The Happiness Quotient

#72 - The Soul of Seth Walker, Musician, Author, Poet & Artist's New Book Your Van Is On Fire

March 15, 2021 Thom Pollard Season 3 Episode 72
The Happiness Quotient
#72 - The Soul of Seth Walker, Musician, Author, Poet & Artist's New Book Your Van Is On Fire
Show Notes Transcript
Seth Walker literally dropped out of college to eek every ounce out of his guitar. He grew up in a small commune. Learned to play the cello, guided by his musician parents. When he first heard the sounds of T Bone Walker (no relation), he was hooked on the Blues. 

Seth has been a touring musician for decades. That is, until Covid shut things down. He said it was as if he was on a spinning, flaming hamster wheel. Covid helped him. Because of it, he found time to write his memoir. If you could call it that. It’s a memoir, with poems and artwork.

“The Soul of Seth Walker” features my February 2021 interview with the one and only Seth Walker to talk about his book Your Van Is On Fire. 

Enjoy, this man is full of wisdom, and very beautiful music. 

For more on Seth and to find his book and music, visit:

www.sethwalker.com

Seth Walker music featured in this episode:

Home Again
Dreamer
Gotta Get Back
The Sound of Your Voice
All I Need To Know
Inside
Fire In The Belly
Call My Name

For more information about Thom Pollard:
www.eyesopenproductions.com

For a free downloadable copy of A Course In Happiness:
www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient

Our theme song, Happiness Jones, appears courtesy of The Wood Brothers.

For more information about The Wood Brothers:
https://www.thewoodbros.com/

The Wood Brothers on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTvWKQovDZlLceuct1EEMMQ

Happiness Jones video can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIoiVWwF5A

For more about Thom Dharma Pollard, about personal coaching or his inspirational presentations, virtual or in person, find him at: 
www.eyesopenproductions.com

To join his mailing list for The Happiness Quotient, email him at [email protected]



Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient)
Thom Pollard: THOM POLLARD:

This is the happiness quotient. For a free pdf download of a course in happiness, go to patreon.com slash the happiness quotient. Or if it's more convenient, check it out on my website at eyes open productions.com slash happiness. And I welcome your thoughts and ideas to on your happiness potion.

The Wood Brothers:

MUSIC - All of my wisdom came on all of the toughest days. I never learned a thing being happy

Thom Pollard:

I'm Thom Pollard and welcome to the happiness quotient. This is an episode about soul. If there ever was a person fitting the essence of the happiness quotient, it's this gentleman Seth Walker. He's our guest today. The happiness quotient exists purely to inspire people to follow their heart to listen to the song of their soul. Literally and figuratively Seth Walker, an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter, author, poet painter, has followed the song of his soul.

Seth Walker:

MUSIC Here I sit in this hotel bar jukebox playin' low , Whiskey in my glass, worry's all I know...mmm mmmm

Thom Pollard:

He learned a classical instrument early in life taught by his parents, and in college became so enamored, obsessed with the guitar and learning the blues licks of musicians like t bone Walker to name one, that he literally dropped out of college to go as deep as he could into the world of being a musician. There's only so many hours in the day and Seth wanted to devote every one of those hours of each day two, learning how to play the blues like a real blues master. Seth has a new book out. It's about his life. It's called your van is on fire. And that's a great story he tells within his book about the van catching fire. It's a memoir of sorts. It includes a wonderful array of short stories about his life, his early life poems and paintings, photographs of paintings. Again, he's more than the sum of his parts. His music is captivating, soulful, beautiful, bright, and insightful, sometimes deep, or in the instance of his song inside. It can be dense. That's his word, written about a trip to Cuba in 2016. Right after the death of Fidel Castro. We'll play that song later. I learned about Seth by way of his publicist Kevin Calabro of Calabro music media. Kevin is also the publicist for the wood brothers. Among other fine bands. Seth has no less than 10 albums. He's a real Road Warrior has been touring for years and years. His albums got to get back and leap of faith went high on the Billboard blues Album Charts number six and number two, respectively. Not too shabby. safty. Today, we're going to share a ton of Seth's music and weave it into a revealing soulful interview that I did with Seth just a short while back. And we'll talk a lot about his book and how it came to be, which probably wouldn't have happened had it not been for his touring schedule being shut down due to COVID. What's new, right? What seems to be happening, at least here with the interview subjects I've had on the happiness quotient is that musicians have lost a ton of touring time and income but creative types that they are they've had a chance to pour themselves back into their craft, their are their muse. That's how Seth's book your van is on fire came to be. You want to know the world of a musician rising up through the ranks. This is a treasure for you COVID helped Seth he said he was on a spinning flaming hamster wheel. It gave him time to reflect and write. I'm going to read you the liner notes of the book. Your van is on fire is a riotous and charming collage of a touring musicians meandering life, part memoir, part meditation, part Art Gallery, it sheds light on the ends outs and what have us of life inside the mind and van of an artist. The collection includes short essays, poems and paintings, capturing Walker's early years growing up in a musical family on a Quaker commune to his discovery of the blues guitar of T bone Walker, and his coming of age as an artist. The book centers on his life making music in the southern love triangle of Austin Nashville in New Orleans, and includes some hilarious contemplative and wild Tales from the driver's seat of the van, and other random locales. So jump on in, go for a ride. Bring matches and a fire extinguisher, you will need both

Seth Walker: MUSIC:

call me what you will. But I know that I could see what love can do

Thom Pollard:

THOM After some pleasantries and telling a couple of Willie Nelson stories, how I personally met Willie and how Seth played at some Willie shows. Seth told me first about growing up on a Quaker commune. Let's hear our conversation interspersed with his fine music, and a reading or two from his book.

Seth Walker: MUSIC:

you wake uppppp, and dream... Well, you know,my, I guess was probably 19. I was born in 72. So around that time, my parent Scott and Carol Walker met this other couple, Jim and Susan Walton, and they just became buddies. They actually met this place called Quaker Lake, which is a little retreat in North Carolina and they were just buds and you know, when I say Quaker, Tom, please, it's it's, you know, Amish is, is serious, you know, Quaker, heavy duty Quaker. This we were it was kind of it was more of like a loose lifestyle than it was hardcore Quaker. I think the thing that my father resonated with it was met the meditative part of it, because it's, they it's a lot of silence. There's no preacher or anything like that. So my father's always been in the Eastern philosophy things. So he was like, Man, this is pretty cool. There's nobody saying anything I can I can dig this. And and so they just, it just kind of organically happened that they decided to build this log house together. So we they built this thing, and I think they started in around about time I was born. Yeah, round 73 I think they started and we moved in there in 1975. And we lived we lived there community, nine of us for 13 years. That's how I kind of got that's, that's that's what I knew growing up. We had about 15 acres of land and I mean, we're talking about serious hippies, man. I'm talking about like, you know, I mean, it was Yeah, yeah. Willie Nelson records were playing. Yeah.

Thom Pollard:

So we that's, that's appealing, and and very, very cool. So you're, it's like, it's like a commune kind of it. That's, uh, I don't know if that's a derogatory word

Seth Walker:

It was a commune. I mean, we had chicken we had chickens. And they were you know, we were sharing the chores and I mean, how they even shared money which seems insane I can't imagine that night and trying to navigate that you know, and all the needs wants and desires of of of everyone and it really it really, you know, looking back on it, you know, it's it's it seems so natural growing up I really, personally I couldn't imagine trying to do that as an adult

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, good. So your your parents obviously seem really really cool. I both your parents still alive now.

Seth Walker:

Yeah, they're both alive. They're they're both great musicians. My father, a cellist guitar player, pianist. composer. My mother plays violin. My sister plays violin. And they're there. Everybody's healthy. They're doing great actually. They last couple albums. We finally got together and they collaborate with me on one of my albums and played some string parts with me, which was a real What a treat that was for me.

Thom Pollard:

That is so cool. So you, you obviously fell in love with the with music and then the impact it had on you. And you obviously then is well showed quite the the talent for playing the guitar and other instruments and how on earth does someone go from just loving music and me likes like just kind of hacking away at a guitar, turn it into a real professional kind of dream because there are a lot of damn good musicians out there who just, you know, sleep on couches and eat dirt for their entire lives, you know? So it's a pretty big, like a big leap of faith to say, this is who I am. I'm going to do it come hell or high water. Good times & bad.

Seth Walker:

Yeah, yeah, it was, you know, you know, growing up with the classical music. I will I will be the first to tell you that I Well, I didn't have the passion for it. It wasn't that it was it wasn't it wasn't like a total complete bummer. But it was and it was an art. It wasn't taught with an iron fist either. It was just what we did. Yeah. And I mean, I did enjoy parts of it. But it wasn't until college where these guys were playing electric. They're playing Stevie Ray Vaughn, Clapton, Hendrix. And when I something about it, man, when I picked up the guitar, like, there was something, it was something that I found. It was something that I discovered that maybe it just and I think just the the that blues thing. And the way you know, how improvisational it was and how much of a feeling that it was not the classical music doesn't have feeling but it's not written on a page. It's, it's, it's all by feel. And that's kind of how I grew up. Because this was a very organic, kind of a, lots of moving parts. And you'd have to kind of improvise and how you lived your life with nine people. So maybe that somehow stems into why I kind of resonated with improvisational music, read, um, anyway. And anyway, that's, I just remember vividly, Tom, like when I could bend the string that you can't then the cello string, you know, it's hard to and, and then I was to get back to your question or your comment, I it wasn't even, it wasn't even a decision that I made, or any kind of epiphany that I had that I want to do this for the rest of my life. It was just, I just went I just did it. I just I just tunnel vision. It's probably it's probably good that I didn't think too much about.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, no, that's actually that's how it that's if you did then it's not really happening. It's kind of like the, you know, like this idea that when people want something, they find themselves in the state of wanting something as opposed to having this essence in your heart and soul and just going to it as opposed to like trying to get too much you put the thinking in it and it screws the whole thing up. It's like

Seth Walker:

it's I mean, it goes yeah,

Thom Pollard:

yeah, it's like I want to be enlightened. But and so there you are in a state of wanting to be enlightened. It's just it There you go.

Seth Walker:

Don't work it don't work that way. But it's so funny man. Really just surrender to it. I mean, there's been many times obviously through the process where I have tried to grab it and steer it and white knuckle it and it then it always comes back to bite me on the ads because I because that's just not the way the Muse works.

Thom Pollard:

It's not the way creativity works. That man that is just so right on what the Muse and so what is the Muse? I know this this is like, sometimes there are no words for it, but what is the Muse? What is your Muse and, man What?

Seth Walker:

Well, it's definitely something that I it's, it's, it's something that I don't own. It's not mine. It's really, you know, just trying to be a conduit for it to to let to be open enough to let it come through and you know and as you as you as you grow and as you try and fail and try and you know that that muse changes some for sure just like obviously with the book i i needed i've been playing music my whole life and all sudden the world stopped and i'm staring out the window asking some serious questions and you know the muse just kind of redirected somehow thankfully redirected my spirit towards a new a new form MUSIC they're could not be.... it was right in front of me i was searching up around i was looking out instead of looking in, and I've drfted, yes I've drifted

Thom Pollard:

you the muse it's almost like some people would call it god or or source or something like that or divine inspiration it and that's really beautiful you just become a conduit to because it's it's like we're all connected to something greater than who we are at least as an individual maybe communally we can be truly great and more perfect and you know but but yeah it's like

Seth Walker:

yeah it's it's an interesting it's an interesting concept elizabeth gilbert did a great ted talk about it and she was talking about you know they call like the genius it's like you know in african cultures they would they call it they call it the spirit you know or god like a genius and the genius would come through and it really started to get screwed up when you started to call when you started to call someone a genius because you know you can't be a genius it's like plus there's a lot of pressure

Thom Pollard:

that's where the the power and the the intoxication with one's own you know superiority and that you know why people you know i've always been very uncomfortable neces when i was a kid i'd had you know i looked up to rock stars and musicians and stuff like that but when people begin to put say a leader of a religion or or even of a church in a way on some sort of pedestal that makes him or her greater than just an average person man the power the it doesn't work

Seth Walker:

MUSIC that leads me back to the place drifting away i've lost my way lost my way calm at all gotta get back

Thom Pollard:

this is Gotta Get Back title track offsets 2016 album it was produced by the woods brothers drummer and keyboardist the multi talented gentle rick's no doubt some deep experience and wisdom in these words but seth didn't just pick up the guitar and write a song magically he practiced he put the hours in he sweated it out fell in love with the sound of the blues so just in in kind of the pragmatic practical aspect of it did you when you were first learning say guitar did you lock yourself in your room and practice you know eight hours a day i mean how did because it seems like a lot of people go through that

Seth Walker:

yeah i did the beginning i was just you know i that is all i did i didn't even i dropped that a college no i made the call to my parents and i literally sat around my dorm room and i just play blues good play Along with blues records, my uncle was pretty instrumental in some of the early development because he had a radio show down in Jacksonville, Florida called the after hours cafe and it was a blues program. And he played oh man all like Piedmont stuff. Blind Willie McTell, blind Blake, you know, out to Texas t bone and gate mouth and lightnin Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb and Chicago he played, he would play all these different, you know, genres or areas of blues, and he would send me these tapes, and I would just sponge a man. And that really, that those seeds were really the the kind of sprouted me to go to Austin, because I knew I wanted to be in, you know, and some rich soil out there that where this stuff comes from, or at least at least the version of the style of blues that I really resonated with. So to answer your question, yes. I played a lot of guitar in the early days.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah. Damn. So how is COVID impacted you as it shut you down? Are you still just going forth kind of doing other things? Like, you know, COVID? Just, it's a wall up, but it's like, the creative juices don't stop. So for you personally, what what's that been like, for the last year?

Seth Walker:

Well, you know, it was first it was obviously very, very shocking. And, you know, a shock to a system that I've been, I've been rolling with for, you know, last 1520 years, you know, just tour, a tour tour, and just, you know, just the whole perpetual feeling of it keeps me spinning. And so when the world stopped the the uncompromised the comfortables ness of it remain, but there was, but there was a new there was, I needed it. In other In other words, I actually needed I was on a spinning flaming hamster wheel that I needed to stop. Wow. And yeah, I and, and so I think I wouldn't have been able to write this book. If I didn't, if I didn't have the time to enter, really just reflect on my life and, and different, you know, things that I would shadows that I would bat back by just going back on the road, you can just kind of pretend like they don't exist, and I'll go do another gig. And so a lot of things creatively, and personally, that I needed to address. And this gave me the opportunity to do that. I'm not saying it was comfortable, right, because there was no, there, you know, that the money was tough, and you know, not making any income and, and just, you know, trying to realign my, you know, my, my Chi as it were. Yeah, but it's worked out pretty good.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah. So tell me about your book, your van is on fire. I love it. It. There's there's a lot of touching parts in it. So I don't mean to say it's just a funny book. But there were times I just like, really, really laughed. I mean, great. You're, you are no problem poking fun at yourself. And, and you know, and that's the best part if you're real. And all of her would your friend he wrote the, the intro to it. And in it, he talks about how this, this book shows about you that you're you bare your soul, you and you know, so it's obvious in your music, but and in the book now that I've read it, but So tell me about it, what the process was and what you are endeavoring to do when you when you put this this artwork and poetry and prose together?

Seth Walker:

Well, it originally was not, it was I had no grand scheme or plan to even write a book. I through the years, I would journal song from the road and I would write little things and I would do a little bit of poetry. I mean, I'm guessing, you know, obviously, poetry and songwriting are kind of, you know, somewhat and similar worlds, the brevity of it, but I went back to some of these early journals, these essays that I would write, and I had just a handful of them and I just I was like, oh man, these are kind of fun. And and I just, I just started you know, just retracing some of my upbringing and I've never really told my story. I've never written it down. And it just so happened man that my next door neighbor name is Liz leadership. Little shots. She wrote a story about me in the East nashvillian. She's an amazing poet writer herself. And she was my next door neighbor. And so I showed her a couple of my pieces. And she was like, Wow, dude, you, you might have you got some stuff here. And she became my editor for the whole project. So that was very instrumental in having someone to encourage me have someone to tell me that, that I was barking up the wrong tree, or you know, that maybe I had some bones of something there, but it wasn't fully developed. So that was instrumental and then, and then, dude, I just deep ended, I just started reading, you know, the classics, I started studying. You know, how these essayists put it together? And, and I just found myself so, so creatively inspired without even trying, I don't know, I just, it was so freeing not to be tied to a three minute song. Hmm. You know, even though these are short essays, yeah. For me, that's a long form. You know, two pages. I get to express myself in two pages. You can get a lot. Maybe it was just Yeah, I don't know, man. I just I felt there was no expectations about it. You know, this is my I'm not a writer. I don't I don't call myself a writer. It was just it was pure muse, I reckon.

Thom Pollard:

Let's read a little excerpt from your van is on fire. And you know, the problem with an excerpt is that it doesn't tell the whole story. This is a very touching book full of love full of this, this beautiful connection with his family and his friends. But it's also got some really funny instances. I'm going to read you this one excerpt from an essay of his called Southern knights and he had the privilege of playing with the musician, the New Orleans based musician Alain Toussaint, who passed in 2015. Among other songs, Alain Toussaint, wrote, get out of my life woman, which is was picked up on Paul Butterfield's second album, I actually have a YouTube video of Paul Butterfield's son performing that song with Jimmy vivino and it's smashing indeed. But Alain Toussaint highly regarded musician truly like one of those guys that you can't touch. Funny, you should say can't touch. Let me read the first two paragraphs from this excellent essay. This is Seth writing now, There's a small group of artists that possess a certain aura azsuna C'est quoi? levitating them a few feet off the ground wherever they walk. Floating. Allen Tucson, the New Orleans piano player, singer and songwriter falls precisely into this category for me. The man was Americana royalty, prolific, imaginative, funky, soulful, touching, mysterious, sensitive, honest and swinging. He left an everlasting mark on the world of music with his illustrious career. I had the distinct privilege to open two shows for him in New York City in the summer of 2012. I met him in the afternoon of our first performance down at the city winery in the lower west side of Manhattan. He showed up for soundcheck in full suit leisurely accented with sandals and white socks. His silvering hair was perfect. Mr. Tucson spoke with slow Southern rhythmic diction and eloquence. We exchanged some laughs and thoughts about life music and New Orleans. As we were walking off the stage, I patted him on the shoulder not thinking all country bumpkin style. Nice to meet you and see it tonight Mr. Tucson. He looked at me calmly but sharply and said, don't touch the suit my man. It seems I left quite a mark on him but not the one I was intending.

Seth Walker:

MUSIC .

Thom Pollard:

Back to that Muse thing. You're expressing yourself and that's what this book is. It's it expresses something really beautiful and alive. different forums and this

Seth Walker:

sprawling it's it's sprawling, you know, I, I'm kind of like, I'm kind of like that with my music I've got so many different influences and different moods and different things. So I just kind of went with that same Yeah. brawling approach to this book, if you will.

Thom Pollard:

Right on. I love it. In terms of of your music. Are you in? Are you putting together an album now? Are you right? Uh, do you have any, you know, recording sessions or any kind of in its new form, doing any live performances or anything

Seth Walker:

I'm actually right in the middle of working on a new album. I'm actually kind of close to getting it ready to be mixed. I kind of worked on it alongside with the book somehow. And it's funny, man, the, I guess when you do something long enough, you it's easy, it's easy to lose sight of why you started doing it in the first place. And so the book really kind of realigned me in in in some ways, it's kind of got me back into into music again, I'm excited about music, just as a you know, as an as a contrast, it happened the same way with some of my artwork. I remember years ago, I was living in Austin, Texas. And a man in the music business that beat me up so bad dude, I was I was I was about to check out. And I just started painting. I just started just and I painted for three months straight, seriously, and it kind of re align me with my, you know, to get back into music again. So the book has done a similar thing for me

Thom Pollard:

Do you put just put the guitar down sometime for a week and not touch it? Or are you like one of those guys? Bam, you wake up in the morning. And you reach for it? And at least like a brain and maybe I'll see if anything is wants to speak to me.

Seth Walker:

It's It's It's pretty it's pretty. It's pretty spiky? I don't have a I don't have I don't have as much of a as a routine as I probably should honestly. Be But yeah, I mean that they're laying around, you can see them there. I mean, I'm always I guess I guess you're right. I'm always picking them up. But, but real quick, I just had a thought I was just thinking back about how all three of those things I keep kind of dancing around between them are writing now and, and music. You know, a lot of times it's just you know, I'll get if I get low, you know, or, or, or I'm having you know, you can get you can get in this business it can be it can be theirs, it can you can get spiky with your with your emotions, and your you know, your ego and your you know your fragility. And I find myself you know, looking out the window sometimes and then and then the windows looking back at me asking love asking some serious questions and the artwork and the art is the only way that I've found that, you know, provides me any kind of remedy for those reasons.

Thom Pollard:

That's pretty awesome. Um, hey, I don't know if it would be putting you on the spot. But I love the story you told about when you drove up. You're just gotten back from a tour or live some time on the road and your buddy's urge you to drive up to go see guy Clark at a at a you know, small club in Austin, I guess.

Seth Walker:

Pootie, Pootie, Pootie's Hilltop,

Unknown:

yeah,

Thom Pollard:

you put the silt up. And something like you were kind of actually it sounds like you were kind of aggravated to screw it, I guess. But there was some Yeah, if you use the word earlier in some of the Epiphany thing and that something kind of happened. And you when you least expect it. So can you share with me a little bit about that story? Yeah.

Seth Walker:

Yeah, this was probably shoe man. Probably the early 2000s and I'm embarrassed to say that I was not familiar with God Clark's music at the time. I mean, that's that's but alas, my friends told me about him playing out there. So I drove out there way outside of town. I was Krennic very crusty state coming off the road and and I reluctantly did drive out there and and it was just such a you know that this today's hilltop. It's good. And back to Willie pootie was Willie's tour manager forever. So this was his spot. And you know Willie Nelson studios out there two part analysis studios out in the hill country, about an hour west of Austin and up up jumps Scott Clark and Daryl Scott and Berlin Thompson and I was just so I've been I've never been so schooled and sit like a just a dagger I mean just a real a real epiphany to it was just so potent his lyric and his music was so potent to me I just like it completely threw me for a damn loop and what what I what the amazing thing about God Clark's music that I've that I kind of discovered that night I touched on briefly in the essay was how accessible he could make and how simple these sometimes complex feelings and images that he that he would portray anybody from intellect to ranch handgun Get it?

Thom Pollard:

So cool. So cool. And so yeah, and so this got all of a sudden boom, I got it and you taught I in your in your the the essay that you wrote about it you I think the word soul You felt that connection like he was pouring his soul out and that's it. That's you, man. That's like the music your music is

Seth Walker:

and that's what we all try to do as artists, you know, he and he's definitely a guidepost. As far as that goes. I mean, what a lifer. I mean that that probably was a very, you know, a big reason why I ended up moving to Nashville. Because I started to listen to his music and I started listening to john Hi, Ed and I listened to Nick Lowe and Jesse Winchester and all and a lot of guys Townes Van Zandt, of course and Steve Earle. And that's why I that's when I realized, you know, maybe after that trip to parties where I was like, man, I need to I need to submerge myself with some songwriters. So I was this guy, Gary Nicholson, a great songwriter. And he's he writes a lot in the blues world. And when I heard him play, he lived in Nashville and he was playing blues with all these really great lyrics he actually worked with guy for a while and wrote a bunch of software guy and I was like, You know what, I think this was probably 2008 where I made the move to Nashville cool Yeah. MUSIC No need to speak no need cuz you're tell me all the way down the windows there's something there's something there there's something there Here we are being known funny, cuz y'all need to know you know, at first I was just so wide open and I was learning I was just taking it all in and really riding with a bunch of different people. And then I found myself starting to as we talked about earlier with a muse starting to stare it I was trying to calculate stuff and like some of the songs I was writing man i didn't i didn't believe they might have been like crafty or they might you know, I was like man, I don't even believe what I'm singing. And it really it really messed me up man and I ended up moving to New Orleans as a as almost like to because that that city in that music culture is so wrong. It is so not calculate. It is so pure. As almost went to New Orleans almost to unlearn. I felt like I was getting squeaky or something squeaky clean I was getting tu tu tu tu policy that's why I moved to New Malindi all army Here we go.

Thom Pollard:

If somebody said what what, what is Seth Walker's music, you have your own sound. That's that's what if that's it, my gut tells me that if any musician is after anything, its originality to be who he or she is. And you, you got that? Like, thank

Seth Walker:

you, that's, that's my that's my that's my goal to end. And as you as you go, you're you're you're constantly changing if you if it with any luck with any luck, you're you're you're changing and you're morphing events, I don't want to I don't want to put out the same record every time I'm a different person every time right? You know, so I tried to you know, find that run that balance, you know, to, to step outside my comfort zone somewhat. Step out to the skinny into the branch, see if it'll hold me and then all the while staying true. To my my sound or my you know, my place is a tricky is a tricky is a tricky little one. But I really appreciate you saying man, that's that's as artists we want to you listen to BB King, you're like, bam, one note, you know is BB, you know, right? never find show. never find a way back. You'll never find yourself. You know what, that's kind of funny. You could insides kind of a dense track, but it's cool. It's It's It's raining here today. So that's a song that I wrote, I actually referenced it in the book, it's about it after a trip I took to Cuba. called Havana quiet is the piece and it was after Fidel, we arrived there three days after Fidel Castro had died. And I was you know, they had banned all music for nine days and morning. It was, you know, it's all detailed in the book, but very, very strange, bizarre time to be in Cuba. But it it was so stark to me how the, the art and music of that culture of any culture that is repressed like that, and you know, finds a way you know, creativity always finds a way through the you know, the mean go back to slavery, they're out there just sing in their soul. And in any event, I bought a painting down there of a man holding an umbrella, silhouetted and it had rain all on the inside of this guy was like it was just raindrops all in him and he had no umbrella, but he couldn't, there's no way you can get out of the rain, if the if the raindrops are on the inside. So ended up writing the song, as a poem was not expecting to be a song, start as a poem, and then I'm later made it into the song that's called inside. So that's kind of tied in right in the training, the training and his training and his training.

Thom Pollard:

So you said you don't have a lot of journals, but some of the recall of some of the little details I'm thinking,

Seth Walker:

I heard, I don't know. I don't know how I can remember that shit, either. I really don't. I can't remember what I have for breakfast yesterday. But I can remember these I really like glowing details of some of these early days. It's funny, it's very similar to with a Suzuki method that I grew up is an ear is an ear training thing. So you don't learn from the page, I guess is indirectly related to what we're talking about. But for some reason, when I pick up a cello, which I never do, I don't even own a cello. I can remember these early songs from like, when I was you know, 12 years old. It's some kind of weird encoded thing. It's selective memory. I guess you'd call it above? Yeah, I don't know. I some of these, I will say this, some of the stories in the book are so outlandish and funny that I've been telling these tales. You know, through the years, you know, to the bow, bandmates, or whoever, but I just never written them down. Yeah. MUSIC Got to get next to you. Guys.

Thom Pollard:

What's this? So the Suzuki method, this this method? Did your mom and dad teach you this? And could you explain it? Yeah.

Seth Walker:

Yeah, it's, uh, Dr. Suzuki is a Japanese music teacher. And it's, it's set up into, I think there's 10 books for violin, I think is the seven or eight books for cello. And it's, it's it's all, most, at least in the beginning stages is all learned by ear. So you don't you're not reading notes off the page. So for it, you start off with Twinkle, twinkle little star. That's the first song in every book. And then there's variations of that theme rhythmically. They'll have, you know, and then. And what happens is you we would play the tapes, or records as you go to sleep or during the day and you hear these things in your subconscious. Right. You know, so when you go to play them, you know, the way it's supposed to the melody, how is supposed to sound so you're not tied to this lot, you know, these lines on the page. So I think it's a really beautiful way to learn music. It's definitely helped me through the years because I play a lot by ear a lot by field. I'm not a I'm not a surgeon with music theory. I in the same breath, I will say sometimes it can be inhibiting, because you you haven't learned that other side. You know, it's all about balance. And any anything you do find the ballet.

Thom Pollard:

This Suzuki method thing is really cool. Some days I'll just play and I love. I love the wood brothers. So I've got a couple of like, I'll slow down all of her and like freeze it. I'll be like, what the hell cord is that? And he's got this right and he's like this. Yeah, he

Seth Walker:

got he got he got some chords. Yeah,

Thom Pollard:

so this is just should I be just frickin play the guitar? Like what do you think I should do?

Seth Walker:

I mean it's always it's it's always good to know a little bit more than you do on anything. But yeah man it's all about it's all about the feel. It's all about. It's all about the way the way it feels it's like is people people don't want to hear math. They want they want to hear they want to hear music, you know. MUSIC Love is a giver....love is a thief. We'll pick you up and then that job is seem like a no friend. No fan and the cold. There were times I've been untrue. of big things don't always go to play the way you wish they were when that no, you never got to be come on and son. Wherever you are, wherever you are, wherever you are. Just call Monday

Thom Pollard:

the beautiful music of Seth Walker. That's a lot of soul. This is call my name off is gotta get back album released in 2018

Seth Walker:

MUSIC trial little forgive. My see you're brand new. There wherever you are you just call Monday. Makes no difference. By with you. Just call wherever you are, wherever you are, wherever you are you call Monday

Thom Pollard:

It feels like sacrilege to talk over any of Seth Walker's music. So if you want to hear these incredible songs of Seth's and any of his 10 albums in their entirety, start off by heading to Seth walker.com. I'll provide links for where you can buy Seth's music in the liner notes of this episode. And I'll also list each song we've played in today's episode. The soul of Seth Walker, musician, singer, songwriter, guitar player, author, poet, painter, man of wisdom sets book, your van is on fire is a damn good read. I loved it. I recommend it for especially any aspiring musicians. But for that matter, anyone who is breathing thank you to Kevin Calabro of Calabro music media for introducing me to Seth. And a special thanks to Seth for taking the time out of your day, that rainy day in Nashville which inspired your song inside when you were in Cuba. And that rain perhaps was the tonic necessary to get you to go so deep in this excellent, insightful interview. I'm deeply honored. Thank you for taking the time. In the notes of the episode, I'm also going to post a short video link from our conversation where Seth showed me his favorite two guitars. on video, you can see them and if you're into guitars at all or beautiful pieces of art, you will surely drool. Thank you for listening to the happiness quotient. Thank you to the woods brothers for their gracious permission for the use of their song happiness Jones as our theme music,

The Wood Brothers:

MUSIC all of that wisdom came from the tough day I never learned thing in happy.

Thom Pollard:

If you'd like a free downloadable PDF of the happiness quotient, a course in happiness, visit [email protected] slash the happiness quotient or head over to eyes open productions.com slash happiness.

The Wood Brothers:

Happiness Jones

Thom Pollard:

for more information about me to inquire about personal coaching, or public speaking in person or online, eyes open productions.com look for the word contact at the top click it. Boom. Please, my friends share this episode with anyone that might find these words inspiring. I rely on the kindness of the listeners to share and distribute these episodes.

The Wood Brothers:

to get, happy that ol' dragon

Thom Pollard:

set your mind to things of good intent. Even though the search can be dark and deep, something bright does await us even in this tragedy that we call life. Thank you for visiting the happiness quotient. I will see you all real soon.

The Wood Brothers:

Happy, Happy Happy, happy happy happy happy happy Happiness Jones Words I wrote to rock my boat was stuck in my throat when I was happy. I was singing and next thing I'm thinking I might as well change my name to happiness, Jones my fr end. Happi Happy. Happy, Happy. Happy, Happy. Happy, Happy. Happy. Happy. Happy. Happy Happy. Happy