It’s What You Did Right

For Barbara J. Gray (Mom)

You worked so darn hard
Raising us kids to be good
During those younger years
You both did the best you could
We were rambunctious as hell
Rebels of our neighborhood
But you accepted the call
and you understood
important things in life
like how we’d end up to be
This is how I deeply feel
about what you’ve taught me

It’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right
The house was clean
You protected us three
We were all warm at night
You’ve loved us with all your might
Forgiven us after every single fight
Mom, it’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right

Dad was off at the salt mines
So busy there to pay all our bills
And when Winter came to our city
You guys brought us to the hills
Where we could play in the snow
Where we could live a different life
You also knew being our Mother
Was just as vital and important
as being a loving housewife
This is what I sincerely see
You were not just our coach
You’ve been a great referee

We sure had our differences
You and I didn’t always get along
But you gave me a fresh start daily
You’re like an inspirational song

And it’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right
I always think of you now
When I don’t have a clue
How to remain calm and polite
Sure, sometimes you were uptight
But you’ll always be my leading light
To me, it’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right

Oh no, it’s not what you did wrong
It’s what you did right.

February 19, 2018



Sweet Tea Sunset

Sweet tea sunset
With her by my side
Out on the front porch
Our smiles are wide
The kids are playing
before it gets dark
Sweet tea sunset
and this trailer park

Most of our family
say we’re not rich
They look at our home
and start to twitch
But we love it here
It’s ours alone
It’s so calm here
in this time zone

Sweet tea sunset
and us holding hands
Spotify streaming
our favorite bands
What we worked for
was life undismayed
Sweet tea sunset
like art by Kincade

Happy to be here
Friends are closeby
in this great town
We look to the sky
that’s like a painting
every single night
Sweet tea sunset
An amazing sight

Sweet tea sunset
An amazing sight

February 18, 2018

If This Ain’t Winnin’, Losin’ Ain’t So Bad

Heard through a friend of mine the other day
I was brought up in a Facebook conversation
A girl I haven’t seen since we graduated in ‘87
Resorted to assumption and speculation

She said I was pathetic ‘n unsuccessful
And I’ll be one until I pass away someday
I gotta say I giggled for a little while
At our reunion, here’s what I’ll say

If this ain’t winnin’, losin’ ain’t so bad
I’ve got a family who loves me very much
I’m a dedicated husband ‘n Dad
We live simply ‘n enjoy our friends
And we’re happy more than sad
If this ain’t winnin’, losin’ ain’t so bad

I heard she inherited millions of dollars
From her folks who sold Real Estate
And I’m sure she’s really thrilled with
Her sudden fortune and amazing fate

Been takin’ vacations ‘round the world
And has a place on a big plot of land
Meanwhile, I’ve been chasin’ my dreams
With my songs and a country band

If this ain’t winnin’, losin’ ain’t so bad
I’ve got a family who loves me very much
I’m a dedicated husband ‘n Dad
We live simply ‘n enjoy our friends
And we’re happy more than sad
If this ain’t winnin’, losin’ ain’t so bad

We write songs that come from our hearts
And play them wherever we’re able to
The crowd likes our well-made music
We’re constantly writin’ somethin’ new

I’d say we make a pretty darn good livin’
Entertainin’ people who come see us play
It may be a different life than she has
But I wouldn’t want it any other way

If this ain’t winnin’, losin’ ain’t so bad
We’ve got great fans who love us a lot
It’s a life we wished one day we’d have
Our kids respect how hard we’ve worked
I’d say our lifestyle’s awesome ‘n rad
If this ain’t winnin’, losin’ ain’t so bad

If this ain’t winnin’, losin’ ain’t so bad.

February 17, 2018

The Early Eighties

I wasn’t of age to drink
But I was old enough to drive
Every time I left my hometown
I felt independent and alive

Met girls up in the city
While clubbin’ late at night
I’d get home in the mornin’
Then my parents and I would fight

In the early Eighties
I wasn’t an adult yet
I’d go to those record stores
For the latest rock cassette
In the early eighties
I had crap jobs and bad pay
And a sweet classic car
I still miss to this day

Relationships came and went
And I was all right with that
I admit I wasn’t the nicest person
I was a lonely young tomcat

Those were some crazy years
I’m glad I’m beyond that past
I worked so hard to get here
and have a true love that will last

But in the early Eighties
I went out and had a lot of fun
I was so far from that sweetie
who ended up being the one
In the early Eighties
I had a lot of growing up to do
So did all my crazy crew
Just don’t take me back there, please
Back to the early Eighties
Back to the early Eighties
The early Eighties
The early Eighties.


Porch Swing Date (Part 1)

They were both in Junior High School
She was a few months older than him
She lived in a small town called Aromas
She was Jenny and his name was Tim
Tim was living on a property off Vega Road
Not too far from her parents’ place
They met each other on the school bus
He was captivated by her angelic face

And one day he popped the question
He asked if she’d hang out with him one night
He said it could just be a porch swing date
They could just talk and watch the moonlight
It wasn’t up to her to accept his proposal
Jenny said he’d need to ask her Dad
He told her he was intimidated by him
She snapped back, “Come on, he’s not so bad!”

So Tim mustered up some courage that day
He rode his bike a few miles to Jenny’s house
But when Jenny’s opened the front door
Tim was as timid as a three legged mouse
Jenny’s Dad knew why Tim was there
Jenny already told him a boy was coming by
Tim was confused and pleasantly surprised
When Jenny’s Dad asked him to come inside

And they sat there eye to eye in the front room
Tim was scared as scared could be
He thought to himself “It’s not like I’m asking
For his permission, so she would marry me”
“I just would like to get to know your daughter, sir”
“I’d make sure she got home by her curfew.”
He smiled as he delivered his line to Tim,
Son, I’ve got a good feeling about you

So Tim and Jenny had their porch swing date
Tim felt luckier than he’d ever felt before
They sat and talked over Arnold Palmers
He bought for them at the General Store
It was an innocent time they were having
They didn’t have a care in the world
During their very first porch swing date
She found him funny and she liked that girl

February 11, 2018

Who Am I To Complain?

Took a walk on the path we’d stroll down
The wind in my palm replaced your hand
I closed my eyes and fondly remembered
when we kissed as teens on the sand

And I thought about the memories we made
I reflected on the good times we had then
Tears weaved their way down my face
I was never going to see yours again

But who am I to complain?
Who am I to feel so depressed?
Who am I to think or believe
that I didn’t do my best?
Who am I to think I could stop you
from driving home in that rain?
Who am I to be so selfish?
And who am I to complain?

That stormy evening I said some things
I should have never said to you
I was jealous of your ex-lover
What else was I supposed to do?

What else could I have said, dear
to make you change your mind that night?
I guess I could have held my tongue
So you would’ve stayed without a fight

You wouldn’t have been so determined
to break up with me and head to your dorm
We could have spent the night together
keeping each other happy, safe & warm

But who am I to complain?
Who am I to feel I’m to blame?
Who am I to think I’m responsible?
Why am I feeling so much shame?
Who are they to say it’s all my fault
that you were found brutally slain?
Who am I to expect they’d understand?
Who am I to complain?

Who am I to complain?

February 11, 2018

She Did Her Thing

Inspired by Vivian Maier

They found a bunch of photographs
taken by someone from the past
Little did they know the value of them
would increase so flippin’ fast
There were pictures of characters
There were self-portraits too
There were shots of children playing
and the finders knew just what to do

They cleaned ’em up and made a site
The artist became famous overnight
Her name was Vivian Maier
She did her thing and she did it right

Even though she made little money
doing what she loved to do
That didn’t stop her from trying
It’s like inside she deeply knew
one day her art would be found
for all to see after she passed away
and the moral of Vivian’s story
is whether you write songs or plays

Don’t listen to all the haters
or doubt in your head at night
Just think of Vivian Maier
She did her thing and she did it right

If you stopped creating what you create
No one will enjoy what they deeply need
Your artistic vision could inspire
or at least become a vital seed
that weaves into someone’s brain
and grows into something completely new
that won’t cure terminal cancer or the flu
but it serves as food, water, and glue
She did her thing and so should you

She did her thing and so should you.


Lyrics Notes: Inspired by the Vivian Maier story, but also by a couple of other things I could not quite fit in here. One was that I had met a gal here in Bloomington-Normal who was an artist – her name was Katie Reid. She was fantastic and she did her thing while she was alive. The other person who inspired this was Phil Harrington. I got off the phone from a good conversation we had and thought I would incorporate that into something fresh. Hope you love it.