A Horse Walking…That’s where these rhythms come from 


 

“A Horse Walking…That’s where these rhythms come from.”  

Yep.  

You can hear Stevie Ray Vaughan talking about this on the recording “SRV Speaks” on the album “Couldn’t Stand the Weather”.  It’s worth the listen.  

Stevie says, "I don't know if a lot of people realize today that a lot of music that came out years gone by, I don't know that it's so much this way now, but it seems to me, that music used to be more based on common everyday occurrences like a train sound going down the track, someone walking down the street, things like that. A horse walking. You know that's where these rhythms came from."  

So true.  

You can see the rhythm of a horse as it walks. You can feel the rhythm of the horse as you ride.   

That’s why horses and music go well together.   

I love spending my time with horses and music and friends and family.   

Nothing better.

You might enjoy checking out our ranch at Valley View Ranch   (www.ValleyViewRanch.net)

 

So, here's to good art & good horses; good people & good lives.

 

Travis

 

P.S.  That's our daughter, Amanda Catherine Buster O'Brien.

Great music often tells me...  

Great music connects us with ourselves and with each other. 

Carl Jung was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud. They mainly differed in that Jung thought there was evidence of a collective unconscious. An unconsciousness that virtually everyone shared, Freud thought this was mysticism. I agree with Jung. I think there is evidence of a collective unconscious . 

I treat myself and others better when I pay attention to not only my conscious thoughts but also my unconscious thoughts and thoughts from our collative unconscious . 

Music helps me do that. Connects me to myself and to other people. 

 

Great music often tells me... 

  Something everybody knows 

  Something unique about the artist 

  Something only I know...& maybe only subconsciously 

 

You say "Travis, what are you talking about? Are you getting weird?" 

Well, yes I'm weird but hey that's what great music often does for me. And it's what I usually feel in music I make. Sometimes there are lyrics, sometimes not. It's what happens when I listen to great music and it's remarkably the same when I write. 

Something everybody knows - I'm told, by something that, "we're going to think about this stuff for a little while". 

Something unique about the artist (me) - I talk to myself about this stuff. 

Something only I know...& maybe only unconsciously ...This part is a big deal for me. Usually there are no lyrics for this part, Words get in the way. I just listen & or play and thoughts drift. And when they drift I think I start to understand the stuff just a little bit better. 

The psychiatrist Carl Jung said he eliminated "critical attention, thus producing a vacuum in consciousness...this led to an expression of the mood, which had the result of bringing the affect nearer to consciousness, hence making it more understandable." 

Fancy words. But that's pretty much what great music does for me. 

Great music brings this stuff up to my consciousness and makes it just a little bit more understandable. Even though I don't fully understand what it is trying to say. And sometimes, I don't have clue. It's more like say, dreaming. And like dreaming it either happens or it doesn't. I don't have much choice in the matter. 

 

For example in the song "Amen" 

  • "You can say Amen".... 

Something everybody knows. Everybody knows Amen. Some times I think it means something a bit different than other times but I pretty much know we're not talking about flower pots. 

Usually the first time a song comes up I don't even know why. Something just up and tells me that this Amen stuff is what we're going to think about for awhile. 

 

  • "My stepfather prayed every morning..." 

Something unique about the artist, that is me. When I think of Amen & related stuff this is some of what comes to mind. 

 

  • The melody plays, no words, let's me relax and process, just sit... 

Thoughts only I know...& maybe only subconsciously - that's where the piano comes in for me. I sit back and just be. This is the magic and the mystery of the music to me

.

Somehow the music speaks or maybe it's that the music lets my subconscious talk. I don't know. 

That's just some of what great music does for me. 

The dream like relaxation from listening to great music is very similar to what happens when I write music or maybe I should say when music comes to me...but that's a topic for another time. 

So here's to internal peace, and world peace, by listening to great music.

Travis

 

 

Crazy Operatic Tailgating... & Congratulations Joe! 

             first off ...Bravo Maestro ! 

Our friend, Joe Illick has been named the Artistic Director of the Fort Worth Opera! 

Joe's a good guy and a lot of fun. He and his lovely and equally crazy wife, Gina introduced us to Operatic Tailgating in Santa Fe.  It's sort of like a tailgating party at a football game except, well maybe crazier.

You go to the opera early and you....have a tailgate party :)

Take a good look at that food. Now that's tailgating.  Courtesy of Joe & and his equally fun, talented and crazy wife, Gina.

 

 

that's Joe about to fight the bull ;)

                                                                                                         and the gorgeous diva, Gina

 

 

Music of many types influences my work. I've been playing some of this operatic stuff since I was 9.

 

It will be great fun to see what operatic mischief Joe arranges at the Bass in Fort Worth.

Congratulations Joe!

http://www.star-telegram.com/entertainment/arts-culture/article161259848.html

a wild roller coaster ride... 

Being with Ray Wylie Hubbard is like being on a wild roller coaster ride that goes from rocking to funny to serious and everything in between.

 

Here we're talking  about...well I guess I can't really say what we were talking but anyway sometimes with his work Ray Wylie is:

Serious... 

"And the days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations  
Well, I have really good days" 

Funny... 

"Sometimes Ramona calls me up   
And says come on down here, it's getting warm   
She runs everybody off   
And we...you know...it's a snake farm "

Serious... 

"And the message I give you is from this old poet Rilke  
He said "Our fears are like dragons guarding our most precious treasures". 

Funny...but serious 

"He was born in Oklahoma  
And his wife's name is Betty Lou Thelma Liz  
He's not responsible for what he's doing  
His mother made him what he is 

It's Up against the wall Redneck Mother..."

 

 

 

And in songs he doesn't waste any time. He has you interested in just a few words... 

"When I was a young man  
About 21 years old y'all  
All I wanted was a stripper girlfriend  
And a Gold Top Les Paul  
Be careful of the things you wish for  
You might get 'em 

There was a night club in Dallas...".

If you want the rest of the story you need to go listen to Ray's song "Mother Blues :)

 

it's a privilege to have such talented friends. - Travis

PS & with Ray that's Lucas Hubbard and Kyle Schneider on drums. Mighty mighty talented too.

 

 

 

the last thing Guy Clark said to me was "Just hold the *%# guitar Travis" 

I've had great conversations w/ Guy but the last thing he said to me was "Just hold the *%# guitar Travis" :)   It was the last time Guy played in Dallas. I think it was sometime in 2012.  Guy was having severe health problems and this evening he could hardly walk to the stage but he did, leaning heavily on a cane in one hand and holding his guitar in the other to thunderous applause.

It was a full house.  Hundreds of people.  Guy took a seat on his armless chair, strummed his guitar and promptly broke a string. 

Let’s say it didn't make him happy. Guy said "Travis hold my *&^ guitar” and he began to put the string in place. 

Several minutes went by as the crowd sat and watched.  I looked at Verlon for an idea of what to do and Verlon slightly shook his head meaning, "Don't do anything. Just sit tight" so sit tight I did.   

I just sat holding the guitar and looked at Guy's trademark bloody thumbprint inside the sound hole of his guitar while Guy worked with the string.  Some more time went by and then I very carefully asked Guy if he would like me to take his guitar back and put a string on it. "Just hold the *%# guitar Travis", came Guy's reply. 

A bit more time went by and Guy gave a deep sigh and then left to go backstage &  change the string.  

Before long he was back on stage and sat down and began his show and what a great show it was.  He forgot some of his words but when he did the crowd would call them out to him in a beautiful sing along.   

It was a great night I will never forget.

Then last week David Card held a Guy Clark memorial and it was beautiful. Pretty amazing how many people Guy touched thru his simple songs.  It was a real privilege to have Verlon  with us sharing stories and doing songs w/ everybody.  Great day.
This is a pic of the song finale "LA Freeway"  — with Verlon Thompson, me, Michael O'Neal, Shad Blair, David Card, Rickey Wright, George Ensle and Floramay Holliday Racz and the whole room singing along.

Thank you David for putting the memorial together. I think Guy would have liked it.

And Vaya Con Dios Guy Clark. 

Books 

I'm working on adding some of books that have impacted the music. Like.. Letter's To a Young Poet by Rilke. "Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, “I must," then build your life upon it"  I'd like to share great stuff like that.  We'll see :)

Piano 

Went to Steinway Hall in Dallas and picked the piano for the Poor David's show on 1/16. I love going there. Great pianos Great people.

Shine 

I wrote Shine thinking about two people falling in love.  Actually Wendy & I falling in love.

 

and the beauty of Mirandola, the Italian from the 1400’s & his  "Dignity of Man".

 

Now before you shut me down because I’m getting all fancy classroomy on you let me explain. Mirandola eloquently wrote his Oration with big words and high thoughts but you can see the awesome Dignity of Man in this  little love song w/ horses and planets and a kitchen...

 

A  man meets beautiful woman & says his love for her is like a stallion chasing a mare across the prairies; like a planet chasing a star across the heavens;

if she will just let him love her she will shine like them…

 

And they fall in love.

 

 but then reality hits...

He can’t live up to this fantastic life he has dreamed of.

 

 but then he realizes… 

More beautiful than a stallion chasing a mare across the prairies;

More beautiful than a planet chasing a star across the heavens;

He, little ole he…can dance with this beautiful lady across the kitchen.

 

There is literally nothing more beautiful in the universe than a man and a woman dancing across the kitchen.…wow.

 

Way more beautiful than any car.

Way more beautiful than any house.

Way more beautiful than any job.

 

A man & woman dancing across the kitchen.

 

So officially the song is called "Shine" but you and I know it should be called "The Dignity of Man".


Here's to letting our dignity shine.

Click here to hear "Shine"

Lyrics:
 

Sam is a stallion. Mary is a mare.
They chase each other across the prairie.
Mary thinks that Sam is a super stud.
He thinks she’s a hot little filly.
I’ll be your stallion.
You be my mare.
And we’ll chase each other across the prairie.
And I will give you lots of love and you'll shine

Peter is a planet. Sally is a star.
They chase each other cross the sky.
She thinks that he is the center of the universe.
He thinks she’s the sparkle in his eye.
I’ll be your planet.
You be my star.
And we’ll chase each other across the sky.
And I will give you lots of love and you'll shine

but
I can't run like a stallion
I can't give you the stars above
but I can give you lots of love and I can make you smile

so
I’ll be your man. You be my woman.
we’ll chase each other across the kitchen
And I will give you lots of love and you'll shine


Happy Ain't Easy 

A musician friend of mine, John Fullbright, says "Somebody tell me, what's so bad about happy" in his song "Happy". Well that got me to thinking, which many people think is a dangerous thing for me to do, what is so bad about happy?

I try to stay happy.  I think most of us do. We try to exercise, avoid people that bring us down, try not to drink too much but no matter what I try, happy ain't easy. We try to think positive, always look on the bright side and all that but No matter what I think, happy ain't easy.

Happy ain't easy because bad things happen. Howling winds – they find us and they chill us.  In the Phantom of the Opera the chandelier crashes down and almost kills the fat lady (you know the one that has to sing).  The director tries to calm her by saying "these things happen"  but as the diva quits in disgusts she says "These things happen but they don't happen to me."  We like to think bad things don't happen to us, but they do.

Dogs die, precious people leave, all kinds of bad stuff.

Some of us throw ourselves into our job, some turn to drink, some go get a new relationship, some move to another place but no matter what we do, no matter where we go, happy ain't easy.

Then there are those that have all the answers. Ugh.  Some have lots of money, some are in the church, some just plain want you to think they have life all together. They're great and we're idiots…they call out from their safe place…Stand your ground - Call for grace, It’ll make you whole.

But what are these fine folks like when bad stuff comes to them, bad thoughts, bad people...who stands their ground when the wind blows straight thru your soul? Nobody.

I've been there.  You kind of get your stuff together and bam... bad stuff seems to come looking for you.  I think it really does.  I know where the wind blows, When the wind don’t know nowhere else to blow. Then the wind blows hard – hard thru our souls.

It does not matter if we are the king of the world,  bad stuff happens.  It doesn't matter if we "know God personally", bad stuff happens. No matter who we are. No matter who we know.

But… there's a limit to the bad stuff. The one who lets the winds blow, Holds back the seas.  We can be happy.  Maybe we will, maybe we won't but we can be happy.

So John You ask, what’s so bad about happy and I've thought about it and near as I can tell ,not one damn thing.

And I am happy quite a good bit actually. It just ain't easy :)

Happy Ain't Easy  Click here to hear the song
Lyrics:
You ask, what’s so bad about happy

Well near as I can tell - not one damn thing
But oh you know - Happy ain’t easy
No matter what I try
No matter what I think

Howling winds – they find us and they chill us
Howling winds – they always seem to blow
And they blow hard - hard thru our souls
No matter what we do
No matter where we go

Others they call out from their safe place
Stand your ground - Call for grace It’ll make you whole
But who stands their ground – when the wind howls

When the wind blows straight thru your soul

You see I know - I know where the wind blows
When the wind don’t know nowhere else to blow
Then the wind blows hard – hard thru our souls
No matter who we are
No matter who we know

The one who lets the winds blow
Holds back the seas
Speak up if you understand
But as for me
I’m just a man
And you ask what I do not understand.

You ask, what’s so bad about happy
Well near as I can tell - not one damn thing
But oh you know - Happy ain’t easy
No matter what we try
No matter what we think

 

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Travis's bookshelf: great-books

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges
really liked it
I'm reading this one now. So far really good. Like... "Presence stems from believing and trusting your story." "Carl Jung believed that the most important process in human development was integrating the different parts of the self—the...
Letters to a Young Poet
it was amazing
Write only if you must. Think young
Necessary Losses: The Loves Illusions Dependencies and Impossible Expectations That All of us Have
it was amazing
"I should be dealing with my demons but I'm dodging them instead" John Mooreland. And to paraphrase Mark Twain, "There are two types of people: Those that know they have fears to face and those that are liars." But that also means we al...
A Deeper Blue: The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt
really liked it
well researched. good insight into Townes and many of the people around him. matches what I know of David Card, Wrecks Bell, Guy Clark and others.

goodreads.com
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  • Bonita Harthan

    Bonita Harthan

    I love the song "The Pain"! It must go on your next album! For some reason, I can visualize you sitting at your piano singing that very song. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with others! God bless you, Travis and Wendy! Bonita

    I love the song "The Pain"! It must go on your next album! For some reason, I can visualize you sitting at your piano singing that very song. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with others! God bless you, Travis and Wendy! Bonita

  • Bonita Harthan

    Bonita Harthan

    I love the song "The Pain"! It must go on your next album! For some reason I can visualize you sitting at your piano singing that very song. Thank you so musc for sharing your talent with others! God bless you Travis and Wendy! Bonita

    I love the song "The Pain"! It must go on your next album! For some reason I can visualize you sitting at your piano singing that very song. Thank you so musc for sharing your talent with others! God bless you Travis and Wendy! Bonita

  • Evert White

    Evert White Muscatine, IA

    What a wonderful assortment of thoughts, feelings, fun lyrics, and terrific piano music.

    What a wonderful assortment of thoughts, feelings, fun lyrics, and terrific piano music.