We spoke of many dreams 
Oh didn't we, oh didn't we
In the eye of the storm or somewhere in between
With our heads held high
Our fists to the side
With a cannon to the left
A cannon to the right
Aiming for the glory of the rest of our lives

We were fish in the stream, silver and blue
searching for something more than the truth
We were boys, brothers in arms
We were boys, chasing the stars 
We were boys, fighting for yards
We were boys

And you always knew best,
the Joker in the deck
Shameless and always willing to put it to the test
With your head held high
your fists to the side
Cannon to the left
Cannon to the right
Aiming for the glory of an endless night


Oh Hello Cowboy, we got so close to the sun
Hello Cowboy, we ain't even close to being done
Hello Cowboy, you're the only one I can think of
when I need someone by my side

We were fish in the stream, silver and blue
searching for something more than the truth
We were boys, brothers in arms
We were boys, chasing the stars 
We were boys, fighting for yards
We were boys searching for the glory of the rest of our nights
Cannon to the left
Cannon to the right
Aiming for the glory of the rest of our lives
We were boys
We were boys
We were boys
We were boys



Brotherhood never gets its due in the realm of music. Sisterhood either, since we are on the topic. But let’s not divide the line. We are talking about true friendships here. The kind that you have no understanding of. It is the watch you never have to wind. Through wear and tear and despite the oil and sweat of human hands, or the faults in its exterior imbued through gravity and clumsy grasp, it still works. It is far from perfect but the time that you keep is the time that you have shared, that you have endured. And from these ingredients and only these ingredients, Trust is derived. And so you carry it with you now, every where you go. Especially, when the world stands still. You hear, you feel, it’s tock.

It pulls you. It pushes you. It reminds you, gently, that the past is not lost but in your pocket, in your hand, in the back of your mind whenever you need it to endow you with the courage to move forward.

To the ones that carry us forward despite the burden of our girth.

To my brothers and my sisters, bound by blood or by blood alcohol level.

To Ben, my dear dear friend.

To the Glory we continue to seek and the Glory we have found in each other.



To Louise


"To Louise"

There's a note on the dresser addressed to Louise
It only says "I miss you"
but she knows better than she feels
she knows better than she can deal
Oh Louise it's okay to disappear sometimes

Made in America, she once said
Happiness comes
in two point five kids
nine to five bids
to see who outlives social security

And I love the country most
and the empty road
You can drive along so fast
that you slow down the past
think of us like that, Louise, if we ever lose track

No there ain't no room for us Juliets, Louise
No sunshine white steeds to sweep us off our feet
And if I ever go someday, 
I might never come back your way
but some times happiness ain't the road we choose
it's the path others have laid before you


And I know it's all good
but I'm a country girl
and I want me a yard where
the kids can run so far
and the day is never hard but for their ma and their pa

I hope you understand
that love is all we have
but think of the children, Louise
how will we fend?
how will we answer their questions?


There's a note on the dresser
addressed to Louise


To Louise” is very important to me in that it is one of my only songs that is not entirely my story. It is hard to get outside of yourself as a writer, but then again isn’t that the whole point? And yet, part of it is about me as I sought to understand the perspective of the friend that inspired it. A friend who was lost, just as I was. A friend who was searching for what would truly make her happy.

Ten years ago, I was working as a Fry Cook, Manager, and Delivery man in a wing restaurant because I had no other leads and honestly no other ideas as a college graduate with an English degree in Creative Writing. It should have been a B.S. instead of a B.A…. Jk. Jk. I wanted to be a singer/songwriter, but I wasn’t good enough and my parents would never sit will with that either. They wanted me to be a doctor. I needed to go back to school to be a Doctor of something. Usher in the musical renaissance of my friends Austin R., Clay M., and Dillon M., and we were beginning to realize, at that time, that maybe we could succeed as a hodgepodge band of sorts in Raleigh, North Carolina. And so there I was battling my future. The Perfect Son versus the Dreamer.

There’s that thing about Asian Stereotypes that is true. Asian parents always want their kids to succeed at the highest level of society. It eats every Asian kid up. Asian American or just plain Asian. There is no bar but the highest bar. You have to set the standard for comparison to all your relatives and every one of your parents’ friends’ offspring. You will never be good enough. They will never love you like the way you hope to be loved until you are the darling example of existence they can unfold in their wallet to their peers.

The truth is that most parents are like this. Not just Asian parents. It comes from Love and not disappointment or the preemptive strike at the possibility of disappointment. It comes from a maternal and paternal instinct to protect us from a world that holds no regard toward our well-being. Our parents attempt to lead us toward an environment where our social status, our economic status, will protect us from the hecklers that will barrage us because those guys need to find a way to feel better about themselves. They have no other fortifications to lean on. Meanwhile, our parents need us to feel better about our selves. They fight for it. They even fight us for it. And as we fight for it ourselves we forget as we carve our own slice through this canyon of existence that our parents need to feel better too. About us.

This message of goodwill and good intent often gets lost in the pursuit of all of our individual happiness. Because what will lead us to that plateau of happiness? Our own vision of happiness? Our parents’ vision of happiness? Our child’s vision of happiness? Where do these paths intersect? Will they ever?

In the serious contemplation of my own path toward that plateau of happiness, I thought of the path of my wing restaurant coworker and friend, Kristen, a woman who loved a woman but who cherished the approval of her parents from the countryside of Angier, North Carolina. I found these words in the ether and delirium of a late night.

“… sometimes happiness ain’t the road we choose

it’s the path others have laid before you”

Kristen, wherever you are now, I hope you choose your heart and not just the path laid before you. Love is love. Good intentions are good intentions. It takes many a fight, many a distant canyon forged, for us to understand these simple notions. I hope we can all find a way to recall that love is where we began with all of our intentions and love is where we all hope to end, with each other, and not distant from one another. It is hard. It may always be.

But it will also always be worth it.

To Kristen. To Louise. To Love.


My Black Bess


"My Black Bess" 

If I mistook the way that you sometimes 
look at me
Please don't worry and please don't run
because I will shrink away
Oh I will shrink away

I played our joys on the record player
waiting for the sun
I thought if I could be someone that you could 
love me better, you could 
love me better

So here I am on your doorstep
the unsure and unwelcome guest
you should say what's on your troubled mind
Oh honey, for you I've got plenty of time
honey, for you I've got plenty of time

I rode my horse past your window tonight
and I blew kisses from the back of my mind
oh if love was as simple as a ray of light
Honey, you'd be shining day or night
hHney, you'd be shining day or night


Oh I never knew which road was truer
to be the love or pursuer
I'd give my all but I'm often the loser
And I don't want to go
No, I don't want to go


Oh honey, for you I've got plenty of time.


My Black Bess” is an oddity for a couple of reasons. First of all, the title of the song appears no where in the song and for that reason it has garnered some confusion throughout the years that I hope has waned as the song and I have both aged. I’ll get to the reason why in a bit. Second of all, it was one of three songs I wrote in a single night. I have never repeated that achievement ever again. I probably never will. You can blame the fever pitch of falling in love and then subsequently, being terrified of it. Manly, right?

On that night I probably started writing around 10pm and I was up until probably 5 or 6 in the morning. All I remember was that the sun was coming up before I found myself to weary to continue. I wrote “My Black Bess”, “Marianne”, and “The Day We Drove to the Rodeo” all in one night. I guess you can say I had some feelings I had been holding in. This was also back in college when I held no reservations about being late or skipping class the next day. I might not have made it to class the next day. I plead the Fifth. Let’s keep my parents out of this loop.

The title of the song is derived from a Woody Guthrie song that Billy Bragg and Wilco covered on their album of Guthrie covers, “Mermaid Avenue.” The Guthrie song was entitled, “The Unwelcome Guest.” I have to mention beforehand that “Mermaid Avenue” is one of my favorite albums of all time and I love just about every song on that album. Billy Bragg and Wilco do a peerless job of translating Woody’s song for a new generation. However, I sat for a while with “The Unwelcome Guest” after I listened to it. Sure, the blacklisting of Communist sympathizers needed to be addressed by someone as competent as Woody Guthrie, but I also thought, brewing in haze of my own shortcomings and flawed romantic pursuits, “The Unwelcome Guest” was also the perfect metaphor for unrequited love. Damn Woody. It was so perfect it wasn’t even a metaphor anymore.

And so, the naive boy in me sought a way to understand what it meant to love someone who might never love him back and what he might do to ensure he wouldn’t destroy the beautiful connection they already shared. It was a fine line. And, in retrospect, many lessons were learned that I still carry with me to this day. One of which is to always take a chance at love. The world does not end with heartbreak. It keeps going. And you will too. A broken heart educates you very quickly. You can say that for it at least. The rest, as they say, is just history. You move on. You grow. You get some good stories, or songs, out of it. It is never time wasted. It is just a lesson learned.

Go find “The Unwelcome Guest,” if you don’t know it already. Bess was his most trusted companion. I’m sure you can sew together the rest.


The Bohemian Mama Blues


"The Bohemian Mama Blues"

Oh the answers to her questions have always hung like the stars
That dangle responsibility right over where you are
But she means as well as anybody, she's just trying to save us all
Still she claims she's the Queen of Nothing when she has conquered my heart
Oh I blow her kisses, but she's too busy listening to her call
Oh my baby she's got the Bohemian Mama
Bohemian Mama blues

Oh the children are starving all over the world
She takes her Saturdays to help us forget about the war
She says while we kill and we steal we forget about the poor
When a dollar a day has never been worth so much more
Oh but the people they keep on walking, my baby she keeps on talking to the floor
Oh my baby she's got the Bohemian Mama
Bohemian Mama blues

Oh we drove out to the ocean and sat for a spell
She said, "Sometimes I am not so sure if I am doing so well.
I do my best to help but the world cannot tell.
Oh my boy if I was the wind this ship would never set sail.
Oh I am getting older, my days they do seem shorter than before.
Oh what can I do to get out of these blues?
These I'm trying as hard as I possibly can blues?”

Now the votes are coming in they are crowning a brand new president
She says change is good but somehow we're always on the losing end
Oh if everybody knew their history they'd see it is just an illusion
Change starts with you not with a name punched out or punched in
Oh but everybody waves. It'll all be okay in the end
Oh my baby she's got the Bohemian Mama
Bohemian Mama Blues

Oh what can we do to get out of these blues?
These I am trying as hard as I possibly can
These I am trying as hard as I possibly can
These I am trying as hard as I possibly can blues


The Bohemian Mama Blues” began on a porch, like most of my songs always have. I was visiting my friend Clay in Wilmington, North Carolina, having a beer and a smoke one summer back when we were still in college, still embracing our freedom from the universe of adult responsibility, the world of facing fifty hour work weeks just to cover the bills and then using up our weekends to merely recover, to remember our true selves. We could breathe easy then, you could say. Sunsets, long drives, and late nights that turned into early sunrise bedtimes were far more common back then. We never worried about time then, like we do now. We had plenty of time. We were just getting started.

That same summer one of our dear friends, Miss Amanda Baker, was on hiatus from college and spending the entirety of it at Carolina beach. She had spent some time with Clay herself, and the rest, she was skirting around from couch to couch, porch to porch, wherever and whoever would allow her to crash for the night. She was doing whatever it took to spend time with her true love, the Beaches.

I was deep in a Bob Dylan phase at that time (I think I always will be), absorbing all the vocabulary of his earliest albums, and so, without much premonition, I thought out loud in conversation with Clay, “Bakes is a real Bohemian Mama throwing caution to the wind and living and loving and embracing her freedom, her love for the beaches.” And to this day, not much has changed. She still loves the beaches.

That was the genesis for the title of the song. I spent the next month trying to understand what a “Bohemian Mama” might truly seek from the world and what a Bohemian Mama might mean to me. What I found was more of my friends; the lovers, the fighters, the poets, the activists, the naturalists, the ones with only the best of intentions, the ones seeking love and seeking to be loved. And I also found a bit of myself.

I discovered that all my favorite people were Bohemian Mamas. We were all seeking true love in some shape or form and, even though we were always unsure of it as the youthful usually are, we were fighting for it. And we were also fighting against Time. And we still are. As we always shall.

Time, man, it seems so immeasurable when we experience something like a sunset at the beach, or share a beverage and a profound conversation with a friend, or immature conversation with a friend, or when we take a silent drive through the countryside or mountainside, or when we hear that perfect song, or when we kiss. Time is immeasurable when we love. When we take a moment to breathe it all in. To savor.

And that’s really what this song is about. It’s not about politics. It’s about learning to savor Love. It is a Love Song. And I would like to argue that every song, every narrative, every debate, political or domestic, is a love song to some thing or some one because I see two love songs inside the B-mama Blues, but we’ll save that conversation for a future beer that you and I share.

This song is a love song to all of my friends who fight for a better world, for a better day, for someone right in front of them or someone deep in the sea of strangers that deserve better. Remember that you are loved regardless of the distances you feel you must travel to save us. You are not lacking. You do not have to save us to earn our love or respect. You already have that. But keep fighting. Your will, your heart, is why you are kept so close to our thoughts.

It has been almost 8 years since I wrote this song, but my friend Graham gave me these words that I stole for this song and that still ring true to this day. They are bittersweet, but age and honest friendships have painted them with more hope and urgency.

“Oh I am getting older, my days they do seem shorter than before”

To Clay, to Graham, to Emily B., to Amanda “Bakes”, to Ben, for providing me the inspiration, friendship, and perspective to write a song I am so adamantly proud of. You were all in my thoughts as I wrote this song and every single time I sing it. You still are.