Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October News

From Gene Burnett

Well I’m finally done with the recording, mixing and mastering process for my next album “Crooked Love”. This project was much more time consuming and expensive than any of my other albums, due to the fact that it features collaborations with some of the musicians I jam with regularly here in Ashland. I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again…but I’m very glad I did it. I love the results of the collaborations on “Crooked Love” and I can’t wait to share it with the world, or at least my world. The next phase is to do the graphics and then get hard copies made and get the songs up on my site, and through CD Baby, up on iTunes and other e-retailers of music. I will, of course, keep you posted.

In spite of being very busy with recording, I did manage to post some new videos this month. Video links are included below.

Fall is coming fast here in Ashland and we just had our first rain storm which was very welcome around these parts. We’ve had some bad forest fires in the area and that rain went a long way towards putting them out. I think everyone is hoping for a nice rainy season since we’ve been in a drought for about a year.

Life is going pretty well…I’m still enjoying teaching and practicing T’ai-Chi even after doing so for 30 years. Samarra’s getting used to being in grad school and I’m getting used to it too. I think she found a really good program for her needs and while it’s sometimes stressful for her to be back in school after all these years, she’s doing great and I’m very proud of her.

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.

There is so much to listen to and watch on the net these days…I’m amazed anyone even gets this far in the newsletter let alone watches or listens to anything I’m doing. I’m sincerely grateful for every view, every listen, and every nice comment I receive. I’m happy if anything I post truly reaches even one person. I’m offering all this stuff in a “just in case you’re interested” spirit.

Recorded Music

My newest album is called “Doubles Hitter” and like all my other albums (30 so far…), it’s available for downloading free or with a donation at my website: www.GeneBurnett.com

Videos In General

Overall Mission: I post a lot of videos on youtube, over 1000 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 (www.GeneBurnett.com) 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 

New Videos

My “Doubles Hitter” youtube playlist. Includes videos for all the songs from my latest album:

I made several sky videos of songs from my old album “Plan B”:

Here’s one I made with some video I shot at Bandon on the Oregon Coast:

I came in third this month. Three more Rogue Poetry Slam videos of me reading my lyrics:

One new T’ai-Chi video:


I've stopped posting as many 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. I recently crossed the 1000 straight days mark. 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. I made it through my second year recently, and hope to create another video slideshow set to another of my songs. Stay tuned…)

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

Upcoming Shows:

Wednesday October 1st, I'll be hosting my regular Themed Open Mike at The Wild Goose CafĂ© & Bar. Usually this happens on the First Wednesday of each month. This month's theme is our second annual “Songs of Fall & Falling” so musicians and spoken word artists will be doing songs and poems, originals or covers that are about or mention anything to do with fall (the season) or falling (in any context). 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 Ashland. Sign-up is 7:30pm. Show starts at 8:00pm. *A heads up for next month: Wednesday November 5th, 2014: “4th Annual Political Songs”

Saturday, October 4th, I'll be playing at Paddy Brannan's Irish Pub in Ashland with The Graceful Losers a.k.a. any of my fine musician friends I can scare up to play the gig. I’ve decided that whenever I play with other musicians in a band setting, we will be called “The Graceful Losers”. We play from about 9pm 'til around Midnight. Stop by for a pint and some music. I've always liked the friendly and fun vibe of this place. One of my favorite places to play.

Monday, October 6th, 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'll be playing from 8-10pm, maybe longer...

Thursday, October 15th, I'll be playing at The Wild Goose. Just me solo from 8-11pm. Friendliest bar in Ashland. Never a cover at The Goose. I usually play here on the Third Wednesday of every month but this month I’m playing on the Third Thursday.

Saturday, October 18th, I'll be at The Downtowne Coffeehouse in Talent, playing from 10am-Noon. Great acoustics, super friendly neighborhood scene.

Tuesday, October 21st, 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. $5 cover, all of which goes to the winning poets. 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 that 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.

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: www.GeneBurnett.com I started doing this about 7 or 8 years ago and considered it a 5 year creative experiment. Well the 5 years passed and I 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.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Can God Hide?

And If So, How?

I wonder if “God” can hide effectively from the physicists who are closing in on a unified theory to explain all the matter and energy in the Universe. Wouldn’t Heaven, Hell, God, and other Universes would surely have some kind of existence that would have a mathematical effect on everything else and would therefore have to affect those equations and experiments?

Personally, I don’t believe in a God that is separate from Nature and physical existence. Can anyone point me towards the evidence that Heaven, Hell or re-incarnation weigh stations exist? It seems to me these are things people accept on faith or on some inner experience, but not things they have any evidence for, and I mean concrete, “court of law” type evidence. I once posted on facebook that I would consider suicide if life offered nothing but pain. Someone else said, essentially, “But your soul would live on.” I don't see any evidence that my soul would live on. I've never seen a soul without a body. Why should I believe that such a thing exists? I've never seen the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy either. Should I believe that they exist on the authority of others or because if I eat enough acid or meditate long enough, I "see" them?

Science seeks to explain, understand and predict Nature and does so remarkably well. You can’t build a mousetrap or a bridge without science, whether primitive or sophisticated. Many scientists believe that they are studying the works of God, even if they don't believe in a God that sits apart from existence and sentences gay people to Hell. I'm saying if "God" or Heaven or Hell or re-incarnation weigh stations exist as actual places, then shouldn't they effect the equations that would explain everything?

I'm not a physicist, but I don't believe that anything that can create and destroy within this Universe can have no physical connection to it. Matter could be a projection of some quantum consciousness, or not. I'm not sure if this is provable or demonstrable in any repeatable way. It could be true, it could be not true, or true and not true at the same time in some paradoxical way. I have no certainty about this. Only questions. The Tao is what it is, not what we call it. My curiosity is about how something that has an existence could escape those equations that seek to explain all the matter and energy in the Universe.

When the math doesn't pan out and the only way to make it pan out would be to posit the existence of some "X" in the Universe, often times that "X" indeed turns out to exist and make the math work. So if there's a Hell or Heaven or whatever, I would expect the math to not pan out until it's accounted for. But I don't actually think there is a Hell or Heaven outside of our imaginations. I don't know for sure of course. I don’t know much really, and what I do know is wrong. Not all wrong, just riddled with wrongness.

If what you conceive of as divine or truly awesome or worthy of worship is the All or Everything or Nature, then Science is not a problem, just a method of understanding how the All works. Frank Lloyd Wright said "I believe in God, I just spell it N-A-T-U-R-E."

But if you believe in a God that is not embedded in existence, a separate God who created creation, and a Heaven and a Hell where souls live, or even a celestial weigh station where souls are processed for re-incarnation, then wouldn’t that have some kind of existence, and so would have to fit into the mathematical equations that explain the way the Universe is behaving? Not that we've nailed those equations down yet, but apparently we are much, much closer than we've been in the past...

Everything affects everything and the amount of matter and energy in the Universe will have to "square" with whatever equations explain it. Heaven or Hell or the re-incarnation weigh station or Bardos or “non-phyical dimensions” or some separate God would all seem to mess with those equations if they exist, which I don't think they do.

I also don't think any "thing" that exists is non-physical. And as I see it, "I" am a thing too, a bunch of electrically stored memories in a wet spongy computer in my skull. Certain parts of that thing may seem non-physical, given our current understanding of brain function, but I still think even thoughts have a physical substance in the brain.

I just can’t get my head around the idea of Heaven and Hell. And even if there was a logical explanation for them, I wouldn't care to navigate the logical step by step proof of an afterlife. I also don't choose to accept it on faith. It seems to me like the obvious wish fulfillment dream of scared monkeys. At what point on the evolutionary ladder do creatures get an immortal soul? At the point where they realize they're going to die and don't like it, apparently.

That the Universe is somehow designed to give certain animals immortal souls and a place to dwell without bodies forever just seems preposterous to me, even if it might make some sort of logical sense. People who have a logical explanation for the afterlife might be right. Hell, I hope they are. Even if I end up in Hell, I might prefer that to oblivion.

There may very well be an afterlife and a logical proof of one might very well be correct. But I prefer to live as though this is it, that I get one chance to live and then someone, or something else gets to take a ride on my carbon.

This belief focuses me on the here and now and on doing the best I can with what I have. I don't need the idea of an immortal soul or an afterlife to calm my fears of non-existence. I have no memory of any existence before this one and I'm fine with this one ending when my physical body dies.

I've done at least some of everything I dreamed of as a kid. I've touched all the things I wanted to touch when I was a child. Played in all the playgrounds I wanted to play in. Maybe not at the level I'd hoped for when I was young, but close enough. Before I had done this, I was as afraid of dying and as panicky about it as anyone. Now, not so much. If any of my friends was in mortal danger right in front of me, I might very well step in and take a bullet for them. I've had a good run and I'm now too old to die young.

I also don't need the idea of an immortal soul to keep me in line morally. I do not enjoy causing harm to other people and so I don't.

Just to live this adventure, to live an unforced, creative, and kind life is meaning enough for me. I've seen animals die and have watched their little personalities disappear before my eyes. I don't believe there is a gerbil heaven where my little black gerbil went to chew celestial toilet paper tubes and I don't think I'll go to a human one either. I don't think I deserve one. I'm just another animal in a vast Universe that is apparently just one thing anyway. I think my separate self is great tool, a great innovation of Nature, but I don't believe it's ultimately real. 

I think we all disappear, like the Earth will someday, and our Sun and our works of art and our solar system and our galaxy and everything else. Nature seems downright hostile to all forms. It is constantly grinding them up to make new ones. Where is my four year old body? Gone. But where? Into the primordial void would be my guess. If it still exists somewhere, can it hide? If God, Heaven and Hell exist somewhere, can they hide? And if so, how do they do it?