This solo acoustic guitar piece is in memory of a runaway slave named Tom. The advertisement below ran in the Virginia Gazette on January 14, 1795, offering ten pounds reward for his capture. In this musical retelling of his story, Tom escapes.
TEN POUNDS REWARD. RAN-AWAY from Bartholomew Stovall's, in the county of Powhatan, the 10th of August, TOM, a stout well set Negro fellow, of a very black complexion, about 25 or 26 years old, 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high, has a scar on his head, and a large one on one of his legs, and one on each wrist, ocassioned by handcuffs: his back much scarred by whipping; was raised by Coleman Brown, of Loudon county, passed through many hands, and was brought from thence by Peter Perkins.--He has a wife in the county of Prince William, the property of Joseph Asbury; it is therefore probable he will make that way. He is a notorious runaway, and lay some time in Dumfries jail in the summer of 1793.--Had on when he eloped, a felt hat, plains coat, and hempen rolls trowsers--Whoever takes up and secures the above run-away, and brings him to the above mentioned Stovall's, about 30 miles above Richmond, on James river, shall receive the above reward; or Fifty Shillings if secured in jail so that I get him again. JOHN ALLOWAY STRANGE. Buckingham County.
Thanks for stopping by. Lots of new music above. Other music in the music cue. Reviews etc. are on the News page. I'm always available at Daveshiflett1@gmail.com.
ATTENTION STRING QUARTETS: I have several new string quartets (and a few quintets) seeking a premier. Song files and scores available. If you happen to be a conductor, I am also looking for a premier for 'Friends Symphony' in the friendly key of C Major and 'Sisters Symphony' in D.
MY BEAUTIFUL FRIEND: A great song for our troubled times. It's about friends helping friends through hardship. Version above sung by the great Buttafly Vazquez. Would work very well as a country or jazz song. Download is free.
SUNDAY STUFF: A collection of old melodies, mostly hymns, and We Shall Overcome. Played on acoustic guitar (Dave Shiflett) and acoustic bass (Viktor Krauss). From the upcoming "G" collection, out this fall.
THANKS VAN DYKE: The immortal (so far) Van Dyke Parks recently tweeted some encouraging words: "Fine tunesmith, that Dave Shiflett! Fair to say." Many thanks to the great arranger/producer/musician.
SCREENPLAYS, ETC: I have a couple of highly unique and interesting screenplays and a TV pilot in search of interested parties. With UFOs on everyone's mind, I offer 'Gus Porkchop -- The Accidental Messiah' about an alien, a shady priest, and a desperate pig farmer. The world will never be the same. Also, a screenplay called 'The Song of the Four Immortals' featuring Leon Klinghoffer, Sun Myung Moon and Ronald Reagan -- and it's true. I have a 1,500 - word memo summing up the project. I also have a musical with 14 original songs. All songs have demos. For more info: Daveshiflett1@gmail.com
Thanks to Wall Street Journal readers for checking in. Latest reviews: "Where the Deer and the Antelope Play" by Nick Offerman," "The Deadline Effect" and Willie Nelson's 'Letters to America.' On the News page.
BELOW: A video of the song SMILE WHILE YOU CAN. Sung by the great Buttafly Vazquez, produced by Morgan Terry Hyde, who also plays the keyboard. I wrote it and played guitar. Art by John Girimont.
IN THE NEWS: Find articles and reviews I've written on the NEWS page (scroll to the top of this page and click on NEWS). MOST RECENT POSTS: Wall Street Journal reviews of 'And in the End' (Beatles book), summer book roundup, Matt Crawford's 'Why We Drive' and Loretta Lynn's 'Me and Patsy' plus ''The Presidential Fringe' and 'Homeplace' and 'The Last Job' and WSJ article: 'Virginia's Confederacy of Dunces' plus reviews of 'Grateful' and'Thanks a Thousand,' 'Country Music USA' and 'Country Music,' plus WSJ reviews of Jeff Pearlman's 'Football for a Buck' and Jorma Kaukonen's 'Been So Long'; Weekly Standard articles on Ancestor Worship and the NRA; Wall Street Journal review of Dar Williams' 'What I Found in a Thousand Towns'; WSJ article on confederate monuments and review of 'Of Beards and Men'; Boston Globe article on Donald Trump's America; Wall Street Journal article on Donald Trump (uncut version); Wall Street Journal review of P.J. O'Rourke's 'Thrown Under the Omnibus'; Washington Post review of new Otis Redding bio 'Dreams to Remember'; Wall Street Journal review of 'The Girl in the Spider's Web'; Rolling Stone article on Ben Bullington and Darrell Scott; Wall Street Journal review of Judd Apatow's 'Sick in the Head' and Willie Nelson's new memoir; 'In Praise of the Teen Summer Job' from the Wall Street Journal; Wall Street Journal review of 'The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure'; Washington Post review of new biography of Jerry Lee Lewis; Wall Street Journal article 'Life Lessons from Dad' and review of 'Geronimo' by Mike Leach; WSJ article on the American Atheists convention in Salt Lake City; Washington Post review of a new biography of Johnny Cash; Wall Street Journal review of books by Graham Nash, Ray Davies and Donald Fagen; WSJ essay, "When Summer Was Easy (pre-edited version); Wall Street Journal review of 'Follow The Money'; Article about the Poor Farm Festival in Williamsburg, West Virginia; Wall Street Journal reviews of 'Hit Lit' and 'Scapegoat'; Profile of Tara Nevins, frontwoman for Donna The Buffalo and a terrific old time musician, from 'Alive Without Permission'; Wall Street Journal review of several new humor books (before the editors chopped it up); PBS film 'Where Soldiers Come From'; Washington Post review of 'The Three Us,' Georgette Jones' memoir (she's the daughter of George Jones and Tammy Wynette); Wall Street Journal review of 'Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy and a story from Merlefest featuring Peter Rowan, Del McCoury, Tara Nevins, Jerry Douglas, Rory Block and more. A SIMPLE THING -- A collection of five songs, sung by Buttafly Vazquez. Buttafly was offered a vocal scholarship to Julliard at age 15 and went to the professional performing arts high school in New York with Alicia Keys. The songs include "My Beautiful Friend," a jazz ballad featured by the New York Times in a standing feature on the Great Depression; "A Simple Thing," a majestic rumination on enduring love; "Autumn Love," a latin-flavored meditation on romantic dissolution, and "Darlin' -- a murder/suicide song you can dance to. If you're looking for a song about patching up a shaky romance, there's "Somehow," which starts out grim but develops a smile halfway through. Here's the musician lineup: Buffafly Vazquez, vocals; Matt Boon, bass; Jim Mohr, mandolin; Giustino Riccio, percussion; Jonathan Greenberg, trumpet and flugelhorn; Dave Shiflett, guitar. I wrote all the music. CD cover design, Evan Davies; technical support, John Girimont. To hear these songs, and the other music on the site, go to the MUSIC page (go to the top of this page and click on MUSIC). If you want to read the lyrics and the 'story behind the song' click on the song title. In an unprecedented move, I'm trying to recoup the recording expenses for this collection. To purchase please follow the buttons.
INSTRUMENTALS: There's also a group of five guitar instrumentals, clearly marked. Many thanks to Mike Cashwell for allowing me to record in Watts Chapel at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Evan Davies for doing the cover and Brad Bangel for the photo. Also available at iTunes.
JOURNALISM COLLECTION: I've released a collection of my journalism that originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review, The American Spectator, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times and other places. The title: "Workingman's Ink." Subjects include alcohol hysteria, celebrities (Elvis, Fred Astaire, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, King Farouk, Hugh Hefner and many others), a son's military deployment, remembering a family slave, trial lawyers, gambling, scapegoating, health mania, sex, marriage among the very rich, deer hunting, the demise of country music, bluegrass festivals, old time festivals, Apollo 11 and the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl. All for the price of a pint of ale (non happy hour prices). You can find it here:
E-NOVEL: It's called "In The Matter of J. Van Pelt." It's about a Washington political operative who goes sane and leaves town, only to be pursued and destroyed by his enemies. It includes characters based on Marcella Dunn and my uncle Malcolm, whose relationship was detailed in a recent Wall Street Journal article, 'My Family's Bones' (the original version of that article, which is much longer than the published piece, can be found in the News section). Many hot-button topics: terrorism, cloning, sex changes, religion, UFOs, grave robbing, cannibalism, slavery, racism -- and True Love! All for $2.99 -- the price of a happy hour pint. You can find it here:
ON SALE: If you want to buy a downloadable copy of the seven-song "From the First Time,' ($4.99), here are the links to iTunes and CD Baby:
THANKS BLOGGERHYTHMS for the nice review of the 'From the First Time,' which you can read in PRESS/REVIEWS THANKS Taylor Caffery for playing us on WRKF in Baton Rouge; Paul Rutter on WPSU Philadelphia; Peter van Zeijl on Dollard Radio in the Netherlands; Mike Flynn on his 'Folk Sampler' show; Rich Warren for spins on ''The Midnight Special"; Bill Hahn for playing us on WFDU in New Jersey; Dan Alloway for spins in Texas, Eric Walters for plays on WRIR in Richmond. AND MANY THANKS TO K&K SOUND for the kind endorsement deal. I finally wired up the D-28 and the sound from K&K's Pure Mini is fantastic. If you feel inspired to donate, there's a button below. Please take what interests you and pass along this link to your friends. There are two videos just below: 'My Beautiful Friend' and 'All The Good Men', both sung by the incomparable Jeanine Guidry. The New York Times is featuring 'My Beautiful Friend' in a standing feature on the Depression: http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/national/thenewhardtimes/index.html#/shiflett If you want to buy physical or downloadable CDs -- the Karma Farmers' 'Songs for Aging Cynics' or Floor Creek's 'TIme Goes Rushing By' -- please select from the CD Baby options below the videos. The prices are low: $9 for CDs; $4 for downloadables (and THANKS!). If you prefer iTunes, both are also there. I have a large number of songs that are not posted. If you are a music supervisor, director, etc. let me know what you're looking for -- I may have just the song for you. I also write to order. Those looking for Harvey Laub's "Just Want to Know (That I've Been Known By You)" will find it on the music page. Harvey wrote the song for my sister after he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. The Karma Farmers recorded it the month before he died. "Lonely Train," which is also on the Music page, is dedicated to Harvey's memory. LISTEN, download, and if you want to get in touch email DShifl@aol.com.