BHM: Blind Willie Johnson

Even though he recorded only about 30 songs in his life, he was the first preacher to make blues records and influenced everyone to come along afterwards. Years ago, I spent a whole drive from Asheville, NC to Memphis, TN singing along to this song to try to learn how to inflect like he does. I’m still working on it…

Interview with Sheri at KPISS FM

I walked miles through the snow today to be interviewed by the very real and very gracious Sheri Barclay. “The things I’ll do for self-promotion!” We also premiere one of my yet unheard, unreleased tracks, called “Do You Wanna Go?” Listen here:

BHM: Eddie Hazel

Back in summer 2004, I was in an office working for the City of New York, and I remember sitting on my chair at my desk, under a blanket trying to insulate from the extreme air conditioning in the building, and this tune came on in my headphones and it was the first time I’d really listened closely to the singing towards the end of the tune, and I just started crying uncontrollably, right there in front of everyone. I still get choked up listening to Eddie’s beautiful voice.

BHM: Son House

Son House is a country blues player whose slide playing style I have ripped off plenty, but so did Robert Johnson and just about everyone else since who plays slide guitar.

BHM: Sly Stone

The musical mind of Sly Stone demonstrates a beautiful balance. His monstrous band serves music that is harmonically rich and supremely funky at the same time. The diversity of his material and his band are hugely inspirational — someday when I have a family band, my kids and I will be singing “Thank You” in harmony. Sly was marginalized after succumbing to addiction, but he has recovered somewhat, and is still alive and has wisdom to offer — check out his more recent interviews on YouTube. Thank YOU Sly Stone!


This post is part of a series where I pay tribute to the numerous Black American artists that have inspired and influenced me over the years.

BHM: Boyd Rivers

Boyd Rivers sang and played with the spirit and fire of a man doing his best to save us from certain damnation — he’s the baddest preacher I have ever come across. Discovering this video blew my mind that this man was virtually unknown outside the communities of dedicated blues listeners. Watching it taught me about singing from a deep place in my body, and to do it with style and joy. There are a few rare recordings of his out there — all worth checking out.


This post is part of a series where I pay tribute to the numerous Black American artists that have inspired and influenced me over the years.

Dissolve Patriarchy

A few weeks ago I posted a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #dissolvepatriarchy, and when I searched for that hashtag I found that I was the inventor of it. No one else has used that hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

A search turns up the only use of #dissolvepatriarchy on Instagram

This is a little disappointing to me, especially considering how popular the hashtag #smashpatriarchy is on those social media networks (almost 6,000 posts on Instagram). My main reason is that the act of smashing something is a relatively patriarchal gesture — it’s a masculine way of trying to deal with a problem, especially in contrast with the act of dissolving the obstacle in your way. If we are trying to get rid of the patriarchs who rule currently, we should consider an approach that is feminine in its methodology, which implies a gentle, non-violent action, and one that integrates (as dissolving does) instead of creating further separation (as does smashing).

If we want to get rid of our currently masculine-dominated hierarchical systems, we have to first start thinking about how our actions are affected by the current zeitgeist, and evaluate whether we are perpetuating the established systems unknowingly.