Tuesday, September 30, 2008

jon black cd release!

my good friend jon black is starting his cd-release tour TONIGHT! I'll be with him playing in nashville and athens*, and then jon will be rocking out with his band sans BTM for the rest of it. really bummed I'm going to miss the ATL and BHM shows, gonna be two very good nights...

09/30 3rd and Lindsley Nashville, TN
10/02 Caledonia Athens, GA
10/03 The Vinyl Atlanta, GA
10/04 Workplay B'Ham, AL

*hoping to make the athens show

Friday, September 26, 2008

happy birthday T. Scott

our good friend t.scott turned 40 on thursday. so we met up at liza and jeremy's place, put on 60's attire (made t.scott more comfortable), and partied the night away. here are some pictures.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I have shocking news for you: clay is gay.

totally took me by surprise.

clay. gay.

never saw it coming.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

new book, photography by BTM

I feel really fortunate to get to work as a photographer. and I feel even more fortunate that I've gotten to be apart of some really inspiring, challenging projects. a few months ago, I traveled to atlanta and over the course of a few weeks took a series of photographs for an organization called mission year. this organization is headed up by a guy named leroy barber, who has spent his life working in low income neighborhoods. Leroy just finished a book called "new neighbor" and I was hired to take the photographs that ended up being a large portion of the book. the goal was to try and tell the story, to try and capture the feeling of the place.

I didn't know what to expect, and as usual, I felt like I got really lucky with my images. what surprised me most was how much of a pleasure it was to get to know Leroy. his humility and openness revealed a guy I would follow just about anywhere. and I found his insights into urban issues to be refreshing and not overbearing. it was a joy to spend the time with him.

anyway, the book just came out. check it out here, and consider purchasing a copy to support leroy's work. it's only $15. the design ended up being really great, and they used a ton of my photos. I really feel honored to be apart of this.

thanks jeff and leroy for thinking of me...look forward to working with you guys again in the future.

one last thing: I've been working on some slideshows for photographs, so I decided to make one for some of the shots for this project. for some reason it's been acting weird in blogger so if it doesn't pull up click here.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I got dingo when I was 20 years old. I was about halfway through college, my last dog died about a year before, and brooke broke up with me. so I went to the pound with my friend matt churnock to get my dog (I selected her because when I walked the other dogs and let them off their leash they would run around as if I didn't matter, but when I let her off her leash she jumped up next to me and started licking my face. I figured she was a good dog). on the way home I named her. she was curled up in the back seat of my car, not making a sound, and I said to matt, "I'm going to name her dingo, she looks like a dingo." and matt said "dingo shall be the dog's name."

as it turns out, she actually looks nothing like a dingo.

9 years later, at the age of 11, she got sick. not sure exactly what it was, but she was severely anemic, not eating or drinking, not able to stand up and walk around. it was heart-breaking to see. my friend chris is a fantastic vet and he did everything he could for her, and yesterday I told him "it's okay chris, I think she's dying." and so that was the end. I felt bad for putting chris in the middle of it. he loved dingo too.

some of my favorite stories about dingo include how incredibly violent she could be. there used to be these people in college, these fraternity boys with their bandanna-wearing, frisbee-catching dogs, and they would sometimes come over to visit and let their dog out of the car, and dingo would immediately attack the dog and try to kill it. I one time saw dingo, who was only 40 lbs, take on two dogs both twice her size. by the end of it, all three were pretty bloodied up, and dingo was definitely getting hurt, but the only reason she backed down was because I made her. she always listened to me.

brooke and I used to live in southside, across the street from a drug dealer, next door to a crazy guy who used to try and start fights with me, and we always felt safe because of dingo. whenever we needed some security we'd just walk outside with dingo on the leash. nobody would even think of coming close to us. she wasn't huge, but she had a presence that was massive. you just knew she would kill you if you tried to mess with us.

eventually we learned that dingo really couldn't be let out free, which was fine because she liked being inside with us anyway (she remained the sweetest, calmest, most loyal and comforting dog you can imagine within our home). one time though, she escaped and some neighbors called the cops because they were scared. two police officers knocked on my door and asked if I was the owner of a "small brown dog" and I said "yes, where is she?" and they said they didn't know, neighbors had called...and I said "oh no, you need to get back in your cars" they looked at me like I was joking, and moments later dingo came tearing around the side of the house, going straight after the cops. she pinned them both up against the side of my house before i could get to her. I stepped in as fast as I could and picked her up and while she was in my arms she was still growling and barking at the cops. I carried her inside, apologizing to the police and I heard one of them say "damn, I've never seen a meaner dog..."

so yeah, dingo had this wildly aggressive and protective side that sort of made her famous.

but inside our home, she was perfect. she knew when we were sad and needed to be comforted. she would always lay right by me when I played piano. every time. I would start playing and then hear her feet pattering across the floor and she would just lay there right next to me. whenever we were sick, she would lay there with us. when there was a storm, she would get as close to us as she could, usually burying herself under us, shaking. she was apart of every record I made, because she would never leave my side. I've got all these pictures of working in the studio over the years, and dingo is there in all of them, laying on the floor, watching, sleeping, listening.

everybody always talked about how calm she was, how pleasant she was to be around. but more than anything else, she was apart of our home and her quiet, constant presence made our lives fuller and more complete. it's amazing the connection people can have with animals, especially dogs. and it's even more amazing how unconditionally a dog loves it's people.

yesterday some of the best friends I've got came over and helped me bury her. frank, aaron, kyle, steve. frank picked up her body from the vet for me, and it was surprising. I spent most of the afternoon in total sadness, intermittently crying when I would think of my great, old dog. but when I saw frank pull up I just wasn't sad anymore. and then the other guys showed up and we got to work burying dingo. and then the sadness was gone. I can't explain that, but I do believe that there is something about burying your dead.

sad to lose the best dog I've ever had, but thankful for my friends and my family, and especially for people who keep teaching me what it means to carry things for others.

Monday, September 15, 2008


my sister wrote this great post about being rescued, and it has me thinking, and remembering.

I remember the time this kid pulled off katie's wig and laughed at her, and I beat him christmas story style (sitting on his chest and punching his face with both hands until a teacher pulled me off).

I remember a time when I was talking to my family about some kids who were picking on me, and the next day after school, as some kid started shoving me to the ground, I got this huge smile as I saw my two older brothers walk towards us. they asked what I was smiling about and I just pointed and said "those are my brothers". danny told me to go home, and I did, leaving the bullies with my brothers, and I was never picked on ever again.

I remember a time when a man in a store was harassing brooke, and when he reached over and touched her I told him to get his hand off her. I could feel the blood in my face and I knew I was ready to hit him, and he knew it too. he apologized and walked away.

I remember a little over ten years ago, when my friend joe suddenly passed away, how I wept harder than I ever knew possible, and how a good friend held me at the side of his grave and maybe for the first time showed me what it meant to help carry a piece of someone's grief.

I remember so many times and so many stories I've lived through with my friends, where hope has seemed so far away, and where the options for rescue seem so vague and unreachable. thinking of it now, I can see the eyes of so many people I have failed.

my dog is dying, I think. she's old and I'm afraid that the end could be near. and tonight, as brooke held her still, eerily unmoving body in her arms and stroked her fur and wiped away her tears, I held out my typical optimism that she'll be fine, that ultimately things are working out for good.

but if I'm honest, I'll admit that in the dark corners of my soul, the places I see when I am quiet and alone, and most clearly when I am sitting alone with my music, that I am afraid that things are not working out for good, that things are unraveling at a fast pace, that I am out of control, that people and things are dying, and that I need to be rescued. that I am incapable of saving or rescuing anybody.

and that scares me. the rescuers are all so incapable.

I've been writing a lot of music lately. it always goes that way. I finish a record and immediately go back to writing. I wrote one of the best songs of my life. it was about hope and about loss and about mercy. and then I lost it (yesterday). I had it scribbled on a piece of paper and now its gone, accidentally thrown away. and it's fitting, because the songs I write are really only for me, I hardly ever share them with anybody, and this one, this song about hope and about rescue, I couldn't even keep it for me.

some partially related thoughts from clint.

Monday, September 8, 2008

oxford, mississippi

last week, clint and I traveled to oxford to play a last-minute show with jon black, opening for drew holcomb.  it was a fun night.  and I'm glad I used the downtime to grab a few shots of the very haunted, very eerie town of oxford, mississippi.  I have been so busy working on the new record from red mountain that I haven't been doing much with photography in several weeks.  so, these were pretty fun for me...

Monday, September 1, 2008

I have a crush on sarah palin

sarah palin is awesome. for lots of reasons: 

1. she kills animals with her bare hands, while at the same time not freezing to death. 

2. she married an eskimo, who has laser vision. and 

3. she is hot. seriously she is like really hot.

in fact, she's so hot, that I now make brooke dress like her. one point brian t. murphy. zero points world.