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As our premiere featured indie artist, we have picked an emerging Folk/Americana singer/songwriter from Northwest Florida, Grant Peeples. While some may not care for the raw, down-home flavor of his music, what he is saying . . . and where he is saying it from . . . definitely qualifies him for our purposes here. It is not easy to be from where Grant is from . . . and to sing to the people before whom Grant performs . . . and challenge the very precepts that outwardly define the culture. Yet, Grant does it extremely well. Grant does this by understanding the precepts that inwardly define the culture, and by a healthy dose of amazing art.
The American Heartland, particularly the American South, populated primarily by the working poor (whether they realize they are poor or not) is his home. The Heartland's working class, as declared by Grant in the opening song, My People are from the Dirt, are his people. His new CD (or as he says “Record”),Okra and Ecclesiasteswas produced in Austin, Texas, by Gurf Morlix, and was released by Gatorbone Records in February, 2011.
Many political observers wonder how the United States will survive when the heartland; the people actually doing the work that puts food on our tables, products in our stores, and tires on our cars; apparently fail to see a bigger picture of things than they get from their employers, their preachers, and paid political pundits. Well, these are strong people. They are the people living life. You won't change them by criticizing them. You won't change them by trying to change them. Perhaps they don't need changing. Because they live life at the basic, the real, the human level; they have within them all that is needed. They are what made America great and they are what may make America great again! But, they have been sorely lacking in inspiration of late . . . at least until Grant Peeples came along.
Like all great poets and artists, Grant manages to find the true heart and soul of the experience and express it in ways which those from the Southern Heartland cannot help but identify. Through his powerful songwriting and soulful performances, often softened by humor, Grant challenges the many self-defeating precepts outwardly defining the culture. At times he empathizes . . . with lines like “so, you always better watch your back, and don't you ever spare the rod, when you are standing there in the crosshairs of your angry and jealous God.” . . . . Then, at other times, he challenges the well-packaged institutional version of their mainstay distraction by banging out the song, Jesus was a Revolutionary. He identifies through his song Powerlines, where a couple has to find a place in the woods to park and make love, and challenges with songs like The Hanging and Lethal Injection Blues questioning the ultimate wisdom of the death penalty they so strongly support.
What Grant knows, we think, is that the picture so often painted of the people of the heartland does not truly and completely describe them. Because they live on a level that elite liberals and certainly republican fatcats cannot begin to truly understand or appreciate, they are closer to the truth, in their way, and they welcome the truth when pulled from within them rather than hammered at them from questionable outside “agitators”.
Grant Peeples gets at the truth. He does so in the foot slapping tradition that represents the true traditional music of the Heartland. He does so with soulful, poignant ballads. He does so with humor, a smile and a wink. Grant is definitely worth a listen.
At Indieway, we believe it is those men and women today and throughout the ages who have bucked the organizations, questioned the rules, and redefined the allegiances, who have given positive direction to our civilizations and preserved our true humanity.
That people organize, create and follow rules, and form allegiances is, no doubt, why we have civilizations. While we do not disagree, we would make a subtle qualification. Each organization, each rule, and each allegiance is but a step in the quest toward an ultimate, albeit perhaps unobtainable, naturally perfect state. Thus, each one must give way to the next; be it organization, rule, or allegiance; and this must continue indefinitely.
From a cynical perspective, we could say that the science of manipulation has obtained a frightening efficiency – with every household having six or more brands of soap when only one or two is needed. Where unnecessary 'rinse and repeat' lines the pockets of the shampoo manufacturers, retailers, and marketers who manipulate us to overuse their soap, harming our skin and cluttering our environment with unnatural chemicals in the process. We could be concerned that sartorial fashion requires us to buy new clothes every two or three years when our old clothes are still quite useful, quite attractive, . . . and quite comfortable. We could complain that we are led by advertisements to believe we know better than our doctors which medicines to take. Or, even worse, that our doctors are led to bad decisions in choosing our medications by inducements of the pharmaceutical companies. (We may know better than our doctors what medicines, if any, we should take, but we will not learn it from advertisements.) We could be concerned that the folk traditions of music slowly slip away as the record industry executives decide for us what music we like and do not like. We could be concerned that so many choices are made for us, whether we realize it or not.
We believe that everyone should be rewarded by the market according to their production – so long as they produce something good and useful as determined by us rather than them. (A process that would occur in a free market were it not for the advanced science of manipulation employed.) We keep a watchful eye to those who would, with their shell games and their efficiency in deceit, line their pockets with our cash without providing value in return. We condemn those who buy up patents that would improve our lives only to prevent their implementation, while obtaining unimaginable profits from continuing to sell us the more harmful alternatives.
We seek the truths that people find while exploring freely together in a free thinking environment. We seek to uncover and to celebrate the true human spirit. While we have no predispositions as to where that may take us, we do have direction.
We see a lesson in books and movies like A Man Called Horse, Dancing With The Wolves, The Last Samurai, and even Avatar. (OK, we know Avatar wasn't human, but it's a metaphor!). Expanding empires and greedy multinational corporations can be arsenic to the human spirit. Yet, we believe the human spirit has always, and will always, survive. Indieway's mission statement is to do our small part in that survival.
We hope to promote survival of the human spirit by discovering and sharing great indie artists – musicians, movie makers, writers, storytellers, painters, graphic artists, . . . you name it. We hope to promote survival of the human spirit by discovering and sharing great scientists and thinkers as well. On the practical side, we will share information on open source software, energy saving techniques, financial independence and various other independent living skills and tools as well. We hope to guide our readers to independent thinking and independent living and have them guide us in return. We hope to help our readers break the spell cast by those skilled in the manipulation sciences but lacking in moral legitimacy. Finally, we simply want to celebrate being human with you.
So, please join us. As the proverbial voice mail message says, “You know the drill”. You know how to network. Punch the buttons to bring us into your lives on a daily basis. We look forward to sharing with you!
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