From The Top of Willamette Mountain

Theres no reason to be excited, except!!! for the fact that we're all going to HELL

King of the Fallen Cottonwoods / Home Harvest

Ollie-VER / King of the Cauliflower / Willamette MTN, Utah

Tour serves an inappropriate amount of both light and dark to the one in her care. Four and half weeks pass as quickly as an autumn evening, robust with color and careless winds that pull your heart to the mindful present moment. As that one 4 week moment passes by / through you everything that is in your surrounding is still moving, your gas company is still charging you a buck a dekatherm, your garbage still gets collected on Thursdays, your lover still makes the coffee weak and leaves the hall light on while you find hunker down on the floor of a 62 year old man that offered his entire home to you and the band while you found your ramblings through Jackson, Mississippi. And all you hope and wish for is that the two worlds can find a balance upon your return back to the world that you left behind. And for the pursuit of a singer? Of a guitar player? A drummer? A dreamer?

We returned home a mere 8 days ago. The tour took us through the Midwest where we sang for Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and the like. It swirled us onto the Coast of the Easterners and down through the thick south. I find journaling and documenting the entire experience exhausting and have given up on writing about every moving experience. Life (in general) is moving, and to not focus on that fact is to not live (for that moment).  To work on being present in the present is presently my pursuit. Too often (so often) I will find myself in conversation, whether it through phone lines or across the table, drinking coffee, and my thoughts are not with the speaker / friend / lover AT ALL, but rather in the land of the NON-living, the dream land, focused on something that has NOTHING to do with my present surrounding. How often do I / don’t I stop to look at the magnificence of the body’s ability to keep moving / breathing / functioning. Almost more beauty in that thought alone (while staying present) than in anything else I could POSSIBLY be doing.

RETURN home to the GREAT.

Pumpkin / Butternut / Spaghetti / Swan Neck Gourd.

"Every good garlic crop needs a pair of small hands" - Hosania Butler

Tomato Tot 1

Tomato Tot 2 (Pasilla Pepper harvest)

Queen Bee / Serrano Pepper Harvest / Picklin’

The tour was beautiful and accepting. I have learned to deal with the up and the down that accompanies a man that travels from city to city, singing and meeting. Timmy, Isaac and Evan make the whole thing that much easier and have been my faithful road companions for years. As we made our journey into the final state in which we would be performing (Colorado) my heart was pulled from one end to the other. I wanted / longed for / needed to see my lover, my boy, my animals, friends and home, but all the while I knew that my days of singing for strangers night after night was about to be put on hold again. I needed something / someone to ground me. There are moments as a human being where you feel completely / utterly / wholly alone, small realizations that you, even you (yourself) can’t pinpoint where you / your mind / being begins and where it ends. Am I my body that is shaking and convulsing while singing? Or am I my mind that gets lost in the lyric and the thought of it all? Am I a balance of them both? And then when you realize you can’t exactly point to where “YOU” are you find yourself drifting further into the ether of loneliness and “self-loss”, but, BUT!!! There are pockets of true contentment and inspiration that float in that place of swirling, whirling confusion in which you can encounter a self-awareness that leads to contentment (happiness feels “AESOPY”) at least for a spell. But ain’t those spells worth it? Those REAL moments in which things feel like a warm sun on your face and the only thing to do is smile back? GOLLY, I hope so, because that is what I am living for.

I’ve always liked Boulder, Colorado. It was the 2nd to last stop and the weather was kind. We stood out back, behind the venue, when a familiar face slipped through the back door. Mr. Gregory Alan Isakov, a farmin’, Colorado livin’ singer and soul searcher smiled at us as he exited the stage door.

“Mr. Isakov” I said with a hand extended. We all shook hands and thanked him for coming out to the show. “Surely you boys have a place to stay here in Boulder..” he said with confidence. “Surely we DO NOT.” I quickly responded. Whether by choice or necessity the boys and I have learned to fly by the seat of our pants, and this particular night we had nowhere to lay our heads. “You guys should just come sleep at the farm!” Gregory responded. His quickly extended hand of friendship and kindness was something out of an Enochian fairy tale. We accepted his generous offer and headed out to the stage with a meaner eye, knowing that there was a place that we would be calling temporary home that night. The show went over well with the kind folks in attendance that Boulderanian night. We packed up and made our way to the 4-acre farm that Mr. Isakov calls home. The night was spent trying to come to an agreement on how to spin a happy balance between love and life on the road as a traveling singer man. The concept of becoming your own best friend came up and made more sense to me at that moment then I would have thought it could / would / should. The things that a human being is made to endure from the use / misuse / abuse from others are (or at least can be) horrendous and life altering. The heart / kidney can only take so much BREAKING before a man feels completely defeated. Love is the purpose I truly do believe. Finding that atmosphere in which you can keep it constant has proven to be more difficult than I initially anticipated when my experiments in love began at an early age. All of this leads back to the SELF. Finding peace / happiness in your own person before trying to love something / someone else.

“Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake

As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake;

The center moved, a circle strait succeeds;

Another still, and still another spreads;

Friend, parent, neighbor, first it will embrace;

His country next; and next all human race;

Wide and more wide, the o’erflowings of the mind

Take every creature in, of every kind;

Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest,

And heaven beholds its image in his breast.”

-Alexander Pope

KING of the “Fallen Cottonwood” / Sir Gregory Alan Isakov / Boulder, Colorado

The night stretched out this way with different ways of coping / enjoying life on the road, and it was a much needed connection that I am in constant search of with other humans. Looking for a good conversation, a savvy phrase to live with (for awhile), a truly heart felt written letter. A true extension of self. Honest. Truthful. REAL. I have spent too long with my head in the sand.

Searcher / Fields of Colorado / Early Morning 

(If anyone cares to write a letter to me (not that you would, but if you DID I will respond.) my PO box is the following):

Joshua James

PO Box 1126

American Fork, UTAH

84003

“The mind of love…increases immeasurably and eventually can embrace the whole world.              –Mahyama Agama

A Jungle of the Heart / A Life Worth Living / The Only One.

Son / Father / Coping on Tour. Nashville, Tennessee.

Certain spells of time appear thinner and frailer than others. There are certainly those moments that link one spell to the next, making it seem like one long piece of poetry (Life and her magical mystery) that breaks and heals us throughout the course of our extremely long/short lives. My head, the spinning gift of existence, has flipped / flopped over the course of the last three months, sending me into a state of true self-reflection / actualization (atleast it SURE feels this way), pushing me into a harsh reality that we can TRULY and POSITIVELY only be responsible for our own (ness). Our own happiness, our own creation / mind / body / health / ET cetera. To place that into the arms / care of another is a dangerous and (possibly) foolish endeavor. But! what is to be said of the one who gives it away imprudently? Who is reckless in his / her devotion to the mysticism of LOVE and her many shrouds of “the riddle”?
AH!
But, I must shout:
“BRAVO! BRAVO, you courageous joker! That you detach yourself from ego and pursue the only thing worth real pursuit, OH! indeed, that indescribably gift, the dweller of the heart, the greatest drug to stimulate MAN, even her, LOVE. Go and place your WHOLE on the line, be a fool for her (love), break your body in search of the sweetness that can be her (love).”

She (love) does not have to be of the romantic sort, no, not even. She can be found in the forest (as she def. dwells in the wild), in the mountains, in the streets of Detroit, in attic of our ancestors, in the eyes of our lovers, and more importantly in the psyches of each and EV’RY one of us. OH! It is true, friend! Love, the weightless purpose of reason is inside of US ALL. I have never been one to think too much of love. I have found that emotionally I have leaned to the sensitive side of feeling but have not given more than a thought or two. Through the course of my most recent adventures life has turned me around and pointed it right at my face. “LOOK AT ME!” She would shout. “LOOK at what I am, and what I can become.” And it all resides inside, right here, on the inside of me, of you, of us.

My Boys / A True Gift / Always In Their Shadow. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ghosts In The Graveyard / Girls of the Wild Iowan Forest. Minburn, Iowa

Arm & Angel / Crafting Hour / Mama James Art. Lincoln, Nebraska

Man & Fish / Teeth & Tackle. Bristol, Tennessee

Reyna / Barnyard / Doubled. Minburn, Iowa

Birds / Water / Soul. Clear Lakes, Iowa

I am as fortunate as I could ever imagine to be. My lot is not lot at all, but a pot of gold that I have been given. I am alive. I sing for kind people. I live with a lovely woman, a son of the GREATEST beauty. I am surrounded with animals of all sorts that play into my well being. YES! even dogs, cats, chickens and the mighty GOATS. I am surrounded my the majesty of the UTAHN spirits. I have been granted with the most BEAUTIFUL of friends of family of LIFE. If this feels like a rant, well, that is because IT IS. It is a rant. I am ranting. I am sitting here in Charlotte, North Carolina and BY GOLLY, my friends. Life is beautiful, and it is ALL WE HAVE. This moment, the one where you are reading “THIS WORD” is the only moment YOU / I / WE have. To understand and appreciate that at all times is IMPOSSIBLE, but (i believe) in it’s pursuit is found joy.
I am on tour.
I have had TOO many beautiful moments.
Here are some caught on camera.
TO the journey of life.
TO the pursuit of love and her reckless manners.

Joshua Fred James


My Heart / My Boy / Blueberry Face. American Fork, Utah

"There is some soul of goodness in things Evil
When men observingly distill it out.”
-William Shakespeare

A Return / A Revival

King Of The Mountain / Ollie - VER

Queen Of The Sky / Emma

Ollie was only 2 ½ months old the first time he witnessed the mystery of the mountain. With an extremely nervous and most likely FOOLISH Father, Ollie was able to cling to his Papa’s chest one year ago and summit to the top of the 2nd highest mountain in the Wasatch Range. After returning home from our accent that beautiful summer’s day I had my doubts that Ollie would see her (Mt. Timpanogos) over the next several years. He was slowly putting on weight and by the time the season would arrive I was positive that he would be too heavy for me to carry to the top.

Machu Picchu / Emma

            Emma returned home from her Peruvian adventure and service with a beautifully driven and vibrant outlook on goals and life. There was a bright light beaming from her pupils that illuminated the MTN upon her arrival. One night after tending the garden and finishing the days work she turned to me with a schemish smile. “Let’s hike Timp together.” I stood there, staring, wondering if I had heard what I THOUGHT I had. Could this be? Was this an honest offer? Had my hearing failed me? “You want to hike Timp!?” I responded shortly after. “Yes…Let’s do it.” This was an incredible thing to hear from my lover’s mouth. At the tender age of 16 she had summited to the top of this gorgeous mountain with a high school group of friends. The hike was long, rigorous, torturous even, and she vowed to never hike the mountain again. Every spring I ask her to join me in my summit to the top, and every year I get a resounding “NO”, and so to hear an actual offer to be joined by her to the top was something I thought I’d never hear. We made a plan to hike it in a week and half, before the sun became to bold and a bit after some of the winter’s mist had melted from the ridges that lined the unruly landscape. Tuesday, June 24th, the date had been set. Monday, the 23rd quickly arrived and preparations were in order. We packed the bags with sandwiches and Lara bars, water bottles and dried goats milk. Weather and mood permitting, Ollie would see the top of the great mistress once again.

            “Buzz…..buzz….buzz.” 4:45 AM and it was time to get up. Eggs, toast, coffee and the car was quickly loaded. Ollie was pulled from his sound slumber and with little effort placed in his car seat. Not too much was said from our driveway to the trailhead. Maybe it was the fatigue, the lack of sleep, or MAYBE it was the mental exhaustion that came from the thought of hiking 7 miles up the side of a mountain, I really can’t be too sure. We placed our apparently sleepily little man in his hiking backpack and started up trail that would eventually lead us to the top of the range.  Within the first mile Ollie was extremely unimpressed with the adventure upon which we had embarked that early Tuesday morning.  After 30 minutes of constant screaming I began to wonder if it was possible to make it to the top with any shred of sanity left. Soon thereafter he began to calm down and the hike started to become painfully beautiful. The scenery through which one passes on the trail is some of the finest that I have ever had the privilege of being in.  A different face / flower / foliage at every turn. From forest to meadow to snow and rock.

Father / Son / Peace.

Family Fotoz

We made it up and over the first “point”. I believe they call it “The Meadow”, the sun was stealthily hiding behind the cover of pouty clouds, shedding a soft light over the mountain. We stopped and got out our sandwiches and let Ollie run his hands through the dirt, much to my surprise he seemed content for having had to ride in a saddle-style backpack for the past 3 hours and took his bottle with much anticipation. We knew that we still had a mighty distance to go and so we didn’t dally too long in the meadow. As we made it up the side of the mountain that leads to the area known as “The Saddle” (which is most likely due to the fact that it is the lowest, most saddle-like section of the ridge), which overlooks the entire valley, there was a very steep patch of snow, and the only way to make it to the saddle, not to mention the summit, was to cross this part of the trail. I looked at the area and analyzed my options. 1) Turn around and head back down the mountain. 2) Cross the patch of snow and hike to the summit. 3) Try crossing the patch of snow and slide down the side of the mountain to costly hospital bills or death. Now, I had my baby boy strapped to my back, and what I would deem to be a sharp sense of what I can and can NOT do. I put my foot on the skinny, 12-13 inch wide trail of icy snow and decided that I would be able to cross the section without any problems. The patch was maybe 25 meters long and at about half way, with my lover behind me, I deemed my decision to be a foolish and absent-minded one. The footpath was much to skinny to turn around and I felt it safer to proceed than to try and turn around

Snow Safety

. All three of us made it across the patch, but I sincerely regretted coming across. What would I have done had I slipped? I could’ve easily caused harm to not only myself but to my son, and/or my lover, all for the silly pursuit of triumph.

Mother & Child / Top Of The WORLD

Above the Saddle / Emma

Meadow Lark / Emma

    As we approached the saddle and looked over the other side that faces the west side of the mountain I stood in amazement of the smallness that I felt, the insignificance that penetrated my body. It is humbling / beautiful and real, that feeling of lightness that comes with realizing your microscopic being is such a small piece to the giant puzzle of existence. Oh, the magic of that sentiment. From the saddle the hiker is about a mile from the top. At this point my back/shoulders were really feeling the weight of my baby boy, but we were determined to make it to the top. I had done it once before when he was younger, and there was very little that would have the power to stop me from reaching the top. We faced the wind and up we went, higher and higher until there was nothing left to climb. I felt invincible, and exhausted. I looked at my lover and my boy and felt overwhelmed for my life with them.

            We had made it to the top of the world in 4 hours, and it wouldn’t be for another 3 before we were back to the bottom. The experience drew me closer to my boy, to my lover and to my inner workings. Life and Love in the greatness of the mountains is incomparable to anything I have experienced.

Yeah, I Love Her / Kissin In Heaven

Future Father / Birth Beauty.

I could barely contain my emotions as my brother held the newly born body of the multi-colored baby goat. Elle (one of the two first goats I ever brought to Willamette MTN) had been living, along side our White Angora Angel, Shirley, at my brother’s half-acre lot for the past month. He had needed some of his land grazed down and I suggested that he take two of my five ladies to his place for a spell to help avoid using a lawnmower. I knew that Elle and Shirley would love it over there. It is a full half acre lot, made for animal grazing, cherry eating, bee keeping and with a bucolic view of the Wasatch Mountains there wasn’t a question in my mind that the two ladies who had been living at Willamette MTN would thoroughly enjoy themselves there.

            Earlier that morning I received a phone call from my brother, frantically he explained that Elle had been pacing back and forth around the yard and crying. She had been pawing at the ground and rubbing her head against the walls. “It’s a sure thing, she’s about to go.” I said. “I am going to pile Ollie into his bike seat and we will start heading over, I had plans of going to visit the George’s anyways. Has her water broken.?” My brother ran outside to inspect Elle’s backside and came back to the phone with an inconclusive “I am not sure.” I grabbed a Cherry Pie Larabar, handed it to Ollie, after putting him in the bike trailer, and we started towards Pleasant Grove. My recording session for the day wasn’t to begin until 10am and so I had just enough time to check on Elle and Shirley, race to the hospital to check in on the George’s and their brand new baby, and make it back to the MTN for some sound recordings.

“She’s been just pacing back and forth.” My brother informed me. I looked at her backside and saw that her water hadn’t broken yet. “She still has a couple of hours, maybe, and then the world’s gonna change. Get ready for a new life, world! Hell, maybe two….Buuuuttt.. She really ain’t that big.” I said with confidence. “I gotta head to the hospital to see Timmy, you know that they had that babe yesterday, yeah?” “Ah, that’s right. Tell them hi for me.” And like that Ollie and I were off to the next stop. It seemed that the world was changing too quickly. SO much life, so much NEW life.  But all around me it seemed that things were stayin’ the same. Just three days earlier I had started a recording for a Virginian man that had come to town to make some sounds on record. Six and a half hours into the session and we decided to take a 15 minute break. I made my way outside and over to the goat house. Dottie was next to the fence and rubbing her head profusely against it. She kept pawing at the ground and rolling on to her side. I went to her side and noticed that her water had broken. Within minutes Dottie was in full “GET THIS BABY OUT” mode. She screamed as I rubbed her back and within minutes the first of her two baby boys was born. Luke (The Virginian) assisted me by grabbing water and rags, as Dottie arched her back again I could see that there was another baby inside. Again, not much different than the first, she pushed the baby boy out and like that the world was richer.

Birth 1 / Dottie / Willamette MTN

Birth 2 / Assistant / Willamette MTN.

Babies / Willamette MTN.

Babies 2 / Willamette MTN

            I pulled my JCPenny 10 speed racer and carrier up next to the flowerbeds outside of the local hospital and headed in. The receptionist looked up and immediately back down after seeing Ollie and I. “That was strange…” I whispered to my boy. We found the room number and met, for the first time, the heir to the George estate. Mr. River, a beautiful baby boy had made his way deep into the hearts of his two loving parents. I was honored to meet him and to see my old friends. I could sense that the two new parents were tired and soon after arriving Ollie and I got back on the bike and we were off, back to the MTN.

River George / AF Hospital

Isaac and Luke were already in the thick of it, working on bass lines for his record. I was a bit winded from the ride and sat on the couch in the studio, taking in the mornings/weeks events. My pocket rumbled with conversation

[Via TEXT message]

“Elle’s water just broke. Get here.”

“…Oh, boy…Fellas, I gotta go. Elle’s water just broke, and Colby is gonna need some assistance.” They granted their permission for my removal and I raced back to my brother’s house.

I jumped out of the car and ran around back where Elle and my brother were both on the ground, underneath the honey locust tree.

“How’s she doing?” I asked. “She’s doin great, she’s in a lot of pain, but the babe is already crowning. This guy is comin out soon.” My brother put on latex gloves and we massaged Elle’s back while she pushed with all of her for the safety of her little one.  I felt overwhelmed with the experience of the births that I had recently been apart of and as Elle pushed that beautiful baby boy out I felt a flood of emotions rush over me and my eyes lit up. I looked over to Colby and he couldn’t stop chanting: “Oh, my gosh, Oh, my…” It was amazing. Just as we started to wipe down the babe Elle stood up and out her backside popped a little head, gasping for air.

“THERE’S ANOTHER ONE IN THERE!” My brother yelped. We immediately took action and helped (or at least we would like to believe) Elle get the second babe out. The whole thing was an emotional/spiritual/unbelievable experience. As she lay there, cleaning her babes, my brother and I discussed the wildness of life, the connections / relationships that we form with these animals and with our own (family, friends, etc.). “It all happens in the blink of an eye.” I said. “What does?” “This. This whole thing. The birth, the growth, the life, the suffering / love / happiness / and then death. It just happens so quickly, and these connections, these moments / experiences, they are all we really have..” We both sat there, staring into nothing, considering the moment. “I am really glad I could just experience that with you.” Colby finally said. “Me too.”

Birth With Brother / Pleasant Grove

Birth With Brother / Pleasant Grove

Elle and Babes / Pleasant Grove

King of the MTN / Ollie-VER.

            Today is Father’s Day. I feel mighty PROUD to say that I am a part of it, and in so many ways. A Father of nurture and sustenance to the many animals that I live amongst. To be a part of all of their lives has shown me how to give a bit, how to sacrifice a bit, how to respect and stand in amazement of species to whom I don’t belong. I am the Father of a beautiful baby boy, our journey has just begun and I am still (and forever will be) learning what to do, and how to do it. I hope that one day he might see how I feel for him. And then! Then there is a mighty tree, a focused and dedicated man to his beliefs, to his family and to his workings in whatever it is that is asked of him. A shining light that no matter how far I might wander from is within reach.

My babe / Ollie-VER

My Papa / Fred James

There are so many things beautiful about bein alive. But there ain’t a one, not even a one that could hold a light to the greatest treasure of my life, ”Fatherdom”.

The having of one.

The being of one.

Today is a good day.

Joshua Fred.

A Peruvian Mistress. A Brother to Burn. My baby, my baby.

Dirt Life / Lovers of Love.

Dirt Life / Fruits of Labor / Life & Death.

Dirt Life / Simplicity / King of Soil.

“I can’t even say goodbye,” Emma muttered as we pulled up to the Salt Lake City International Airport. The day had arrived for a plane to fly her and a group of other local doctors and nurses to Lima, Peru for an effort to help aid in hygiene and wellness. We knew the day had been close at hand for the past week, but now that it had arrived the emotions were running high.

“Goodbye, Ollie, I’m gonna miss you.” I could tell that it was one of the hardest things she’s had to do for quite sometime. I mean, to be frank, I don’t think I have ever seen her get as worked up as this when I take off (and I take off a lot). You could almost see the connection of mother / son take form as Ollie clung his arms around her neck. No, he didn’t understand that his Mama was leaving, but he could tell that she was upset. With a kiss and an embrace she was off. She slipped through the automatic doors, leading into the terminal, and I sat. It was Ollie and me. In the 8 (almost 9 now, good heavens.) years that I have been married to Emma I have never been left at home, alone. I have been the “leaver” the “taker-offer” the one to abandon the nest in search of food, but I have never been on the other side of it. There is a lonesome air to it that I partially enjoy. But mostly anxiety. I get filled with dread, thinking that something might go wrong, that something might happen that can’t be undone. But then again, that’s just life, and to live it in fear is to NOT live it at all.

Last week, about this time I got a call from my brother.

“Joshua, this is kind of an emergency.” He said on the other side of the line.

Well WHAT!?? What is going on?”

“I am at the hospital…I came to insta care because I poured some gasoline over that pile of wood in my front yard, I am sure you know which pile I am talking about. Well, anyways, I lit it, after pouring WAY too much gas on it, and it blew up in my face. Half of my body is burned and I am just making sure that the burns aren’t 3rd degree, so I came here.”

I sat on the other side of the line, speechless.

“Are you OK..?” was all I was able to muster up.

“Yes, I think that I am fine, I just wanted to double check, and so I came here. Would you mind driving me up to the University burn clinic to get some ointments for it? I don’t think it will take too long?” He replied.

“Of course, I will be right over.” I left the recording session that I was in and raced over to my brother’s place in Pleasant Grove. The burns had blistered up all and down his arm and shoulder, but fortunately hadn’t gotten his face too bad. We drove to the burn clinic in Salt Lake City and they proceeded to inform him that he would need to have the burn “scraped”. Now, when it comes to skin, the last thing that I would ever want a professional to tell me is that I needed to have mine “scraped”. They then told him that usually the patients that come in take some pain medicine before the procedure because of how painful it is. My brother, being the man, the muscular specimen that he is explained that he didn’t have the time to come back to SLC and that he would rather just do it right then. I winced in the thought and as they prepared his room of torture and tearing I tried to keep his mind calm by talking to him about ANYTHING other than what was about to happen.

“Colby James?” the slightly overweight, middle aged woman said, looking around the waiting room, even though we were the only two in the place.

“Yeah, right here…” He seemed calm, collected, and ready. I waited in anticipation that left my palms sweaty and heart rate high. He came out with a mummy’s arm, wrapped thick with gauze and protective ointments. As we got into the car he explained that it was an extremely painful process and that he should have opted for the meds. We headed back to the valley and spent the day in the shade.

The next day Emma, Ollie and I headed to the mountains to give a go at camping. The whole day was spectacular filled with hikes, cooking and setting up camp. Finding a sense of solace in the woods. At around 9 o clock Ollie laid down. We weren’t sure if the pack n play in the back of my tour van would work but he was soon asleep after laying him down. Soon there after some good friends joined us around the fire. As we discussed the grand mystery the clock turned 12, and from the deep corner of the van I heard a baby cry. It was an irregular sound, one that I had never heard Ollie make. He sounded scared. Both Emma and I went into the back of the van and tried to comfort him, as soon as he would stop crying and appeared ready to be laid back down he would start to scream again. So I sat in the back captain’s chair and had him fall asleep in my arms. The hours passed as I sat in that chair, holding something/someone that means more to me than death. At 3 o clock I was able to lay him down next to his Mama and we slept until 6am, when the sun gave us a dose of light and heat. I made an extremely large pot of coffee over the campfire and the first camping experience was well under our belt.

Hikers Union / Workers Due

Baseball Diamond Blues

Both the camping trip and my brother’s horrific mishap with gasoline and flame happened three days before Emma’s departure. Due to the extremity of the burns that Colby endured my brother has not been able to return to work, which leaves him ample time to relax and collect thought. It (and heaven knows I am NOT wishing this upon him) came at the right time, opening him up to experiences outside of his regular schedule. It has been a beautiful time to spend time with both my boy’s (Oliver and Colby).  The time together since the Mama left has been some of the best time that I have spent with my little man. We have been planting, gardening, fixing, painting, shopping, swimming, biking, hiking, blueberries in the park and overall creating a good pool of memory to draw from in the future (mostly for me).

Take it Easy / Take It Slow / Ollie in the Swing o’things.

Sister & Cayo / Ladies Makin’ Babies / Babies Makin’ Mothers

Baby Brother / Uncle Coco / Swimming and No Swimming.

Swimming Sin (without) Ropa.

Cousins in Concert / Provo / Rooftops.

Now, I know that it sounds hokey, and it is (hokey). But I enjoy drawing parallels between life events. It helps me make sense out of the nonsensical situation of life and love. I AM A SELFISH MAN/PERSON/HUMAN. I am focused on what it is that “I” must get done, what “I” am doing, on the songs that “I” have written, and the like (the list goes on and on). The burning of my brother’s arm had a direct influence on me / my brain. When Ollie was born over a year ago, and though it might sound terrible, I felt that my whole body / mind was reworked / burned / changed. The “scraping” has been a longer process for me than it was for my brother in that burn clinic that fateful day. The departure of Ollie’s Mama has helped me come to the realization of the beautiful possibilities of life and the “post-scraping”. Everything moves slower but better.  The simple joy, the smile, the raw communication of a “non-talker”, as Ollie is, has helped me let go of the pre-conceived, selfish motives to further the “I” in me.

While Emma is in Peru I will be starting a record with Virginian singer-songwriter Luke Mitchem. He flies in tomorrow and I am in the process of a true juggling circus act. But the lion has yet to eat me, and if I have anything to say about it, I will be the perpetual ringmaster. And “CRACK” goes the whip. And with the blink of an eye we are 16, then 30, then 60, then dead. Every day is our last. Every day a gift. It is hard, and maybe impossible, to live with such a feeling (always). But by golly, I will die tryin’

Oh, the beauty that life gives. LOVE,

Joshua

Hands Of The Future / From Mother To Compost

Hands of the Future

As I sink further into the activities that accompany a post tour lifestyle I find that there is little to very little moments in which I am able to feel un-repressed from the constant building pressures albeit self-imposed. I shouldn’t/mustn’t complain, and it ISN’T “complaining”, I have found a beautiful way in which I am able to “cope” with said responsibilities. It is of no surprise that the greatest of interactions often occur in the greatest of places, the outdoors. After returning back from a trip that would carry us around the globe to sing for people I was tired. I couldn’t muster as much energy to focus on THE TASKS AT HAND as I had previously done. My hands and heart took quickly to spending more time in the dirt. The garden season has finally arrived (UTAHN) and much of the day’s most joyous happenings are found in the solace of the soil. Most recently, during our musical wanderings, I read a book by Novella Carpenter called “The Essential Urban Farmer”. The book is at its capacity with topics of digging and planting, cooking and keeping, raising and killing, I absolutely loved it. There is a section that talks about compostable weed barrier, which helps with your soils level of healthy organic matter. The process that I believe they called “sheet mulching” consists of placing cardboard boxes down over a site in which you would like to enrich the soil or destroy weeds and you cover the cardboard with a layer of compost and/or mulch. The cardboard is completely compostable and eventually will make its way back into the soil. I took the said sheet mulching/cardboard challenge and visited my local retailers in search of unwanted cardboard boxes. After multiple visits to various Customer Service desks and trash bin adventures I found out (from a watchful eye), much to my happiness, that Target is VERY willing to supply you with about as much cardboard as you could/may want to use.

Side Note: If interested in getting cardboard at the said establishment they will give you “boat loads” at 8am, Monday / Wednesday / Friday. Just talk to Customer Service, they even go as far as saving it for you if you put in a request. I AM SOLD (a buyer).

Target Tyrants / Cardboard Kings

The day after my van was loaded up with cardboard boxes I bought two yards of compost at the local green waste and started in on my first mulching experiment. It was mother’s day in two days and instead of riddling my baby’s Mama with a pile of flowers that are sure to perish within days, I purchased three blueberry plants, a currant plant and a Shiitake mushroom “MOTHER” from which you can grow your own. Mother’s day arrived and it was all smiles on the face of my gal when presented with the five magnificent / growing specimens. We immediately headed to the side garden to begin the process of both planting the new plants and in turn, sheet mulching around them. It was much easier and quicker than we had initially anticipated and it gave the side garden such a beautiful landscape to grow amongst. It seems that we couldn’t stop there, we had noticed weeds popping up around the willow trees that we planted a couple years back in the goat pasture and decided that sheet mulching would be an handsome and effective way to keep the weeds out of sight / dodge. This same mind set stretched out over the next four days, we ended up mulching in the front flower beds and have now begun our journey into the actual garden plot, which is large in size and has started to haunt us after our initial knee jerk reaction to begin such a pledge.

The Beginning of Life

Mushroom Mother / Be Kind Or Die

Sheet Mulching / Blueberry Patch

Loads of Shit

As I found myself laying down sheet after sheet of cardboard along the walkway in the back garden plot it seemed fitting to do such a thing on and around day of celebration, yes even the one of MOTHERS. The concept and appreciation of such a figure in my/our lives has taken on a much different role since the arrival of our baby boy, Oliver. The cycle in which we are mortally tethered to is accompanied with a “compost-esque” journey. The birth and the growth. The birth and the raising. The latter years and the dying all feel more real when surrounded by things that carry a much shorter life span than you. The beautiful way in which the garden / plant life springs up, gives life, and then consequently withers and dies after surrendering it’s finest fruits to the temporary superintendent over the land leaves a man with a pondering mind and grateful heart (or so you would hope).

Ollie-ver Finds Truth in Dirt

And so, the days have been passing with a plethora of activity and preparation for the season of harvest. Amongst all the horticultural experiences that have been taking place inside of Willamette MTN, there have been musical endeavors / adventures that have played a part in the weeks that have past since my arrival back from the road. My brain has spent half of it’s time camping out in front of a recording desk, working on a set of songs for a locally based singer, apart from the constant writing and expressing (all the while). But singing / recording / writing aside, It’s the planting season, the greatest season of all, and my heart couldn’t be more full.

A Joy / A Red Cup Morning 

Sometimes it’s a little better to travel than to arrive.

The Beginning of the End / Birmingham, AL

As sure as the earth turns around the sun the time that I/we spend out amongst our feverish dreams of open roads, mountain climbs, human connections and attentive audiences always seems to come to a close. And a close is what this run around the United States is giving us. After Evan and I played in San Diego and Los Angeles we returned back to our Motherly land of Utah to see our lovers and our friends. We tasted the sweet, dry air of the Wasatch Mountains and took a time for reflection and thought. A man can NOT function solely on the sound of the instruments that surround him. There is a voice that screams for permission deep within our whisperings for a time amongst the living, a simple request of a moment’s release. The time home was as magical as I had hoped it would be. My boy and my lover spent a great deal with me, prepping garden beds and cleaning goat stalls, making dinners as the sun fell behind the mountains coupled with the most grand of conversations.

Ollie-Ver / Elemental BLISS


The morning came for us to depart to the western most coast of the US. We were to meet back up with the fine fellows of Delta Rae, for whom we were opening. Seattle called us and we responded with a triumphant “HOOOWWWLLL”. Our journey took us from Seattle into the safety of Grand Ronde, Oregon where we sang for a large crowd of hopeful gamblers, looking for the elusive “break” in life and her financial burdens that she so “JUSTLY” places upon our shoulders. Walking from one machine to the next the mesmerization and transixed looks of those that were “in it” (“it” being the spell of a gamblers heart) brought me to a state of amazement. The hopeful bets and hungry eyes were almost more than my heart could take. I took refuge (post show) watching a cover band sing a version of Bob Segers “Night Moves” where i was able to transcend time back to the very moment in which I was sitting in my parents basement, a 16 year old who knew everything about the world and her trickeries, sure as shit that life had taught me all that I was to know. It has been many/too many years since that day in the basement, but even with those years in between I am still the same boy, walking and wondering about. Trying with a semi-strong sense fervor to distinguish the truth from the false. And all of those moments in between that day and this has led me to the very sight that I was seeing. A cover band singing that old song, and the beauty of the realization was almost more than I could take.

Road / Rude Food


From Oregon we headed to Boise, Idaho where we were greeted with good weather and a happy crowd. It was an early morning the next day as to assure we would have ample time to spend with our loved ones back in UT before heading to Nebraska for the next show. It was a 14 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Lincoln which got us in to the house of my parents at 11:30 pm. My father embraced me and made small talk with the boys for a spell before joining me in the dining room for our inevitable talk of life and death. I take great joy in speaking with my Father. It is inspiring to know/learn from a man that has lived through years of trial and error, weaving his own tapestry of color, merely to use it to warm the bodies of his kin. What a man/father/human. We stayed up until 330 am at which time I suggested that he get to bed, work would come early for him, and he wasn’t as young as he once was. Time can be cruel on the body.
Our time spent in Lincoln, as it always is, was short and the tour took us to Iowa, where we played an old theatre to an attentive and kind crowd. Rarely is there a show in which I am not amazed that there are people that let us stand on a stage and sing for them, and this night was no different. The show ended around 11pm and we headed to Deveri’s house, who we had met through CouchSurfing. She was waiting up for us with a plate of bruschetta and a bottle of Cabarnet Sauvignon. We spent a good couple of hours looking at her knitting hand’s craftiwork and discussing her undying/unfettered love for horses, of which she owned three. The night became late and it was time to sleep. The morning came early and the sky was overcast with a shy sprinkle of rain. Deveri asked us if we would care to ride the horses around the property for a moment. There was no hiding my excitement and we took her up on the offer. There is a mightiness to an animal that has the power to crush you with very little effort that must be respected, and I could feel it from that girl that fine Iowian morning. It was from there that we headed to Minneapolis which chewed us up and spit us toward Chicago, where we spent Easter Sunday in shine of the mighty sphere of life.

Deveri and a DUDE / Back Hoppin’


Evil Vince is a good friend of ours and offered his place to recharge our batteries while in Chicago. We are no fools, we said “yes”.
For the next couple of days we ate like kings, we played at the park, we sang songs (innocently), and let Vince spin us two hour long DJ sets on his turntables and allowed our minds to be whisked away to the land that exists between reality and NON. Chicago was a beautiful part of the journey this time around and Vince left us with a brighter outlook on “it all”, i can’t thank him enough for that.
Chicago to Nashville was a haul. We pulled into an old friends driveway at 7pm that night with a thirst for good conversation and connection and were filled with the events of the night. Rayland is a mighty man, both in stature and in character. His kindness to host us four boys will NOT go un-noticed/appreciated. We gathered around the stereo and listened to record after record, discussing the process that Rayland is currently going through in the studio and sharing excitement for our lives as musicians. We ARE grateful (OH! So grateful!). The next night we were part of the “Cause a Scene” concert series, which consists of a show in an unknown (or atleast previously unheard of) venue that is “invite only” via their email list. It was a beautiful night shared with both friends old and new. I can’t thank Larry enough for the beautiful evening. The next morning we were off to Asheville North Carolina. We played to a crowd of thirty people and couldn’t have been happier about it. We met a man that offered us his home’s floor to sleep on, we were more than happy to take it. When we arrived he made mention to something that he had that he thought I might like. He retreated into his room and emerged with a large white gown, he went on to explain that he had purchased it an estate sale and that he had very little that he could do with it, seeing as how it didn’t fit him. I happily and gratefully accepted. The night took our eyes and in the morning we left.

Yoga Yearning / Gown Guy


We had a day off in between Asheville and Charlotte and decided that we would join our Mother (nature) in the woods and spend some time dwelling on our journey’s thus far. We stopped at the local grocer and picked up potatoes, onions, yams, and carrots along with roll of aluminum foil and headed to the woods. The barkeep from our show at The Grey Eagle had made a mention of a place called Graveyard Fields, and despite its semi-spooky name we pointed the nose of our Ford Econoline-150 in the direction and parked along the main road. We loaded up our packs with all of the “neccesary” things for a night spent under the stars and started hiking into the woods. We shortly stumbled onto a spot that had a firepit and plenty of space to lay down four sleeping bags. We looked around and noticed that it might be harder to find firewood than we had anticipated, and so to work we went. We spent the next couple of hours in our primitive state of “hunter/gatherer” and piled up the wood, neatly, next to the firepit. With a little more than an hour left of sunlight we cut up the vegetables and arranged them accordingly in the tin foil for dinner. Soon enough the sun was behind the hills and us four boys were on a level that has become easier and easier to get into. The intimacy that I am able to share with my friends is something that i keep as one of my most prized “posessions”. I feel love from them and try to reciproacate the feeling as best as I know how. I am a VERY fortunate man in this sense. As a young boy I thought that friends were something you had as a teenager and maybe into your college years but then quickly tapered into non-existence after the wedding ring came on. I am THRILLED to announce that in NO WAY does this have to be (or should be, for that matter) the case. I feel close as blood to my brothers/friends, and on this beautiful night in the North Carolina forest I was grateful for those three boys. They have a piece of me/my heart and I hope that they never return it.

Asheville Living / Best Boys in my Life


Charlotte North Carolina welcomed us in for the next couple of nights, where we would finish the Delta Rae shows. It had been decided that since it was our last show together that we would (The boys and I) come out during the last song and “turn up the heat” for those in attendance. As the Delta Rae went out for the encore song that we would be joining them for I slipped on white gown that that Asheville man had gifted me and joined the Delta Rae crew on stage. It was a manic expression of music and soul, and it was beautiful. The tour with Delta Rae had been absolutely amazing. Never had i met such kind and giving folks, that were willing to put up will all our strange ramblings and erratic behaviours, and so to them i say: “THANK YOU” Yes. Indeed.

Charlotte, North Carolina / Top Of The World


The next night we played a last minute show at The Evening Muse before spending the wee small hours of the morning with some of our long time friends, deep in the heart of Charlotte. How do you catch up on what is going on with you/your life in the space of a couple of hours? Well.. You don’t. You just try and CONNECT. And we did. We did. That town will always have a piece of me.
The next couple of days were spent in Atlanta with one of the greatest persons I have ever met. Matthew is the owner of “Grocery On Home”, he booked us to play a show in the middle of the afternoon to a unique and expressive crowd, done in his home that he has dubbed “The Grocery”. He then proceeded to house and protect us, keep our hearts and heads safe. I feel a strong connection with that man, he is one of the “Greats”. There are people, there are humans, and then there are “Greats” he falls into the last. The second night that we were in Atlanta we were able to meet up with Damien Jurado and see his show at Eddie’s Attic. That man has an expressive quality about him that I will die trying to emulate. His innards are good, his voice as a trumpet and his expression as sharp as a knife. We spent post show at the local sandwich shop, discussing children and the longing for our lovers while on the road. The night turned out to be wonderful.

Damien Jurado / Good Heart / Good Human.

Birmingham, Alabama / Ruffner Mountain / Family Time


The next night we played at the same venue that we had just seen Damien at, Eddie’s Attic. It was a sold out show and my heart was full for the acceptance and support. We sang and took comfort in the community of expression. The crowd was kind and we all had the grandest of times. The next morning came early and steered us to Birmingham, Alabama, where we would finish off the tour. There was a lightness in the air as we pulled into the garage of Workplay Theatre LLC. Davey, the guy that has been there for over 12 years, the madman behind the sound booth, greeted us at the gate. He seemed flustered and said that he had been trying to call us for the last couple of hours to explain what was going on with the venue. We walked inside and the left side of the stage was stockpliled with large 50 gallon buckets that were collecting water from the leaking roof. He explained that there had been a wild wind storm the night before and had damaged the roof and left it with a leak that was streaming straight onto the stage. “The show is off” he said. I looked around and “the pit” area of the club and told Davey that we were gonna set up on the ground, in the pit, and that we could place chairs around us. For the next two hours i made my way through the hallways and offices of Workplay Theatre, grabbing lamps, props, really anything that i could get my hands on to try and create a “living room” atmosphere. By the time 630 rolled around things were looking great. I waited backstage for the show to start, wanting to try and mark the day with something special. And then it hit me, THE YOGA GOWN! I should play in the yoga gown! I ran to the van 20 minutes before the boys and I were to take the stage and slipped on the gown. I was ready.

Tour Gifts / Band Boy Time


The show went well and I / we were grateful for those in attendance, and for the kindness of the club for letting us do the setup that we did. The night spit us out at a friend of a friends deep in the woods, where the conversation and connection ran real and true. We were up till 2am with our new friends before slipping off into the arms of slumber, there was no doubt in my mind that the 7:30am alarm clock would come much quicker than wanted. “BUUUUZZZZZZ” The phone by my side went off with a frustrated vibration and informed me that it was time to go. I got the boys up, we loaded the van, drank a gallon of coffee and started the long drive toward Lincoln, Nebraska, where I would be staying, and wishing the boys a safe travel from there to Utah. The drive from Birmingham to Lincoln was long and semi-torterous. I was unaware that a distance could feel so epicly long, but alas, it was. We arrived into the arms of the Nebraskan night at 1am and with the rising sun the boys were off. I now sit here, with the comfort of my parent’s home, able to rest, to think, to (just) be.
joshua

Dirt Dinner / Four Weeks of Travel / New Thought on Thinking.

It was a total of 28 days. Being away has grown to mean a different thing since the arrival of one of the most incredible human beings I have had the chance of knowing, Mr. Oliver Fred James. Traveling has grown to be a part of my being and I can’t deny it’s ambivalent effect on my state of happiness and progress. It is out amongst the wide-open space of consiousness that I find my darkest and brightest days. There is a wicked righteousness to its stinging and stark realization of life and death. I find that it cures me (for the most part) and aids the slow to heal cuts that life inflicts along the way.

Evan and I left for Australia March 3rd to tour with the great Neil Finn of New Zealand. I knew that my heart would long for my lover and my boy, but one (me) must carry themselves through the flame of existence and adventure before taking on the cargo of weight that another is tethered to, across the great lake of death and life (and even then should they?) that ALL are expected to see. And with ALL of that we boarded the jet-airliner. The plane took us 14 hours from Los Angeles to Brisbane, Australia where the time would eventually make our minds wake at un-god-lee hours and cause our brains to suffer from a mild case of sleep deprivation. There were so many (I might even say too many) life altering experiences along the in and out roads of the Australian hi-ways and by-ways that I couldn’t begin to start on such things or we might be here until next week, and we can’t have that (YOU CAN NOT). We learned to drive on the left side of the road, we drove through some of the most beautiful country that my eyes have had the privilege of seeing, we met Neil Finn, who, for some reason let us play before him every night on his Australian tour in some of the finest cities and venues that the OUTBACK has to offer. We went from

NAMBOUR  (log walkers. faux talkers)

to

BRISBANE  (jungle -ites)

to

CANBERRA  (A Call. A Whistle. BIG SKY)

to

GEELONG (Roos make no fuss / Animal Kingdom)

to

MELBOURNE (on the 100 acre farm, high above the city)

to

ADELAIDE  (Children leading childlike)

to

PERTH (Boy meets Boy / Beach-Side Behavior)

to

SYDNEY (moments before taking the ferry to the Opera House)

INSIDE THE HOUSE OF THE OPERA.   Best Friends // Best Life.

where we ended the tour at the infamous Sydney Opera House, we spent the night(s) with people we had never met, but yet were willing to let us invade their homes and spaces for days, allowing us a freedom to explore the “REAL” culture of Australia. We surfed off the coast of Geelong and Perth and danced with the waves of the Indian Ocean. Kangaroos accompanied us on our morning jog when staying on a beautiful 100-acre farm outside of Melbourne. We have been supported by an amazing Australian Record Company (Cooking Vinyl), and by many of the people that were in attendance at the shows throughout our time in the land “down under”. The three weeks that we were able to spend there passed us by like the whipping wind and before we were able to notice we were aboard the Virgin Airlines flight # DL146 heading to Los Angeles, California.

            The flight was a horrendous 13 hours from Sydney to Los Angeles dropping our overly exhausted bodies off at the gate that lead into the zoo of an airport. LAX. It was 7am local time and we had left Australia at 11:30am, the same time. We had traveled back in time, literally leaving us 4 and a half hours younger than when the wheels of the plane had lifted. We wandered around down town L.A. before popping our heads into Amoeba Record Store. The morning and day (for that matter) felt strange and spacey. Our bodies hadn’t rested (properly) for over 30 hours by the time the night sky came. At around 4pm we contacted the owner of the Hotel Café to see if there were any available spots that night to play. Our brains and bodies wouldn’t allow for a day off and we were determined to do some singin’ somewhere/anywhere. “You’re on!” said Marko through my digital device. We played, though highly exhausted, from 10pm to 11pm and decided it was time to call it a day.

HOTEL CAFE  (Mirage Image / Ghost of Evan) photo by Chris Stills

            The following day we played in Solana Beach at the Belly Up before heading to Ojai to play for the kids of the Thacher School. The experience in Ojai was magnificent. We finished our singings by 8pm and the school had provided a hotel for us to stay at while visiting the small city along the coast. We loaded our stuff into the hotel room and headed to a small restaurant/bar that served 100’s of different types of beer and wine. Evan and I sat across from each other, reminiscing on what had just occurred in our lives and the fortunate state in which we found ourselves as musicians and human beings. Oh! The wonder some adventures that we have been able to have. We are thankful. Eternally & Forever (we are). Before we knew it the features on the wall started to come in at a slight blur and the conversation continued with a heightened sense of laughter and silliness. We walked back to the hotel where I convinced Evan to join me in the hot tub. Two boys, a bottle of wine and world of wonder to discuss lead us to the wee small hours of the morning, examining the road that is laid out before us. The travels and times, the possibility of family expansion and children. The constellations written in the sky. Life, death and the ever-evolving concepts of the fate of us both kept the night’s discussions interesting and evolved. The morning came earlier than expected and I read a good portion of the George Jones autobiography “I Lived To Tell It All”. I loaded my backpack in the rental car and told Evan that I was going to try and hitchhike to the next town and to call me when he was leaving. I walked a good couple of miles before anyone picked me up. Zach drives a ’99 Chevy Blazer, he is a middle aged man with an apparent lack of direction to where is he going and why. He explained to me that he had no plans, near nor far, for what he was embarking on. I found him beautifully composed and collected with how his life was turning out and he didn’t seem to be concerned about changing that any time soon. He dropped me off near the Ventura exit, where Evan picked me up and we drove the remainder of the way into LA. We played the Troubadour that night and I was off to see my baby boy and my lover in the morning.

TROUBADOUR  (The Ghost of George Jones / Choices)

            As I sat there on the jet way, waiting for the other passengers to exit the plane, I could hardly contain my excitement to see my two lovebirds. They were there at the security gates, waiting my arrival, and it took my breath away to hold them close. The travels of my life have brought me from one coast to another. I have found inspiration in the eyes and the voices of many that I have had the chance to meet and learn from. But amongst it all, through the late nights and blurry mornings, the singing and the sights, I find my heart returning to this place. My greatest joy, my soul and my THUNDER belong in the arms of my lover, in the eyes of my boy. We spent the whole two days together. We dug trenches and planted early wonder beets, golden beets, Amarillo carrots, Little finger carrots, Dandy half long carrots, rutabagas, and blue kale before weeding around the small garlic stalks that are beginning to break their hands through the soil.

FIRST WORM. Ollie-Ver in The Land Of Cauliflower.

DIRT DINNER  (A Lesson In Horticulture)

We also were able to start, under our grow lights, our year’s tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and the like. It is some the most exciting times, for it is THE ONLY TIME THAT EXISTS. The beautifully terrible “PRESENT”. She is always here and never leaving or arriving, to find her is to find my muse.

The day ended with a wonderful recipe taken from Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Every Day” cookbook.

Pan Fried Mung Beans with Tempeh (we opted out on the yogurt)

Ingredients 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
225 g tempeh, cut into pencil-thick strips
255 g broccoli or broccolini florets, trimmed into bitesized
pieces
Fine sea salt
225 g cooked mung beans
Grated zest of 1 lemon
20 g packed fresh coriander leaves, chopped

85 g Greek-style yoghurt or crème fraîche

Procedure
Whisk together the olive oil and shoyu in a wide shallow bowl and add the tempeh. Toss gently until
the tempeh is well coated and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.
Place the tempeh, in a single layer, in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Reserve any
left-over olive oil mixture; there should be about 1 tablespoon. Cook the tempeh until both sides are
deeply golden, a few minutes on each side. Remove the tempeh from the pan.
Add the reserved olive oil mixture to the frying pan over medium–high heat. Stir in the
broccolini and a couple pinches of salt. Cover and cook for just a minute to cook it through. Uncover
and stir in the mung beans. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the broccolini is bright and slightly tender
and the beans are hot, another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and
coriander.
In a small bowl, stir together the yoghurt and 2 pinches of salt.
Turn out the bean mixture onto a platter, top with the tempeh and a few dollops of the salted
yoghurt, and serve immediately.

______________________________________________________________

It is good to be home, even if it is just for a spell. We are to leave Wednesday for San Francisco and I am excited (ALWAYS) to be able to sing and dance with some of the greatest boys ever. The “PRESENT” is the only adventure, for tomorrow never arrives. Long for the current of life!

Oh, my heart is full!

The fullness of which I could never tell!

Joshua Fred J.

Records and Ice. Under the Gun and The Land Down Under.

Time quickly trickles through the start of yet another “NEW” year.

February and I am barely learning to live in 2014. March has her hand already grabbing at the handle and I feel that my life is slipping away from me with no one / nothing stopping it. My time, or at least what I would deem “MINE”, is arranged and scheduled up till the last minute of day light (for better or worse). I find little time to do anything but make music, record music, listen to music, feed myself, feed my boy, feed my lover, and do it all again the next day. It is an intense, or at least has been since the New Year, way to exist. I find it exhausting / invigorating / and wonderful. I feel to be the most fortunate human being. I am able to eat, to sing, to love, to live and to exist in a beautiful and wildly “conducive to creativeness” environment. And though my days are filled with much, MUCH busyness I still am grateful for it all.

In this already incredibly eventful year I have made the mighty leap to try something that I had only dreamed about in years gone by. My heart beats quicker every time that I find myself gripping the edge of a cliff, scaling and scurrying up its magnificent face. The summer months are filled with such rushes and activities. But the winter!? Oh, what of the winter!? I had heard whispers from local climbers of an activity that some might deem “reckless” or dare I say “negligent”, a little thing they call ICE CLIMBING. My good friend / comrade / confidant invited me to go with him and his brother up Bridal Veil Falls to indulge in this breakneck activity, and I wasn’t about to turn it down.

“ABSOLUTELY!” I cried out when he called me early that Monday morning. “Ok, we are leaving at 7am, bring a warm pair of pants, thick socks, and a very heavy pair of gloves.” He announced with vigor. My heart leapt from my chest as I hung up the phone. Was I really doing this? Was I prepared to throw an axe into the side of a mountain of ice and scale its icy mask? Well, prepared or not, I was going. The morning came and I reached for my alarm. 5:40am. Time to wake. I made coffee and gathered my things. As I drove to Eli’s house my mind was moving at a million miles an hour, ever contemplating the risk, the wildness, the adventure! We made small talk from his house to the base of the climb. After hiking up to the where the climbs would begin I felt chills run up and down my spine. I was instructed to put “crampons” on my boots and get ready with my harness and axes. I did as was instructed and place myself at the bottom of what appeared to be the angriest slab of ice I had come into contact with. “Ok, climb on partner!” Eli said through his undeniably charming smile. I dug the axe into the ice, and with alarming sturdiness it held my weight. Little by little I made my way to the top of the mountain. I reached the top just as my arms were about to give up the ghost of muscular life. I was safely let down to the bottom before repeating the process a mere 25 minutes later, each time letting go of the harbored fears that I had held onto since hearing of this seemingly dangerous hobby. By the time we were hiking down to take refuge in our vehicles I had grown quite fond if this “ice climbing” and made a promise to return to the icy cliffs as soon as was possible. I had taken on the fear of an unknown CREATURE and beat it within an inch of its life. AHOY!

ICE CLIMBIN’

In other news. I have recently been holed up inside of Willamette MTN, setting up and tearing down microphones, guitar amps, drum sets and pushing keys to record the sounds of some mighty musicians. The most recent recordings have been of my good drumming friend (new to be father) Timmy The Teeth. We decided to do the record together and started the very next day. It was a whirlwind of singing, drumming and recording over the course of 6 days before we finished it. I am ever so grateful that he would trust me to be the man behind the board. As we put the finishing touches on Timmy’s record we were all the while getting ready for our (The Coyote Howlers and I) show in Provo at the much loved / respected Velour Live Music Gallery. It seemed that it was one thing after the other and the show went on without a hitch. We sang from the top of our lungs, playing each part with vigor and intrigue. I am AMAZED at the feeling that a guitar or a microphone can give a man. As we finished our show and headed to the back room of VELOUR the crowd cheered on, asking for one more song. I headed back out and played a song that I have never sang for anyone but my loneliness, after which Evan and I sang George Jones’ “Choices” while asking Timmy and his lady with child to stand in the middle of the audience. The crowd formed a circle around them and we sang our last number of the evening. It was a moving moment for me, personally. My care for Timmy and the rest of the boys runs deep within me and I am a fortunate man to know such beautiful human beings.

The Blinking Lights at Willamette MTN

Assistant Engineer Oliver Fred

D7 during “Timmy The Teeth” Recordings

Timmy The Teeth

My days are running few before my departure to the unknown (unknown to me) lands of Australia. Evan and I are to join Neil Finn on his Australian tour starting March 3rd. The adventures will surely become another large chapter in my life as a singing, traveling merry man and I will do my damndest to keep a well-documented journal of my whereabouts and adventures. Following the Australian tour we are flying to Los Angeles to start a US tour that will run through April and into May. My mind is acclimating to the idea of leaving my boy and my lover, my home and my animals to travel and journey to places I have never been. I am torn and intrigued at the thought of leaving again. My heart belongs here, but my heart belongs there. Is it possible to possess a heart that belongs nowhere and everywhere all the while? If it is, then I am burdened / blessed with it (such a thing, OH, such a thing). I have a head full of hope and a mouth full of song. I am to journey to the end of my world, and with a joyful sound I will.

joshua

IF I GO UNDER WATER. I ONLY MEAN IT WELL.

There is a light grounding that can occur with the LOSS of one’s mind. Be it in love, be it in music, be it AT ALL.

My Broken Heart #1

My Broken Heart #2

There is a strange place that exists in reality that is anything but (reality). A beautiful and intoxicating place that is reserved for the maddening of the mind. I haven’t the foggiest of ideas of what it might/should/could be called, but it IS real. It is a definite place, and it is under THAT mighty, HEAVY hand that I will find myself entrapped, succumbing to its needy demands.

I should (should I?) expound.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege to record a local and talented musician that has peppered the musicality of the valley for years now. I felt a sense of pride when I was approached to be the producer of his recordings. I promised him that we would take it (the direction of the song) to where each song would send us, not looking back, marching further into the abyss of unknown possibilities / creation. When I find myself recording and or writing for an extended period of time I go into a place that I would have to / hate to call distant from “most” realities. My mind becomes obsessive with the “task at hand”, the vision of my current state/reality. And though I can’t stand to admit it to myself I become despondent and reclusive with both my conversation and the sharing of common/similar/related thought.

A minor close down. A sabbatical of the brain.

The record took a week to do and when the following Monday found her way onto the plate of the present I was just coming out of the cloud. Slightly confused and slightly alarmed at that which I had been under. It can’t really make too much sense with the phrasing that I am currently using, in fact it probably shouldn’t, but I felt it necessary or at least prudent to document my state of being. I am happy with what we created. Musical and pretty.

FOREST EYEZ (John Allred and SONGZ)

I am now finding my way into the slow and slightly startling realization that there are many musical jaunts / departures / arrivals that will be happening in the coming months. We are fortunate enough to be playing in Australia with the beautifully talented Mr. Neil Finn . And then will continue our journeys into April around the United States. Quickly there after we have the plans of recording the next set of songs / record. That sense of excitement is powerful and (at times) overwhelming. There is a strong current of adventure that sweeps me down the river of traveling and singing. Moving and living. It is strong and eager, aggressive and un-relenting. I reach for the hand of my lover and my boy and drag them into IT ALL, along my side. Hoping (and always so) that it is the correct (or one of the correct) trail to march along. BUT in all reality, what can that really mean? Is there a CORRECT trail / path? I have (my mind) a hard time believing it to be so. There is good. There is bad. Be good. Do good. Find kindness (self) and give. If you are bad then you should just die off. The world is too hectic / stress filled / big to take the UNKINDNESS, the inflation of ego, the perversity, the darkness (though darkness is rampant). That should be what the world lives by, it could / should be as simple as that.

Be Kind Or Die!

That’s it.

Joshua Fred.