Upcoming Performances

  • Jun 15

    Black Range Lodge

    Kingston

  • Jun 22

    Rio Grande Theater

    Las Cruces

  • Jun 29

    First Unitarian Universalist

    Albuquerque

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Greetings from windy New Mexico in the springtime. I just returned from the Voyager Southwest Flute festival in Tucson. I was teaching, headlining and had a vendor table. It was a great time as always and I really love teaching. My workshops were well attended with enthusiastic flute students. I taught about the Circle of 5ths and playing with other instruments and another class on Taking your Flute Playing to the next level. Both were fun and from the feedback folks seemed to get something out of them. I’ve played at this festival for many years and they do a good job of putting it together. Seeing my friends is always nice. I invited Zach Farley and Tim Gomez on stage with me for “A Wayfaring Stranger” which is below.

On another note I’m sorry to report that my dad passed on last week in Lubbock, TX where he was at the hospital. He was living in Hobbs, NM. I grew up in Hobbs and as a boy would travel with my dad for his work as a general contractor instead of pre-school. As we drove round in a pick-up truck or “a chevy pick-up plane” as the lyric says, he would get me to sing along to the country music he enjoyed. I think even then he was grooming me to be a singer. We spent so much time in motels and truck stops. I still do that on the road in fact. He was a very hard worker and built his cement company up from nothing earning his general contractor’s license when he was twenty-one. https://www.chapelofhopefunerals.com/memorialpage.asp?page=odetail&id=101416&locid=16&fbclid=IwAR1We8kUsx0DZ7WBCVBOjDUlFzsxubpNcfv-bZLLZ0epiXaOY9WtxkxsxqM

The story goes that he quit school in the eighth grade to help support the large family and grew up very poor doing agricultural work hoeing weeds and such with his siblings. He was a philosopher and was always learning something new and completed the Dale Carnegie course on public speaking. He endured much racism and prejudice all his life and taught us how to survive that experience and I remind people often of what my parents had to endure and how they overcame so many challenges to become successful professionals. I am very proud of their accomplishments. They nurtured and endured my music pursuits in choir and band etc. always being supportive and showing up to shows even after they had divorced. My life would be much different if I hadn’t joined band in Jr. high school. It was a challenging childhood and I’m glad I survived to thrive.

Hello Daddy

 

A Wayfaring Stranger at Voyager Southwest Flute Fest

I’ve returned from the 25th annual Rock Art Rendezvous in south Texas. By many many reports is one of the best ever. Certainly I felt honored to be there again and so glad to spend time with friends, some I see only once a year. Our weather was beautiful Friday then windy as ever Saturday with a very cold night. We huddled and put on layers each morning enjoying coffee and the generously offered burrito from folks camping nearby. That is the kind of atmosphere it is there, generous, open and giving.

 

some of the crowd Saturday night 150-200     Crowd

Jamming with my friend Nick Morgan around the campfire each night was a blast and treat I look forward to. Each day we would hike to petroglyphs and other points of interest on the White Shaman Preserve. It is named that after a few White Shaman petroglyphs found only in the lower Pecos river area. It is believed to represent the ultimate Mother Earth in some complex and wonderful origin stories shared by these people and the Huichol https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/huichol and may be my ancestors. I feel, since the first time I saw these panels that these were done in communication with our plant helpers. I’ve learned about Peyote pilgrimages from the Huichol homelands in the Yucatan and Jalisco areas up to the lower Pecos area. My DNA tests confirmed ancestry from Jalisco and Palenque.

 

New fan from Germany very nice                   Sound check with 40mph winds

Regardless, some of these petroglyphs are nearly 4500 years old BCE. They are an incredible lasting testament to an advanced civilization with the “same brain” as ours who put humans into space. This is something oft repeated by the guides and scholars of the area like the Shumla Institute’s Dr. Carolyn Boyd. https://www.texasobserver.org/if-these-walls-could-talk/

All day Saturday, the day of my concert and chuck wagon dinner, it was so incredibly windy and cold as a front moved through. I play woodwind instruments and heard many jokes that I could just hold my flutes up and the wind would play. Indeed. I kept saying the winds would calm for my music not to worry. I went to the edge of the canyon and said some prayers with my drum and asked the ancestors to help me. Well, they did though not until the middle of my third flute song “Americana Medley of Amazing Grace, Wayfaring Stranger, Oh Shenandoah. The first two, I had “help” from the wind shall we say.

Nick Morgan joined me on guitar for a couple numbers and Greg Williams; former director of the Rock Art Foundation read a beautiful poem by my version of Marty Robbins’s song “Man Walks Among Us.” It was incredibly special to have Greg join me. 

 

Greg Williams                               Performing during my concert

The challenge of playing Native flutes in the wind is significant. There is no electric there so everything was human and battery powered and I’ve heard wonderfully generous compliments. I feel the Witte Museum staff did a great job of putting the Rendezvous together. I would encourage folks to check out their website and sign up for their newsletter. Hikes are led all year with the Rendezvous being once a year so far.

Here are a couple of videos from the weekend including a portion of Deep Peace, playing live at La Tinaja and Playing against the wind in the White Shaman Panel. I am actively seeking bookings for 2019 and will consider house concerts, small venues, churches, healing centers, festivals and just about any venue. Contact me and also bookmark my calendar. Thank you for reading.

Randy

deep_peace_rar.mp4

Photos by Toni T Reese Backyard Photography, Video Nick Morgan, Editor Randy Granger

I have always had this idea of service, a way to use my gifts and talents for more than just a way to earn a living. Maybe I saw my parents do this. My dad was always helping out strangers. Sometimes that was unsettling when he’d offer a ride to a hitchhiker or bring a stranger, usually a street person, to lunch with him and me. Equally, my mother was always helping others, inviting the priests to enchiladas every Sunday, visiting elders and other people who didn’t seem to get out. Who knows? It is a calling with me and part of my service as I see it.

My music is an extension of that calling whether it is my volunteer work or my records it is all the same source and motivation. I have been volunteering my music at hospice since around 2005 just after I began playing the Native American flute in 2004. I was asked by a friend, who was also the volunteer coordinator at a hospice here, to play for their “light of our lives” memorial service. Loved ones of people who had passed under hospice care for that past time period. A table filled with candles and photos and mementos were set up in the middle of the church. One by one people mentioned their loved one’s names. One little boy walked up to the table and pointed at a photo of his infant sister and stretched to grab it. His dad helped him and the boy kissed the picture. It was very moving and I struggled to keep playing the flute and keep my composure. I knew hospice was going to be a big part of my service.

Indeed, hospice is part of my work both as my regular hospice playing but also teaching other musicians to play music in specialized settings, which I’ve done since 2007 both in workshops and in flute schools around the United States. Recently, I had the time and commitment to go through the extensive proper volunteer training, background check, medical checks to be an official volunteer who can go into patient’s rooms, fill out paperwork of course and be part of the team, which I am grateful. Since then I receive regular requests to visit patients both in the inpatient facility and in the community at large, which is where most of their patient’s are. I have been doing this for over a decade, however, the way Hospices are funded is through their volunteer hours so I wanted to make sure not only that they receive credit, but that I follow their polices and procedures for compliance. 

It is a special service to be with people who are actively dying, terminal and their loved ones. I consider it a gift to them and me as well. Knowing how to be present and attentive without any hint of pity is the key. The way I see it is they are still here and alive and I ask about their life in a way that focuses on what they enjoyed doing or were passionate about. I play for them whether they are conscious or not knowing their life force, their spirit is very much present. Sometimes I will watch their breathing, face, body language and adjust my playing. I am very aware of the notes I play, the key of the flute, whether it is a soft playing flute or not.

Being able to talk with their loved ones about their lives is very powerful and I learn their connection to music whether it was as a musician or what songs they liked. Recently, a patient I played for several times who was having a difficult time letting go it seemed, turns out was a percussionist and played the Marimba. Next time I visited him I brought a wooden and metal tongue drum. The metal drum was a Moyo. I placed it on his bed next to his arm where he could feel the vibrations. As I played his eyes turned to me and tears began flowing ever so slightly from his eyes. His wife joked to him that it took a drum for him to finally respond as he had been unresponsive for days. He passed the next morning. I hear this time and time again how music helps people pass. I know from the studies and research I’ve done that music reaches the emotional centers of our brains essentially bypassing the thinking brain. It evokes emotions and allows for release in my experience. Like when you’re at a memorial or funeral and the bagpipes start playing “Amazing Grace,” you can’t keep those emotions down when that happens. So many of their experiences over the years not only playing for folks in hospice but assisted living, memory care, hospitals, chemo clinics have all deepened my appreciation of the temporary nature of life and what is ultimately important.

I wrote and recorded a song, “Where did you go” on my 2012 record Strong Medicine, which chronicled my own story of loss after caring for and losing my partner from pancreatic cancer in 2011. As I heard from people after we made our experience public in the media, they told me stories of their recently departed loved ones coming to them as clouds, birds, animals, signs everywhere. I also experienced this and wanted to make my personal experience into the universal, which I feel is the artist’s role. I did a healing meditation workshop in Leesburg, FL last May. One woman who was there had lost her husband that year. During the meditation she reported a Cardinal had come to her. Cardinals are considered signs a loved one’s spirit is near after they pass. I include images of Cardinals in this video as homage.

I hope you find some healing from this video and please share it with other. Subscribe to my YouTube channel while you are there please.

Thank you and Happy Valentines Day!

Randy

WHERE DID YOU GO

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Happy summer. I hope it is treating you well with calm weather.  Here in southern New Mexico it has been a brutal summer with a month straight of over 100 degree temps and unrelenting sun. I’m home for a short while after making my way over to Florida, Georgia, Tennessee then home before heading up to Lawrence, KS then Chicago for a couple festivals. Lots of driving through beautiful country when it wasn’t raining like crazy. Many other area gigs as well as leading workshops and my speaking gigs as Rev. Randy at Unity, UU and Centers for Spiritual Living. I love it all! 

In the meantime I was contacted by our local PBS station KRWG about filming a short feature for a program called Living Here highlighting people of interest in the Mesilla Valley where I live. I had filmed the first episode of their series Music Spotlight years ago. I was their guinea pig so to speak. You can find it online. I think Christian Valle did a great job putting the episode together with music, footage, photos and interview. Here it is. Tell me what you think.

 I’ve been approached about another episode of Music Spotlight. I’m very appreciative of their interest. I never expect it and am always humbled. This Sunday I will play another Full-Moon Concert at White Sands National Monument. I’ve been doing full-moon concerts there for a number of years and it is always an adventure. The first year I rode in the back of one of the ranger’s little truck to get two wooden palettes for my stage. We’ve had many more adventures and have bonded over them. In the past there has been over 1800 people attending and a forty-five minute line to get in from the highway. Just bring a cooler, blankie or chair and chill. It is a perfect, spiritual setting for my music. I feel so privileged.

 I’ll also be at the New Mexico State fair in September again at the Indian Village along with Pickamania at Black Range Lodge, Heart of the Desert Winery, Franciscan Arts fest and back to Sweetgrass Native American flute school and Art and Music Fest in Hiawatha, IA. I love it there so much and feel honored to be a part. After that I’ll be back in Joplin, MO and a house concert in Lawrence. My website should have all the details. I sometimes fall behind updating when I’m on the road and driving 10 hours a day.

 And finally, I was contacted by A&E. They were looking for local musicians for the show The Osbournes which was coming through southern New Mexico where I live. I was asked to send in an audition video. I play the Native American flute so went looking for an Ozzy or Sabbath song to cover. I chose "The Wizard" and adapted it to the drone flute. They liked it and wanted to film me when they came through. However, they also weren't sure of the date which caused some conflicts unfortunately. I had to take a gig in Tucson I had contracted for. It was a tough choice but a contract is a contract and I have a pretty serious work ethic.

Well, turns out they did come through and the episode aired--without me sadly. So much for my fifteen minutes. Here it is.

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on the road. I’m always up for adding a House Concert to my travels. Check out how to do it and feel free to contact me. I post many of my touring photos on Instagram and my Facebook page so please follow me there. I

Peace,

Randy

I find myself back in Joplin, MO JOMO doing a concert exactly two years after I was here last time. I am always inspired by how the community came together after the 2011 F5 tornado. The F5 tornado killed 161 people. It shredded entire neighborhoods. More than 900 homes were lost. Big box stores collapsed. The destruction was complete, the landscape rendered foreign. There are huge swaths of land that simply didn't exist afterwards. Instant fields.

As I spoke with folks here and heard their stories I learned how a dominantly white, conservative town dropped those walls to help each other out. Countless stories of people unselfishly letting people into their homes, feeding, clothing, sharing and giving. Joplin, by all accounts, is a different community now. A better community. You still see poor mostly white people here in need. Meth, rhythm etc. are a problem, but even with that you have small pockets of people coming together to address those issues.

Before the tornado of May 22, 2011, Joplin had been in serious decline with businesses boarded up downtown, jobs existent, the mine had closed and Joplin had pretty much been written off. It is a very conservative, white, christian based town with many churches that dominate the culture. What I've heard is that after the tornado is that people came together and it literally brought people together to help and search for survivors in the destruction. Even Obama, who came a week after, was received so well with only one protester from the Westbury Baptist church, those idiots. But, he was escorted away, thankfully.

After the disaster stories of beings who protected, shielded and helped survivors began to circulate. Numerous stories from all kinds of people were spread. These stories all talked about these beings with wings who would help and wrap their wings around people. Even stories about the "Butterfly People" ferrying the ones killed up to the sky were told by many. They didn't call them angels at all. Instead they looked to people like human like butterflies. Read these accounts below or look them up. There is even a Butterfly Mural in town along with a huge growth of murals in Joplin.

There are so many stories about the Butterfly People from people of all faiths, backgrounds etc. Some are here of them: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread797294/pg1

The tornado unleashed stories about death and unlikely survival: A teenager sucked from an SUV, a toddler plucked from his mother's arms, houses that exploded in 200-mph winds as families huddled in bathtubs and closets. For months, just about any place people gathered, the stories spilled out, including stories about the butterfly people.

"Pastor Wermuth also told of a church across from the Joplin High School where people had gathered early for the evening service. They were told to get to the basement quickly. (There was one casualty in that location.) All four walls of the church fell to the basement, trapping the people underneath the rubble. Six large men arrived and lifted the four walls up, allowing the survivors to climb out. When rescue squads arrived and inquired how they got out, everyone had the same report: Six big men lifted the walls up and allowed them to climb out. And when everyone was out, they walked away, saying they had to go dig others out. All were very descriptive and emphatic about the six large men-all telling the same story the same way to the rescuers. The rescuers in disbelief explained, there is no way 6 men can lift all 4 of these walls."

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/the-butterfly-people-of-joplin/article_cca48b1a-282b-587d-902b-cd5f09ca8516.html

My concert and workshop were wonderful. The Joplin Globe ran a great article and it helped bring folks out. You have no idea whatsoever as an independent musician, who and how many people will come out to your shows ever. It is scary and a nervous faith game. I'm so grateful for those who came out yesterday and last night. Also for my friend the minister of Unity of Joplin here, Gordon Keylor, for hosting me and promoting it so well. Very grateful for friends like him. I know him from New Mexico and we share stories and a love of green chile and the Land of Enchantment.

I'm off to perform a House Concert in West Des Moines and stay with good friends there too. I could not do what I do and make a living at it without my many good friends around the country. After Iowa I'm off the World of Faeries Festival in S. Elgin then Chicago Stomp before rushing back to New Mexico to teach music educators around rhythm and movement. Check my calendar for details.

Randy

 

I hope this update finds everyone healthy and well as can be. What an incredibly hot summer it has been here in southwestern New Mexico and the Borderlands area. We’ve had weeks of over 100 degree temps as high as 113 here. The fact that we are around 4,000ft above sea level means we really experience those UV rays.

I’ve been very busy on the road and performing locally as well including with my friend Jake Mossman for his Flamenco Friday series. What a blast to play with the 12/8 rhythms and different forms of Flamenco like Tangos etc. Also I drummed with my friends for our First Friday Ramble art walk earlier this month. I always enjoy drumming, my first instrument from time I bought a 50cent pair of drumsticks when I was 5 or 6.

While we were drumming I was incognito as it were with dark shades and a big hat. We had a good time drumming in front of the Art Y Mas studio and gallery. People would walk up, however, and begin talking to me and asking question after question. That is fine except that it was in the middle of a song. This isn’t the first time or last that has happened. I’m never sure what to say to people other than that I will talk to them when I am done? That hasn’t worked. It is a trend and reflects the idea that artists, musicians etc. aren’t actually “working” when they see us. We are friends. We are, and we are usually trying to concentrate. I posted on facebook and the comments were typical from non-musicians. Some other artists chimed in with their similar stories. Some were funny others involved someone taking a swing at a flute player, interrupting on stage, complaining to management etc. I’ve been there. So, dear friends, when you see this happening to us feel free to intervene and explain, one listener to the other, that we are “working here” and whatever pressing question they have can wait till we are done and that we are more than happy to speak then.

I’m heading on the road up the Midwest again. Honored to be performing again the World of Faeries Festival in S. Elgin, IL, Tribal Stomp in Chicago, teaching a workshop, performing a concert and for the Sunday service for my return at Unity of Joplin and another house concert at my lovely friend Jeanne’s home in West Des Moines. Then I head back to New Mexico for a Drumming and Movement workshop for music educators and a private political fundraiser in Placitas, NM.

In the meantime finishing recording tracks for upcoming new album, which I am so excited about. Doing my best to fit it in amidst touring and performing. Here is a new track from it called “Prana” which is exclusively on my Bandcamp page. Please download it for a small fee. I get about $1.50 of that $2.00.

Hope to see some of you out there at my shows, festivals etc. I sure appreciate all of you. Wish me well. You can always check my Calendar for details. 

Randy

 

Some upcoming performances/workshops festivals
Unity of Joplin, Workshop and Concert MO July 29/30
House Concert” West Des Moines, IA Aug. 3
World of Faeries Fest S. Elgin, IL Aug. 5/6
Tribal Stomp Chicago, IL Aug. 5
Workshop Las Cruces, NM Aug. 9 & 12
Private Fundraiser Placitas, NM Aug. 17

www.randygranger.net for details.

Hello friends. I was in Albuquerque last weekend to play and teach at the Albuquerque Folk Festival at the Ballon museum. What a lovely venue. It was a nice festival with lots of acoustic music. I had a mention in the paper that was amusing.

“We have a really diverse thing culturally,” Day said. (festival director) “We’ve got gypsy blues and folk jazz. We’ve got bluegrass. We’ve got Americana and Chicana. We’ve got an Irish and Appalachian duo, Púca. (We have) a Native American, who plays flute and is a singer-songwriter and a storyteller, I think that will be really interesting. (His name is) Randy Granger. He’s from Las Cruces." 

I did feel like a novelty or at least folks were certainly commenting on my appearance, braids, steam-punk top hat, boots, concho belt. My workshop went really well I felt with lots of questions asked and answered. My set was fine though I have no idea what folks were expecting. You never know at a new venue. I'm grateful for new listeners and new audiences too. Quite a few mentioned they hope I come back. I encouraged them to let the organizers know that as I always do. 

Sadly, that morning, June 3rd, as I was eating breakfast inside the Frontier restaurant I heard my car description and license plate over the intercom asking me to go to my vehicle. I did, with a sinking feeling I might add. My back passenger window had been shattered. From my seat was stolen a new hand pan made by Arcana that I'd only had for two weeks. What a horrible realization. I was parked out on the street, it was broad daylight, lots of people around, the instrument was covered of course. They also took my toiletry bag which was next to it. This, of course means they were looking for prescription drugs most likely. 

I had to go to the festival and function, which was a challenge I will tell you. But I am a professional so I sucked it up and did my best. I talked to every security guard there for advice. Finally, one mentioned the APD had recently hired over two doz PSA's or rookies assigned the task of taking mobile police reports. Once I found the number I called knowing it could take hours. And it did. I couldn't file online because the value of the instrument. By the third time dispatch called me I mentioned I was waiting to drive back to Las Cruces where I live three hours south. The officer, Baca, came soon after that. She gave me some advice on pawn shops. Luckily my friend Mark who lives in a nearby community came out and brought a huge piece of cardboard and some tape. We set up a temp window as the vibrating inside the cabin was very intense especially at hiway speeds three hours. 

I've posted the info everywhere online, craigslist, reportit leadsonline, etc. you name it. Folks have helped spread the word on facebook. I don't know I will ever see it again. See, when you know about how criminals work they want something they can get rid of fast for cash. That cash is for drugs more often than not. I had to pay to replace the window yesterday, a cool $280 bucks and my 6th window replaced. The others were from rocks on the road. Ugh. 

Albuquerque is notorious, just google it, for musicians having all of their gear stolen while at a hotel, eating, loading etc. Mostly the thieves just unhitch the locked trailer full of gear or uhaul. It happens to people moving and stopping overnight so often it's not even newsworthy. Everyone I talked to Saturday had a long list of stolen stories, car break ins, home burglary etc. It is so common people expect it. I heard there used to be alerts to musicians to actually avoid the area all together because of thefts. The pawn industry is huge in Albuquerque.  I have never seen such huge pawn ships as the ones I visited Saturday looking for my pan. Drugs and crime affect everyone up and down the line. I'm not the first or last musician to have their gear stolen. I know a lot of musicians and have heard all their stories, sadly. Contact the APD if you have any news or leads please. 

I have asked the makers to get to work on a replacement pan as this was the only one they made this scale. I had recorded two songs with it the brief time I had it. How i will pay for the replacement I don't actually know yet. I'm hoping some offers to help me financially will pan out. NO pun meant at all. I'm just sick about loosing it but the support has been encouraging though some of the comments are hard to take. 

If you would like to contribute I would appreciate any help offered. You can PayPal me by clicking here. I can't print my email address here because then I get ridiculous amounts of spam. I'm not doing a burglary because I might run one in support of new album and you do have to pay a fee to them as well. 

 Here is a new music video for my song “Dancing Skin” from 2012’s Strong Medicine album. Strong Medicine was of course funded via Kickstarter, thankfully. The entire album was a chronicle of my caregiving and loss of my late partner, Wayne Crawford, to pancreatic cancer. The lyrics are based on his “Sun Waltz” poem set to melody and music. I’m grateful to have that. It was a very challenging record to write and record as emotions of grief etc. were still fresh. He wrote about dance in many of his poems, the dance of life, of relationships, of sex, of intimacy etc. I hope you enjoy it. 

I’m in Albuquerque tonight. Tomorrow I perform again at the Gathering of Nations, North America’s largest powwow. And it is huge. Besides the fact that we aren’t paid, pay our own parking, travel, room etc, I am honored to be a part. Whether I break even, well, let’s just say this is my homage to my ancestors. No one cannot help but be moved to heightened emotions when you see the couple thousand dancers from all over the world during the grand entry. It says to me that we are here, strong, proud and resilient. Every time I get booked to play it I have conflicted feelings, as I never even break even. Yet, people come down to the stadium floor and tell me how much my music moved them. So we’ll see how it goes tomorrow.

 After that I head back to Las Cruces to deliver the inspirational message, sermon, and music at Wellspring, a new thought church based in religious science, which I practice. Ernest Holmes started it in the early decades of the 20th century. This is my third sermon this month and second with music. I am extremely grateful for this growing opportunity. Writing a sermon/message takes me average three days and it is always from scratch. Much more work than music. Haha. Then Algernon D’Ammassa and I return to Hillsboro, NM to perform An Iliad as our company Theatre Dojo. We are grateful for the opportunity.

 Yes, it’s a killer weekend in three cities and I had another request to do music in Albuquerque Sunday at the First Unitarian Universalist church but had to decline. We moved it to Mother’s day May 14. Please come. It is nothing compared to last weekend however. I left very early Friday morning to get to Hooker, OK for the Hooker Spring Fling, my second time performing there. They try their best to incorporate a Native American element to their festivals. Good for them. Nice people and town. On the way there I was driving north on US-54 north of Carrizozo, NM through a construction zone that went down to 45mph. Those speeds are enforced 24/7 here and fines are doubled. The truck suddenly speeds up behind me and flashes and lays on his horn. He pulled back then sped up within inches of my bumper blaring and flashing. I look at him in my sideview mirror and ask, "what dude?" He becomes so angry I could see his veins bulging. He mouths, "fuck you" over and over flipping me of and is less than inches from me so I speed up. He then passes me flipping me off coming inches again from my car. He tried to run me off the road but I braked. I can't believe how angry he was. Probably was on amphetamines, but very dangerous regardless. I called the state police and reported him but never heard anything back. I've had so many experiences of road rage out there usually because I actually drive the speed limit. But, the climate since the election and new president has intensified.

They put me up at the Hooker Inn, the only game in town. At about 4am I heard shouting. Turns out it was a woman yelling at her man that she wanted to, “get drunk, get high and get fucked up.” He slurred that it was 4 in the fucking morning. She said she knew where some liquor is and was challenging him. When he refused she told me that he was partying with his kids in the room so he was a pussy. I don’t know, it was something like that. I put my pillow over my head. She was pissed off so she went in the truck and played loud music. What a trip.

 After my second set I had to leave immediately as I had a gig in Houston, TX at 11am the next morning. I drove very hard through some seriously Christ, camouflage and pickups. Billboards telling you to pray for the unborn, the country, the schools, the town etc. It was creepy especially at night. And, to top it off I had been listening to the S-Town podcast so was especially sensitive to the redneck aspect of that part of Texas in particular. Nothing against rednecks, I’m related to some, but I’ve never felt welcome or safe with my features driving through such areas.

I stopped in Buffalo, TX in desperate need of sleep. I slept a couple of hours then was on the road for the final two hours to Houston. I live on coffee, great music and podcasts when I’m on the road. I don’t know how I do it, but I know I’m not the first musician/entertainer to work this hard. It’s not like I get a paycheck so each gig is my paycheck. I try and post pics on my Instagram feed. Please follow. 

I was set to deliver the message, story for all ages and the music for the Earth Day service at Unitarian Fellowship of Houston. I’ve been there before and it is a beautiful venue with a glass back stage so the congregation sees trees, birds and squirrels. I enjoy it there. That said, being me brings out “things” in people I just patiently deal with because, I guess, I’m just that different or exotic enough to bring out the quiet, closet racist in everyone. Things people say to me across the country is so jaw dropping that I’m putting it in an eBook. And while the lovely people in Houston weren’t mean this is exactly some of what I heard in the first ten minutes of walking into the church. And I quote:

“You look very, very……”

Me, “very what?”

“Very, very, very different. You look less Native American looking than last time. You look oriental, or Chinese or Asian. Your braid looks like a Chinaman”

“You don’t look as Chinese with your braid and hat (a very nice Kufi cap) but you look like Kung Fu. But you look Mongolian, hello. Anyone just has to look at you and know you look Mongolian. Or Japanese.”

“I should have brought my drum too. I should have brought my flute too. I guess I didn’t listen to my guides today. I should have. Are you affiliated with a tribe? Which one? Do you believe in god? Do you follow or are you influence by your tribe? Do you practice the Indian religion or spirituality? What do they call it? Do you make your own drums? Flutes? Do you……”

I cut her short after answering only one of those questions. I said, “You have reached your limit of questions I’m going to even consider. You can read my website like everyone else.”

She left and returned with my cd’s in hands and asked which was my favorite CD. I said all of them. She replied, “you’re lying. You’re just trying to get rid of me.” You think?

I replied that I found people without filters often can’t handle the same back. I told her she should decide “after” she heard my music what she wanted.

It went on. But my point here is that just because someone is an entertainer, celebrity, on stage does not allow you the right to use him or her to get attention or flirt with or whatever people think they are doing. We are real, actual people and also professionals with boundaries and usually accommodating personalities that can be mistaken for your therapist. My friends tell me, “oh Randy, they are just lonely and you’re so nice and approachable.” Maybe so, but I’m not a therapist and certainly not in the profession of caring for the lonely. Compassion is one thing, but not even the Dalai Lama could do it. I’m just an inspired musician who feels everything deeply, actually listens and only says something after I’ve thought about it.

I know we are a shallow species concerned with looks. It's in our 250,000,000 or whatever genetic code in the chapter called mate finding. But, at some point, the work has to matter more. We can't all be perpetual teenagers. 

 That people connect with my music is a gift and privilege. That some want all your attention when you are working is not fair and crosses boundaries I no longer want to entertain. I’ve had actual, real stalkers. They are scary. When you meet a musician or writer you admire just be cool. Tell them you like their work and say thank for coming etc. Understand his or her time is being shared with everyone present and once again, we are only human.  Realize that they hear everyone’s personal stories over and over and over and no one can handle that. Unless, that is, they are a professional listener.

Thank you and I look forward to chatting with you. You really want to endear yourself, show up with coffee.

Peace and blessings to you all.

Randy

http://randygranger.net   

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