Ok, so it looks like I’m going to have to quickly respond to everyone about yesterday’s letter. 

It appears that over thirty readers really cared about that post and the mail is still trickling in.
Naturally, when you twist an iconic statement such as that which was on Woody’s guitar, you are going to raise some hackles. I guess there’s still power in a good title. (Boy, this machine really does kill time though).  Secondly, it has enlightened me on the power of our new information age. 

“With satellites and mega-bites this talk is building trust
It’s like we’re finally making mud out of water in the dust
So let it rain…I can feel the Change”

From my kitchen table my ramblings can spark an honest debate about topics which interest me – and hopefully interest you too.  In this case, what style of folk songs do you enjoy? If political, how do you want the story to be told?

As of this morning I’ve counted twenty-one positive emails asking for more ramblings. Six emails which carried a friendly tone yet with insightful contrarian positions. (One email was so insightful it had me debating my own position all evening! I even went back and listened to Bruce Cockburn’s World of Wonders.) Five more emails which thought me an insensitive, uniformed asshole devoid of common sense and without proper knowledge of my own folk music history. (Hey save those gestures for your own family, I have enough loved ones in my life to passive aggressive me to death– thank you very much).  All five of those folks asked to be removed from my blog (until an hour ago – one of those individuals retracted and asked to put back into the mailing list.) So there you have it. I’ve learned you don’t tamper with Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan or Van Morrison. You may get away with questioning Bruce Cockburn (just a little) and you can most definitely in any circles at any time desecrate Cher, Seal and Tiffany. Trust me.  Lastly, don’t even think twice about roller skating in a buffalo herd. I’ll give you that one for free.

Let me put it to you like this. Folk music IS for the most part political in nature. They teach full on three year courses on this subject in Berkley. Let’s not go there right now. For my tastes though, I’d rather hear political sentiments in a song from the perspective of an individual. But that’s just me.
Try this test.  Listen closely to these two songs and tell me which one resonates with YOU.

John Prine – Sam Stone

Pete Seeger – Where Have all the Flowers Gone? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pZa3KtkVpQ&feature=related

If you want off the list please let me know. If not, please go to my blog page and sign up (where it says Follow Blog via Email) https://jayaymar.wordpress.com  Instead of emailing your re-posts just put them in the comments section. These are healthy debates and I’d love for you all to read what others have to say.


“Before I knowed it, I was sayin’ out loud, ‘The hell with it! There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing.’… I says, ‘What’s this call, this sperit?’ An’ I says, ‘It’s love. I love people so much I’m fit to bust, sometimes.’… I figgered, ‘Why do we got to hang it on God or Jesus? Maybe,’ I figgered, ‘maybe it’s all men an’ all women we love; maybe that’s the Holy Sperit-the human sperit-the whole shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’ Now I sat there thinkin’ it, an’ all of a suddent-I knew it. I knew it so deep down that it was true, and I still know it.”
– John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath


3 thoughts on “This Machine Kills Time

  1. Both resonate in different ways. Pete Seeger’s song is political and about a general thing, but a kind of protest about war. John Prines’s song tells a personal story about someone, but still a political song of sorts, as it exposes something bad about the war and it’s after effects on a real person’s life- also a kind of protest song. I agree that folk music is political, although some of my audience might not find that quite as important as I do.

    It seems so easy to offend people these days. I am not sure why, but the world is full of stressed out people who can’t think beyond themselves and if you don’t agree with them, it’s a real problem rather than a source of debate and civil discourse.

    It’s a bit like the singer songwriters who only contemplate their own navels. If they don’t tell other people’s stories, it gets rather boring to hear about the world only from their own perspective. Rather, I like it when the songwriter can have enough empathy for another person to put him or herself in someone else’s shoes long enough to write a song. But maybe that’s just my perspective.

  2. When Neil Young released his “War” CD he had a song called “Let’s Impeach The President”… which when he performed live was greeted with fans flipping him the bird and yelling at him to Fuck Off!… Bush fans I guess. But when Neil was interviewed and asked why he was being so political he responded with… “because the youth of the day weren’t” (being political). Kudos to Mr. Young and hopefully the youth will awaken and realize the power of a song and the message it transcends whether it be political religious or storytelling. If you’re looking for media-muses Jay… they are out there . I’m a fan… always have been!

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