Sunday, March 27, 2016


Giving It Up

About 3 weeks ago, I decided to experiment with not using caffeine. I wasn’t using a lot…a laughably small amount really…but I am very susceptible to drugs of any kind…so while my dose was always small, the effects were always big. I drank a cup of green tea in the morning and cup of green or black tea in the evening, with occasional sodas or coffees when I was playing a gig or out for the evening. But the effects on me were equivalent of 3 or 4 times that amount for a normal person. If I drank a triple espresso, I’d probably end up in the ER. ;~) 

In any case, it’s no longer an experiment. I like it so much, I’m not going back. At first I felt a little tired, but actually, it wasn’t so much that I was sleepy tired, or physically tired, I was just more relaxed and calmer, more settled into myself. I thought, “I’m not low energy…this is just me at 58, minus stimulants.”

Now, 3 weeks in, I feel significant improvements in every area of my life…I notice more, breathe more deeply, connect with people better, and I sleep better. I feel much more in touch with my body. I don’t feel so much push to go forward…instead I feel more pull to look sideways while I go forward. Everything seems deeper and more…3-dimensional…like I can feel and sense into my own weight and weight of other people and objects better. It’s nice to know how tired or energized I actually am rather than tweaking myself like a machine from the outside. I don’t miss it at all. And I’m not going back.

I’m not saying this is the best or healthiest way to go. I have no idea what works for other people. And there are studies showing health benefits from drinking coffee. But if you’re at all curious, I would recommend at least taking a week or two off and seeing how you feel. For me it’s like I’ve been living a bit on my toes and now I’m more back on my heels. And I really like it. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March News

From Gene Burnett

My new album “Better Off Broken” is now available for downloading free or with a donation at my website. Just click here: BOB

T’ai-Chi tip of the month: Stand quietly for a couple of minutes…before and after you do any activity. It could be a T’ai-Chi practice or a yoga practice or a heart to heart talk or watching a movie or doing a shift at work. Just take a minute or two and listen to your body…notice what’s tense and what’s relaxed…what you can feel and what you can’t…what feels good and what feels off…notice your mental state…how calm are you? restless are you…notice your emotional state…are you sad? Or mad? or fearful? or happy?...just notice how you are. And then do whatever you were getting ready to do. Then, when you’re done, stand again and notice the same things. The point is not to analyze or correct anything. The point is just to take notice of how you are before you do the activity and how you are when you’re done. I find it’s really a great practice. It improves my body listening ability…it helps me savor and consolidate any positive effects of the activity…it helps me notice any negative effects of the activity. And it helps me transition in and out of the activity, particularly if the activity is a T’ai-Chi practice session. I want to go in conscious of what I’m doing and leave the same way. I want my daily life to be more like my T’ai-Chi form and I want my T’ai-Chi form to be more like my daily life. This practice helps me do that.  Also, I almost always notice things I wasn’t previously aware of. Try it, you might like it. If you’d like any tips about standing, please watch the video above.

Not too many new videos this month: Three new Rogue Poetry Slam videos and three new T’ai-Chi videos. See links in the Video section below.

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

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.

Upcoming Shows:

Wednesday March 2nd, I'll be hosting my regular Themed Open Mike at The Wild Goose Café & Bar. Usually this happens on the First Wednesday of every month. This month's theme will be “Breakup Songs”, so musicians and spoken word artists will be doing songs and poems, covers or originals, that either mention or are about breaking up in any way whatsoever. 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, April 6th, 2016: “4th Annual Songs About Fools & Foolishness”

Monday, March 7th, 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 7-9pm.

Thursday, March 10th, I'll be playing at The Wild Goose Café & Bar.  Just me solo from 8-11pm. Friendliest bar in Ashland. Never a cover at The Goose.

Tuesday, March 15th, I'll be competing with many other poets at the Rogue Poetry Slam which happens at Caldera Tap House 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.

Saturday, March 19th, from 10am-Noon, my good friend Jesse Biesanz and I are hosting a Hacky Sack session at the Band Shell in Lithia Park. This will happen on the third Saturday of every month. We both miss the fun and camaraderie of a good friendly Hack Circle and…more importantly, we miss the practice! It’s fun, aerobic, cooperative, demands balance, coordination, quick thinking and accuracy…So whether you’re new to the game, or an experienced player who wants to brush up your skills, or an expert who just wants to meet some new players, come on by. Hacky Sack basically involves keeping a small footbag in the air, usually leather and fairly soft, using only your feet. When there are more than two players, it’s usually played in a circle. If the circle gets too big, it is split into smaller circles.

The only rules of this Hack Circle:

1. You’ve got to use your feet to keep the sack in the air and off the ground. No hands! (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

2. If you miss or otherwise screw up, you can’t say, “I’m Sorry.” (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

3. No serving to yourself. (10 voluntary pushups if you do)

4. No hotdogging. Meaning this is not about how many tricks you can do before the sack hits the ground, and it’s not about working obsessively on tricks. Tricks are fine but in general, we want to keep the hack going as a friendly group and keep everyone involved.

See you at the bandshell, rain or shine. The shell provides shelter from the rain and once a circle gets going, you’ll be plenty warm.

For more info about 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.  

Recorded Music

My newest album is called “Better Off Broken” and like all my other albums, it’s available for downloading free or with a donation at my website:

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 ( 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

Three New Rogue Poetry Slam videos:

Three new T’ai-Chi videos:

My youtube playlist “Better Off Broken” featuring all the songs from my new album: BOB


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 1400 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)


I continue to offer all of my albums for downloading, free or with a donation at my website: 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.