Imagine this song.land episode comes to you from deep in a cave. I’ve been reading Underland: A Deep Time Journey and recorded this episode inspired by some of the experiences and thoughts from the book.

For example, I journeyed with Robert Macfarlane into the roots of trees, where the forest shares nutrients between each other through roots and fungi. So I reflect on life at a cellular level, supporting and growing and sharing and hurting together.

This episode is a quiet episode.

If you don’t want to commit to the book, you may also enjoy listening to an interview from On Being with the author.

searching (feat. Derek Strawn) (explicit)

In this week’s episode, Derek joins me as we create together. He brings a Mississippi style that I cannot offer. As always, I bring the high voices.

It’s the first time I’ve gotten to play music with someone else on this show and not overdubbed or used artificial instruments. Yay!

That’s part of the goals I’ve set for the coming year of song.land.

I had a great time making music. I hope you enjoy it, too.

This episode contains explicit language.



Practical life. It’s natural for me to sing about the power of love over life, but what about the examples where love is not the modus operandi?

Inspiration for this episode comes from my listening to the Finding Fred podcast, exploring the story and decisions of Fred Rogers. I mention Backstreet Boys, the inspiration of which came from the documentary about the manager for Backstreet Boys and others, Lou Pearlman.

One day later, I recorded additional music that I appended to the end of the episode. I’m happy with what I got to express in that additional music as it helps clarify more of the specifics of love: it’s an easy policy to prescribe, yet it’s still practically hard to live a life of love when the word itself is hard to define.

“Love in the long run,
Love in the long run
Will find out this way to live and love one another.”


song.land podcast—gratitude

This week’s song.land meanders through the relationship between loss and gratitude. When life “…falls like dominos coming down the mountain” we can still turn to gratitude to find comfort and a brighter future.

Recorded this on the evening of Tuesday, September 12, 2019.


  • I reference zombies toward the end of the recording. I was inspired by the history of zombies, whose story begins in Haiti.
  • I then mention the sugar fields and “all our greed”. Sugar was the primary crop that cost the lives of so many people for the people of the island. The current dark truth is that it continues in our current day history. I use the A Sweet Deal episode from the Rotten Netflix series as my source of understanding this.

What do you have when you count your gifts?

split pea

song.land—split pea

Tonight’s episode of song.land brings you the ideas that, when expressed, lead to wholeness and an undivided life.

Could I have a response of kindness

Could I have that understanding in my life?

Could I take all

Could I take all

Could I take all

Could I take all the things I learned in my life?



Salamanders compares fear with nature. When I feel afraid, I want to hide myself, that it can somehow protect me. It won’t, though, and we can look to evolution to answer why: why do bees exist? Why do so many salamanders live in the Smokies? They survived when it was time to change.

So can you, and so can I.

When I would go rock hopping
Climbing over boulders larger than a house

Oh, time has worn them down
But they still stand strong

That’s how I want to be
Even for my few years on this earth

Two sections of today’s podcast use the ukulele. I’m happy with the songs that came out of the time with the instrument, yet the quality of this ukulele is very low and the mics I have on it are also of low quality. The intonation sounds awful. My ears tire of hearing it, so I broke up two ukulele sections with a guitar section in the middle.

That’s also why I sing about leaving a review in the middle of the episode instead of the end. That wasn’t intended when I recorded it.


  • “I cannot find our hope”—I was thinking of the content of Mark Manson’s latest book, which taught me that not having hope is not inherently a bad thing. Things can still be good without predicting what the future will bring, but instead accepting it as it comes.

Thank you for listening to song.land.


What makes you beautiful in times as these?


This episode of song.land stays on a reflective tone, focusing on the role of creativity and expressing yourself to find fullness. It stays in the key of C for a majority of the time. The chords go from an C#m to F#m for the majority of the middle as I ramble on frustrations that stand in the way of love.

I love you. Enjoy this week’s song.land.

“Stop listening to those messages telling you how to feel.
You’ve got to figure it out yourself.”


first year

song.land podcast—first year

I started song.land podcast one year ago on October 8, 2018. I share a special episode tonight to commemorate the anniversary occasion.

As usual, it’s filled with passionate songs that might be hard to follow but are full of emotion. Enjoy the interpretation if you can make it work, and enjoy the trance if it takes you there!


I’m proud to have one year of this podcast done. At no point have I even tried to make this a marketable podcast, so thank you for all who have put up with its many rough edges.

My goals for the coming year with song.land:

  • Perform song.land in front of people at least three times by summer 2020.
  • Test ways to play this with other band members by spring 2020.
  • Have a regular intro for the podcast by fall 2020.
  • Hit 1,000 subscribers next year, fall 2020.



Today’s song.land reveals more of the raw pain of life: bruised bones, broken friendships, and a deep underlying longing for the day when relationships are restored.


  • Ribs and Joshua—my friend, Joshua, hugged me so hard after our work meetup in Orlando, Florida, last week that I have a bruised rib. It really hurts.
  • Taylor—I roomed near Taylor in college. He had a brief band called Brown Hall Symphony in Knoxville, TN. Google can’t find their top hits, so I can’t link them right now. I was ever-inspired.
  • Miss Tennessee—Catie. I have had the deep pleasure of having played music and grown from Miss Tennessee’s father. He taught me some fundamental truths about music: it’s possible to play skillful music and have a lot of fun at the same time, it just takes practice to learn the boring parts. I will remember Richard fondly forevermore.
  • Sound of Settling—a song by Death Cab for Cutie. This song has had an articulate influence in my life over the past 15 years. My version has zero Stratocasters, but one Taylor acoustic guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pphrk6wE5aw Thank you, Ben Gibbard.
  • My friend, Caroline, once said I played the best guitar she’d heard. It meant so much to me. I know it’s not the best out there, yet I am encouraged forevermore.
  • The idea of reflecting on one’s future self comes from a podcast episode of On Being: remember your future self.


It’s been a hard week for me
Has it been for you?
My rib got crushed
And it feels so hard to breathe, to breathe
How does that happen?

Thank you, Joshua
Thanks for nothin’
Now when I lay down
I feel every convulsion of my chest

It rips me open
It rips me open

Oh, and I wish I had no pain in my life
Oh, how I wish


You brew your drinks
Strapped in mystery
How interesting every moment with you is to me
And I wish I knew all of your stories
And I wish I knew all of your stories

‘Cause our life has so many uncertainties
And unfortunate developments
Even the good ones cause changes
Oh, to what we assumed we’d all have

So we ride on the waves of shame

But don’t let that get in your way
Don’t let that


So, next time you feel pain, just know
We’re all suffering
And how can you ease the pain?
And your brother and your sister, and let it go?

Wash it out like the ocean?
Set it out to sea?

And let it roll
Let it roll with the tide


Like in my dormitory, singin’ songs
Oh, Taylor, where did that go?
You meant so much to me

Life has so many unexpected twists
But it’s all part of how we get from A to B
We’re not computer, we’re not rockets
Flying in straight lines
We zig zag, and go back and forth, and question and wonder, oh, wonder



I’ve got a hunger
Twisting my stomach into knots
That my tongue has tied off

My brain’s repeating
“If you’ve got an impulse, let it out”
But they’ll never make it past my mouth

Ba pa, this is the sound of settling


Our youth is fleeting
Old age is just around the bend
And I can’t wait to go gray

I’ll sit and wonder
Of every love that could have been
If I’d only thought of something charming to say

Ba pa, this is the sound of settling

Don’t let it go there
When we have rolled to the end
Where will we find to the next stop?

And you sit watching off your front porch
What could you do if you hadn’t just left?
With every moment, every hour, every hour
And every possibility in your heart?

Where could you ever have gone
If you, if you, if you, if you, if you only had left?

Ba pa, this is the sound of settling?

I lived for 45 years
Everywhere I went it was the same
Never driving, never knowing
Where I could go if I could just look behind me

Who are we to be reflective?
Who are we to look behind?
And see who we were when we were little lads playing in the yard?

Ba pa, this is the sound of settling

Oh, my first love
Tumblecows coming down the mountains
Oh, they fulfilled us

Sitting in that van for hours and hours we laughed
It meant so much to me, I will never forget

And sitting under fireworks years later
How the fast-forward button moves us far along
You said you had to go
It was in the fireworks in the sky

Ba pa, this is the sound of settling

Late in the night
All my ways have fallen apart
They left, they left me for dead
I had no other options instead

I went driving and walking for hours
To ask the deepest questions of my heart
Who do I want to be?

Ba pa, this is the sound of settling

Flash forward
Who are you in 10 years?
A voice has passed through you

To say you’ve failed
To say you’ve got no future left
Oh, but you do, oh but you do

No matter where you are today your future self will thank you
For sticking around and pushing through the hard times

Because we never know what’s coming up
Oh, we never know what’s coming up

Ba pa, this is the sound of settling

I’ve got a hunger twisting my stomach into knots


One million times I’ve sung the same song
Bleed the same old chords
But my heart still has a new verse that you haven’t heard

Oh, sing with the music
Oh, sing with the tears
‘Cause life will let you down
So many, so many times

And I hold onto you, onto love
And I hold onto you, onto love
And I hold onto you, onto love
And I hold onto you, onto love

Like cherishing each moment that I love


In these lonely moments I stand
In these cold days, melting, ice stands

We have unknown futures, unknown
We have some many possibilities
I could be red, or blue, or green
Just choose, just choose
Just choose, just choose

In the world of Lego bricks and sweet romance novels
I don’t know what is coming
But in the world of Greek tragedies
Oh, hope seems but lost, seems but lost
Oh, hope seems but lost, seems but lost

Hold on, just a little bit longer
Through the hardest times
Don’t let go
Your future self, your future self
Your future self, your future self
Shall thank you

Your future self, your future self
Your future self shall thank you

Your future self, your future self
Your future self shall thank you

Your future self, your future self
Your future self

Oh, in your dreams
Your future self
Oh, in your dreams


Unknown future
Oh, Miss Tennessee
I remember singing with you thinking that we could be

Something wonderful
You were wonderful to me

And sorrow strikes us all in different ways
I can’t compare to yours
I can’t compare to yours

But your smile and your heart
Seemed bright white
Like a virgin Michigan snow
The only tracks I see are deer
And you are dear to me
And you are dear to me


I have losses in my life
But I hold on
Please hold on

Please hold on, too


She said to me
You play the best guitar that I’ve ever seen

I could never believe you
I hold you so dear and near to my heart

That the loss of your
That the loss of your presence
That the loss of your

Let it go, let it go
Move beyond

Let it go, let it go
Pick beyond

In the end we find hope
Even when there’s none today
‘Cause we have this very moment

I move my fingers to make a chord
That connects with my soul
And we are one
And we are one
And we are one
And like I dreamed
And like I dreamed
And like I dreamed

We are one
We are one
We are one
We are one


So let it go
All your regrets and all your mistakes
Don’t let them hold you back
They make us stronger
Into who we can be
Into who we might be
Into our full possibilties

Into you
Into me

Into our full possibilities


I could keep practicing
I’ve gotten rusty in so many ways
In my love
In my love

Fading into the background

And in my own ways
I see you love me
Where I hold on you are strong
Where I can find you

Just being here with me tonight
We will find all our ways
Never to leave, something serene
We have all our ways

Whoa, whoa
Whoa, we have all our ways
We have all our ways
We have all our ways



I don’t have the time to write a description for this episode. That’s how you know it’s a quality episode of improvised guitar tunes.

I won’t post next week, I’m out and about and focused on other things. See you in two!