November 2019 Muse Letter


We have recently finished the Podcasts of the Benaroya Hall concert from May of 2017 that introduced songs from the “Gratitude, Grit, and Grace” album. Along the way we added Blogposts that talked about individual songs, how they were written and why they were important. In the coming weeks the Podcasts will reintroduce “One of Those Times in a Life”.  The idea is to take maybe a dozen weeks and to revisit that seven-year journey. It will be fun for me to look at the campfires again, to remember how I was feeling at various stages of the process, and to talk some about how various campfires were created. Each Podcast will contain an audio update, and there will be Blogposts that talk about the Campfire Songs. 


The Brothers Four are singing this week on the East Coast. Our first show is in Wrentham, MA. The next night we will be performing at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, CT. It will be a special treat for me because my grandchildren – ages 6 and 4 – will be there for the show. It will be fun to share the music with them, but more important to have them get to know their Brothers Four family better. This is the 60th Anniversary year from the group, and we closer than ever and feeling lots of gratitude that the adventure is continuing. 


Work continues on the “Remembering the Dream” project. In the Summer of 1968 I was doing social work in New York City. Early on I asked my African-American roommate what I might do. His advice was among the best I have ever received, before or since. “Whatever you DO, BE yourself.” One of the weeks I was the musician at a camp where a third of the kids were Puerto Rican, a third were African-American, and a third were American and foreign born Chinese. I was just a folk singer who could sing “Kumbaya” without a bit of irony. Our musical tastes and roots could not have been more diverse. While none of us may have gotten what we thought we wanted when the camp began, by the time it was over I believe we had all gotten something we needed: a feeling that we were all in this together and better for our shared experience. That experience and others like it stay with me to this day. More recently it was my good fortune to take part in half a dozen Civil Rights Pilgrimages (visiting important sites and hearing stories from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s) between 2014 and 2017. What I am doing with the Remember the Dream project is combining the music from the Movement, my personal experiences, and some Civil Rights history in a way that I hope inspires us to keep looking together at what it means to be in the American experience together.


It means a lot that you would take the time to listen to the songs and the stories that I am sharing. I continue to search for ways to make this journey financially self-sustaining. One way I am trying is to ask folks to become PATRONS through PATREON. With a contribution of any amount you are entitled to your choice of any CD I’ve recorded as a solo artist or with McCoy. If you are willing to give $10 per month for a year you will receive a video of the May 2017 CONCERT AT BENAROYA HALL or a video of the GRADUATION CELEBRATION as well as two CD’s of your choice.

In this edition of the Muse Letter there is a photo from the Benaroya Concert of May, 2017. There is also a Brothers Four promo photo from 1969. That is me with the guitar. There are a couple of photos from the most recent Brothers Four tour of Japan. There is also a photo of my diploma from the University of Washington. You can watch the Graduation Celebration in a series of Podcasts on the website including one where Mike Kirkland appears on stage for the first time in more than 50 years. On the Shoulders of Giants