Sunday, June 30, 2013

July News

From Gene Burnett

Last month I was asked to help out with a children’s grief support group…4 kids whose dad committed suicide just last December…my mission was to play the kids a song, tell them a little about my songwriting process…get to contribute some ideas, stories, words and phrases about their dad and then make a little song out of them…and all with a reporter from our local paper there. And I had about 40 minutes or so to do this. No pressure. ;~) I went in with a lot of respect for this job…I had no confidence that I could pull it off. I just brought all my tools and hoped for the best. Well, it went better than I could have hoped. The kids were amazing and their mom was fantastic too. I thought my biggest success was that I didn’t do too much. Here’s a nice article about it in our local paper, The Ashland Daily Tidings.

Special Event happening all Summer: My good friend and one of my favorite T'ai-Chi students Betty LaDuke, who recently turned 80 and is still going strong, is having a big retrospective show at The Schneider Museum here in Ashland on the SOU campus. It will feature work from her entire career, from her earliest work right up to her very latest and very beautiful pieces. The show will be up until the middle of September. Highly recommended. Please visit for more info. And if you’re from out of town and would like a quick sample of her work, I shot some video at the opening and synched it up with some of my music. See the link below under the New Videos section.

So here we go…starting with the usual information about where to find my music, videos and pictures, including information about new projects, and then followed by information about local shows in case you’re in the Rogue Valley.

By the way, if you've gotten this far, I thank you. I’m offering all this stuff in a “just in case you’re interested” spirit. 

So…in case you’re interested…

Recorded Music

My new album, is called “Already There” and like all my other albums (29 so far…), it’s available for downloading free or with a donation at my website: I like all of my albums but some people really seem to especially like this one.

Videos In General

Overall Mission: I post a lot of videos on youtube, over 800 so far! I'm not trying to build a fan base...In fact, I'm not trying to build anything. I'm not expecting you or anyone else to follow what I'm doing or watch all of these videos. Posting videos is just part of my overall plan to make my music (and my T’ai-Chi and Nature videos too) as freely available as possible and see what freely comes back. I think of each video as sort of like a message in a bottle...and more I toss out there the more likely one of them will land on a friendly shore and something good will come back to me. So here are some video links in case you're interested:

How to Find My Videos: First of all, I've set up a "Videos" page on my website ( with a menu similar to what you see below as well as a digital tip jar in case any of you want to contribute to my cottage industry. Every little bit helps and not just financially. 

I've also set up some blogs that make navigating and viewing my various videos much easier. You can go to any of these blogs and see thumbnails for all of the videos posted there. Scroll across the thumbnails and you will see the titles of each video. Click on it and a page will open that will let you watch the video right there without going to youtube. My latest videos are always in the upper left hand corner.

To see all of my Music videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Videos

To see all of my T'ai-Chi videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Movement

To see all of my Nature videos in one easy to navigate place, click here: The Unforced Nature

For a quick and easy way to sort through, listen to, or download all of my albums free or with a donation, click here: The Unforced Music

To see my regular blog “The Unforced Life”, click here: The Unforced Life

To visit my youtube channel and possibly subscribe, click here: My Youtube Channel

To see all of my youtube playlists click here: My Youtube Playlists 

Some New Videos:

Don't Like Me Too Much (Rogue Fam Jam) (A new song played by me and some musical friends at the Rogue Fam Jam here in Ashland.)

Old Guy Cell Phone Rant (Just what it sounds like…)

Four Words (A song from 2006 or so set to some great sky footage.)

Undefeated (Another song from the same album, again set to some beautiful sky footage.)

Faded Star (A video of me recording this song for my latest album. This is one of my favorite new tunes.)

Already There (A video of me recording the title song from my new album.)

Attitude & Intention In T'ai-Chi (Just what it sounds like…)

We're All Gonna Die/Poetry Slam Version (I’ve been reciting some of my lyrics as poems at our local Rogue Poetry Slam and loving it. One of the few places in my life where my stuff is actually listened to. A real treat. This is round 1 at the June Slam.)

At The Time/Poetry Slam Version (This is round 2 at the June Slam.)

For Now/Poetry Slam Version (This is round 3 at the June Slam and includes the final scores.)

The Queen Digs My Stuff (At a British friend’s 65th Birthday party, we had a surprise visitor, The Queen of England! And she was gracious enough to give me an unsolicited testimonial.)

Celebrating Life~The Art of Betty LaDuke (Some footage of my good friend and longtime T’ai-Chi student Betty LaDuke’s recent retrospective art show here in Ashland with a couple songs in the background, one by me, one by Leonard Cohen.)

“Number Songs” playlist below…

“Sky Videos” playlist below…

“Rogue Poetry Slam” playlist below…

New Youtube playlists:

Number Songs (Many videos from my latest Themed Open Mike.)

Sky Videos (A collection of some of my songs set to footage to the beautiful Southern Oregon Sky.)

Rogue Poetry Slam (I’ve been competing in our local Rogue Poetry Slams. A real challenge to read my lyrics as performance poetry…but I’m doing OK so far…I’ve won one and come in second and third in two others…I’ve got my performances from the last three slams here…)


I've stopped posting pictures on facebook, (for many reasons), and started posting them instead on Flickr, which I like much better.

Here's a link to my "home page" at Flicker: Photostream.

I have many photo galleries there but a few of my favorites are:

Small Miracles (mostly Nature related stuff)

The Dish Whisperer (I started posting a daily picture of my dish stacking work over a year ago. This month I passed day 500. I have no idea how long I’ll keep doing this. I’m so used to it, it hardly takes any effort at all to continue. I made a video for my song “I'll Do The Dishes Tonight” that featured a slideshow of the first year. If I make it through this second year, I may write a new “Dishes” song or use some other song I’ve already written to make another video.) 

"Head" and "Boot" (devoted to our two gerbils)

Upcoming Shows:

Monday, July 1rst, I'll be playing at one of my favorite Ashland venues, Liquid Assets. A relaxed living room vibe with great service, excellent food and wine, and a really nice place to listen to music. I play from 8-10pm, maybe longer...

Wednesday July 3rd, I'll be hosting my regular Themed Open Mike at The Wild Goose. Usually this happens on the First Wednesday of each month. This month's theme is "Love Gone Wrong", so musicians and spoken word artists will be doing songs and poems that deal with this ever popular subject. We're never too strict or narrow about the themes for this event. The main idea is to focus our attention a little to hopefully inspire and motivate us creatively. These are always fun. No Cover at the friendliest bar in town. Sign-up is 7:30pm. Show starts at 8:00pm. *A heads up for next month: Wednesday August 7th, 2013 "Songs Of Summer".

 Friday July 5th, I'll be playing at Paddy Brannan's Irish Pub with my good friends Robbie Lindauer backing me up on guitar and Mark Arinsburg on cajon. We play from about 9pm 'til around Midnight. Stop by after the First Friday Art Walk for a pint and some music. I've always liked the friendly and fun vibe of this place. I've done several First Friday shows here with Robbie and it's becoming one of my favorite places to play.

Wednesday July 10th, my good friend T-Poe will be hosting a new Poetry Open Mike at Paddy Brannan's Irish Pub. I think things will be getting started around 9pm. I will be attending and tuning up my spoken word chops for the Rogue Poetry Slam happening the following week at Northwest Pizza & Pasta.

Tuesday, July 16th, I'll be competing with many other poets at the Rogue Poetry Slam which happens at Northwest Pizza and Pasta in Ashland. Sign-up is at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8. If you've never been to or competed in a Poetry Slam, I highly recommend this one. Come to watch, compete, or be one of the judges. Some people think of slams as hardcore hip-hop events or places where people are mean and talk trash, but nothing could be further from the truth. All kinds of poetry are welcome and people are very supportive. And it's so nice to participate in an event which is all about the words, or in my case, lyrics. For me it's really not about winning or losing, but just the fun of sharing my words with people and seeing what happens. 

Wednesday, July 17th, I'll be playing at The Wild Goose. Just me solo from 8-11pm. Friendliest bar in town. Never a cover at The Goose. I usually play here on the Third Wednesday of every month.

Saturday July 20th , weather permitting, from 11:30am-1:30pm, I'll be playing at The Lithia Artisan's Market, behind the Plaza in Ashland. Come support local music and art! 

Saturday July 27th, I'll be at The Downtowne Coffeehouse in Talent, playing from 10am-Noon. Great acoustics, super friendly neighborhood scene.

For more info on these and all of my shows, and to confirm that there have been no cancellations, click here: Calendar  

Since I'm putting this newsletter out once a month, it's possible there may be a cancellation of a given show by the time it happens. Please double check with my web calendar if possible to be sure the gig is still happening. I'd hate to have you come out for nothing. Also another gig or two might be added or times or locations might change, so do check the calendar for the latest info.  


I continue to offer all of my albums for downloading, free or with a donation at my website: I started doing this about 5 years ago and considered it a 5 year creative experiment. Well the 5 years are up and I've decided to start calling it my "ongoing creative experiment" as I have no plans to stop. Since I returned to my folk roots and stopped climbing, or trying to climb, the industry ladder, I've been enjoying music in my life more than ever before. And enjoyment, rather than achievement or worldly success has always been dearest to my heart anyway. So now I focus totally on what I love most: writing, recording, performing and sharing what I create. If other people like it so much the better, but getting other people to like me or what I do is no longer my goal or focus. I'm out to please myself first. I want to do my music exactly the way I want to do it and see who likes it that way, not figure out what people will like and try to do it that way. I put it out there freely and see what comes freely back. So far so good. I've never had more success and appreciation than I have since I started doing it this. Go figure. 

Thanks, as usual, for your support and well wishes even if you don't make to any shows.


Monday, June 24, 2013


What is it?

A friend asked some questions in a post on facebook recently.
Among them were:

1. What is Integrity?
2. How important is it?
3. Do you have it?
4. Do you know someone who exemplifies a life of integrity?

This got me thinking and I decided to answer his questions here so I’d have my thoughts on this posted if I wanted to reference them later…

1. I think of integrity like the Chinese character for the word: inside-outside-same. I also like to think of it like architects think of it: able to bear weight.

2. It's pretty important to me. Living consistently in accord with my values give my life coherence and a sense of wholeness.

3. I live pretty consistently in accord with my values. If there's an inconsistency between my words and my actions, I do my best to adjust, with as little force as possible, one or both until they match. But it's always a work in progress. Life is a constant challenge to integrity, just as it is to balance or any other value.

4. I don't have any exemplars of integrity in my life. I’m too busy with what's specifically on my plate to compare it to what was once specifically on someone else's. We all crack under enough pressure anyway. I do admire people who are oriented towards integrity, whether it's conscious or not, whether they make a big deal out of it or not, whether they're always successful or not. They tend to make the best and most interesting friends.

Further thoughts on integrity…

I don't know if integrity is something I can "have". I think it's kind of like balance, more of a verb than a noun. It’s something I’m after and am oriented towards rather than something I possess. It’s a kind of inside and out, consistency of values, the walk matching the talk.

Some people pursue integrity, some don't. It's such a personal process for each person, I don't think one size fits all and I don't think of integrity as a goal really, it’s more of a mirror, like balance, or readiness, or neutrality. If I look at these concepts as mirrors, I can see how balanced I'm not, how ready I'm not, how neutral I'm not, where I lack integrity...and I can move in the direction of being a little more balanced, a little more ready, a little more neutral, a little more inside/outside same.

If I think of the ideal "integrity" as an actual goal it seems impossibly far away and pursuing it seems futile. I also don’t like to apply force or hard-will to my goals, especially personal ones. I like to put the words "more" or "less" in front of my goals.

With regard to integrity, I want my words and actions to be closer to each other, or “less” far apart. I want to move steadily in that direction, year after year after year, but I want to move there as a whole person, voluntarily and whole-heartedly. In fact to me that's what integrity is. So sometimes I might change my actions, but other times I might just change the words I use to describe them. Either way, the closer my walk is to my talk the better I feel in the core of my being and the happier I am to live and the more willing I am to die.

I have yet to find a way to will peace into my heart. What peace is there has never been the result of personal victory, only of surrender. Surrender to what exactly, I’m not sure, maybe to my actual nature, as opposed to my ideal nature? Surrender to what was actually happening in my life, as opposed to what I wanted to happen? All I know is that for me, very few things are as powerful as when my words and my actions correspond.

I also don't think in terms of what "we" must do or even what anyone else besides me should do. I value integrity pretty highly. But life can have a huge effect on integrity and anyone can be severely tested anytime. Life can suddenly put a lot of weight on anyone. Underestimating this is dangerous. If I was in a constant life and death struggle to survive, integrity might fall on my priority list and simply surviving might rise considerably. In matters like these I speak for myself, not what anyone else should do. I'm not trying to recruit anyone. People have to figure out what kind of life they want to live on their own. 

I see integrity as a kind of honesty, honesty about one's history, honesty about one's nature, honestly about what one is likely to do in the future.

A statement like this can have integrity:

"I have a long history of over-committing myself to things and then not living up to what I say I'll do. I'm working on it, but it's still very hard for me to know when to say No. It's really engrained in me to say Yes to things I don't really want to do and then I act out my anger about it by not doing what I said I'd do. So when I say Yes to something you've asked of me, just know that I'm doing my best, but in all likelihood, over time, I will disappoint you every once and a while. And to keep that to a minimum, I may have to err on the side of saying No a lot. So please ask of me what you will but just know that you might get more No's than you might like."

While a statement like this might not:

"My word is my bond. If I say I will do something, I will do everything in my power to do it. I will not let you down." 

What matters is how well the person talking knows themselves and how honest they're willing to be.

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Album...

"Already There"

I've just completed another album of songs. My first this
year...It's called "Already There” and features 16 new songs as well as one from 1986 that I reworked a bit. As usual, it's available for downloading free or with a donation at my site:  Donations are strictly optional. I'm always happy to get a tip in my digital tip jar but it's by no means necessary. Feel free to share anything you download with anyone you think might like my music. All I ask is that you let them know about my site and that they can make a donation if they feel like doing so. (All of my songs are also available on iTunes and CD Baby where they might be easier to find and faster to download, but they'll cost you a buck.)

Once again, I'm proud and happy with my work on this latest project. Here are the song titles, along with a lyric sample from each song. I'm also linking each song title to that individual song, in case you want to listen to just that song. Please find the "Musical Recordings" page on my site to listen to or download the entire album.

About falling in love, and not needing to…

It used to be fun to fall in love
I don’t know what it is now
It’s been so long since I fell in love
I don’t even remember how

But it’s all right—I don’t care
I don’t need to fall in love—I’m already there
I’m already there—Anywhere you are
Anywhere you are—I’m already there

A song with as many life philosophies as I could fit into it…

Jerry will tell you that God has a plan and a job lined up just for you  
If God didn’t give you the tools to do something
It’s not what he wants you to do
Tony will tell you that tools can be built and what’s in your way is just you The question is only what do you want
The rest is just follow through
But Everybody knows—Nobody knows
Everybody knows—Nobody knows

Just a little slice of life…

The cute little blonde girl who works at the Dollar Store
Tells me that she like a pink leash but she likes a blue collar more
Of course she doesn’t say it like that
It’s kind of implied by the NASCAR hat
And the way she watches who comes through the door

A song about welcoming trouble…

Go ahead—Burst my bubble
Turn my castle into rubble
I could use a little trouble tonight
Go ahead—Interrupt me
I need someone to corrupt me
I need someone to one up me tonight

‘Cause I’m dangerously close
To doing something smart
That I know will leave me feeling like a fool
I could use a shot of stupid
Straight into my heart
I could use a little trouble like you
Go Ahead

A song about complaining…

You can cry in your whiskey but you can’t cry in mine
You’ve given up hope but I’ve still got time
And I don’t want to spend it listening to you whine
So shut up or shut up or move down the line

True story...

If I pay attention to everything
I start to turn into a ghost
So I pick a few things that matter to me
And keep my attention on those
Everything else will take care of itself
Or come down my path in good time
And I might just touch a vision or two
Instead of just reaching for 99

I don’t spread myself too thin
That’s for death to do not me
I don’t spread myself too thin
I’ve got to be bound to be free

A song about clinging to youth and glory…

That smirky thing you call a smile
It has not aged so well
Where once you partied with the stars
Now you’re a joke they tell
When they wanted what you had
You could hold it out of reach
Now you toss it in their laps
And they just change their seats

The things you always counted on
Are headed for the ground
And desperate is never cute
Or nice to have around
You never cared for books
Or writing on the wall
And it’s too late for looks—To break your fall

So let it happen—Let it happen—Just say one thing that is true
And another and another until you’re a different you
Let it happen—Let it happen—Just be the mess you are
You’ll find a brand new candle’s brighter than a faded star

Another love song for the missus…

Heaven knows I love you—Hell should know it too
When it comes to me—There is only you
I shopped around a little—To see if it was true
But when it came to me—There was only you
The sky could rain down thunder—The Earth could split in two
I could be going under—Down in the I.C.U.
They can put my feet to fire—Beat me black and blue
But when it comes to me—There is only you

A song I wrote in 1986 and used to sing regularly with my friend Victor Cummings in Seattle. This is a re-worked version.

Another sun goes up and down
Another day is lost and found
This could be another day of love
Another day into the season
Tides are low the moon's the reason
This could be another day of love

If we light a candle
Do not curse the darkness
If we find the handle
We can lift the harness if we try
To live from what we know is true
What we know is true

A song about connecting, disconnecting and reconnecting…

It’s gonna take time time time
But I will be fine fine fine
If you will be mine mine mine

You touched me so intelligently
Down the stream and round the bend we
Met amid the tangle of our lives lives lives
Possible did not mean likely
Seized that day but not too tightly
And gave that thing at least a million tries tries tries

It’s gonna take time time time
But you will be fine fine fine
Will you be mine mine mine

A song about the never-ending story…

I’ve had it bad—I’ve had it good
I’ve had it better than I should
I’ve had it here—I’ve had it there
Underground and in the air
But I’m not through with love
No I’m not through with love

I’ve had it sober—I’ve had it high
It made me crawl—It made me fly
I’ve had it short—I’ve had it long
It made me weak—It made me strong
But I’m not through with love
No I’m not through with love

I’m not through with love
I just can’t let it be
I’m not through with love
Love’s sure not through with me

A Taoist song about how everything is intertwined with its opposite…

There’s a little truth in every guess
A little no in every yes
A little clean in every mess
A little truth in every guess

There’s a little worst in every best
A little more in every less
A little fear in every nest
A little worst in every best

Nothing’s pure that’s how it goes
A little friend in every foe
A little thorn on every rose
Nothing’s pure that’s how it goes

A song inspired by some youtube videos of drunk squirrels…

The squirrels are drunk tonight
The squirrels are drunk tonight
You can hear them falling out of the trees
The squirrels are drunk tonight

Some pumpkins got fermented—Some berries got too old
The squirrels got into ‘em—And that is all she wrote

The squirrels are drunk tonight…

Not politically or socially correct but I really don’t like so-called smart phones and what they’re doing to our society. Just an old guy pissin’ in the wind here, the phones are clearly here to stay…

You can have your phone that’s OK
But you’ve got to know when to put it away
If you just can’t do it—If it’s just too hard
Well my friend—You’re just another phonetard

Phonetard—Never where you are
Phonetard—Crashing your car
The world is beautiful and dangerous too
But you don’t even notice what’s right in front of you

A song about the upside of breaking up with someone…

Woke up this morning with a blues song in my head
Woke up this morning with a blues song in my head
Guess you’re good for something
Besides messing up my bed

Woke up this morning with Freebird in my heart
Woke up this morning with Freebird in my heart
Guess you’re good for something
Besides taking me apart

A song about imagining talking to a dearly departed friend…

Since I saw you last—I’ve been moving fast
I’ve been busy doing nothing

Songs have gotten sung-Work has gotten done
I’ve been busy doing nothing

I try everyday—To get out of the way
I’ve been busy doing nothing

Dusk has turned to dawn—Time has come and gone
I’ve been busy doing nothing

I saved the good news for last…

War and Death are coming fast
Peace is nice but never lasts
Nothing’s gonna be all right

Be the crew or be the cast
The future’s coming and it’s the past
Nothing’s gonna be all right
Nothing’s gonna be all right

Thanks for your support!