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Fitfully Guided 

Quote from Alfred N. Whitehead.

This quote from Whitehead is a tough one for me. I always feel like I need to be in control of how I respond in any situation - especially stressful ones. So the idea of action coming before thought is a bit nerve-racking.

But, as a musician, there are certainly times when I lose myself in the moment and stop thinking entirely about where the music is going. That’s when Whitehead's idea of being immersed in action resonates with me the most.

And then comes my favorite part of the quote, “…can only fitfully guide it by taking thought.”

Experience comes at us so quickly, that, by the time our nervous system even begins to assess the situation, we’re already in the throes of action. Makes me wish I was better at improv. 😂

How do you experience being 'immersed in action' in your life?

Slave Owner's Gospel - Official Release 

Slave Owner's Gospel Cover Art

SLAVE OWNER'S GOSPEL: Listen and Watch the Music Video

“Slave Owner's Gospel" is a journey through the messy history of the American Church and racism, from the times of slavery to Jim Crow and the civil rights era, then into our present day, ending with a call to "let go of the slave owner's gospel" and begin a more hopeful future.  

In the song, I focus on heaven, and the afterlife, to show how the slippery slope of our beliefs can lead to white supremacy that seeks theological cover as it props up injustice.  

It's a song that weighs heavily on the heart, but, hopefully, will also inspire change.  

I want to start off by thanking you for even taking the time to listen and ponder the material. I'll be honest, I've never been more afraid to release a song into the public discourse. Racism in America is a minefield and the path through is not for me to lead. But I also can't sit and watch from the edges. Instead, I hope to support people of color, along with other oppressed communities, as they lead the way into a more just future. I hope that this song will be part of that support, but I also fear that I could do more harm than good.  

Why? Because the critique that "Slave Owner's Gospel" presents is not from an outside point of view. I grew up in the Baptist tradition. I've loved the Bible and theology for as long as I can remember and the "gospel" that I grew up with is one that I wholeheartedly championed. I believed that it was truly good news. It wasn't until I grew older that I began to see that my good news wasn’t always accepted as good news by others. And if the gospel isn't good news to people on the margins, then it must not be the gospel.  

When I truly look at myself, I can see that the slave owner's gospel is my own history. It's why I chose to write the song from a first-person perspective, taking on the role of each preacher as they deliver their theological justifications for oppression.  

And when I accepted this as my history, I began to see a through-line from the slave owner's theology to the theology that I grew up believing. It may not appear blatantly racist today, but the potential for misuse and injustice still exists. And if that's true, we must find a way to let go of the slave owner's gospel once and for all.  


Song Credits:  

Jonathon Dewveall - Vocals, Guitar, Piano  
Jacob Briggs - Drums, Percussion  
Dave Coleman - Guitar, Bass, Keys  
Dita Rose - Background Vocals  
Thomas Rose - Background Vocals  
Melanie Dewveall - Background Vocals  

Written by: Jonathon Dewveall  
Produced by: Jonathan Dewveall and Dave Coleman  
Engineered and Mixed by: Dave Coleman  
Additional Engineering: Jacob Briggs  
Mastered by: Marcelo Pennell  

Video Credits:  

Directed and Animated by: Nathan Morrow  
Additional Background Color by: Skylar Wilson  

Creative Credits:  

Album Artwork by: Melanie Dewveall  
Photography by: Allison Gower

FA-FA-FA-FA-FA (Sad Song) - Official Release 

FA FA Album Cover

I keep singing them sad, sad songs. Always have, always will. I know that sad songs don’t speak to everyone, at least not musically, but they speak to me. Why? I can’t exactly put my finger on it. It’s something spiritual. My soul connects to sad songs in ways that it will never connect with happy ones. Of course, that doesn’t mean I dislike happy songs. They have their own charm, their own perspective on life. But still, I keep singing them sad, sad songs. 

That’s one of the things I love about this Otis Redding tune. Its title tells you that it's a sad song, but there aren't many sad songs that make you move like this one. It’s upbeat. It’s hopeful. I’ve heard that this was Otis' tongue-in-cheek way of addressing the fact that everyone accused him of only singing sad songs. But when I listen to it, I wonder if he was really trying to do more. If he was telling the story of African-American music and its ability to build community and hope through the hardest of circumstances. Was he telling the story of sad songs? 

That’s what sad songs are about, right? They take personal pain and put it on display - a desperate call for unity. Theologian James Cone writes in The Spirituals and the Blues, "People cannot love...until they have been up against the edge of life, experiencing the hurt and pain of existence." In this song, Otis confesses that he sings sad songs to spread his message, perhaps the same message that Cone eludes to - suffering, hurt, and pain. But Otis follows up by letting us know that it’s a story that will touch your heart and move you. Maybe, it moves you into the love. 

That’s an important message to me, as someone who is also a singer of mostly sad songs. But even more so as someone who doesn’t always understand why I find comfort in the blues. 

Otis and other black musicians formed a legacy that has remained an impactful part of music and I'm immensely grateful for them because they remind me what sad songs are really about. They remind me why I keep singing them sad, sad songs. Because they’re about love. They’re about community. And they’re about hope. 

I hope you enjoy my humble tribute to one of the best.

Listen to FA-FA-FA-FA (Sad Song) Here

Devil Will Come (Acoustic Demo)  

Devil Will Come Cover ArtBack pockets exist for days like today. My schedule has been very hectic over the past few months and, sadly, the free monthly music blog has not been getting the attention I would prefer to give it. Still, I'm really trying to finish out the year strong. So this month, I'm reaching into my back pocket and pulling out a little something from the past.

Last month, I was digging through some old burned CDs and came across an acoustic demo that I made at my friend Jon's apartment in Pearland, TX. He had recently bought a digital recorder, a step up from the 4-track cassette that we were using up until that point, and I came over to record a few songs - just to check it out. (I mean, it recorded "straight" to mp3 - what was this magic?)

Several of the songs on the CD were ones that ended up being officially recorded on my first album. There was a handful that didn't make the cut and one or two that I didn't even remember writing in the first place. I think that's when you know you've been writing for a long time - when you can't even remember everything you've created.

And that brings us to this month's song, Devil Will Come. It's one of the earlier songs that I wrote and a staple of the initial sets I would play when I first started performing my own music in front of audiences. For better or worse, it never made it onto any official recordings. Then, as I started writing and playing more, the song slowly slipped out of the setlist and was all but forgotten. Listening to it again gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling. It brought back so many good memories of playing music in Houston with all of my friends - Jon, Richard, Merlin, and more.

Some of you may remember those days and those people, possibly even this song. Of course, many of you joined me on this adventure long after and will be hearing Devil Will Come for the first time. Honestly, it's not the greatest thing I've ever written. I don't have some sort of emotional attachment to it lyrically. It simply reminds me of those first few years, when I wasn't trying to make money or build a following, just making music for the love of creating.

Honestly, that's been the spirit of this music blog too. I've rediscovered so much creativity since starting this and I've enjoyed it immensely. That isn't to say I don't care about making a living with music anymore, or building musical relationships with more people. I would love to have as many people as possible be a part of this with me. But these monthly songs have allowed me to follow the creativity wherever it may lead and that in itself is one hell of a reward.



Slide Album CoverMy friend Jason is often joking around about how I'm just a Goo Goo Dolls cover band. I can't tell you how many times he has thrown out Goo Goo Dolls' song requests to me, knowing that hell would probably freeze over before I actually played one.

Well friends, put on your winter coats because today is the day I make Jason's dreams come true. And, despite my branding, I'm not half-assing this one. I went pedal to the metal Jonathon Reznik on this month's song. This isn't some coffee shop, acoustic version. It's got a freaking horn section and everything. As you can see above, I created a whole new band-name logo, temporarily changing my name to The Dew Dew Vealls. And, since I know Jason will want something he can use to gloat and celebrate the fact that I finally caved, I made t-shirts too! So get 'em while they're here and join Jason with your own celebration of my fall into 90's pop-rock nostalgia.


(To be clear, it's the shirt. The ticket is the t-shirt.)

Lastly, just remember that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, even if it's turning a cynical, moody songwriter into a Goo Goo Dolls cover band. All it takes is a little persistence and a solid friendship.

So Jason - here's to you, buddy!

All in All  

All in All Cover

Every now and then, I sit down to write a song and something just flows out of me. Usually, I spend weeks, months, or even years reflecting on ideas and melodies, writing and re-writing until I’m somewhat satisfied with what I’ve distilled into a song. So the rare moments of flow that I receive always feel a bit special. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that spontaneous songs are better, or worse, from a quality standpoint. It’s the state of mind that exists in that moment of conception that brings about the significance. 

Last week, as I was preparing for our IN THE CORNER conversation about nationalism, while also thinking ahead to next month’s topic of racism, I felt the urge to pick up my guitar and start playing. After singing for a few minutes, my first thought was that I had a good start for a future song. But the more I sat with the words ringing in my head, the more I was satisfied with where they left me. 

Incomplete, yet somehow still complete. 

I went to sleep that night and woke up the next morning with the song still on my mind. I opened my computer, made a quick recording, and looked at the time stamp. A little over two minutes. Once again the thought crossed my mind that I had a good start, but it was only a start. I’d keep working and, one day, maybe it’ll turn into a complete song. I listened to the recording and was suddenly brought back into the moment I wrote it. Again, sorrowful. Hopeful. Incomplete, yet somehow still complete. 

I’ve been pondering these ideas for a long time. If you’ve followed my music over the years, these are themes that occur over and over. But in many ways, I’ve only recently discovered a sense of peace in the tension that has always existed. I can be sorrowful at the same time that I am hopeful. I can be incomplete and still somehow fully realized. 

All in All, is a song about nationalism, it’s about racism, it’s about identity and politics. Honestly, it’s about almost everything we’ve talked about in the conversations we’ve had this year. 

My context for “all in all” comes from the Bible, but I know it’s present in many faith traditions. It is an idea to represent completion. Some people put that concept in the future, as something we’re stumbling toward by the grace of God. These days, I understand it more as an idea that permeates all of time. I feel sorrow in my lack of expressing it in the past. I feel hopeful for my ability to incorporate it into the future. And I strive to experience it in the present - incomplete, yet somehow still complete.


Production Notes:

I recorded this one at home, very quickly, just a few days ago - trying to capture the feelings before they faded. Even though I had other plans for this month's offering, it shoved its way to the front of the line.

Written by Jonathon Dewveall (that's me)
Guitar/Keys/Vocals: Jonathon Dewveall (also me)

Cover Art:
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash (not me)
Graphic Design: Jonathon Dewveall (hello, it's me again)


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

Two Things 

1. Let The Mystery Be by Iris DeMent


2. What is Process Thought? by Jay McDaniel

I wish I had this book a decade ago when I first started diving into Process. If you're at all interested in Process, I highly recommend this as a great introduction.

Check Out the Book Here 













Comment below with something that has inspired you recently.

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