So this week, I was subjected to one of the most brain numbing reasons to be thankful for my hearing loss. There is a video floating around out there of Corey Feldman and his “Angelic Band” performing on the Today Show. One video I saw from a coworker and friend was a snippet of several scene’s edited together. I was able to find the actual horrible train wreck on the Today Show site, and was amazed at the quality of crap they would actually put on air. So it was a long tiring busy week last week, and missed a few of my friends performances over the weekend. See…one of these days, I will make it to one of the shows. It’s my “Bucket List” of things to do for my 50 by 50. So one day here in the very near future wil be my trip and purchase for my ticket in, and my request for a “sticky” for Farm Aid to come hang out. This year’s show was not televised, but only streamed on the Farm Aid website. I missed it live this year, but was lucky enough it was still up as recap videos on the site, and YouTube. This was my saving grace to cleanse my head of mind blowing, ear piercing, painful agony of watching the Feldman video for a third time. If you watch the Corey Feldman video, or hell, even any video of a performer from the past 10 years….or even a Kanye West me a favor and do yourself some justice. Watch a few of the different performer videos for some of the acts from Farm Aid. And if you want to really get into my own head, check out the full series from John Mellencamp. its not your thing…no problem, but just humor me. Even skip ahead to Video 7 of the series. Listen intently, listen deeply. Discect it, Listen to each instrument, each piece, each note…as a whole, and individually. Watch the videos, watch them carefully, each pluck of the string, each note of the vocals, each strike of the drum. What do you notice? What are they missing that you don’t see in Corey Felman’s video? No angel costumes, no crappy dancing, no pre-recorded music and fake playing….Yes its live…Yes they’re playing their instruments….Wait…What..No Autotune…How dare they actually perform. Performance is a lost art. And that is one of the things you’ll notice out of the Farm Aid show. Not is it only a benefit for our farmers, farmland, the people who help provide us our meals, and our homegrown heartland; but its a genuine artists show. Every single act there is a “performer”. It’s the people who many have grown up listening to. It’s the people I look up to, I envy, and some of these guys have been my music mentors over the past 20 years of my performing career. And some are  on my bucket list to shake hands with someday before I turn 50. See..many of the people on this tour have been performing longer than most people have been alive. Their music careers span longer than the lifetime of some of these “up and coming” artists. Some even longer than I’ve been alive. (I’m a decade shy of my 50×50). And thats what makes things like the Feldman video, and how Kanye thinks he’s a God among artists, really grinds my gears…or in music terms..rattles my reverb tank. I get it…there’s different levels—OK. I get it….it’s a different style and genre. —OK. I get it…artistry has different angles. Yes, there is. It’s all different, and that’s what makes us all unique and individuals. But for me…I can’t forget my roots. What brought me to music to begin with. The things I grew up with and the sounds engrained in my head from the ripe age of in my daddy’s loins. Yeah, I said it. Thanks to my parents, it was a generation of Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Boy George, Genesis, John Mellencamp, Doobie Brothers, Bee Gees, Hall and Oats, Bryan Adams, Billy Ocean, and then some…It was hours listening to the Beatles “Let It Be” green apple record on vinyl, it was hours of “American Pie” on 8 Track, it was hours of flipping sides to Mellencamps’ “American Fool” on cassette. These are the things that molded my influence to my own roots of music. Once I started playing, stuying, listening to music, that opened my mind and soul to that much more. But always there will be the roots. My grandfather was an amazing gardener. He could grow some of the most amazing tomatos the size of my head out of a 5 gallon bucket. He taught me that an orange tree is strongest and produces some of the most amazing fruit when it’s grafted onto the roots of a lemon tree. And for years we had an orange tree in my parents back yard that had some of the best, sweetest tasting oranges. But over the the course of 30+ years, it relinquished back to a lemon tree….back to its native roots. And while I love all styles and genre of music, I’m always drawn back to where it all the Heartland Rock, and one of my all time favorite artists, John Mellencamp. Maybe it’s because he has the same likeness and resemblance as my own father with the slicked greying hair, dominant chiseled facial features…who knows. But for me it’s also the music. It’s the lyrics. It’s the resonance of the instruments. And as I’ve been blessed to know them, it’s the genuineness of the band. They are true to their roots, their steadfast, and their beliefs. It’s kept them going for over 30+ years in the music industry. So if you want to get in my head and see music thru my eyes and heart….just go straight to video 7, plug your headphones into your tablet, and crank it full volume. You’re now in my world of in-ear monitors. Not to the full $1100 dollars worth of IEM goodness…but close enough. Close your eyes and take a listen. Listen to the voices, listen to each instrument, listen to how everything blends together, listen to how flawless the music is and how it’s like listening to a recording, listen to how real the music is; how much different it is against a halftime show, or one of these awards shows, listen to how each member plays off each other and interacts together, listen to each note of the upright bass as it cuts thru the mix, listen to the sound of the kick drum as it pounds your chest, listen to the words of the music; and how they come to be as part of your own life. Because it’s all we’ve learned about living. So Check It Out. Farm Aid 2016