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January 22, 2012

Posted on: January 25th, 2012

It is January 22. Almost 10 p.m.. and we are waiting for tornadoes to sweep through middle Tennessee. Tornadoes have always been almost a totem in my life. I lived in Indianapolis for a short time as a child. I’ll never forget the first dark, bruised heavy sky that warned of the terrible storm that was approaching. My cousin Timmy was visiting from Nashville and my mother knew something might be coming and told him what to look for so he could get us to safety. I remember I was riding on my big wheel…then Timmy running to me and turning me the other way to see the dark tide of cloud approaching our home. Next thing I remember was the whole family crowded under the stairwell. Dad had a flashlight. I was crying. My little brother Eric, who was just a toddler, patted my arm like everything was going to be fine. He still does that..sweet little brother. My sister, was ¬†fearless as always. But we were all very quiet. Very still. I heard a distant roar..but it went by quickly and missed us by about a quarter mile. We were lucky. To this day, I have tornado dreams. It is usually when I feel my life is out of control, or something bad is coming. I can say with much relief, I haven’t had one in a long time.

So many great things have happened. I have been nominated for a grammy with Deana Carter for You and Tequila, my stepson and his wife Dorian had a big ol boy named Declan James Hanna, I am writing with the coolest girls to come through Nashville in years, Angaleena Presley, Ashlee Monroe, Kimberley Perry, Mary Steenburgen…life is good. I still can make a living doing what I do and that means a lot. Times are hard in the music industry. Piracy is destroying so many of my friend’s livelyhoods. I wish people understood who was really hurt by this. Most of us aren’t wealthy or even close, but we contribute a great deal. Then there are the young ones who are having a much harder time even getting started. It makes me sad. I love the access of the internet…but wish there was a way to get people paid. It’s just a few cents per play… it needs to add up. Or the music dies.From the bottom up. It’s just a matter of time.It breaks my heart. Storm is coming for sure if they can’t figure out how to protect intellectual property. Art makes life worth while. For me anyway. I don’t want to miss out on the next Bruce Springsteen, or Harlan Howard.
The wind is screaming outside my window…I need to go check the weather!.
Love and peace to all of you, M

7 Responses

  1. James Smith says:

    The only sure way to stop internet piracy is to not put songs on the internet, isn’t it?

  2. Garth Jones says:

    Hi Matraca,

    Great message. In regards to your comments on internet piracy, it seems to be a bit of a double edged sword. The piracy sites and users will claim they are helping spread the popularity of music by sharing it and telling people to purchase it if they really like it, sort of a try before you buy thing, but I doubt many people who download illegally do that.
    I have a couple of friends who have been around for a while but had trouble getting their music heard so they were happy to have their albums uploaded to free music download sites just to try and see it as a good way to get their name out there. The industry has certainly changed over the last 15 years when the internet has really taken off with a new generation and it must be infuriatingly hard for new artists to get signed and get some airtime on mainstream radio stations.
    I remember seeing a documentary a few years ago that said Wal-Mart makes up around 90% of all the album sales in America each year but at the same time they stock less then 5% of the albums released each year, so it’s gotta be hard if you don’t get in their stores. I think there is an internet storm coming and there seems to be a lot of people sick of the commercialism so maybe we will have another 60’s type situation where people buy music because they like it and not just because they saw it on tv or heard it on the radio.
    Anyway, I love your work and hope it works out for you and your fellow artists.

  3. candi baker says:

    May the storms pass quietly through this turmultuous season of change in the lives of all the artists/writers you call brothers and sisters. You have touched so many lives with your heartfelt words and melodies. Memories and dreams have been made through your music. Thank you for sharing your gift with the world.

    Congratulations on the birth of your grandson. Ain’t it grand to be a grandparent? (I tell Grady to enjoy the sweet southern comfort of his mommas arms). Enjoy your time with his sweet love. It’s priceless.

    Peace and blessings,

  4. Will Cox says:

    Piracy is theft. I refuse to be part of it. I refuse to burn CDs for friends. I dont know how bleak life would be without the songwriters whose talents bring order to my thoughts and melodies to my soul. Please know that we the 6% (stolen from Rosanne Cash) absolutely adore you and you brighten our lives w/your talents. Stay clear of funnel clouds and Lying to the Moon! LUV.

  5. Graham Brown says:

    We get wild weather here in Orkney but not tornadoes thankfully. However, our high winds can be scary at times. Wise words on music business as well which my musician wife Kathie Touin will agree with. Thank you Matraca. Graham

  6. Bill Beer says:

    I’m glad we don’t get the dangerous tornadoes that you get in the mid-west – although they say that we actually get more per square mile than the USA, they just don’t cause the huge amount of damage!

    It is really hard to get anywhere in the music industry – to the point of making a living from your talent – but the internet has made piracy so much easier and it’s difficult to see how it can be prevented.

    I look forward to your next UK tour – hope it won’t be too long coming!

    Much love, Bill x

  7. Alan says:

    Hi Matraca,
    You weave magic in words and music, thanks for that. You, and many others, including Guy Clark,Lacy J. Dalton, Gordon Lightfoot, Kristofferson, Dylan, have inspired my own amateur songwriting. I suppose, Matraca, you touch my female side, which I appreciate.

    Warm wishes,


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