Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Check out Evan Lewis' great website, where we've published a previously unreleased Crockett letter!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Favorite Music Blog

Just a quick post to hip everyone to my favorite music blog. Head over to:
You'll be glad you did.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Beatles On Their Own

Over on the forum I moderate, we’ve had a discussion about the relative merits of the Beatles solo careers, so I put together my “10 Best” lists for each of the formerly fab four.

My choices reflect personal favorites and tracks that I feel are representative of each ex-Beatle’s work since the breakup of the band. No consideration was given to a song’s commercial potential or chart position...this exercise was completely subjective.

The songs aren’t in any order of preference, but I did try and provide a sequence that made for an interesting listening experience. As always, your mileage may vary.

Ringo Starr:
Photograph (from Ringo)
A Dose of Rock and Roll (from Ringo's Rotogravure)
Bye Bye Blackbird (from Sentimental Journey)
It Don't Come Easy (single)
Walk With You (from Y Not)
Choose Love (from Choose Love)
Weight of the World (from Time Takes Time)
She's About a Mover (from Old Wave)
Elizabeth Reigns (from Ringo Rama)
Back Off Boogaloo (from Goodnight Vienna)

George Harrison:
Give Me Love (from Living in the Material World)
When We Was Fab (from Cloud 9)
Marwa Blues (from Brainwashed)
Handle With Care (from Traveling Wilburys)
Love Comes To Everyone (from George Harrison)
Don't Let Me Wait Too Long (from Living in the Material World)
This Guitar Can't Keep From Crying (from Extra Texture)
That's the Way It Goes (from Gone Troppo)
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (from Brainwashed)
All Things Must Pass (from All Things Must Pass)

John Lennon:
Starting Over (from Double Fantasy)
Love (from Plastic Ono Band)
Crippled Inside (from Imagine)
Woman (from Double Fantasy)
Mind Games (from Mind Games)
#9 Dream (from Walls and Bridges)
Stand By Me (from Rock and Roll)
Whatever Gets You Through the Night (from Walls and Bridges)
Well (from Zappa's Playground Psychotics)
Grow Old With Me (from Milk and Honey)

Paul McCartney:
My Brave Face (from Flowers in the Dirt)
Maybe I'm Amazed (from McCartney)
Light From Your Lighthouse (from Fireman, Electric Arguments)
Tomorrow (from Wild Life)
She's Given Up Talking (from Driving Rain)
Friends To Go (from Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard)
Sing the Changes (from Electric Arguments)
You Want Her Too (from Flowers in the Dirt)
Back Seat of My Car (from Ram)
Only Love Remains (from Press to Play)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Upcoming Mini Tour

I've been a little preoccupied the last couple of weeks preparing for an upcoming mini book tour.
Tuesday afternoon I'll be speaking at the W.T. Bland Public Library in Mount Dora, FL, at 2PM, about "David Crockett in Congress," the new political biography I wrote with Allen Wiener. Mount Dora is a lovely town, so come early and take a stroll around the downtown shops before joining us.

Following my Mount Dora appearance, I'll be making a solo drive to Tennessee for a few events around Crockett's old stomping grounds.

December 15, I'll be at the Tennessee State Museum, speaking at a 4PM event sponsored by the Tennessee Historical Society. I'm looking forward to this special program because, before my talk on Crockett's congressional career, the museum is offering a tour of Crockett artifacts from their collection.

On the 16th, at 11AM, I'll be signing copies at Rhino Booksellers' Charlotte Avenue location, also in Nashville. Plan on spending a lot of time winding through the stacks and browsing through the massive and eclectic selection. Fred Koller, the shop's owner, is an old friend of mine and I'm looking forward to catching up with him. Who knows, maybe we'll even break out a couple of guitars.

The 17th brings me to Murfreesboro, where Crockett met with the State Legislature. I'll be signing at Books A Million on Old Fort Road from 5PM - 7PM.

Stop by and say hello if you're in the neighborhood!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Go Down Together

A couple of weeks ago it was my pleasure to attend and speak at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, a wonderfully managed event staged in and around the impressive and beautiful Capitol Building.

Of course, it was great fun to meet and greet “Crockett in Congress” readers and hear their stories, but it was also a blast to sit in the audience and listen to presentations from fellow authors. My friend Jim Donovan (author of the wonderful book, “A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn,”) advised me to try and catch Jeff Guinn’s talk on Bonnie and Clyde in support of his new book, “Go Down Together,” and, boy, was that a good tip.

Guinn’s delivery was what might be described as “folksy,” meaning he seemed relaxed and comfortable, and he made the audience feel as if he were talking to each one of us individually. Jeff is a wonderful story teller, and his tale of the Barrow gang, a tragedy if ever there was one, pulled me right in and made me want to know more; exactly what a successful presentation at a book festival should do. After his close I strolled right over to the sales tent and bought a signed copy of his book, which I’ve been reading and enjoying for the last couple of evenings. From its vivid depiction of the conditions in the West Dallas slum that sparked the duo’s criminal career to the blood-spattered and bullet-riddled end of the line for Clyde and Bonnie, the book is a rollicking read, and is sure to pull you in.

If you think you know the real story because you saw Warren Beatty’s film, think again. It’s a riveting movie, but it’s Hollywood. Guinn gives you the real rundown on a couple of kids (both Bonnie and Clyde were dead before they hit their mid-twenties) from the wrong side of the tracks that made a lot of bad decisions, became media darlings in the process, and paid the ultimate price.

Guinn is not an apologist for the duo, and is quick to point out that most people who labored under the same crushing poverty as the Barrows and the Parkers did not turn to crime as an avenue of escape. Readers are encouraged, however, to ponder our own complicity in a media environment that showcases base criminal behavior as entertainment, and as members of a society that tends to turn a blind eye toward social Darwinism until we’re staring down the barrel of some kid’s gun.

Go down together indeed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today is my son Sam’s 17th birthday. While all birthdays are cause for celebration, Sam’s birthday is special. Every year I celebrate Thanksgiving on October 22. I’m grateful for Sam every day, but on his birthday I’m especially aware of how fleeting life can be and I’m reminded that miracles can and do happen.

Ten years ago Sam was too sick to enjoy his 7th birthday. He was experiencing joint pain so intense that he couldn’t walk. He was unable to eat and had dropped so much weight that his already slight frame was skeletal. The two weeks leading up to his birthday were spent shuttling him to pediatricians and specialists who were unable to determine the root of the problem. At first, it was suggested that he had a virus and there was nothing to worry about. One doctor thought he might have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The doctors scratched their heads, and Sam got sicker. He developed a low-grade fever that refused to subside. He continued to lose weight. Finally, an appointment was scheduled with a hematologist who diagnosed acute lymphocytic leukemia. Sam was rushed into the hospital and began a three year regimen of chemotherapy that ultimately saved his life.

Leukemia used to be a death sentence, but thanks to the tireless efforts of selfless researchers and doctors committed to finding a cure, most children with ALL now survive. The fact that Sam was saved through medical treatment doesn’t make his survival any less a miracle. I use his birthday to reflect on all the people who helped us in our difficult time, and to offer a special prayer of thanks for them and to thank God for his grace and mercy.

So thank you, Doctors Selsky and Hajjar, for dedicating your lives to pediatric oncology when you could have chosen a medical field that was far more lucrative.

Tonight, we’ll have cake and ice cream and Sam, 7 years cancer-free and healthy, will be able to join the party. Of course, he’ll open presents. And everyone gathered around the table will know that every day is a gift.

Happy birthday, Sam. May you have many, many more.