“No. I Am Your Father”

The premature loss of my mother has been one of the defining events of my life. When she was diagnosed with the cancer that would claim her life she was one year younger than I am at this writing and the three years she lived after that were difficult for everyone, mostly for her. I’m not special in this way. Lots of people lose parents and other loved ones before their times in painful circumstances. There’s something profound about a premature loss. Continue reading

Fruits and Nuts

A couple of years ago I was flying from Richmond, Virginia to Los Angeles on one of the many trips home I make each year during holiday and summer breaks from James Madison University. A friend had kindly offered to drive me to the airport and as we were leaving her house near Charlottesville where I left my car, she leaned over and picked a small, beautiful, vividly-colored blood-red flower from her front garden and gave it to me, good intentions for a safe trip and a token of friendship.  I received it gladly and gratefully and put it behind my ear. Continue reading

Playing in Undercover and Beating Dragons

“Joe – I was wondering if you have regrets in making this type of music considering your current doubts about God?”

This is a common question I get about my ongoing relationship with Undercover, although it’s one of the more civil and thoughtful versions (sent to me by a lifelong friend).  A somewhat more aggressive version usually asks how I can get up on stage and perform those songs when I don’t believe the message behind the songs anymore.  Continue reading