Updated: Jul 29, 2019
You can watch the new YouTube short film edit here:
I am not a political man. I do not attempt to set a standard or make a statement that has hidden agendas. However, after reading Brian Stevenson’s book Just Mercy and screening Eugene Jarecki’s documentary The House I Live In on the imbalance of the justice systems in America, I immediately connected these issues with a story I had heard not days before about a convict who was released from prison and committed suicide shortly after. The story stuck with me and I was immediately compelled to connect the two dots and make a piece of art to reflect my thoughts.
Exposed to both during the One Book, One One Community event in East Lansing, Michigan, my eyes were opened to the short comings in our justice system and political structure these misfortunes to exist. For further intelligent reference, I highly recommend both artistic approaches to explain these ills in our justice system. Both men can explain the issue much more intelligently and eloquently than I could ever could.
From this influence, I was compelled to pick up my guitar again. It was almost therapeutic at a time during my wife's health struggles that allowed me to rediscover music, it's power and healing elements. For all of the bad things that may have happened during my record label debauchery years, the experience of reflecting art through song to make a statement while utilizing film began a healing process in me that I cannot explain. It was wonderful and I can never thank my guitar enough, or that moment in my life. It was rough going as I rediscovered music but it helped me rise from the ashes to find my soul again.
Being a true fan of Johnny Cash's "live at Folsom Prison" album (who isn't) the thought of social reflection put to controversial song made sense to my ROCKSTAR sensibilities and to be honest, seemed inevitable.
After reading the book and watching the film, I knew I loved my country, I knew I loved everything we Americans Idealize and strive for every day BUT I also recognize the need to fight for change and advancement at the same time and if that meant my addition to the American landscape was through song and video, than I guess that meant utilizing my flamboyant manner to help the greatest country in the world see its own misgivings and remember that even though my true blood is Red, White and Blue, I had to throw some vodka on the situation, say SCREW IT and make a commotion through music, just like Mr. Cash. The character in the music video/short film is a non-fictional artistic portrayal of a man who lost everything because the justice system did not give him a second chance. While falling upon hard times during his honest attempt at rehabilitation, Sonny never received the support he deserved and fell through the cracks as so many ex-cons do. Yes, he committed crimes, Yes, the man made mistakes but our tax dollars are supposed to help pay for the opportunity at corrective action/fresh starts. As you will see in both Mr. Stevenson's book and Mr. Jarecki's documentary, our system is falling short due to a lack of social and political support which makes me truly sad. From this, the song and video I created showcase my belief that the main character named Sonny deserved better and in some ways, our system let him down.
I wrote the song "Tightrope" as a small glimpse or musical expose' into the heart of a human being who is walking the line between good and evil. While making the song which was recorded live on set with an old, out of tune, broken down acoustic guitar, I had envisioned Clint Eastwood and his rugged, male machismo during many of his portrayals and knowing that one wrong move would end up hanging his future (metaphorically) in the public forum The character only wished for a second chance opportunity to prove his worth tand I believe These Colors Do Run shows this. After creating the abstract project I had the opportunity to showcase the film in many different short film festivals where I was blessed enough to win editing awards and even had the video travel around the Midwest inh the public school system, being utilized for teaching purposes which truly made me not only proud but glad I threw my artistic hat back into the ring.
Being an artist who likes the "huge rock party" and entertaining people who share their lives, I understand this art is a bit off track and controversial for my image but I have waited many years to put this short piece on display for my followers to view. However, with all of the new and exciting things I am beginning to unveil and see positive results from, I finally show this short piece of art for final public display to stay. There is no hidden agenda, no plan or plot made from this posting, it is merely to help educate and possibly entertain. I post the short film: These Colors Do Run only to say that I love my country and I only hope that a short film like this can aide in the country healing and becoming better in a small but poignant way.
"With one pebble dropped in the ocean, we can create a Suomi."
Love & Spanks,
You can check out more about These Colors Do Run here:
Read more about Eugene Jarecki's Documentary here:
Read more about Bryan Stevenson's book here: