Sunday, February 26, 2017

March News

From Gene Burnett

We’re in our usual back and forth between winter and spring-ish Southern Oregon weather. Makes for some interesting sky…raging water in the creeks…and plenty of days where I layer up, shed layers, put them back on and then shed them again. Good training! Practice and teaching are going great and so is my music…at least as far as my own experience goes. I’m not making much money and there is very little market for what I do…but I’ve really been enjoying singing lately…more than ever…and that’s what’s always counted most for me. I’ve even got a few songs written for my next album project. Only another dozen more and I can get started on recording it.

I posted a bunch of new videos this month:  Several Music videos (all sky videos from my 2013 album “Already There”, 1 Rogue Poetry Slam video, 2 T’ai-Chi Videos, and one Nature video. See links below in the Videos section of this post.

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 1st, I'll be hosting my regular Themed Open Mike at The Wild Goose CafĂ© & Bar. Usually this happens on the First Wednesday of every month. This month's theme will be our 4th annual “Love Gone Wrong”,  so musicians and spoken word artists will be doing songs and poems, covers or originals, that are about or mention love gong wrong in any way. 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 community events. 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 5th, 2017: “Songs About Fools & Foolishness”

Monday March 6th, I'll be one of the featured artists at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Hip-Hop Open Mike at the Black Swan Theater. I’ll go up early, sometime around 7:00pm, and then jet over to Liquid Assets for my regular gig there.  

Monday March 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 play from 7:30-9pm

Saturday, March 18th , from 10am-Noon, my good friend Jesse Biesanz and I are hosting a Hacky Sack session outside Caldera Tap House on Water Street in Ashland. We’ll be under the overpass. This happens 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 Caldera rain or shine. The overpass provides shelter from the rain and once the circle gets going, you’ll be plenty warm regardless of the weather.

Tuesday, March 21st, I won’t be competing with many other poets at the Rogue Poetry Slam which happens at Caldera Tap House in Ashland…but I will be opening the show with a set from 7:30-8pm. 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 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

All of my over 30 albums are 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

New Music videos:

Youtube playlist with all the songs from my 2013 album “Already There” including alternate versions: AT

Youtube playlist with all the songs from my 2012 album “Why Start Now?” including alternate versions: WSN?

Youtube playlist with all the songs from my latest album “Love & Heartache”: L & H

2 new T’ai-Chi videos:

One New Rogue Poetry Slam Video:

One new Nature 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 1800 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.

"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 8 or 9 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.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Why Free Music?

Here’s Why…

Some people don’t understand why I give all of my music away free on my site. They think it devalues it or me or music in general. First of all, I have to tell people that while I may sometimes say, “My music is all free on my site.”, I do that to save time, it’s actually not just free. It’s available free, or with a donation, which is how I usually describe it. I’m just giving people the option to decide for themselves what my music is worth to them.

I don’t really think of music in terms of value much anymore. I’m more focused on my primary musical urges, which, unlike my ambition, have led me to nothing but pleasure, satisfaction, and joy. Those urges, as far back as I can remember are to 1. Put the truth into words 2. Set those words to music 3. Sing them and 4. Be heard. Being liked and making money, which would be 5. and 6., are not what I’d call primary urges.

Any hunger I felt for fame and fortune in the past, now seems more connected to my insecurities than to any genuine bodily or spiritual need. I’m certainly not indifferent to money and attention. I need to make a living and living a creative life is always a dicey proposition financially. But I have no interest in riding the fame and fortune, hope and disappointment, roller coaster anymore. High or low doesn’t really matter much if you’re still on a frickin’ roller coaster, high will become low and low will become high soon enough. After a few thousand times on the ride, I got tired of it. So I got off. 

I decided to focus on the aspects of music that have always held my head and heart: expressing myself musically and being heard. I also figured the best, fastest and easiest way to be heard was to play anywhere I could locally that was a good match for my music, post a lot of music videos on youtube, and give all my music away free on my site. But then I thought, since I’m giving it away free, why not give people an opportunity to give something back if they felt like doing so. So I put a digital tip jar up on the site. So now, I give it away freely and I see what freely comes back. I don’t think playing for tips is the same thing as playing for free.

My focus is on what I enjoy most, which is the creative work. I do make money performing live and hosting Open Mikes and such. I occasionally sell a few CD’s. I get digital tips now and then. There is a financial side to this, but I’m not focused on it much. I work on the quality of my products and performance and on the logistics of keeping everything running smoothly. Things like updating my on-line gig calendars, keeping track of income and expenses, answering emails and sending thank-yous, promoting shows, posting songs and videos, recording, mixing and mastering CD’s, arranging graphics, keeping track of lyrics and works in progress, writing more songs, performing and working the bugs out of them…I enjoy all this work. It seems like good work to me. I’ve never enjoyed playing music more and I don’t miss the roller coaster one bit. 

To tip me, please visit