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My Daughters, My Sons  

My Daughters My Sons Cover Art

Waves of amber and a lack of majesty
Sinking into a shining sea of blood 
A sparking ember, I’ll roll up my sleeves|
Shake the dust off of my feet and love 

Please remember why I’ve come 
Please remember what I’ve done 

All your politics, they are wed to apologies
Silver tongues tied to your greed and lies
But I’m an anthem, I’m a whole-hearted melody
Being sung to the mighty meek to rise 

Please remember why I’ve come
Please remember what I’ve done
Please remember, do not fall asleep my daughters
Do not fall asleep my sons 

Oh my daughters, Oh my sons
We will rise
Oh my daughters, Oh my sons
We will rise 

Be an anthem, be a whole-hearted melody
Sing out, oh you mighty meek and rise 

Please remember why I’ve come
Please remember what I’ve done
Please remember, do not fall asleep my daughters
Do not fall asleep my sons

I wrote My Daughters, My Sons back in 2011, shortly after the mass shooting and assassination attempt on former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, as a reflection on our responses to political adversity in America. It’s incredible to me that, a decade later, the sentiment behind this song continues to ring true while the rift between opposite sides grows larger every day. 

I want to believe that it doesn’t have to be this way. Is it possible to put away our calls to arms and replace them with calls to love, compassion, understanding, and compromise? Can we stop seeing each other as an enemy? I certainly hope so, but it’s getting harder and harder for this life-long idealist to keep believing. Still, even if I’m the only one, I hope to continue to “roll up my sleeves” and do the hard work of loving those around me - even when I don’t agree with them.

 

Production Notes:

When I first started doing this monthly song thing, my good friend Bob Sutton reached out about working together on My Daughters, My Sons. I jumped at the opportunity. 

Melanie and I met Bob twelve years ago when he was running sound at one of our shows in Houston and we’ve been friends ever since. In fact, he recorded that show and it became our live album, Friday Night 9pm. After that night, Bob basically became an honorary member of the band, often joining us on stage whenever we played in Texas. 

The really fun part about this particular collaboration is that all I really did was record an acoustic and vocal track and Bob took over from there, working his own magic to make the version you’re hearing here. I love the little surprises that arise in a musical partnership like this and it was fantastic getting to hear Bob’s take on a song that I wrote.

After you've listened to My Daughters, My Sons, I highly encourage you to find some time to watch a documentary that Bob was a featured composer on, called Truly Texas Mexican. It's a beautiful film about the Native American roots of Texas Mexican culture, told through the lens of culinary tradition. I loved this film and think you might too. It's currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Got Messed Up  

Got Messed Up Cover

Summer is here and Nashville is abuzz with talk of live music. I must admit that I’m a little jealous of the friends who are already out playing shows again and I can’t wait to actually get out on a stage myself. I don’t know exactly when that will happen, but the band that I’m in is starting to look for a few summer shows. Who knows, maybe even a solo show will be in my near future. In the meantime, I’m pushing forward with my monthly free songs. 

This practice, along with the IN THE CORNER conversations, has really given me a sense of musical direction. I spent so long unsure about what I was going to do with music, or even if I was going to continue doing music at all. Even though financially, I’ve taken a large step backward, I am finding much more inspiration and fulfillment. Don’t get me wrong, I hope to figure out a way to make music financially viable again, but I don’t want to fall into the same traps that took the joy out of it for me initially. 

That means continuing to make sure that what I’m doing is more about the conversations and connections that you and I have and less about me just putting my own ideas out into the world. Music may be part of the process, but what I really want is to build community. I want to inspire you and I want you to inspire me. Then, I want us to carry that inspiration to others around us. 

Geez. I started writing about live music and turned it into something else entirely. Sorry for getting all hippie-dippie. That’s the danger of sitting down to write without a clear direction. So I guess I should just introduce this month’s free song and stop rambling. 

This month’s offering is a cover of R.L. Burnside’s song, Got Messed Up, recorded by the psouledelic blues band that I’m in, Vole Nevole. Fair warning, it ain’t going nowhere in a hurry. Sit back and give it a listen. Then reach out and let me know what’s on your mind. 


Production Notes for Got Messed Up: 
Originally Performed by R.L. Burnside 

Produced by Willy Gibbs 
Engineered and Mixed by Dave Coleman 
Cover Art by Jonathon Dewveall 
Cover Photography by Brent Edwards 

Guitars: Willy Gibbs
Bass: Jimmy Flynn 
Drums/Percussion: Chris Gibbs 
Vocals: Jonathan Dewveall

Sun Tiger  

Sun Tiger Cover ArtHappiness comes in many forms. Today, my joy takes the shape of Sun Tiger, the brainchild of my 8-year-old daughter, Vada, and her vivid imagination.

She wrote the lyrics, sang, AND played the drums on this song! My heart is so full of pride that I honestly don't know what to write here. Every time I listen, I am amazed at the attitude and personality she put into this recording. Making Sun Tiger with her will forever be one of my most cherished musical memories.

I really hope you enjoy this month's song, Sun Tiger by Starfire & The Planet Destroyers!

 

Production Notes for Sun Tiger:

Performing Artist: Starfire & The Planet Destroyers
Written by Vada Dewveall and Jonathon Dewveall
Cover Art by Vada Dewveall

Vocals, Drums: Vada Dewveall
Guitar, Bass: Jonathon Dewveall

Runaway Sun (Solo)  

Runaway Sun (Solo) Cover Art
In our early days of parenthood, Melanie and I loved singing lullabies to our daughter at bedtime. Most nights involved me playing guitar and picking my way through some song that we had deemed important for her little ears to hear. Sometimes they would be bedtime classics, but more often than not it was something from artists we loved or our own songs that we would adapt for bedtime.

It was around this same time that I started playing shows without Melanie, which was difficult at first. I wasn't finding much inspiration playing solo and I needed to switch things up. So I started leaving my acoustic behind and playing electric instead, which required me to rethink how I played several songs.

It was the mixture of those lullabies and my search for solo inspiration that birthed this version of Runaway Sun.

 

Production Notes:

I kept this one really simple, just like I would play it live at those solo shows. Just a single vocal take, no bgvs. I put an SM57 on my Fender Excelsior and cranked it up just enough to get the amp to break up a little. I even had some radio interference sneaking into the recording, adding to that live feel.

The bulk of the guitar sound comes from one of my favorite pedals, The Retro Sky made by Greenhouse Effects. It's a beautifully sounding delay with a switchable phase effect built-in that only affects the repeats while keeping the attack clean.

Unfortunately, I don't think they make the Retro Sky any longer, but when they did, they actually put up a link to a live version of this song on their website. When Roy, the owner, emailed me to ask if he could use it, I geeked out like a fanboy. I love the way he approaches the design of his pedals and was super honored to be used as an example of what the pedal could do. I highly encourage you to go check out Greenhouse Effects and see what kind of magic Roy has up his sleeves these days.

Lastly, this isn't so much a production note, just a cute photo. My youngest daughter was with me as I recorded the guitar and the amp was pretty loud, so I put some ear protection on her. The sound in the room was so trance-like that she ended up falling asleep on the couch - making the lullaby origins come full circle.

We Are Easy  

We Are Easy Album CoverIn most situations, I'm an incredibly practical person. I believe that anything can be figured out, broken down into steps, and conquered. My first instinct is rarely emotional, it's mathematical.

I wrote We Are Easy only a few months ago, in the midst of the pandemic, surrounded by sadness and questions. It was a time when emotion was welling up inside and the math went away. I needed to remind myself that hope is always on the horizon.

At its core, this is a song about relationships. It's about making the easy choice to go through the most difficult things with those you love. In reality, it's more than that.

I've heard it said before that every song has two stories, one told by the writer and the second by the listener. It's for that reason, I'm often hesitant to say exactly what some of my songs are about. I always hope that some of them can become just as much yours as they are mine.

Let me know in the comments if We Are Easy sparks your own story.

 

Production Notes for We Are Easy:

A side goal of mine when it comes to this "monthly song" thing is to get better at home recording. I've always considered myself a vocalist and songwriter, not an instrumentalist or recording engineer. So I recorded this song completely at home and played all the instruments myself (minus the drums, which were done by my good friend, Artificial Intelligence). If you're interested in gear that I used, reach out, I'll be glad to geek out on gear with you.

As a result of my deficiencies, this is most definitely categorized as a "demo." I'm trying to learn, so feel free to email or call me if you've got mix suggestions or anything of the like.  

Lastly, I just want to say thank you to Paul and Umber Darilek for letting me use a photo of their backyard labyrinth as the cover art. I wanted to use a labyrinth because I thought it was such a great metaphor for something being incredibly easy on its surface, just walk the path, but the spiritual goal is a lifelong practice that, to me, is one of the most difficult.

 

Galveston  

Two years ago, I joined a blues cover band. Three years ago, I “retired” from music. I’ve said it before, I’m really bad at commitment. 

In late 2017, I realized that I had unconsciously not done anything musical in a couple of months. No guitar, no songwriting, nothing. Then, instead of picking up my guitar, I wondered how long I could go. I went another month, then another after that before an idea hit me. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll never pick up my guitar again. Maybe I’ll never write another song. Maybe I’m done playing shows. Yeah, I think I’m done. 

All in all, I went almost a full year with no intention of ever playing again. Then I fell victim to the only thing I have a harder time with than commitment, saying no. 

Long story short, a friend convinced me to play a show and I was hooked again. It wasn’t very long after that I joined the blues band, looking for a way to ease back into playing music without worrying too much about the stuff that made me want to quit in the first place. 

As a band, we’ve had a rough go of it so far. We spent the first year of my time with them cycling through bass players and learning how to vibe with each other musically. And year two...well, thanks Covid. 

Still, we’re having a lot of fun playing music together and slowly morphing, from a blues cover act, into some sort of psouledelic blues monstrosity. 

In October, we went into the studio to cut a couple of songs, one of which is a song that I wrote called Galveston. I’m super proud of the way it turned out. Willy Gibbs, the band leader, produced the song and played guitar. His son, Chris Gibbs, played drums and percussion. And Jimmy Flynn played bass. 

This song has not been “officially” released and probably won’t be until we’ve got a few more recorded, but I asked the guys if they were cool with me pre-releasing them on my music blog and they gave the go-ahead.

Comment below and let me know what you think about it. Also, since I've kind of abandoned social media as a growth tool for the moment, I would really appreciate it if you encourage any music-loving friends to check it out and sign up on my mailing list. Thanks so much.

 

Production Notes for Galveston:

Written by Jonathon Dewveall
Produced by Willy Gibbs
Engineered and Mixed by Dave Coleman
Cover Art by Melanie Dewveall

Guitars: Willy Gibbs
Bass: Jimmy Flynn
Drums/Percussion: Chris Gibbs
Vocals: Jonathon Dewveall

 

McConaug-HEY! (What is the Truth?) 

Happy Thanksgiving! It's been a few months since I've put a free song up here, so today feels like a good day to do it. It's 3 am here in Nashville and I've been up all night shooting and editing this video, so I won't say too much right now. I'm sure I'll come back in a day or two and write out a really nice description. In the meantime, enjoy this trippy new tune by my electro-poet of an alter-ego, Rural Juror.

Put Your Love to Shame 

Today's entry into the Socially Distant Song catalog will bring us out of our sobering lament and plant us firmly into the face-melting territory of rock-n-roll tomfoolery. And a bonus, it's a music video! 

I started writing this song with my good friends, Tyrus Morgan and Jay Speight while working on the last Dewveall record, WORD, but we weren't able to nail down a chorus and finish it in time to get it on the album.  

It was sometime later, that Melanie and I picked it back up and she helped me write the chorus and put the finishing touches on everything.  

Put Your Love to Shame was written to be a duet, with Melanie and I trading verses and playful jabs at each other. The perfect husband and wife duo song to match our "Everybody Loves Raymond" vibe. Me being an almost perfect match for Ray Romano's foot-in-mouth character, and Melanie a nicer version of Patricia Heaton's character.  

Unfortunately, this particular recording will not feature Melanie's voice because it's another one of those unfinished songs that I started with Dave Coleman and Jacob Briggs a few years back.  

Still, it's a raucous good time and makes me incredibly happy every time I hear it, even in its unfinished state.  

I love playing this song with Jacob because he brings terrific energy and originality to the drums. And Dave, well let's just put it this way, if you're listening to the track and think, "that's such a cool part," Dave did it. Uncool guitar, me. Cool guitar, Dave. I love those guys so much.  

Please let me know your thoughts on the song and SHARE, SHARE, SHARE with your friends if you like it.  

Thanks for listening and remember to stay positive, stay connected, STAY HOME and love each other.

Years of Famine  

A song about losing everything. 

I wrote this a few years ago, on commission, as a theme song for a video game that has yet to see the light of day.  

I'll fight the urge to talk about the specifics of what the song is about because honestly, I feel like the sentiment of the main character is a feeling we all know too well right now. The song offers little hope, except for a line that closes the chorus, "my pride is crumbling through years of famine."  

Admittedly, that's still not the most hopeful of statements, but I also believe that sometimes the best outcomes of life's most difficult trials are the ones that humble us. As Thomas Merton writes in No Man Is an Island, "...humility adds much to our human dignity...Pride makes us artificial, and humility makes us real."  

As far as the recording goes, this version is more along the lines of my side project, Rural Juror. For those not familiar, Rural Juror is a strange alter-ego of mine that you will no doubt become more familiar with over the next few weeks. I'll apologize now, in advance, to those of you who only wish to hear the singer/songwriter, Americana version of me. However, I believe this song is a palatable introduction to my avant-garde second self.  

I recorded and mixed all of this at home and I am by no means any good at these things. Still, I hope you can find some enjoyment, and perhaps even some solace while sitting with the song, despite the rough edges.  

Please, reach out and let me know your thoughts after listening. And I would really appreciate it if you share the song on facebook, or wherever you connect with others who might enjoy some free songs.

FA-FA-FA-FA-FA (Sad Song)  

The first song I'm putting out into the world during these socially distant times is a cover of an Otis Retting song, written by Otis and Steve Cropper. It's the first track on his Dictionary of Soul record, which is my favorite Otis album. I chose this song because, although it is a Sad Song, it's rather upbeat and fun. It reminds me that we can find joy even in the most somber things. 

This is an unfinished song that I started working on, along with my friends Jacob Briggs and Dave Coleman. Dave and I recorded the vocals, guitars, and bass at Howards Apartment Studio here in Nashville (Dave's studio), drums and horns were cut in Richmond, VA, at River Wash Studio (Jacob's Studio). Horns were provided by Marcus Tenney, who plays in one of my favorite jazz bands right now, Butcher Brown

This recording is rough mixed and the only vocals I cut are scratch vocals, but I think it's still good enough to dance to. There aren't any background vocals either, so feel free to sing along and add your own while you're cutting a rug in your living room. 

Leave a comment. Let me know if you enjoyed it and if it brought a smile to your face. And hit that share button!