Album Review: Buffy Lawson’s I’m Leaving You for Me

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Sometimes the art of metaphor lies simply within the hardships and victories of life.  Mix that with a soulful, edgy tone of a brazen country twang that leaves you with a tear in your eye and you’ve got Buffy Lawson’s addictive new album I’m Leaving You for Me.”

There is something about country music that triggers that deep welling of emotion that can’t hold back tears.  The threadbare sadness of a broken relationship, the struggle to get food on the table, and of course the feminine emancipation that comes from a long hard road of tryin’.  This is the blood of the genre.  The energy of the deeply emotional songstress in the spirit of Reba McIntyre, The Judds and Bonnie Rait is what has been missing in modern day country and has been what I have missed from country music.  In my tedious quest to find quality music that digs way below the surface, I find joyous respite with Buffy Lawson.  Her album possesses immeasurable repeat factor with gritty, catchy in-your face songs like “Bread on The Table” and “Runnin’.”  Buffy takes you on an emotional journey of letting go with “Good Look at Gone” that should be every woman’s anthem for leaving a terrible relationship, and “Dear Sara,” a mother’s retrospective glance at her daughters coming of age angst.  She offers a delicate tear-jerking plead with “Waitin’ On A Train;” a melodic parable for relationship release that carries the theme to the inspiring melody of the title track “I’m Leaving You for Me.”

The album is now available, courtesy of Wrinkled Records, Nashville.  Buffy is backed by a fantastic producer Walt Aldridge who understands the nuances on how to make modern day, yet classic true-to-its-roots country music.  This album is a culmination of Lawson’s twenty four year presence on the Nashville music scene as a songwriter for the many names in music that we have come to know and adore:  Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Bo Bice, Kris Kristofferson, Randy Travis, and Kenny Rogers.  In addition to being a muse to the Olympians of music row, this modern day chanteuse was one-half of the duo Bomshel.  Bomshel toured and opened for Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley and Trace Adkins under Curb Records.  In the meantime a duet with Neil Diamond brought promising exposure.  Now, Buffy shows off her well-earned musical chops on her terms.  “I’m Leaving You For Me” emphasizes Buffy Lawson’s Independence, spirituality, raw honesty, and her own sense of magic that taps into the innocent sense of faith in all that holds us together and provides her the insight to create a meaningful album.  It would do you good to listen to this album.

“I’m Leaving You for Me”  is now available courtesy: Wrinkled Records.

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Book Review: Andrew McCarthy’s Memoir The Longest Way Home

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Click the picture to purchase the book.

In an all-consuming quest to come to terms with the meaning and act of commitment, Andrew McCarthy found himself immersed in his travels; making exotic locales his sanctuary.  The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down is McCarthy’s unabashed look at himself as an actor, travel writer, husband-to-be and father.  As he contemplates his life, he comes to an authentic realization of who he truly is as he prepares to marry his longtime love.

Andrew sets the tone of his story with a retrospective look at the life changes he experienced as a young teenager that were integral to his growth into manhood.  He divulges the ambiguous nature of his natural inclination to be a quiet loner after being uprooted in a series of moves with his family.  He paints a shadowy picture of a father that was emotionally absent and unaccepting of his choice to be an actor.  He deftly takes you on a journey of flashbacks and breakthroughs that expose him as a vulnerable and unsure young man in a relationship with vices into a spiritually learned and open-hearted story teller in an intimate relationship with serendipity and adventure.

As he travels from New York to Argentina, Peru, The Osa, Vienna, and finally to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, he meets exciting characters that remind him of the family he has left behind in order to explore deeper aspects of himself.  Meanwhile, D, his fiance is his loving support, long distance companion, and wedding planner.   Andrew’s adoration of D and his children are the foundation of his account, making it a beautiful coming of age story that he can pass along to his children in a way that would otherwise be difficult to express.   He finally meets his family at the altar in Dublin for his wedding more complete than he was when he began his journey.

The tender sweetness of Andrew McCarthy’s chronicle ultimately depicts a man that is appreciative of the human spirit with its triumphs and failures, utilizing his writing as meditative catharsis and exploration.  His heartfelt words of quiet reverence of the grandeur of life allow him to appreciate the preciousness of the life he has created and will evoke emotion from the depths of engaged readers.

The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Journey for the Courage to Settle Down is a beautiful reflection of what it means to be alive, to love, and to be loved.

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Book Review: Sinner’s Creed by Scott Stapp

Sinners creedsIn a struggle to find spiritual meaning in a tumultuous life,  Scott Stapp pours out his heart and soul onto the pages of his new memoir, Sinner’s Creed.  Stapp tells his story with brutal honesty; reflecting on his life lessons with deep poignancy and contrition that will leave you turning pages and searching inside yourself.

Scott sets the tone in his story by revealing painful childhood memories of an absentee father that left his family in poverty.  With a vow to save his mother from being impoverished he makes the ovation that he will become famous and repair the damage that his estranged father has caused. The story continues as Scott introduces characters of piety yet devoid of compassion or a true understanding of spiritual love, namely in his step-father.   It is the continual rejection and hypocrisy that he witnesses within Christianity that leads him to the rebellion that made him a rock star.

Scott unabashedly reveals his life as the lead singer of the Grammy Award winning band Creed.  He pulls back the curtain to share his exploits, and rock-bottom moments that play out as a confession and plea to his God and family.

While the book carries the quintessential theme of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and redemption, the message, told with heartfelt tenderness is unique.  Scott fearlessly admits his wrongs, celebrates his victories, while paying it forward by honoring the family that supported him through his difficulties.  He eloquently expresses his love for the God he always wanted to know and begins to see that aspect of God within himself.  He brings motivation to readers looking for a fresh start in their own lives by deconstructing himself in a healthy process.  Readers will be rooting for him in the lines of his lyrics and poetry, and will be warmed by the journey in pictures that he shares.

Sinner’s Creed is a story of allowance, a certain surrender that only comes as a result of the deepest soul search.  Scott shows that surrender can be a person’s ally, not an enemy.  He realizes that it is himself that he needs to prepare spiritually in order to be the best version of himself that he can be.  This is most definitely a worthwhile read that you do not want to miss.

“Now I’ve shared it all. Perhaps I’ve shared too much, but in this you must believe the only truth I have left is this: my sinners Creed.” – Scott Stapp