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Progress or regret?   Leave a comment

You can’t help but notice in Nashville all the construction. ‘Progress’ a lot of people claim while many are saddened by all the building, and eating up of fields for more and more houses.

What appealed to me originally about Nashville that it was a city with a small-town feel. Fifteen minutes in any direction and you would find yourself in beautiful Tennessee country – not anymore.

Owen Bradley was a producer generally credited with creating the ‘Nashville sound’, in his studio way out of Nashville outside a small town of Mount Juliet.  Musicians and artists who would travel for sessions there, including Dolly Parton, George Jones and so many others, would say they would leave Nashville and drive for thirty minutes through countryside.  Now the towns are beginning to join up and from Nashville to where the studio used to be you do not see any countryside.

On the highway east of Nashville we are, over the last five years certainly we have seen traffic increase ten-fold.  More and more houses are being built in our area and surely it is time for someone to say, ‘enough is enough’?

The bubble will burst in Nashville – at one time apparently a hundred people a day were moving here.  Mount Juliet has outgrown itself and I’m afraid that the Tennessee countryside is being swallowed up by construction.

Hey, I appreciate that we moved here, but we bought our land nearly fifteen years ago though before the area of Nashville became so much in demand.

This obviously affects wildlife, destroying their natural habitat.  It maybe progress, but at the same time it is so sad.


Posted July 9, 2018 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

Tonight, The Sky Cries With Me   Leave a comment

IMG_0577  IMG_0576

Book and audio CD

Posted July 2, 2018 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

Dancing With Shadows   Leave a comment

dancing march main1

Posted June 29, 2018 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

Motel   Leave a comment


Posted June 29, 2018 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

Further thoughts …..   Leave a comment

Continuing from yesterday’s blog regarding the Las Vegas shootings, it struck me that this one is different.

Following all similar ‘incidents’, mass shootings, there is always the outcry on social media about gun control.

It opens up the debate once again about gun ownership – I often hear the argument, “if people had been armed during this incident, fewer people would have been killed.” This statement is hard to deny, and argue against. I’ll say again that I’m not against someone owning a gun, far from it, especially in today’s society, or the world we live in. It will be impossible for America to control all the guns out there, and as long as there are guns, people need to be able to defend themselves.

I think what most people argue for is simply tougher controls. The person responsible for the mass shooting this weekend had forty seven guns – take that in, forty seven guns. That is simply inexcusable. That is certainly not for self-defense unless you envisage being attacked by a foreign country.

My proposal would be that people have to pass full background checks for any new guns purchased and that there is a national registry so that if someone applies for more than three guns they have to attend a hearing and state why they need more than three guns, (some people would say two should be enough …….).

What makes this weekend’s mass shooting different is that artists were personally involved, artists with a voice to make a change. No “thoughts and prayers”, but real change. Play the NRA at its own game, lobby your senator, lobby your congressman, get them to explain how they could possibly be against slightly amending the law that would save lives in the future, possibly the life of their own child.

Don’t let the anger die over the coming days, build on it, become a force against the all powerful NRA. I’m not the biggest fan of unions and associations anyhow, I believe if you have a case or an argument, you should be able to state that on your own merit. There are attempts currently to force people to join unions and make them pay annual dues or fees – this is unbelievable and so wrong on so many levels, but I digress.

“Don’t let their death be for nothing, let it mean something,” we’ve all heard that saying, this time let’s make it happen, let this awful weekend mean a real change to the law.

Posted October 4, 2017 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

Gun Control   Leave a comment

This past weekend gave us memories that we would prefer to forget but will remain with us forever.

As I write this the death toll in the Las Vegas massacre stands at fifty-nine, with over five hundred injured. So many families devastated, ripped apart. Ours was lucky. My daughter is a publicist for the festival and was there, watching the show, along with over twenty thousand people. The headliner, Jason Aldean, who my daughter also works with, was five songs into his set when the bullets started spraying the crowd. She managed to get out of the venue safely by climbing, crawling, running, hiding. She is home, safe, obviously traumatized but time is a healer.

The horrific murders and attack have reignited the issue of stricter gun controls in the US. Eighteen guns were apparently found in the perpetrator’s hotel room, and another sixteen or so in his house, eighty miles away.

Nevada has one of the most lax gun control policies in the country – you don’t need a permit and it is legal to buy and own assault weapons.

It is unjustifiable why anyone needs so many guns and is even more indefensible that citizens can buy military style semi-automatics.

The Second Amendment states the right to bear arms, and I don’t have a problem with that, as such, it is just the background checks that need tightening and also I do believe, with certain exceptions, that most people be restricted to owning two guns.

The premise that having all these guns is for self-defense is, with respect, laughable. You only have two hands for a start, so a handgun and a rifle would suffice.

In February, Trump changed the law and made it easier for some people with a history of mental health issues to obtain guns. One has to ask whether the thirty million dollar contribution by the National Rifle Association had anything to do with this, and further, whether their other major contributions to people in Washington is the reason for the reluctance of congress to at least seriously consider legislation for stricter control and restrictions.

I understand the argument that if, for example, some people had been armed, other atrocities would not have resulted in so many deaths, but that is certainly not the case in Vegas!

Here in Tennessee a law was passed a couple of years ago that allows guns in bars, and there are now talks for teachers in schools to be armed. It is a vicious circle, out of control. If nothing else, what does this actually say about the state of this country today and the society we live in?

I also understand the culture – in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and the rest of the south, hunting is a way of life. Only today the local paper in the small town here shows a photograph of a fifteen year old boy with the dead body of a buck that he has killed. Many people find this repugnant; I don’t actually and I’m a huge animal lover. I don’t believe in fox hunting, which is cruel and barbaric or hunting for sport at all, like trophy hunting which should be banned worldwide, but I do believe in killing for food, it is something after all that we have done as humans since time began.

How many more innocent people though have to die before common sense prevails and changes to an antiquated ‘law’ that is over two hundred years old and so out-dated are at the very least seriously explored.

Americans own the most guns per person in the world. There are more public mass shootings in America than in any other country in the world. Guns kill 1,300 children in the US each year – what if that was your child?

Here in Tennessee forty percent of people own a gun; in California it is half that, whilst actually on the east coast certain states have a percentage as low as five percent. Arizona has the highest percentage, nearly sixty percent.

As a comparison, after a couple of mass shootings there, Australia drastically changed their gun laws and there has not been one single mass incident there since.

Surely everyone would agree that something needs to be done, there is no argument that can be made against at least exploring possible changes.

“It’s the Second Amendment!” – well change that amendment, it was written in 1789, and it can be done, it was revised in 1992.

It is not healthy to have a President who is obviously a bought puppet, who has a conflict in interest, due to his accepting contributions. As recently as ten years ago Trump was for changing gun ownership laws, stricter regulation and strongly against ownership of semi-automatics; now, after that thirty million contribution, plus the endorsement of the NRA, he is a supporter of gun ownership.

It’s telling what money buys, but what price do you put on a life, be it a young child or a senior person?

Posted October 3, 2017 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

Laurel Canyon   Leave a comment

We’ve probably all got a favourite time in history that we would love to have lived in, or at least fascinates us – The Egyptians, The Romans, the Wild West, London in the 1930’s. For me it is definitely Laurel Canyon in the late 60’s, early 70’s, when it was a haven for singer songwriters and musicians and actors, (it still is really).

A magical, mystical place, right in the heart of one of the busiest, largest cities in the world, this oasis of small, winding roads into the mountains, with its houses on stilts overlooking the basin of lights that is LA, remains a special place for me.

It has inspired many artists – Joni Mitchell; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; The Eagles and Jackson Brown; John Mayall; Morrison; Zappa, to name just a few. Actors like Jack Nicholson lived there, as did Marlon Brando (our house was opposite his, but he had died years before).

laurel canyon house

The Country Store on Laurel Canyon Boulevard was a focal point, halfway up the mountain. We lived at the bottom of Laurel Canyon, close to Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards. Our house was one of the oldest in the canyon, originally built apparently in the early 1900’s, when LA was basically just orange groves, just before movies, and then music, helped it become the city it is today.

The new album, Laurel Canyon, tries to capture the magic, the innocence of songwriting from around the early 70’s, when The Troubadour, The Whiskey were among the places to hang, to play. It’s very acoustic based, with little overdubs.

The songs include I Can’t Remember My Name, a tip of the hat to David Crosby; House in the Hills; The Ballad of Joshua Tree (another magical place), and the title track, plus there are a number of demos on the album.

laurel new1

Current track order:

1. House in the Hills
2. I Can’t Remember My Name
3. Demo – I Saw A Cross
4. Dark Cloud
5. Averie Grace
6. Demo – Sleeping With Angels
7. Healing Waters
8. The Ballad of Joshua Tree
9. Demo – 24/7
10. If You’re Gonna Fall In Love (Fall In Love With Me)
11. Get To Know You
12. Whatever
13. If I Didn’t Know Better
14. Same Old Story
15. Out-take – Too Much To Ask
16. Take It As It Comes
17. Demo – Telegraph Road
18. Shooting Down The Harvest Moon
19. Out-take – Why Can’t You Let Me Go
20. A Safe Place To Land
21. Laurel Canyon

Today, Laurel Canyon has its own radio station, newspaper, coyotes are still heard at night, stardust remains in the air, and songwriters and artists still head for it looking for that inspiration.

Posted September 21, 2017 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized