A steady dose of artist interviews, poetic longings, and organic medicine to empower yourself and others. My name is Kevin Alan Lamb, I am a 35-year-old Detroit native, journalist, author, booking agent, and producer who has always had a way with words. Visit my blog atThisIsAGoodSound.com
It’s difficult to believe I’ve been on the island for 25 days now, in the vacuum of time that is quarantine. I’ve added tennis and biking to my regular activities, along with more regular dinners with my folks. I’m still rising with the sun, for a run, but not every morning. My alcohol intake has decreased, along with my recent writing output. Like many of you I’m taking this one day at a time, doing the best I can to be easy with myself, and practice gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon me.
I like to think of today’s guest as another one of those blessings. He’s one of those rare cases where I met someone in the world, prior to experiencing his music. It often happens simultaneously, or virtually, as so many of us discover the music we love.
In the time since I first crossed paths with Christian Ohly, I’ve fallen in love with his easy folk meanderings, with guitars whispered beneath vulnerable, and hopeful vocals. I feel great potential emitting from his spirit, most eloquently presented to the world, in his songs. A songwriter first, he is taking this time to work on his guitar chops, while continuing the 9 to 5 supply chain grind. Like me, he loves The Avett Brothers, Drifter Coffee, and our Ferndale community.
In 2017, Ohly released their heartfelt six-song self-titled and included an emotionally-charged, introspective package of musical tales focused on relationships, loss and growth.
His latest release, University, remains true to form, featuring heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics and longings, inspiring comparisons to Alexi Murdoch and Roo Panes
Today’s guest is An “unharnessed force of light and energy.” HRG is an up-and-coming West Michigan singer-songwriter who oozes soul, blues and rock with spine-tingling passion.
Like many shining stars, growing up she found herself standing out more than fitting in. Describing herself as the one-time “black sheep” of her high school choir, Graves remains staunchly individualistic in her approach to music, which encompasses blues, rock, folk, funk, bluegrass, country and hip-hop.
She insists she was “born to sing to the world … to shake things up, twist ’em around and turn ’em upside down”
“I’ve been singing since I could speak.” Graves says. “ It’s like this energy force that comes from way deep down that I can’t really ignore … just an unharnessed force of light and energy, and just happiness and joy. I can’t really see myself doing anything else besides singing for the rest of my life.”
She’s a songstress and empath who has discovered the greatest service to depression and anxiety, is her service to others.
Like so many of us, her heart wept heavy tears with the recent passing of John Prine, who she was first introduced to through Bonnie Rait’s version of “Angel From Montgomery”.
Hannah Rose Graves continues to embrace The Great Pause, with her weekly living room lullabies, inspired in part by her time working with children, and continued effort to bring comfort and joy to all those, who are staying home.
Welcome to another episode of Caffeine, Dreams, & Love, I’m your host - Kevin Alan Lamb. Today I have the great pleasure of being joined by the bass slapping, crochet wearing, handsome son of a gun, Steve Briere, of The Gasoline Gypsies.
As fresh sounding as they are retro, the Gasoline Gypsies evoke the spirit of rock and roll …it’s music that helps us forget our cares, free our souls, and discover pieces of ourselves behind the eyes, and in the hearts of the ones we love.
Their original songs feature unifying, foot-stomping anthems, that inspire their multi-generational audience to sing along to the sounds of fine vintage southern rock, rolled around in the grand ol’ grit of the Motor City…it’s music that moves …
In the last few years, the Gypsies have racked up five Detroit Music Awards, been deemed one of the “Three Best Unsigned Bands in the USA” by JBL, and voted Best Original Rock Band in the 2018 WDIV Local 4 Detroit Viewers Poll. They are garnering regular radio airplay outside the Midwest, most notably in the Triangle markets of North and South Carolina.
The Vagabundos, the Gypsies multi-generational, highly active, extremely colorful, and loyal fan tribe, are a driving force behind the band, accompanying them wherever their music flows.
Managed by Jack Hunger, The Gasoline Gypsies are made up by Caleb Malooley, Steve Briere, Joe Makowski, and Neal Love.
When I hear the word “Gypsy” I think of a wandering soul, traversing space and time to discover his or herself in the people, places, and natural wonders which make life worth living.
If gasoline fuels a great journey, then dreams fuel the impossible and I really like the notion of what becomes possible when we do it together.
A band is a family and The Gasoline Gypsies, are my family band.
Mixing the nostalgia of Motown-inspired grooves with Nashville's songwriting sensibility, this powerhouse vocalist effortlessly weaves a sound and a story that not only stirs the soul but moves the feet. Let us introduce to you the Motor City – Music City hybrid force that is Raye Williams.
In September 2019, it was announced that Raye had partnered up with TIDAL, the only artist-owned global streaming service, spear-headed by Jay-Z. TIDAL unveiled that Raye was 1 of 5 artists chosen to take part in a new $1 million endowment program to support emerging artists, kicking off in Detroit.
Raye’s career accomplishments are as versatile as her vocals. She’s shared the stage with Jason Aldean, Bob Seger, and Wynonna, and is a regular guest on the most famous, longest-running radio station in world, WSM 650 AM, home of the Grand Ole Opry. With independent single releases and sold-out shows, over 2 million website hits and over 250K video views in the last 12 months, Raye Williams has undeniably established herself as a “One To Watch” artist.
Diagnosed with cervical cancer toward the end of June, Williams continues to be an inspiration, and testament of endurance while sharing her story to encourage other women to get periodic pap tests and consider the HPV vaccine, which can be lifesaving.
Raye continues to reinvent herself, while being a pleasant reminder of the great strength that resides within.
With over 68 million plays on Pandora, troubadour and award-winning songwriter, Forest Sun, enlivens audiences around the globe with his wealth of songs and stories, all sung and told in a laid-back California style. Sun's soulful music draws on a deep well of Americana and is compared to everyone from Jack Johnson, John Mayer and The Avett Brothers to Van Morrison and Bob Dylan.
He's opened for Bonnie Raitt, The Beach Boys, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Jackson Browne, Keb Mo and Brett Dennen, Mason Jennings and Chris Smither among others.
Forest’s songs mine his deep folk roots and embrace his love of gospel, reggae, Americana, country, soul, jazz and funk.
His latest release “Just Because You Want it” is available on https://forestsun.com/, where you can support him directly through Patreon, and receive one new song per month. You can also follow Forest Sun on Spotify, and Pandora.
Mipso is born from North Carolina’s broad range of disparate musical influences, their distinctly unique sound is an undeniable alchemy of the historical musical traditions of the rural south and their progressive home of Chapel Hill. A discernible and rising force in the upstart musical genre known as Americana, Mipso’s music is lush and forward moving. A tender, harmony-laden river runs through the band’s core, but the rocky outcroppings change with every album outing. Appalachia melds with modern alt-country, hints of folk-rock are leavened with a sly and subversive sense of humour, and underneath it all is a genuine and moving passion for the ever-evolving traditions of Americana. With the recent release of the band’s fifth album, Edges Run (April 2018/Anti-Fragile Music), Mipso continues the complex dance of looking back and moving forward with grace and beauty.
Hello, I’ve been expecting you. You are loved more than you could ever know. You didn’t think anyone was listening, but we are. You didn’t think anyone noticed, but we did. You didn’t think anyone cared, but we do. Thank you for holding onto hope, especially when it’s the hardest. You won’t always have to carry it alone. We’re finding a way to be there for you. We’re making time to acknowledge how much we need and appreciate you. I’m sorry our timeline isn’t in tune with your own; but how can I help you if I can’t help myself? I want you to know that I’m working on me so I can better help you. I’m not the best version of myself every day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care, or that I’ve lost sight of where I hope to grow to. I understand that you’re likely more similar than different to my relationship with myself. I also understand that there’s so much I don’t understand, including you. But I am here; trying, helping, breathing, being something that might make your day a little better than if I didn’t exist.
To a certain extent, I am unable to dictate the will of others upon me, but I will always have the ability to process and organize every experience with efficiency to diminish my suffering and serve as a catalyst for my growth. It is with this logic that I arrived to the personal truth and philosophy that struggle is an opportunity to grow; and my happiness is conditional upon my choice and ability to have a productive response to struggle, no matter the intensity or duration of the pain it insists. Think of everytime someone really hurt you, and the inevitable corresponding cliches your friends, family, and acquaintances tried telling you… People can’t help the unwilling, as a result, our willingness to suffer often keeps us from telling ourselves the truths we need to move on. This isn’t to suggest that the communities we have layered ourselves within are unable to help us heal and grow, it simply means that despite the quality of a system in place, trusting that system begins with trusting ourselves and our ability to face, carry, and ultimately unload the weight of undesired truth and painful realities.
Helping hands hold humanity together, piece by piece, brick by brick. Small, subtle miracles are the glue we take for granted, the fortune we fail to realize we’ve been handed, opportunity as a result of others’ good will, we’ve been granted. The tendency to reduce ourselves to our worst parts, induces scars that we’re left to carry. But scars tell a story like the stars paint the night sky, do not give them power, wondering why. Embrace their lessons, observe their beauty, and navigate their repetition. Dare to see more in yourself, than you did the day before, by believing in yourself, just a little bit more. Walk through the doors others are kind enough to open; be the relief and solution for which others are hoping. Given two hands: one to hold, and one to help. Given a heart beat, to give a shit. Given life to live, not to quit. Pick up the pieces so we help others learn to do the same. Two steps forward, one step back - progress is a process, not quite exact. Hang in there, you must be getting close. Hang in there, others need you more than you know. Learn to love yourself as much as you love others, doubt is a great weight to tow. Quit reducing yourself, you know how hard you’ve been working to grow. It’s a good day to give yourself some credit, by cutting yourself some slack. No matter the narrative and timeline in your head, you’re right on track.
I wrote my first love song and I didn’t know it was about you. Are your eyes brown? I imagined them blue. When you close your eyes, what is it you see? I imagine it to be a loving, hopeful world, learning from and leaving widespread fear and misery. What makes your heart beat? Is it the rush of colliding energy at its precipice in city streets, or is it your time along streams among trees gazing under the stars you sleep? I’ve found we don’t receive answers of questions we don’t seek. Which songs do you wish to sing? If forced to abandon your home in a fire, which one thing would you bring? Do you want to be wed in a church or on a beach? When you read books what knowledge or comfort do you seek? When you sleep, what is it you dream? Are you faithful of what’s to come, or skeptic until it is seen? I sing these questions into the world, hopeful one day soon you will hear their tune. I speak these intentions from my heart, because I have always wore it on my sleeve. I am finding you with my words, because they have always lead the way; and when it is to you, with you, I’ll always stay.
Home exists in those that give you hope; in those that the very thought of brings tears of joy; in those that have seen your goodness shine and will always remind you of it when you need it most; in those that will never let you pick up the pieces alone; in those that care more about seeing the smile on your face than anything you could ever give them in return. Home are the shivers inspired by the excitement of reciting lyrics you love from the musicians that sacrificed, experienced and gifted you the opportunity to bathe in their creation while in the company of those that lift your head and your heart when they weigh heaviest. Home is an allusion until you discover the souls that sing in a tune that your very own is drawn to, moved by, and made better in the company of!
Let love in all the small places. Your body is a porous vessel for your soul, drawn to and guided by light. Seek joy, laughter, and kindred spirits who have remembered where they come from, and where they will one day return. Be mindful, steady, and fearless in your willingness to learn. Replace knowing with growing and trust the path you’ve always felt called to. It is more true than any song you can sing; you are your gifts once you embrace them; if you are living you will make mistakes, pave the path before you with good deeds and erase them. Let the delight in your being attract others to see their own sparkle. Embrace the mysteries revealing themselves-- they are not harmful. Trust new and unknown, remember it is the path along which you’ve always grown. Give reason to your past this season by shining your eternal light on what’s to come. Love without reserve, help without reward, and find faith in those who inspire you to charge upward and onward. Your dreams can come true, but you must take the first step. Hope grows cold, when passion is met with neglect. Let your purpose blaze a trail, once you have taken the time to seek it. Open your heart to goodness, and you will begin to receive it. If something’s weighing you down, perhaps it is time to leave it.
This goes out to my fellow travelers, who find home on the move, and joy in the groove of many places filled with warm faces, blowing spontaneously in the wind. Called to a purpose within, unrealized without adventure and motion, a longing to bathe in every ocean and taste the fruits of the sea. Without a compass or star to gaze we are drawn north, south, east, and west knowing we will always find our way if we listen a little more, speak a little less. Within the wind blows stories of lifetimes ago, and ages to come with our willingness to run in all directions without fear of the unknown or facing our perceived limitations. The power of observation and sight will bring great delight once we decide it is time to learn from others, and remember the wisdom given from our mothers, letting go of the frightened child hidden beneath the covers. Let us be immersed in foreign cultures with traditions unrehearsed, hike trails knowing that getting lost isn’t the worst. Let us learn from the poor to discover the secret of wealth in so much more. Isn’t it time we all had conversations without words? An exchange of glances, intent on listening to body language while wondering about our chances for lust or maybe love; maybe remind ourselves the way blood feels when it flows rapid and anything could happen so take a second to laugh and cut your ego in half and let magic be real to see how it feels and deconstruct the limitations of self, peel-by-peel until only your soul is left and you dare let the unforeseen incept so meaningful an experience you cannot neglect its impact on the person you’ve just become in a place you never thought you’d be with a person who you thought you could ever be moved by let alone fall in love with. But here you are -- they always said it would happen when you least expected it in a way you wouldn’t believe and that is why we carry our homes in our hearts and on our shoulders to people and places much older than the limitations we tried so hard to confine ourselves within, but eventually if and when you decide to change the tide the rest of the world and your life is ready to begin.
I imagine heaven to be a place where everyone was greeted with a smiling face; where precious moments on hatred we did not waste; where love filled the oceans and streams; where kindness showered a kingdom like the sun showers trees; where no man or woman was made to beg on his or her knees; where peace, love and happiness were a law like gravity; where kindness overflowed like lava from a volcano; where there was no exceptions to just who chose to be exceptional; where honesty was a strength and not a weakness; where god was food on every man, woman and child's plate; where faith was a helping hand to whomever required one; where song was sung in nonexclusive exultation; where dance was the obvious solution and not the distraction; where passion was the compass and not the North Star.
If numbness has replaced the sensation once in your heart, then perhaps it is best you take a moment and gather both the physical and emotional coordinates of where you are. Are you restless where you once found peace of mind? Is the light being drained from your soul a product of your space and time? Are you lifted or is it you that does the lifting?
At 33 I discovered Amtrak trains, forget the freeways and exits that all look the same. Seeing the country the way it once was, ride the train and dare fall in love. When did we lose romance? And forget to slow dance, when taking a chance, on our way to falling in love? From Northeast to Midwest I travel, while life’s mysteries unravel, no longer a confused poet left to babble. My words are the seeds I need to plant, or my heart will bleed without the chance, for true love and her hand in dance, as we glide through the night, to the tune of delight, under magnificent stars so bright. May we manifest memories, from what were just dreams?
Sigh no more and free your heart of the burden of your pain and worry. Absolve doubt because the world will always insist it. Believe when it's the hardest because that is when you need it the most. Find traction in simple routine, one foot forward at a time. Symphonies are not written with but the stroke of a hand. World titles, not achieved in a single game. Families not built without love and loss. Pain will come and go but your self concept will be carried always. Lighten your load and set yourself free to fly. Focus on the attainable and practical but never relinquish the grand architect that is your dream weaver. Discover those that infect you with life and all of its possibilities. Listen to music and read books created by legions of the light. Darkness will always linger if you let it chase you. Light will awake your soul if you listen to its calls. Love will last lifetimes if you are capable of returning its longevity. Vision will vaporize vast delusions of doomed fate and misfortune. Days cannot be measured in numbers rather progress towards the image of yourself you have seen in your most triumphant dreams. Dare to have your soul touched by the infinite illumination of inspiration from events and systems both finite and grand. The key to touching the heart is offering a helping hand.
More than ever we need to capture the imagination of a people divided and it begins with you and I, in places like this, on days like this, and it doesn’t begin with a wish, rather a warm gesture, helping hand, soft gaze, and inviting smile that suggests that you’re the type of person who believes in the soul of a man or woman; someone who believes in the ingredients underneath; daring to possess faith without needing to see the fine print; the choice not to flee from but retreat to one another and discover the multitude of ways we can make one another’s lives better with our own two hands, two feet, reciprocity, and rhythmic heartbeat.