Sittin’ Around, Feelin’ Groovy

John Clary (left) and J.D. Edge (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 9:33 a.m.

It seems as if life is back to normal. For instance, take now. This Is Spinal Tap is on TV. I switched over from The Andy Griffith Show (how’s that for contrast?).

LightningBottle_CVR_LRG
(Cover design by Steven Novak)

The writing of Lightning in a Bottle both strained and inspired me for three months. From the first words of the introduction to the acceptance of the finished product, it all flowed more efficiently than what preceded it. It’s the closest I’ve been to pleased.

Tax time is over. Repeat. Tax time is over. If spring didn’t start today, then it at least flowered.

By Monte Dutton (John Clark photo)

I’m writing this blog. Then I’m going to write some fiction. Sometime soon – and by soon, I mean, within a week — I’ll mow the lawn. Yesterday I went in our new Dollar Tree for the first time. I bought some little cookies called Palmeritas. They are a product of Spain.  Spain didn’t get much profit from that dollar.

J.D. Edge is in town. He’s our musical prodigy, a fiddle virtuoso. Last night he showed up at a rustic cabin, where music is often played, and it would be called a clubhouse if we were all kids and not grown-ups who still want to be.

I wanted to watch the Red Devils play one of several sports going on. I wanted to watch the Red Sox in Toronto, but there was some place that I’d rather be.

You know how people always yell “Free Bird”? If you try that with J.D., he’ll perform the fiddle version.

J.D. went off some years ago to learn the music business and now tours the land with Southern Drawl Band. A solo album is in the works.

So many showed up that it wasn’t like any of us performed our whole catalogue. Otherwise, it was the same as usual: folks sitting around in a far-from-perfect circle, sipping beer, trying to follow the chords and, in my case, fooling around with a harmonica.

It’s fun to have a genuine, living-making, professional musician in one’s midst, sawing away at anything and everything anyone else played.

Wow. You know this song. How could you know it? I wrote it.

This night signaled the border between dealing with seasonal stress and returning to a more relaxed, less driven, life. Rather than coursing through a novel at an elevated rate, I’m letting gravity run the stream.

Slow down. You move to fast. Got to make the morning last …

(Steven Novak design)

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Lightning in a Bottle, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written six novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

Lightning in a Bottle is the story of Barrie Jarman, the hope of stock car racing’s future. Barrie, a 18-year-old from Spartanburg, South Carolina, is both typical of his generation and a throwback to the sport’s glory days.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Cowboys Come Home is a modern western. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Signed copies of Lightning in a Bottle are on sale at Emma Jane’s (see ad above). Signed copies of all my fiction are also on sale at L&L Office Supply in uptown Clinton, South Carolina.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

 

 

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You Can Hear the Music Burning Down Copperhead Road

dscf4376
From left, “Tex” Baker, Mike Reynolds, and Joe Spencer at Sag Valley Country Club. (Monte Dutton photos)

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, January 30, 2017, 6:59 p.m.

It was about ten years ago, at Robert’s Western World in Nashville, where I was working on a chapter of a book called True to the Roots: Americana Music Revealed, and the subject of the chapter was Jesse Lee Jones, who owned Robert’s.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

I was sitting by myself, up near the front, taking a few notes while I enjoyed the show. A rowdy bunch sat at the next table, and one, Mike Reynolds, was at the edge of their table, next to mine. We started talking. Mike said they were from Booneville, Kentucky, and they were all in a band that played around those parts, and I mentioned that I played, and before long, they told me where they were staying – it was a Best Western up the hill a few blocks from Lower Broadway – and my guitar was behind the seat of my truck, so I went and got it, and hoofed it to the Best Western.

That’s when I learned that one of the unique characteristics of Nashville is that a bunch of drunks can stay up in a hotel room, playing music till three or four in the morning, and no one will get upset.

Mike and “Tex,” a.k.a, Donnie Baker, are the only holdovers now.

One more time, I met the Mike Reynolds Band in Nashville, at which point we had a similar time. Then I went to see them in Kentucky. I slept on the couch at Mike’s house, which was up on hill overlooking town, and went to gigs with them. Once or twice, I played my songs while the band took a break, but most times, I just went onstage and sang several songs with them.

"Folsom Prison Blues," some years back.
“Folsom Prison Blues,” some years back.

Mike and I spent lots of time at his house, playing music. Both he and Tex, then and now, are so much better guitarists than plunk-away me that, while I have a difficult time playing with them, they are adept at enhancing me. I often sing harmony.

For a decade, I’ve taken occasional road trips to the hills of southern Kentucky. Mike has lived in three places. At all three, I have slept on the same couch. Some of the adventures have inspired chapters in my novels. It is both my refuge and my exile. Nothing refreshes my soul like a few days playing music with friends. Most of my music is sitting alone in my living room.

It had been more than a year since I had dropped in, so to speak, and a lot longer since I’d had the time to stay for a few days. Early last week, I felt down and out. I had to get away. I sent Mike a text. He texted back.

Come on.

20170130_132402I drove up on Friday. It takes about six hours. I arrived at about 7:15. Mike has sort of a recording studio over on one side of his place. It’s sort of a recording studio because studios don’t normally have a billiards table. It qualifies as a recreation room, and music certainly qualifies as recreation every bit as much as pool.

I carried the bags to the aforementioned couch, which is three-sided, and I generally sleep on the wing with the cushion at the end, and fetched my guitar, and even though I hadn’t eaten since early that morning at home, Mike and immediately commenced to playing. Mike’s friend, Dave, was there from the start. He sang harmony and brought a, let me think, uhm, craft beverage, and, as it turned out, a couple others also brought such custom-made concoctions, and it became something of a tasting.

Mike and Joe
Mike and Joe

Joe Spencer arrived at about 2:30. Some of you may know that I am talkative. I can’t get a word in edgewise with Joe, who, as well as he talks, plays keyboards much better. He is a virtuoso. The first time I met him, he played a kid’s Casio keyboard, and I felt like I was playing guitar behind Jerry Lee Lewis.

Sometime in the wee hours, pizzas had arrived. I went to sleep at about four, a bit the worse for wear.

Tex
Tex

On Saturday, Mike, Joe, and Tex played a gig at the Sag Hollow Country Club. They were supposed to start at eight, but this would have been ridiculous because Kentucky was playing a basketball game against Kansas. Most of the people there were wearing blue and white. The Wildcats lost to the Jayhawks at Rupp Arena, and almost everyone to whom I talked about the game guaranteed me that Kentucky was going to get a lot better between now and the NCAA Tournament. The band then started up. South Carolina at Missouri was now on TV, sound muted, and I’m pretty sure I was the only person there paying any attention at all to the Gamecocks.

dscf4377The sound was exceptional. Mike has grown as a singer since I last saw him, and he was a fine singer then. I went up and sang “Folsom Prison Blues” with them, and it went great because it is probably about the 25th time I have sung that song with Mike and Tex. The band played till about 12:30, and then we all loaded the equipment, returned to Mike’s place, set it back up again, and pretty soon it seemed as if there were as many people there as there had been at Sag Hollow. In truth, it was probably about half as many, but the night grew even longer than the one before.

I might have driven home on Sunday, but I had swapped my sleeping habits from up all day, sleep all night, to close to vice-versa. Mike’s cousin, Earl, and his wife, Kim, came over so that Kim could use the wi-fi, and Earl and Mike could play pool. For most of that time, I played music in the bedroom, half watching the phenomenal basketball game between Virginia and Villanova. Then Mike and I drove to nearby Beattyville to eat Mexican food, and, that night, we watched a recent remake of The Magnificent Seven that, in my opinion, was more concerned with being pretty than it was with being good.

20170130_131649I got up fairly early this morning, shaved and showered, and, fueled by gasoline in my Honda, two Hardee’s biscuits, and three mugs of coffee, arrived back home at about 3:30.

I thought about riding on down to Newberry to watch the Clinton High JVs, but nah.

For most of four days, I was intentionally out of circulation in the hills of Kentucky. When I left home, I had been considering a side trip and a little sightseeing, but I hadn’t factored in the likelihood of all-night jams. This morning, I caught up a little with our new president’s latest adventures on NPR, but by the time I hit the Smokies, I was back to music by Gretchen Peters, Willie Nelson, and Reckless Kelly. I left my driveway last Friday listening to John Prine, and I was listening to him again when the garage door opened.

Now I have much to do, but it actually seems possible that I’ll do it.

Mission accomplished.

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written five novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

My new novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

 

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

 

 

It Happens Every Winter

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

As I don’t have a heap of money – and it’s been a while – a limited number has constituted the recipients of my Christmas gifts this year. Therefore, I feel obliged at this time to do something modest to express my appreciation for what you’ve done for me this year. No telling how many years now I’ve been producing this on the cheap.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

So many of you have helped me out by reading what I write, even though there are lots of times you don’t agree, and I’m grateful to the few, the proud, who rank me as better than the last words I typed because the quality of my words is highly erratic.

I appreciate those of you who have read my books. Three of them came out in 2016. I expect another novel to be ready sometime in the spring, and maybe, just maybe, at some point, all the people who have read one and liked it, will read another and like it, and so on, and it will all coalesce or, more likely, congeal into a towering mass of Jell-O known as a fan base.

Always optimistic, I am.

Each winter, sometime during the holidays, most of the time after Christmas in the past but, really, whenever I get around to it, and when I’m in a mood to sit down in front of the TV, while a crummy ballgame is going on, and play songs on my guitar. Songs that strike my fancy come to mind, often dependent on my mood. When I’m in the mood to compile these, it’s typically sort of a period of melancholia into which I have drifted.

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

This helps me come out of it, so, in a way, I’m just being selfish, too. I hope, by some miracle, you can find some comfort in these words.

Last night I dreamed / That you came to our house / To take an old book from the shelf / If you’ll open the shutters / I’ll tear down the boards / ‘Cause I drove every nail by myself.

“Shutters and Boards,” Audie Murphy and Scott Turner

Ain’t it strange / How people change / And almost overnight / Who once was a country girl / Is now a socialite.

“The Old Side of Town,” Tom T. Hall

When the earthly race is over / And the curtain ‘round him falls / We’ll carry him home to victory / On the Wabash Cannonball.

“Wabash Cannonball,” William Kindt

Ain’t never been nobody’s idol / But at least I got a title / And I take a lot of pride in what I am.

“I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am,” Merle Haggard

I raised a lot of cain back in my younger days / While Mama used to pray my crops would fail.

“I’m a Lonesome Fugitive,” Merle Haggard

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

I keep saying o’er and ‘oer / I don’t love you anymore / Trouble is / I don’t love you any less.”

“I Don’t Love You Anymore,” Bill Anderson

The silence of a falling star / Lights up a purple sky / And as I wonder where you are / I’m so lonesome I could cry.

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Hank Williams

I’m gonna tuck my worries underneath my arms / And scat right back to my pappy’s farm.

“Honky Tonk Blues,” Hank Williams

I wondered so aimless / Life filled with sin / I wouldn’t let my dear Savior in / Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night / Praise the Lord / I saw the light.

“I Saw the Light,” Hank Williams

Eyes to laugh and lips to cry / Legs to walk and thoughts to fly / Restless soul to classify / All born to grow and grown to die.

“Rex’s Blues,” Townes Van Zandt

It wasn’t me that started that old crazy war / But I was bound to go and do my patriotic chore / And God knows that I ain’t the man I used to be / But Ruby / I still need some company.

“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” Mel Tillis

Robert's Western World, Nashville (Monte Dutton photo)
Robert’s Western World, Nashville (Monte Dutton photo)

Grew up in Houston down on Wayside Drive / Son of a car hop in some all-night dive / Dad drove a stock car to an early death / All I remember is a drunk man’s breath.

“Ain’t Living Long Like This,” Rodney Crowell

Life gets complicated / When you get past eighteen / But the Class of ’57 had its dreams.

“The Class of ’57,” Don and Harold Reid

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

Sleeping under a table at a roadside park / A man could wake up dead / But it sure seems warmer than it did / Sleeping in our king-sized bed.

“Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” Glenn Martin and Dave Kirby

I was just a lad / Barely twenty-two / Neither good nor bad / Just a kid like you / But now I’m lost / Too late to pray / Lord, I paid the cost / Of the lost highway.

“Lost Highway,” Leon Payne

Sometimes I go for a walk / Look at the moon / Strum my guitar / And sing out of tune / Honey, you’re the reason I can’t sleep at night.

“You’re the Reason,” Bobby Edwards

So excuse me for looking / Like my world just ended / And excuse me for looking / Like I just lost my best friend / And excuse me for living / And being forgiving / So just go on if you want to be free.

“The Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning,” Gary P. Nunn and Donna Farar

jimmy-1Good times and riches and son of a bitches / I’ve seen more than I recall.

“Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitude,” Jimmy Buffett

‘Cause everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on / Who they can feel better than any time they please / Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty decent folks can frown on / If you can’t find nobody else / Just help yourself to me.

“Jesus Was a Capricorn,” Kris Kristofferson

Them that don’t know him won’t like him / And them that do sometimes won’t know how to take him / He ain’t wrong, he’s just different / But his pride won’t let him do things that make you think he’s right.

“Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” Ed Bruce and Patsy Bruce

 

And, tucked way down at the bottom, after a discerning number of you have given up, a few of mine. Click on the titles if you’d like to see videos of me performing them:

 

When the sun comes up on that bright morn / In the quiet that follows every storm / When the demons have all passed away / We’ll celebrate your independence day.

“Your Independence Day”

Some folks love to smoke cigarettes / Live in a trailer, drive a red Corvette / Give back half as much as they get / Couldn’t find theirselves in a mirror.

“There You Are”

When football came around / I couldn’t wait to see it end / When it was all over / I couldn’t wait to play again / In practice, Roscoe beat my brains in every single day / You know, I guess it had to be that way, Lord, Lord.

“Go, Big Red”

kentucky035The women who fall in love with me / Are the ones with whom I can’t agree / Makin’ love is great, of course / But not gettin’ broke, like a horse / Uh, huh.

“Uh, Huh”

Now I’ve learned / My lessons well / There’s a price to pay / For those who insist to rebel / A man works hard / And tries to mend / All the cracks and dents of having / Facebook friends.

“Facebook Friends”

I know I’ve only been there once / But I want back real soon / Where I can enjoy that gentle breeze / Beneath that Georgia moon.

“Hiawassee”

He’s kinda cute / His life’s a mess / Sells his weed / Keeps the best / Hair bunched up in a ponytail / Stares at himself in the mirror.

“Stuck in a Rut (Trying to Please Her Man)”

 I don’t know where I am / And I don’t know where I’m going / And I reckon it’s best not to say / What factories are left here are mainly hiring Mexicans / I reckon that they’ll work without much pay.

“What I Ain’t Got”

I reckon I could do this all day. I reckon I have chipped away about half of it.

I hope, against all my expectations, the coming year is better than the last, which, once I think about it, ain’t asking much.

If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at montedutton.com. (montedutton.com/blog/merchandise)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written five novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

Crazy of Natural Causes is on Amazon sale all December for $.99.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

My new novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

 

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

cowboyshome_fullcvr343-page-001
(Design by Steven Novak)

 

 

How I Got Here Musically

(Monte Dutton sketch)
(Monte Dutton sketch)

 

I remember when I first heard of Don McLean and “American Pie.” It was a little over forty-four years ago. I was in the library of Bell Street Middle School, reading Time magazine. At about the same time, maybe even the same day, I read an article about James Taylor.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

I still tell people I grew up rock-retarded. At that time, my musical idol was Charley Pride, and he still ranks pretty high. When my dad drove me to school, we listened to Wally Mullinax on “660 in Dixie,” WESC-AM in Greenville. The family spent lots of time going to package shows at Greenville Memorial Auditorium, where we saw Pride, the Osborne Brothers, Connie Smith, George Jones, and many others. We saw “The Johnny Cash Show” at Carolina Coliseum in Columbia, with Big John, his brother Tommy, the Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins and the Carter Family.

It may have been McLean, who, with “American Pie,” “Vincent,” and other songs (“Superman’s Ghost,” about George Reeves), started diversifying my musical interests a bit. I don’t know why McLean isn’t revered today. His voice is phenomenal. Roy Orbison said his version of “Crying” was better than his own.

McLean is an example of someone who has spent his entire career being too damned good. Maybe it’s just the bitterness that comes with age, but it seems that a song can’t be a hit, particularly a country hit, anymore unless it’s stupid.

Hey, baby, let’s you and me get us a cooler of beer and our fishing poles and take our truck, or, better yet, our tractor, down to the pond and raise some hell!

This is my first sketch of Riley Mansfield because, when I wrote The Audacity of Dope, I didn't sketch.
This is my first sketch of Riley Mansfield because, when I wrote The Audacity of Dope, I didn’t sketch.

I remember when country music was about real people with real problems. I remember when country lived in a real world where babies didn’t think tractors were sexy.

I’ve got only me to blame ’cause Mama tried. … She tried to turn me on to Jesus, but I turned on to the Devil’s ways. … Wine me up, turn me on, and watch me cry for you. … I don’t love you anymore. Trouble is, I don’t love you any less. … I didn’t know God made honky-tonk angels. … Oh, wait. … Turns out, it wasn’t God who made honky-tonk angels. … I spent the groceries and half the rent. I lack fourteen dollars having twenty-seven cents.

This blog started because I had a music channel on, and McLean, now seventy, was singing “American Pie” when he was sixty-six.

Two years ago, I was at a book function. It was at a nearby bookstore, and a variety of authors were there trying in vain to get shoppers to buy their books. One of the other authors was the great arranger, composer, conductor and entertainer Johnny Mann, who is dead now. He lived in Anderson, South Carolina, late in life, and he’d written what I guess were his memoirs. I wish I’d bought a copy now.

Abel Mondell was a character in a short story, one that was based on a song I wrote. (Monte Dutton sketch)
Abel Mondell was a character in a short story, one that was based on a song I wrote. (Monte Dutton sketch)

The Johnny Mann Singers worked with Eddie Cochran and the Crickets. Mann was once the voice of Theodore in Alvin and the Chipmunks.

“Alviiiiiinnn!”

And Joey Bishop’s music director. Don’t forget that.

We had a conversation, and I mentioned in passing that I wrote songs. Mann asked what kind, and I said, oh, country and folk, and he said, “I bet it’s all major chords.”

“Well, pretty much,” I said. “Mostly.”

“Country music is all major chords,” he said, and I really didn’t think about it much until just a few weeks ago, and I was pondering Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, et al., and I realized what Mann was talking about, and I wished I had a chance to talk to him more.

Unfortunately, he died on June 18, 2014, about seven months after our brief encounter.

 

(This graphic was designed by Meredith Pritchard)
(This graphic was designed by Meredith Pritchard)

Mostly I hawk my novels nowadays, but what led to my interest in singers and songwriters was the work it took to write True to the Roots: Americana Music Revealed. http://www.amazon.com/True-Roots-Americana-Revealed-Original/dp/0803266618/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

That, in turn, led to the creation of the hero, or maybe anti-hero, of my first novel, The Audacity of Dope. http://www.amazon.com/Audacity-Dope-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B006GT2PRA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449174204&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Audacity+of+Dope

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Then I wrote a novel based on childhood experiences called The Intangibles. http://www.amazon.com/The-Intangibles-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00ISJ18Z6/ref=pd_sim_sbs_351_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51JrJlU8vKL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_UX300_PJku-sticker-v3%2CTopRight%2C0%2C-44_AC_UL160_SR107%2C160_&refRID=19K7069HFCXMHMFDATHC

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

My current novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, is about a Kentucky football coach who loses everything and reinvents himself in unique ways. http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Natural-Causes-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00YI8SWUU/ref=pd_sim_sbs_351_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=617isaEUZWL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_UX300_PJku-sticker-v3%2CTopRight%2C0%2C-44_AC_UL160_SR120%2C160_&refRID=1AWZ5B2CHW9BY4AC478C

I’m trying to get a fourth novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, published, and I’m writing a fifth, Cowboys Come Home.

Support writers, particularly those you follow through social media.

Isn’t Fun the Greatest Thing You Can Have?

Rhythm & Brews, Greer, S.C. (Monte Dutton photo)
Rhythm & Brews, Greer, S.C. (Monte Dutton photo)

My greatest ally is my guitar. Or, my guitars. I keep one leaning against the couch to my left while I type away here. I just got finished playing a few songs to get me ready to write this blog. I played a couple of mine, “Stuck in a Rut” and “Uh, Huh.” Then I played an old country song, “Shutters and Boards,” and a medley of Buddy Holly, mainly because American Graffiti was coming on TV: “I Guess It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” “Oh, Boy,” and “Raining in My Heart.”

Monte Dutton
Monte Dutton

I try to play my guitar at least a little every day. I wrote a song, “Nasty Habits,” last week, or was it the week before? I haven’t memorized the words yet. They’re hard. Lots of long lines where the syllables have to fit just right, such as:

As a boy I followed the Golden Rule / Never went along when my friends cut school / Did my homework, tried to make straight A’s / Limited my violence to video games / And such

Actually, as it turns out, I wrote this on September 30. Time flies when you’re having fun.

On Wednesday night, I drove to Greer, thanks to a Columbia acquaintance inviting me to sign up, to play a couple songs at a gathering of songwriters. I’m vaguely aware that the night is supposed to be broadcast at http://www.mydaddyoradio.com, or maybe it’s already been broadcast, or maybe it’s available. It was a good evening, and Rhythm & Brews, a cool bar in the middle of town, is supposedly going to host them every other Wednesday, and, when I can work it, I’ll be back.

I met a really talented young songwriter from Enoree named Zelena Hull and her family. Zelena is fourteen. Her father was kind enough to shoot some video of me playing, and I spent a good bit of time editing it. My whole section, a little over ten minutes long, is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAWecuE-_oU

If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing — and who does? — I also broke it into two videos, one with my song “Scuppernongs & Muscadines” and the other “Wake & Bake,” which was originally written for the hero of my first novel, The Audacity of Dope (2011).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIMrNYivYmU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbiEZ-U5Jrw

Keith Bates drove up from Columbia to play. (Monte Dutton photo)
Keith Bates drove up from Columbia to play. (Monte Dutton photo)

I will also post video of Zelena playing her song as soon as I can find the time to edit it, or, at least, at some point, I’ll let you know where you can find it at YouTube.

As for mine, if you don’t watch the whole set, you’ll miss some witty repartee. Or repartee that is intended to be witty. Witty is always variable depending on the tastes of the audience, but this one seemed to like my wit.

When I was writing about NASCAR, I sometimes played gigs. A few fans would attend because they knew me from my writing and were unusually curious. Friends would come, too. I don’t play much in public anymore but not because I don’t enjoy it. I love it. It’s just that I write fiction mainly instead of songs, but that could change if, uh, my business model does. I love writing songs and novels.

(This graphic was designed by Meredith Pritchard)
(This graphic was designed by Meredith Pritchard)
(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

              Here’s a link to my first novel, The Audacity of Dope, which includes in the text lots of lyrics that were written for the hero, Riley Mansfield. If you like my songs, you’ll probably like my novel: http://www.amazon.com/Audacity-Dope-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B006GT2PRA/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

              And here’s where you can acquire most of my books, many of which predate my fiction leap. My music started while I was working on True to the Roots: Americana Music Revealed. http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

‘Nasty Habits,’ a Song

This is my first sketch of Riley Mansfield because, when I wrote The Audacity of Dope, I didn't sketch.
This is my first sketch of Riley Mansfield because, when I wrote The Audacity of Dope, I didn’t sketch.

I love to write songs. You can find rough versions of them on my YouTube channel (oddly enough, called “Monte Dutton”), mostly videos from back when I was occasionally playing little gigs at places near NASCAR tracks.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

This one, “Nasty Habits,” is the first one I’ve written in about six months. I love writing songs, but I only occasionally play them in front of a crowd (the next time, to my knowledge, is October 14. (Details to come.) Also, I’ve got those pesky novels and short stories to write.

Anyway, I scribbled (then pecked into my iPhone) the simple chorus about three weeks ago. Then I worked out a chord pattern for the verses, and, every now and then, when I was through with some task and not of a mind to go to another quite yet, I fiddled around on my guitar, but late this morning, I declared myself ready to get it done.

As a boy I followed the Golden Rule

Never went along when my friends cut school

Did my homework, tried to make straight A’s

Limited my violence to video games

And such

But being fine and dandy takes a toll

And the life of a role model gets damn old

Everybody staring most of the time

Hoping you’ll do something that ain’t sublime

Or what

 

Drinking is a nasty habit

Smoking is a nasty habit

Sex is a nasty habit

Eating barbecue’s a nasty habit

Everything’s a nasty habit

Join the crowd

 

Once I reached a conclusion it was all a shame

Like Trump and Nixon and Vietnam

I literally became a figurative man

Never trust a man with a year-round tan

In a suit

I stopped just assuming certain things on sight

If everybody believes it don’t make it right

When you try to ram words down my throat

I’ll spit ‘em back long before I choke

Or inhale

 

CHORUS

 

At this point I try to stay out of the way

Limit ambition to what I get done today

Hoping, somehow, I can find a niche

Without running my car into a ditch

So to speak

I’m less confident virtue prevails in the end

But I’m willing to ignore my doubts and pretend

I don’t go to meetings so I can still create

And I don’t put myself in the hands of fate

Or luck

 

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

CHORUS

 

My third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, is available here. It’s both good and good for you. One of the characters, Zeke Runnels, is a musician.  http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Natural-Causes-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B00YI8SWUU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436215069&sr=1-1&keywords=Crazy+of+Natural+Causes

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

My first novel, The Audacity of Dope, was about a songwriter. Don’t get carried away. It’s obviously not autobiographical. It’s just a story of an unlikely hero. http://www.amazon.com/The-Audacity-Dope-Monte-Dutton-ebook/dp/B006GT2PRA/ref=pd_sim_351_14?ie=UTF8&refRID=0XBABANWJXB87X59TEF5

Here’s a video of me performing “Your Independence Day.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q32i0dUWEU

It’s Only Fiction (A Song)

 

Actually, this is I, or as in my song, me.
Actually, this is I, or as in my song, me.

Here are the lyrics to my latest song. I wrote most of it a couple months ago, but I wasn’t particularly pleased with it until this morning, when I finally got around to dickering with the words again.

My daddy was a drunkard but I didn’t write about him in my song

I claimed he was a cousin whose whereabouts are currently unknown

And the writer in my novel was descended from a friend who played guitar

I haven’t seen him lately but maybe he’s become a big rock star

 

But it’s not me

It’s only fiction

It’s not me

It’s someone else

It’s not me

I’m just a writer

I’m as boring as a buzzard circling o’er the pits of hell

 

Audacity2I wrote about a singer who traveled with the cops in hot pursuit

His major sign of weakness was a taste for all forbidden fruit

While he was smoking pot in Hyden I was typing in my den

Trying to find a way to get old Riley out of harm’s way again

 

MontyBookFLatSEPIA_TITLEThere’s a football coach in Caroline who taught me half of everything I know

But I never was a hero in the tension-charged events of long ago

I just did enough and saw enough to dream myself a tale

With memories and fancy mixing in and out along my sliding scale

 

CHORUS

 

In conclusion please don’t blame me for playing fast and loose with the facts

What separates the fiction is the truth that slips through cracks

With my guitar at the ready and a website on my screen

I can take take my flights of fancy in my imaginary writing machine

 

CHORUS

If you’d like a signed copy of either or both my novels, The Audacity of Dope and The Intangibles, visit “Merchandise” at the montedutton.com website, send me a check, and I’ll ship promptly.