befreeyourself - True Courage

written by Terry Christenson, aka Tango Charlie


Purple Haze - pedal steel, lap steel, dobro, weissenborn, lap slide, mandolin, lap slide bass, analog synthesizer, keyboards and cajon
Tango Charlie - Godin guitars, including baritone, acoustic classical and steel string Takamine.

befreeyourself - Consumer Child

Consumer Child  (B. Schell, T. Christenson) 2017

I've always had a tendency to travel light. One might say that I'm a minimalist who is uncomfortable, out of place if you will, in a maximalist, human being environment. And they'd be right. I'm truly happy all alone in the wilderness, compared to feeling slightly hollowed out and lonely in an urban centre. In the song 'lucky man' I refer to the fact that the homestead has always grounded me and allowed a rich life on the road, experiencing other cultures, knowing I would one day return to live out the final and hopefully, most creative years. Soon I celebrate my 70th birthday and what I fear most, is for 'consumer child'. And thankfully, I've survived many adventures that would suggest I don't scare easily. I fear that when what you own as an individual, real estate, what you drive, wear, etc, becomes your only identity (because that's what you focus on), there's a lot of room for greed to move in and you end up constantly compensating large. Perhaps sensing this vacuum. You have no idea who you really are. And what's worse, you don't care how what you do affects those around you. You don't take care of your body, you eat too much, or not enough, and you abuse (pick a substance). Usually anxiety is the only exercise you get. Long ago a bassist I was working with lent me a little book by June Callwood entitled 'the lively emotions'. Actually it was a series of articles she had researched, written, and later published, dedicating each chapter to an emotion. Examples are: Anxiety, the useless emotion, Guilt is a fool, Fear increases sexual desire…. and so on until the very last chapter about love, was the only emotion of a dozen or so that had to be learned. And one could argue, the only one that matters if we are to survive as a species. If you kill the host (mother earth) you perish. Paul Watson, who has given more of himself than most to try and save the oceans and the creatures in it, once said that 'our species is a violent one, history proves that'. It continues today in so called third world countries because they've been robbed and exploited. In this song I try to convey the frustration I feel with the quietest of violence, the boardroom without a conscience that sleeps soundly while children starve to death, oceans acidify and aquifers get polluted. As a grandfather I'm horrified by how much we consume and waste. And I try not to. It's hard.  Our children are watching. A village is no longer a village.

cheers. t

p.s. special thanks to Bruce for his awesome one liners that led to this song.

befreeyourself - Hey Mister

Hey Mister

If I may, and if you've taken the time to read some of these short stories that have inspired the tunes, you may assume my hardest challenge was to manage vertigo and you'd be wrong. It was to manage claustrophobia, an abnormal fear of confined places. When I was about five years old I developed a re accruing nightmare where I was surrounded by huge blocks slowly closing in on me. In my teens I remember similar feelings associated with stage fright, first in front of relatives and friends and later with various bands in concert in front of hundreds of strangers. I think I hid it well for the most part and would usually turn it into good energy. Many years later I find myself in what cavers call a squeeze in Pigeon Mountain, Georgia called Bingo. I didn't sleep well the night before. In truth I was seriously wondering if I could do this. Back around 1976 my friend Smokey (Larry Caldwell) had pushed the cave with the help of a small woman by the name of Tony Williams out of Knoxville, Tennessee. By pushed I mean patiently removing material or redistributing it within the passage so a mid sized person could squeeze thru the tight spots in the system, ultimately including a ten foot vertical drop (Shit Shute) at the bottom of which one has to crawl inverted for a few feet to get turned around and headed toward Tony's Room. Halfway there you come to Claustrophobic Relief, a bubble in the ceiling where you get to raise up on your elbows and I can assure you it's welcome relief. Overall Bingo is about two hundred and fifty feet into the mountain and after smoking a celebratory fatty in Tony's Room it suddenly occurs to you that now you have to crawl out. Personally I visualized I was reptilian in nature and that stimulated my focus. You tense up and guess what? You get bigger. Anyway, the reason I tell this story is to try and express how important it is to challenge our fears. In reflection now on the experience, there is only one thing left that wells up that claustrophobic emotion in me, and that is the racism among us. Even here in Canada. A current and obvious example is the missing and murdered native women in this country. If these women were white do you seriously think the authorities wouldn't have solved it by now? My dear friend Smokey told me recently that he's embarrassed to be an American. I'm sad to say that I feel the same about being Canadian these days. Both Chris and I are much aware of our white privilege so it was a challenge to write this tune. We hope you like it and pass it on. And if you're white, that you consider yours the next time you vote.

cheers. t