of new music that I like. And there’s a lot of new guys coming up in my hometown that I really like. Have you heard Dylan Bishop? Jay Milano. Gary Clark. He’s from Austin. Paul Walker is coming up.

“See, here’s the thing: I don’t pay any attention to what’s going on out there. I’m sorta in my own world, musically speaking. I don’t really care what they’re doing. As far as I’m concerned, I’m in the anti-music business. How ‘bout that? I’m anti all the stuff that’s goin’ on. I don’t want to be mean, but, at the same time, I’m really in my own world, musically speaking, okay? I have a manager and I have people that help me do the business part – and I really don’t know much about that. I’m only concerned with the music. I try not to let myself be taken advantage of. At the same time, I’m really focused on the music part of it.”

I know that Jimmie Vaughan/Fabulous T-Bird fans would want to hear an answer to this so I had to ask: Will there ever be any sort of reunion with the Thunderbirds and is Jimmie ever going to do any more recording with Dennis Quaid?

“Well, actually, I just did a song with Dennis Quaid and Tanya Tucker. They came to town – they came to Austin and called me and said, ‘Hey, come over here and we’re gonna record. Come over and play guitar on a song.’ I just did it! There’s the answer to that one.

“I would love for the Thunderbirds to get back together! ‘Course, a couple of the guys have died. We had a lot of drummers and bass players. So, maybe we could talk Mike Buck into it and get us another bass player. I’d love to play with Kim (Wilson). I’m playing anyway and very proud and happy about what we did, Kim and I, back in the day. That would be fun!”

And what’s on Jimmie’s radar for the next year/next couple of years?

“Well, we just started promoting the record. We’ve been out on tour with Buddy Guy. We’re going to play the Hollywood Bowl with Buddy Guy. We’re going to play in London. The record’s coming out. We’ve got a lotta shows coming up. I’ve got my whole band with the horns in it. Everything. We’re out here tearing it up! Oh! And we’ve got (Eric Clapton’s) Crossroads coming up, too!”

As we closed, I said I hoped to catch one of his gigs in the future since the last time I saw him was at his brother’s funeral in Dallas back in 1990.

“It’s been twenty-eight years since Stevie got killed. Stevie was a fabulous musician but what nobody thinks about is, it seems like, Stevie Ray Vaughan is my little brother. Anybody’s that’s got a little brother or little sister will know what I’m talking about. Just think about it if you lost your little sister tragically. What would you do? There’s no way that you can explain it. There’s no way you can feel okay about it. Now, it’s been twenty-eight years and I’m just pissed off that he got hurt and killed and I’m not gonna get over it. I have a wonderful family, children, a beautiful wife and I have a wonderful life. I get to play my guitar every day. I’m very grateful. But it’s very hard to deal with losing someone like that.”

Switching to a more “light” subject, I asked Jimmie if there was a “holy grail” of guitars and did he own it.

“I like Stratocasters and Telecasters. Now, I have a couple of Gibson’s I like to play. An ES-350. I like guitars but I love to play Stratocasters. Stratocasters are like hot rods. You can always put a different neck on it or change the pick-ups or do a paint job or whatever you want. They’re like ’40 Fords, you know what I mean? I’ve always got ‘em tore apart, doin’ somethin’ on ‘em.”

Wrapping up our chat, I asked Vaughan how he wanted to be remembered and what he hoped his legacy will be.BabyPleaseComeHomeCover

“Oh, gosh! I don’t know that I want to come up with that answer. I just want everybody to say what they want to say. I just have a lot of fun. I always have fun out her on the road with my buddies and me. We drive around and play guitars and play music, laugh and joke. This is the best job in the entire world! There couldn’t be a better job than this! You get to express yourself every night! Hang out with your friends. Sounds like a Willie Nelson song, doesn’t it? Ha! Ha! I can’t imagine that there would be a better job than this.”

We all envy him and what better person to have a job like that Jimmie Vaughan?

Keep up on the latest with Jimmie at and be sure to catch one of his shows if you’re lucky enough to have him and his band stop near you.

Bernard Fowler Inside Out

Posted April 2019

Fowler Bernard 2019 001croppedBoomerocity and its readers are Rolling Stones fans. Not just fans of Mick, Keith, Charlie, and Ronnie but also of Lisa Fischer, Daryl Jones and, of course, Bernard Fowler. Mr. Fowler first graced our pages six years ago (here) and, more recently, almost four years ago (here).

With a Stones tour already announced and Bernard’s release of his own new CD, Inside Out, it was a great time to catch up with him again. I called him while he was at Denver’s airport on his way to a performance of A Bowie Celebration with some of David Bowie’s former bandmates.

“It’s called The Bowie Celebration and it’s, basically, a tribute to David Bowie. It’s kind of an alumni tour that Mike Dawson, Carmine Rojas, and Earl Slick – all three spent years with David. We’re just celebrating his music,” says Fowler of the tour.

When I asked if he had met Bowie before he died, Bernard said, “Yup. I loved Bowie. I listened to that stuff early on (while) growing up. I brought Diamond Dogs to Show and Tell at school. Ha! Ha!”

As for crowd acceptance of those shows, Fowler said, “The audience is loving it. The audience is loving what we’re doing. They’re up on their feet. They’re laughing. They’re crying. It’s a wave of emotions for the fans. So, the response is really good.”

According to Bernard’s press release for Inside Out, Mick Jagger made a comment about how he was handling a Stones song during a sound check and that’s what kicked off this album. Fowler said, “It was that comment from him that made me get the recording process started. I had plans to do it already but getting that comment from him just put a stamp. I went to work (on it) – right after the tour I went to work on it.”

With such a vast Rolling Stones catalog to pick from, I was curious what Fowler’s criteria was in selecting songs.

“The criteria was strong lyric content. Then I opened the Rolling Stone songbook. I read some lyrics and I saw the lyric content and I went to it. Sympathy For The Devil is a previous obvious thing. That’s the last thing that I recorded because I had a deadline and that lyric content, it was strong. So, it just made sense to add that to the whole thing.”

As always, Bernard has some heavy hitters helping him out on this album. In addition to some names that I know have helped him on his last album, I saw that he also brought in Carmine Rojas in on bass.

“Yes, he has! Carmine is one of my oldest friends. Carmine played bass on my Nickelbag project. He played bass on that and other things. He’s also on this new one; he’s on the song, Under Cover of the Night. That’s him at the beginning where the girl is running the jungle and she gets spotted by a soldier. That’s Carmine that’s the soldier. He’s travelling with us now.”

Naturally, we all want to know what, if any, response there’s been on this disc from the Stones.

“I’m sure that they’ve probably heard it by now but I have not spoke to them so I don’t know. I’ve not performed it, yet. It’s not even released, yet, officially. It’s the 19th of April. But the people that have heard it, the response has been incredible.”

Is there a Stones or fan favorite?

" width="240" height="120" allowtransparency="no">“I can’t say that there is a specific favorite. When I was recording it, I played Keith a little taste of it. I wrote that in the liner notes. He looked and me, smiled, and said, ‘Damn, Fowler! You went deep!’ I was really in the early stage of recording. He hasn’t heard it in its completion, as far as I know. I’m not sure if he’s heard it.”

When I asked Bernard which tune he would point to as a calling card for the entire CD, his answer surprised me.

“Ha! Ha! Probably ‘Sister Morphine.’ I like how it turns out. It’s exactly what I wanted when I envisioned for it which was a jazz piece and it worked out perfect. I couldn’t have asked for any more. It’s exactly what I wanted.”

Fowler went into the studio determined not to sing the lyrics which may disappoint some of his – as well as Rolling Stones – fans. We all love hearing Bernard’s silky, Smoky Robinson-like voice. But don’t let it keep you from getting the disc. It’s a keeper. That said, I did ask him what made him decide to take the non-singing approach to the Stones catalog.

“It’s something I wanted to do. Although people pretty much know me as a vocalist. I’m a producer. I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to do a record like The Bura again this particular time. I wanted to do something different – something really different coming from me. It would be a spoken-word record.”

Since Fowler mentioned The Bura, I had to tell him that “See You Again” was one of my favorites of his body of work.

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful piece. It’s probably my favorite song from that album, as well. I think that sang and ‘Shake It’ are my favorite songs (from The Bura).”

I can’t talk to Fowler without asking about plans with the Stones. At the time of our chat, the band had announced a new tour. This, of course, was before it’s postponement due to Mick Jagger’s recently announced heart surgery. That said, I asked Bernard what fans can expect from the tour. His answer was short and sweet.

Fowler Bernard April2019002“You know what? You know what I know. I won’t know what that is until I get to rehearsal. I’ll start rehearsal the end of March/first of April.”

Wrapping up our chat, I asked Fowler what was on his radar for the next year or two.

“Well, on the radar right now is finishing this David Bowie Celebration and going right into the Stones. When this (the Bowie tour) ends, I’ve got maybe five days before I start rehearsing with the Stones for the next tour. When the Stones tour is over, the plan is to go out and turn people on to Inside Out. I’m going to try to put a tour together with just a night of Bernard Fowler. The spoken word record will kind of let me be my own opening act. I can open the night with spoken word and finish the night with The Bura and more songs.”

Be sure to order Bernard’s new disc, Inside Out, but clicking on the widget on this page and keep up with him at his website,

Walter Trout Talks About His Life, Wife, and Survivor Blues

Posted March 2019


001cropped ARG2117 Walter TroutcreditAustinHargave crop
Photo by Austin Hargave
Blues, and in rock, has been losing some of the foundational artists of the genre. Greats like B.B. King and Johnny Winter left us far too soon. However, we still have many blues greats touring and putting out great blues.

One such artist is someone we’ve had the privilege of chatting with a couple of times before (here and here): Walter Trout.

Trout has a new CD out entitled, Survivor Blues, and will be hitting the road in support of that album. It was about the disc that I called up Walter at his home. It had been four years since we last spoke, so I asked what has been happening since our last chat.

“I’m doing great, man! I’m feelin’ great! I’m very, very – almost shocked to be still alive and kickin’ ass. I had the transplant four years ago and this is the fourth record I’ll be putting out (since the transplant). I just feel lucky and blessed and grateful and it’s an all new thing to be alive after what I went through.”

After we last spoke, his wife, Marie, came out with a great book, The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good. I asked how the book was received.

“Well, the reception has been great. She had a lot of awesome reviews. All the profits from that book go to the Hart Fund at the Blues Foundation which is a charity that helps blues musicians get health care when they can’t afford insurance. It’s done some really wonderful work and she’s been able to contribute from sales of her book. I think she’s up to around six or seven thousand bucks that she’s been able to send to them. So, it’s been awesome. It goes to really good cause.”

Walter was in my neck of the woods last year, but I had to miss his gig. It was an intimate showSurvivorBluesCover in Maryville, TN, that was put on by a local blues organization, of sorts. I asked him why he doesn’t hit the region more often.

“I don’t know. I’m really busy playing all over the world. But I am getting back to Tennessee. I don’t know if it’s near you but I’m playing in Pelham at The Caverns – in the cave there . . . I think maybe in April. I’m going to double-bill with Eric Gales.

“Let me tell you a story. My high school girlfriend - who I was deeply in love with after she graduated from high school in South Jersey – and went to Maryville College and studied piano there. In 1970, I used to hitchhike down there from South Jersey, and I used to stay with her in the girl’s dorm and they used to sneak me in and I literally – literally – would climb the ivy and sneak in the window. So, I got a lot of history in Maryville. I know it well. I spent a lot of time there with my girlfriend.”

Turning to his new CD, I asked him for his “elevator speech” about it.

“The short version is: All my life I have thought there’s all these amazing blues songs that have fallen by the wayside. And when people decide they’re going to do albums of blues covers or they’re going to play covers when they’re playing love, they come out and do ‘I Got My Mojo 002 ARG1773 WalterTroutcreditAustinHargavePhoto by Austin HargaveWorking” or they do ‘Stormy Monday’ or they do ‘Caledonia’ or ‘Hey Hey The Blues Is Alright’ and ‘Missing With the Kid’ – all these songs that have been covered 853,000 times, you know? And I’m, like, ‘Wait a minute, here. There’s this vast catalog of these incredible songs that are just kind of forgotten.

“So, that was my goal with this record was to find songs that spoke to me and that I thought had something to say and that were classic blues tunes but have been kind of overlooked and to bring attention to these tunes. My hope is that people will go listen to the originals, you know?”

As a major player of the blues, I asked him what he thought the state of the genre is today.

“I think it’s doing great! I mean, there’s a lot of places to play. There’s a lot of festivals. The festivals are always well attended. There’s a huge group of young musicians who are into this music and who are carrying it on and who are just coming up through the ranks.

“One of the things that I think, though, is that the audiences – the majority of the audiences – and this is what my wife addressed in her book – the majority of the audiences are sort of the baby boomer generation – my generation; people who grew up in the sixties and seventies. I think it speaks to them, in a way, because it’s also they’re the people who grew up in era of sort of like classic rock and the blues boom of the sixties where you had bands like the Stones and the Animals and people like that.

“So, I’m hoping that a younger crowd is going to latch on to it. But I do see it happening slowly. I do see that there are younger people who kind of are looking for something else than a rapper or some music that’s corporately produced, you know what I mean? When they see 003 ARG1863 WalterTroutcreditAustinHargavePhoto by Austin Hargavesomebody, ‘Wow! There’s a human being and he’s playing an instrument and he’s singing something from his heart, and this is incredible!’ I don’t think that’s ever really go away even though the mainstream media has done their very best to destroy it by just pushing corporately mass-produced shit onto people.

“Radio in the late sixties and early seventies, you could turn it on and there were these incredibly creative musicians. The Beatles and Hendrix and Bob Dylan and The Stones and Procol Harum and Pink Floyd and all these incredible, creative titans. Now, they just want to push this crap on people.

“You can say, ‘Well, you’re not open-minded.’ But a lot of it doesn’t speak to me and, yeah, I reserve the right to be moved by what I’m moved by and I’m moved by art that has an intent to having some feeling and some emotion and some creativity and not something that is produced almost by a computer to appeal to a certain demographic.”

Trout completed his answer by adding, “Boy, you really got me going on that! Ha! Ha! I think the blues is in a good state and I know that there is a huge group of young musicians that want to carry it on. And as they come up through the ranks, they’re going to have fans that are their age.

“Joe Bonamassa did a lot to bring this music to younger people, too.

Walter recorded at the studio owned and operated by the Doors’ Robbie Krieger. He shared how and why that came about.

004 ARG1942 WalterTroutcreditAustinHargavePhoto by Austin Hargave“This is the first time I’ve worked with him. The way that this happened is my producer, Eric Corne – this is our 12th or 13th album together. We’re kind of a team. When we were going to do this, he knows the kind of studio that I want to be in. I want to have a big room. First of all, I want to have a big tracking room where we can set up in a circle and play the majority of the stuff live. I want to have that feeling.

“He came and he said, ‘You know, Robbie Krieger’s got this studio. It’s kind of a private studio across town but it’s awesome. Let’s go over and see it.’ We went over and the place is beautiful.

“So, we started recording there and Robbie – who loves blues; that’s his main love in life is the blues – he was coming in and hanging out. He’d be listening to playbacks. He’d be having meals with us. We’d be playing back – listening to a playback. He’d be sitting on a couch, with an acoustic guitar, playing along. One day I said, ‘Hey, man! Let’s do something together!’ He’s like, ‘Yeah! That’d be great!’

“We talked about his love for old country blues and his two favorite guys were Reverend Gary Davis and Mississippi Fred McDowell. He told me that. He said, ‘Those are the guys that really spoke to me when I was young and that’s still the stuff that I love to listen to.’ That is what he told me.

“We picked the Fred McDowell tune and we kind of arranged it together and we decided to take kind of a Muddy Waters style slide riff and base it on the slide riff that Robbie played. The track you hear on there we did live. We didn’t even really rehearse it. We kind of talked about it. We sat with acoustic guitars and then we went out in the studio with our electrics and counted to four and off we went. So, what you hear on there is one take live.”

I asked Walter if the recording was done digitally or via analog.

“Well, we can do both, but we did this on ProTools. They have tape if you want to use it, you know?”

When I asked Walter if there is a track that he would point to as a calling card for the whole 005 ARG2207 WalterTroutcreditAustinHargavePhoto by Austin Hargavealbum, he shared:

“The cut that I think is the ultimate statement on that album is the opener, ‘Me, My Guitar, and the Blues’ by Jimmy Dawkins. When I heard that, I was completely devastated. I thought to myself, ‘This song that this guy wrote – which has basically been forgotten and unheard – this is as good a blues song as anyone has ever written. This is classic. He, basically, took the entire genre of the blues and summed up the whole thing in two lines: ‘And now that you don’t love me, all I have left is me, my guitar, and the blues.’

“You know how the Gettysburg Address summed up the entire Civil War in two minutes? Well, this guy summed up the entire scene and history and feel and essence of what the blues is. He summed it up in two lines of lyric and I was devasted, man! I was weeping. Even talking about it – I mean, it’s deep shit. So that one, to me, sums up – they wanted to put it at the beginning of the record and I’m, like, really? Because how do you follow that song? But they convinced me and said, ‘No, let’s put it on at the beginning because that will kind of pull people in, you know?’ But, to me, I don’t know how you follow that tune. That tune – and singing it! I sing it every night and at the end, sometimes, I have to leave the stage for five minutes and go gather myself because of the intensity of those lyrics.

“Another one that got me lyrically was ‘Red Sun’ by Floyd Lee. Floyd Lee is a very unknown, unheralded, internationally, at least, blues man. I know he’s played around New York quite a bit. He was still playing around New York in, like, 2012. I’ve tried to reach him. It was one of his band members that wrote ‘Red Sun’ and I’ve tried to reach that guy and can’t reach him. I don’t know what’s happened to them.

006 ARG2228 Walter TroutcreditAustinHargavePhoto by Austin Hargave“But, the lyrics on there reminded me of things I went through. He goes, ‘Sittin’ on top of the mountain, looking out at the sea, sittin’ on top of the mountain, and an angel talkin’ to me. I got an angel feather in my pocket, it’s gonna take me far away. I got an angel feather in my pocket, it’s gonna carry me to my grave.’

“I heard that and I’m, like, ‘Is this by Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan?’ I mean, that’s incredible and it’s an unheralded piece of work and I’m like, there’s so many of these great songs! You go all the way back to Charlie Patton; you can go back to Blind Willie Johnson and you can go back to Blind Lemon Jefferson or Big Bill Broonzy or any of these people and find these astounding songs that have just been forgotten. It’s kind of a shame, you know?”

As to whether there is going to be a follow-up to this with the same kind of deep-track tunes, Trout said:

“I don’t know. I can tell you that right now I’m in Robbie’s studio. I was just there yesterday and I’m doing an album of all original songs that will be out at the end of the year. That’s the latest project. We’ve got six songs recorded and we’re gonna do, probably, ten to twelve. I’ve got to go on tour for all of February. So, in March, we’ll be back in Robbie’s studio and we’ll finish this new album.

“After doing an album of all covers, I wanted to do some of my own tunes. Literally, the day that we sent this record off – we mastered it; we sent it off to the label; the same day, we went back in the studio and started the next record.”

Wrapping up our chat, I asked Walter a question I asked him during our previous two chats:007 ARG2697 WalterTroutcreditAustinHargavePhoto by Austin Hargave When he steps off the tour bus of life up at that great gig in the sky, how does he want to be remembered and what does he hope his legacy will be?

“I would probably say he was somebody who tried to be the best and most honest artist he could be and tried to create something of beauty; to bring some joy into peoples lives. He was kind of a deeply flawed individual, but he did his best and really gave it everything he had to create to the best of his ability.”

Walter Trout is certainly doing exactly that.

Keep up with the latest with Walter at

Graham Nash Talks About His Album, Over The Years


Posted March 2019

GrahamNash2cropped creditAmyGrantham cropPhoto by Amy GranthamI have often heard it said that the baby boomer generation had the greatest music. I happen to agree wholeheartedly. One of the reasons I feel that way is because of the iconic work by the legendary Graham Nash. Whether it was his work during his time with The Hollies or the prolific period with Crosby, Still, Nash (and, sometimes, Young) or in his various solo pursuits.

Because Nash was, once again, going to be performing in East Tennessee (this time at Chattanooga’s Walker Theater), I was granted the opportunity to chat with the musical icon about his latest album, Over the Years, and the supporting tour.

After some small talk about his recent vacation that he just returned from, I mentioned that he was going to be playing in Chattanooga (easy driving distance from me) and that I met with him during his show in Knoxville (even closer to me). He interjected with this neat bit of news:

“You know, in Knoxville, I was approached by the City Council just very quickly. The idea was that the Everly Brothers spent the first eight years of their life in Knoxville. They were on their parents’ radio show in Knoxville. So, the Knoxville City Council approached me and said that they’re going to make a small park in honor of the Everly Brothers. Part of their design is, on the walk through the park, there are marble stones on the floor that are carved with quotes from quite famous people about the Everly Brothers. They wanted to know if I could help find people that would give a small quote and get permission to put their signature carved into the marble. So far, I have me, of course. I have Keith Richards. I have McCartney. I have Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Brian Wilson. Incredible stuff, you know? I just thought I’d tell you that because you familiar with Knoxville. How could I not be involved when it’s the Everly Brothers? They’re part of the reason we are talking right now! Ha! Ha!”

Shifting our chat to his new CD, I asked Graham to tell me about it.GrahamThinkingBW2

“I realized a year ago that there’d never been a ‘Greatest Hits’ of my music. Yes, greatest hits of CSN. Greatest hits of CSNY. Greatest hits of the Hollies, etc. But not of me, personally. So, I went on the internet and found out what my friends’ fifteen most favorite songs of mine are and I put them on. And, then, I thought, ‘You know, people have probably bought all this music – maybe even several times. How could I make it more interesting and more desirable?’

“So, I decided that I would go into my archives and find the demos of those songs and put them on. That’s what it became. The artwork was done by my wife, Amy Grantham.”

When I asked if the album cover was shot in Switzerland (which I thought it looked like it had), he said, “It’s actually a National Geographic image from many years ago and Amy put the boy in there.”

Over the Years is a two-disc collection that includes original demos of some of Nash’s biggest hits. I asked him which song he would point to as a calling card for the collection.

GrahamNashColorBackstage“It would be ‘Marrakesh Express’ because that was the demo that I sent The Hollies and they made a very half-hearted attempt to record it. To me, in my mind and being the writer of that song, I needed the energy of a moving train through it, which Stephen (Stills) brilliantly did on the CSN version of Marrakesh. I think if people hear the original demo, they’ll realize a couple of things. One: that the arrangement of the song didn’t change that much from my demos. I notice that the arrangement of each was already complete in my mind when I made the demo.

“And ‘Teach Your Children, of course, is another one. I started that song in the north of England, and I finished it in Los Angeles in early ’69. But you can hear that the arrangement – apart from the fact that there’s a solo in there that was done, of course, by Jerry Garcia – the arrangement is pretty much the same as my demo.”

Clearly, those songs and the songs of Nash’s peers in the same periods of time, they still stand on their own. In fact, a recent study showed that millennials more readily recognize that era of music more quickly and readily than their own era of music. I mentioned that to Graham, and he interjected.

“You know why? First of all, the melody. It’s the melody of all those songs. Today’s music – there’s a great deal of great music, of course. Particularly, ‘This Is America’. There are some great Hip-Hop songs; great songs out there. But I love an identifiable melody and identifiable lyrics. I think that might be one of the reasons why that they’re preferring our genre to theirs.”

A few days prior to our chat, the Super Bowl had just been played and there was tremendous buzz about the pros and cons of the half-time show by Maroon 5 and that classic rockers should be chosen for those shows because they’re historically much more well received. To that point, I asked Graham if he, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young were offered the gig to play halftime, would they do so?

“I cannot speak for David and Stephen and Neil, but I can speak for myself and I would not do the half-time show at the Graham pondSuper Bowl because of Colin Kaepernick, you know? This man has been trying to bring awareness of the fact that black kids are being killed almost daily by the police. His protest against that by taking a knee was incredibly symbolic. Regardless of what Maroon 5 did, musically, on the half-time show, they could’ve put people on their side instead of all the incredible negative posts I’ve seen about their performance. If they would’ve taken a knee. How hard would that have been?”

I asked Graham what form that the “knee-taking” have taken, his opinion.

“Adam Levine could’ve – at the beginning of one song – on his knee. Even if it was for only ten seconds of a song, it would’ve been incredibly symbolic for him to have done that and they chose not to. I think it was to their detriment.”

I then asked Nash if they (CSN) would not have done the same thing (take a knee during part of a song).

“I have a feeling that if we – the four of us - did do it, it would be an incredible ten minutes of protest. Ha! Ha! I just can’t imagine singing Ohio with the boys – well, I tell you, I could imagine it, but that’s the kind of stuff that we would do. We would turn that – because of Kaepernick – we would turn our performance into a protest, I believe.”

And what causes are on Graham’s front-burner about these days?

“We get asked to do a lot of benefits and you have to prioritize your time. You have to figure out the two or three things most important to you because you can get scattered by supporting many, many causes. It kind of dilutes everything because you can’t put a great deal of time into every single cause.

Nash3“And, so, certainly climate change. Certainly, the future of our children in terms of education, and the nuclear problem, still. I read yesterday that Russia supposedly has the ability to explode a nuclear bomb underwater, creating a tsunami that would wipe out Miami and parts of New York, all of Bangladesh. It’s insane. The world is run by these major corporations and several of them are military manufacturers. They’re just playing a game. They don’t give a f*** about people’s lives. They only are interested in making more profit for their company. And, unfortunately, war is an incredible way for these military people to make money. That’s a crime, as far as I’m concerned.”

When I opined that the difference between Russia and the United States is that we know how to pronounce the names of our mobsters, Graham chimed in and said, “Yes! Trump, Trump, Trump, and Trump!”

What’s on your radar for the rest of the year and next year?

“More creation. More music. More art. More trying to make the world a better place for myself and for my immediate loved ones. Just more creation. I can only do what I do best. When I find something that is worth writing songs about and talking about, then I will do that.”

And when will we see another Graham Nash album?

“When we did my album, This Path Tonight, we recorded twenty songs and we only used ten of them – thirteen if you bought the deluxe thing from iTunes. So, I have songs left over from those sessions. I have new songs that I’ve been writing and, together, I’ll start preparing the next album while I’m on the road.”

Graham Nash is touring this year so I asked him what can fans expect from him during his shows.NashSteps1

“They can expect me to want to be there. I want them to know that I want to be there making music for them and I also want to see them smile on their way out so that I know that I’ve done my job.”

You can order tickets to put that kind of smile on your face – courtesy of Graham Nash – by visiting to order your tickets as well as keep up on the latest with Graham and order his music.

Cindy Blackman Santana Talks Her New CD and Life With Carlos

Posted February 2019

Cindy Blackman Credit Rob Shanahan croppedPhoto by Rob ShanahanThey say that behind every great man is a great woman. This is literally the case with Carlos Santana in the person of his wife of eight years, Cindy Blackman-Santana. Cindy is one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s touring and studio drummers.

Astute music fans will know Cindy as a phenomenal musician who stands quite well on her own. Having cut her musical teeth on hard-core jazz, she has played with a long list of jazz artists including Sam Rivers, Angela Bofill, Sonny Simmons. 

She’s also quite the rock drummer, first hitting it big as Lenny Kravitz’s drummer and performing on his huge 1993 hit, “Are You Gonna Go My Way”. She’s pretty much played with him ever since.

Her work as a rock drummer invaded her personal life when, in December 2010, she married Carlos Santana. The marriage is rocking along beautifully both personally and musically. 

Hearing that she was going to have an album coming out later this year as well as a new CD with Carlos, I thought it would a great time to chat with her (something I’ve sought to do for three years). 

While preparing for our chat, I learned that she is friends Boomerocity photographic contributor (and personal photographer for Ringo Starr and the go-to shutter bug for DW Drums and Gretsch Drums), Rob Shanahan. 

He had this to say about Cindy: “Cindy is a total class act and incredible drummer. I enjoyed photographing her for the Gretsch Drums campaign, and incredibly grateful to have created such an iconic image of her.” Of which she said, “He’s awesome!”

At the beginning of my chat with Cindy, I congratulated her on her recent wedding anniversary and asked her if it has been anything at all like she envisioned it eight years ago.

“Um, no, it’s not. Ha! Ha! No, it’s not in some ways and in other ways it’s gloriously like I envisioned it. I really like monogamy because I love growing with a person. I’ve always been that way my whole life. I like that. I like seeing the growthEverythingKnoxvilleLogoEdited of a person; doing things together; growing with somebody. We certainly done a lot of that. It’s a beautiful thing because we still have our freshness. We still have playfulness and we still have fun. I see some people who are together for a lot less time and sometimes they don’t stay together. Sometimes, things wear out. We still have all of those things so I’m very happy with that.”

I shifted the conversation to the new CDs coming out and asked her to tell me about them.

“Absolutely! I’ll start, first, with Carlos’ and then end up with mine. 

“He’s got a great CD coming out called “Africa Speaks” and it’s with the Santana band plus this incredible singer who Carlos came across by the name of Buika (pronounced “BWEE-kah”) and she’s SO amazing! Her writing is incredible. I love the content of her writing. And, then, her voice is just really spectacular! It’s very sultry and she has beautiful tone and she’s very distinctive. She’s got a very distinctive voice. Once you hear her voice, you know that it’s her. 

“This music, as the title would suggest – Africa Speaks – is based off of a lot of music that Carlos heard which is from Africa – with some different kinds of African rhythms but, as well, with music that comes from Africa which was initially influenced by American music. American music – or, classical music – which is jazz – comes, in part, from African music. We took the rhythms of Africa and we took the harmonies of Europe and developed on both of those things and expounded on both of those things and created jazz music – which is what I call American Classical music or American CLASSIC music. Classical sometimes deems another connotation which is that it’s a staid music. A music that doesn’t grow. But jazz – in its surest form – is certainly quite the opposite of that. But classic American music – to me being jazz – builds off of those things.

“Well, in Africa, we’re influenced by them rhythmically and melodically, too, in a lot of ways, of course. Blues is certainly influenced by that because you get the call and response, which definitely comes from Africa, as well. They were then influenced by us in terms of hearing jazz, hearing funk, hearing people like James Brown. They did their own thing with it. 

“So, Carlos heard all those things and took them and did something else with them. It’s a nice back and forth influence, if you will, for what we come up with for this record. It’s really incredible. 

“That records coming out. Prior to that, my record will be released. I’m really, really proud of the music that we’re doing. I recorded a lot of music with some musicians. There’s SO MUCH music, at this point, I have, basically, two sides of the record. One is going to be, for the most part, instrumental. The second side is featuring my vocal debut. Those songs are more on a commercial/pop side where the instrumental part is very electric and kind of jazz/rock/funk vibe. Both sides feature a guitar-heavy roster. 

“John McLaughlin is on one track on each side – so he’s on one instrumental and one vocal track. Carlos is on both sides. Vernon Reid is on the instrumental side as is Kurt Hammet. So, it’s really got those heavy hitters on guitar. 

“Then, there’s some songs that’s got some really cool messages. There’s one called, ‘Social Justice,’ which features Andy Vargas, the singer for the Santana band but he’s also an amazing rapper. I really love the messages that he comes up with and his flow. He’s on a couple of tracks. It’s going to be really cool!

“On the second side, with the main vocal things, they were produced by Narada Michael Walden, who is, in his own right, a great drummer, but he’s also a very great producer, as well. Narada is very sweet! A very kind individual. Wonderful to work with. 

“I sang one song on Carlos’ record called, ‘Power of Peace,’ which is a Santana/Isley record. I didn’t intend to sing that song. It’s a song that I wrote called, ‘I Remember’. I brought it into the session where we were recording. It was the last day and I said, ‘There’s a song that I’d love Ronald Isley to hear because it’s great and I think his voice would be wonderful if he sang this song.’  I had demoed that song years ago. So, I brought in the demo that I did with myself singing it. He (Ronald Isley) heard the song and he said, ‘You know, this is a beautiful song, but I don’t see myself singing it. This sounds like a very feminine song. I think a woman should sing it.’

“He was naming some singers who he thought we should bring in and sing it. Carlos was, like, ‘No, no, no, no! If you’re not Cindy Blackman Credit Rob ShanahanReducedPhoto by Rob Shanahangoing to sing it, Cindy’s going to sing it!’ I’m, like, ‘Cindy’s going to sing it’? What are you talking about?’ Ha! Ha!

“Everybody had the same thought – that I should sing it. Even some years ago when I first demoed it, I sang it and then I had Corey Glover from Living Color – he sang it. He said, ‘Cindy, I’m happy to sing this song for you but YOU need to be singing this song, not me!’ Everything was pointing to me doing it. 

“I sang the song. Ronald did some beautiful ad libs on that song. Narada heard that song and said, ‘You know, you should do a record like that where you’re singing’, and Carlos had been saying, ‘You should do a record. I hear you sing around the house and I love your voice. You should sing.’ My mom’s been telling me I should sing. So, because of that urging, I spoke to Narada and I said, ‘Yeah, but I’m not a singer.’ He said, ‘Girl, don’t worry. I can produce you.’ I’m, like, ‘C’mon! I don’t think so,’ and he said, ‘Yep! I can produce you.’

“We started writing together and we came up with seven songs. All of those seven songs are going to be on the record. They’re really cool! Very cool songs! I really love those songs! 

“My record will be a double record with one instrumental side and, then, the vocal side will be the second half of the record. Like I said, I’m really proud of that record. I’m really happy. It’s very, very different record from anything that I’ve ever done. We’re hoping that it will be out in the Spring. That’s what we’re looking for – a Spring release. I wanted it to come out sooner. I wanted it to come out right now but there is, obviously, some logistics that you have to go through to release a record. We’re working through those now and looking for it to be released in the Spring. I’m hoping we get to talk again when it comes out because I really want to share this music and share the messages that are on this record with some people!”

When I asked if they (and she) were going to be touring in support of the discs, she replied:

“Yes! Yes! We’re going to be starting in Las Vegas, starting at the House of Blues, again. Then, we tour the U.S. in the Spring and, then, we have a big, hefty European tour for the summer, which will be great! I love touring Europe – especially in the summer because the weather is so amazing and there’s so many incredible places that you can see and enjoy in the nice weather. That will be fantastic. We have a really full year. We had a nice break here, but we’ve got a full year coming up. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be awesome!”

As I stated earlier, jazz is Cindy’s true musical love. She enjoys the benefit of being able to record and tour playing jazz, not all musicians of the genre do that. I asked her why many jazz artists seem to peel off to play other genres, almost pushing jazz farther into the background.

CarlosCindybyErikKabikPhoto by Erik Kabik“First, it depends on the person’s temperament, attitude, and tastes because, to me, jazz is my favorite and to me it’s the greatest music on the planet. But I also like other music. I like funk music. I like rock. I like African influenced music, rhythmically. I like those things. I love Brazilian music. For me to play other things is also fulfilling. Not fulfilling in the same way as playing jazz. No. But it’s still fulfilling. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a hardship to play other things. My best example of a person who plays other styles and plays them in a very innovative and great way would be Herbie Hancock. He’s one of my heroes for that kind of thing because he does that so well and he’s innovative in every genre that he takes up. 

“It’s unfortunate that – even though jazz is created, born and bred and developed in this country and it’s an American art form – and, to me, the greatest American art form – it does not get the respect or love that it deserves – especially from this country. If it was held in higher regard, then it would. For the jazz musicians who don’t want to branch out and play other things, they wouldn’t have to. If you listen to what gets pushed on the radio, it’s not jazz. It’s not acoustic music. You might get what some call “smooth jazz’. To me, that’s not jazz. I don’t like it, honestly. I’m being very honest and no offense to anybody who plays it and likes it. Everybody’s got their thing. But, for me, it’s not my taste. It’s a watered-down version of the music that I love. If I’m listening to Miles Davis, I don’t want to hear a watered-down version of Miles. If I’m hearing somebody who going for that, then that’s fine. But to hear a watered-down version of it, to make it radio playable, that’s really a turn off for me. 

“And, just because there’s a solo in music doesn’t mean that it’s jazz. People will say, ‘Somebody’s soloing.’ Well, that’s good but that doesn’t make it jazz. It makes it good. It makes them solo and it makes it better because somebody’s actually doing something different in a song. 

“But, back to the main point: I think – and I believe with my whole heart and soul – that if jazz was pushed let’s say on Clear Channel the way that rock is pushed or the way that funk is pushed, people would love it. I’ve played in concerts and people who were stone-cold Lenny Kravitz fans have come to my concerts because they saw me somewhere and they had seen me with Lenny and saw may name. They didn’t really know what I was doing but came. They’re, like, ‘Wow! This is my first jazz concert ever! I loved it!’ Well, you know what? Thank you for that! I appreciate that. I’m so happy. But I think that more people would understand and feel that they love it if the music were pushed more.

“You know, if you look at the fifties when jazz was pushed more, Miles Davis was as big of a star as Marlon Brando. It’s CindyBlackmanSantana01 PhotobyJimmyBruch2bPhoto by Jimmy Bruchmusic that is great and people would love it if given the chance. But when it’s not pushed – and I think there are reasons that it’s not pushed. It’s not pushed because it’s not music that leads to conditioning. It’s not music that leads to everybody thinking with conveyor-belt mentality; with the same in-the-box mentality. It leads you to think out of the box. It leads you to be more of an individual. It leads you to be a creative person. And when you do all those things, you’re less likely to be a person who’s going to be controlled and put into a box in terms of thinking, doing, acting, even eating. You’re not just going to be following the crowd just because it’s the religious act for you. An act done out of habit. You’re going to be thinking for your own self. You’re going to be creating weather you’re going to be making something or whether it’s just creative thought. You’re going to be doing that. 

“That’s what jazz does and why it’s probably my most favorite music ever because it leads and lends itself to creativity. This planet – the universe – is, based on creativity. If you look at the way – and I don’t want to offend anybody for any kind of spirituality or any belief that someone does or doesn’t have and so I don’t hold any kind of judgement either way so I’m hoping nobody holds me in judgement for what I’m about to say – but I believe that the Creator – God, Allah, the Universe, whatever you want to call that being that I feel is responsible for us being here – is a very creative entity. If you look at the way that this planet was put together – the way that the cosmos was put together – that’s some high-level creativity – to be able to make that! 

“So, we, as sparks of that, have the creative gene is us. We have the creative desire in us because we come from an entity that is completely creative – intelligent and creative and loving. That’s what we come from. So, we, at our core, I believe we want to be that. I believe that it serves the purpose of anybody who wants to control or program you to weed that element out of your psyche. Jazz does not weed that element out. It brings that element out. It magnifies that element. Where, if you’re put into a box all the time, then that element is – the element of non-creativity and programming – is enforced and re-enforced. 

“So, that’s what I think is up with creative music; with jazz music. Creative music doesn’t have to be jazz. I take that from Wayne Shorter. He doesn’t even call it jazz. He calls it ‘creative music’. You can be creative if you’re playing in the rock genre. You can be creative if you’re playing in the funk genre. Those are rhythms that you work off of. You can work off of any rhythm and be creative. So, I don’t say that because it’s not ‘jazz’ that it’s not creative. It can be creative if it’s another rhythm. It’s how you approach the chord. It’s how you approach the form. It’s how you approach the whole presentation of the music. It’s how you approach letting the music live; letting the music breathe. Because, if you don’t let it breathe and you don’t let it live, then it’s in that box format.”

As for what she would like to do, musically, that she hasn’t yet done, Cindy said (after some careful thought):

CindyBlackmanSantanaPhotobyJimmyBruch1bPhoto by Jimmy Bruch“More mixing of the genres. This record that I’m coming out with – which, by the way, is called “Give the Drummer Some” – is certainly mixing a bunch of things that I love into one record. More of the ‘chef hat’ is what I want to put on. More recipe making in terms of coming out with more mixes and more colors of the music; to come up with more different presentations for the music.”

Cindy then shared what is on her radar for the next couple of years.

“My agenda for this year is really to keep in line with the projects that we have coming out. I’m really looking forward to this ‘Africa Speaks’ because I love the music. At the same time, I’m very supportive of my new record because I love what we’ve done. So, I intend to keep pushing both of those and when my record comes out, to support that, as well. But, at the same time, my forward-thinking cap is still on because I have music that I’m ready to put out after this record and certainly ideas for stuff I want to do for my next project and my next record. So those are still forming. Some of them are formed because I do have music already that I want to record; some music that I’ve written that I’ve not had a chance to record, yet, that I’ve played live with my band. Those things I want to record so those are on the back-burner for after this record. 

“Maybe playing with some different people; adding some different people to the mix of what I’m doing, as well. Going to some different places in terms of the geography of the tour because I want to certainly reach more people - other people. Reaching out and helping through the music that we play, helping people; helping children; doing some things to bring a magnifying glass or a focus to some happening around the world that I think deserve attention and deserve help from people. 

“I’m really into health. The ‘health is wealth’ phrase and adage I think is important because I think it’s true. I think that’s why it’s such a popular phrase. Health is wealth. So, there are some things that I want to do with that. I’ve seen just through my personal – and I was talking about this to a friend of mine just this morning – I’ve seen just in my personal scope a lot of headway from people who have cancer – by taking what’s called Black Seed Oil – and I’m not a doctor; I’m not purporting to give medical advice or anything and I’ll make a disclaimer with that. These are not testimonials that I’ve read. These are people that I’ve actually seen take that particular substance and have some really dramatic results. There are some things that I want to help – in the proper way and in ways that don’t make me sound like I’m purporting to be some sort of medical doctor, which I’m not. There’s just some things I want to bring attention to in terms of health. I think that the way we eat needs to be addressed. I think the way people are treated; the way that children are treated; the way that the elderly are treated needs to be addressed. 

“My dad passed this year. He had dementia. I think that’s an area that needs to be addressed, as well. I watched his care. I CindyBlackmanSantana 002btook part in his care. I gave him care. I cared for him, as my family did. Apart from caring for him, we were certainly very involved in the facility that he ended up staying in. We were involved in monitoring the care that he was given there. We learned a lot from that. So, there are things in that area that I want to help bring attention to because I think that’s very important. 

“In terms of our awareness of the universe and our awareness of our position here – not as spectators because to live on this planet and think that we are spectators, to me, is not fully being engrossed in the energy of what’s here. I think that this planet is a living, breathing organism and I think that it is the same living, breathing organism that we are, basically. The way that we treat this planet, the way that we treat ourselves, is all intertwined. If we don’t take care of the planet, we’re not taking care of ourselves. 

“I think that they are all things that need to be addressed and I hope to bring attention to all of that. Bring more conscious awareness to those things so that we are taking care of ourselves. We are taking care of the planet. Then the planet will better take care of us! We have to understand that this planet is not called ‘Mother Earth’ just because that sounds like a cool title. This is called ‘Mother Earth’ because it is our mother. We basically suckle off of this earth as we would as newborns off of our mothers when we’re born. When we suckle off of this earth, we have to realize that’s a gift from the earth and, so, we need to take care of her, and we need to love her better.”

How does Cindy want to be remembered and what does she hope her legacy is?

“Absolutely and I’m sure that it will change as my awareness changes – my answers and my perspective on life changes. But you know? I’ll tell you: when I was thirteen, I started studying the Baha´’i faith and it was through some friends of mine that I had met and became their babysitter. The lady said to me, ‘You know, one of the nicest things that anybody ever said to me is that I’m a good person.’ That stuck in my head from then. One of the things that I’m hoping that people would remember me as or by being is that I’m a good person and that I only mean for the highest good of everyone and not just myself. I hope to be remembered as that. Not just in word but also in deed; the things that I do and in the way that I treat people. Certainly, in the way that I try to live my life. I’m not perfect. For the things that are not up to par and up to the level that I want them to be at, I’m certainly consciously aware of raising those things to the level that I want them to be at. I feel that I’ve done – and am doing – a pretty good job at that. Certainly, we can always improve, so there’s that. So, I hope to be remembered for that. 

Cindy 1 Cindy with Santana Band“My goal as a musician is to become a virtuoso, which I’m not at this point. I’m still working on that, but I would hope that I would be remembered as that. If I can be a positive influence on somebody on and off the bandstand; if I can touch somebody’s heart and make them feel love which would make be a better person – a more caring person – then I’m going to feel accomplished if I can do that. Those are some of the things that I hope to do and certainly hope to be remembered for. 

“I have a song on my new record called, ‘Change Is in Your Hands’. I believe that it’s a true title. I believe that we can all make change happen and we’re all responsible for it happening or not happening. I want to be an instrument for change for the good; change for the better; change for the higher level of awareness; change for the higher level of everyone’s life circumstances. And I don’t mean only mine. I think the universe intends for all people to live and breathe and be in the highest circumstance that we can be in. Not just some. But I believe that there’s enough to go around for everybody and I believe that the intention is for everyone to be that way. I don’t like division. Not that I’m ungrateful for anything that I have, do, or will get, and not that don’t strive, because I do. I’m also born in this capitalistic society so that’s part of my mentality but not in a bad way. It’s not the ‘crabs in a barrel’ and I know that that exists, especially in our society. But I don’t take on the energy of the crab in the barrel. I just take the energy of upgrading and uplifting. I’m not going to be the crab that’s going to crawl over someone to get. I’m going to be the crab that’s going to extend my hand and pull other people up.”

Keep up with Cindy at her website,, and be sure to pre-order her new CD, Give the Drummer Some, as well as her husband, Carlos’ new CD, Africa Speaks. They’re worth the price!