Further Seems Forever Ago

This is a post about Furnace Fest 2021, and other things that go along with it, and me.

Where the hell to begin? I suppose the beginning is a good start. How many people have introduced things they write about this way?

Probably a lot.
A lot is how many people attended Furnace Fest back in its infancy and toddler stages in the early 2000’s. It was definitely a scene, and I was literally into it. I was in high school, digging into music and sharing various bands with friends, most of whom were in bands themselves. I had lived in south Florida, Pembroke Pines specifically, and met even more musicians (Into the Moat, Freemartin, Hate Eternal), and had so many good times. So many fond memories and relationships built during this time. Even after I had my daughter, I was still using any of my free time while she was visiting with her dad to make time to connect to the music communities, where ever I roamed.

Further Seems Forever, Thursday, Hopesfall, Every Time I Die, Taking Back Sunday, Minus the Bear, Evergreen Terrace, Anberlin, Copeland, Anthony Green, Mastodon, Hum, Silverstein, Glassjaw, Isis, Haste, Stretch Arm Strong, From Autumn to Ashes, A Static Lullaby, Hatebreed, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Finch, Norma Jean, Between the Buried and Me, mewithoutYou, Underoath, The Bled… all of these incredible bands have played a Furnace Fest stage at some point.
Furnace Fest was sort of like the underground sewer kids congregating together to attend church in one of the unholiest places you could ever imagine, Sloss Furnaces (known to locals as the Furnace) in Birmingham, Alabama. The place is definitely haunted, and with a history and subsequent demise like its own, it would be incredibly dumb to not take advantage of the opportunities to host such festivals, as well as a haunted house each Halloween. It is equally dumb to not go to these festivals, because in doing so, you meet some of the coolest and friendliest and most talented and interesting people on earth.

North Dakota is a state just below the Canadian border, but that is how far one guy traveled to see Furnace Fest 2021. Imagine that guy and a chick from Alabama singing and moshing side by side during Taking Back Sunday after twenty years of not seeing Taking Back Sunday live in person. This festival was a big deal to a lot of people. But it was a really, really big deal to me. So I’m writing everything I can down now, the following morning, a morning that required two cups of coffee, the morning after indulging in the best concert experience of my entire fucking life.

Furnace Fest 2021 was supposed to be Furnace Fest 2020. It was initially this:

Not at all bad

And then, a year later, after the pandemic was over (just kidding, it’s still here)…

Anyway, after a year had passed, and requirements for entry (vaccination/neg Covid test) were added, so, too, increased the number of bands. So it evolved into this:

A good, face melting time


When underground bands become more mainstream, the rates go up. Entry pricing was spiked, like everything else, so rather than spending no more than $200 for an entire weekend of moshing, now, you are looking at closer to $500. I’m still not very well off, so rather than experiencing an entire weekend of live music, I had to pick one day. Several of my favorite bands were playing each day, and I had to also take into account our schedules and stuff. Saturday it is.

Birmingham is about a forty-five minute drive from my house. The gates were set to open at 11, so we had plenty of time to get ready without rushing, which is the ideal situation. I also knew I would have a day to recover before getting back to work, which (obviously) is ideal because I’ve coasted through this morning flawlessly and after having two cups of coffee, doing a few chores and eating some Pigs in a Dreamboat (Pigs in a Blanket on steroids), I’m ready to write and share. It is another beautiful day, so I am sitting outside, listening to the birds while I gather my thoughts. I have so many… so again, I’ll start from the beginning.

Saturday started out nice and easy. I got up, did my usual morning coffee and face washing rituals, listened to music, and prepared for the day. I had gathered all of the things I knew we would need the night before, so my fest prepping only involved getting some breakfast, and getting to the show. My outfit is usually the same when attending shows, so that was no sweat. My American Football tee, some jeans, and my ratty Converse. I showered after coffee and got dressed, and by then, my daughter was in the final stages of getting ready, too.
The weather was incredible. I didn’t see one cloud, and the skies were blue and it was sunny, at 70 degrees. There was a nice breeze and making my way to the car, I smiled, thinking, “This is going to be such an amazing day.” I felt excited for my daughter, who had never before been to see a live concert. Every concert ticket I had purchased since 2020 only became null and void up to this point, and in retrospect, I feel grateful that this was, and forever will be, her first live music experience.

So we get to the Furnace and spend $40 to park, but it is a fantastic space, convenient to the entrance and to the exit, and a small lot, so access was easy. The gentlemen at the lot entrance taking money and a Birmingham Police Officer were listening to groovy funk music and in pleasant moods, and were more than accommodating, friendly, and helpful. I always appreciate a sense of humor and they had it. (I also imagine the weather and atmosphere had a lot to do with it.) So our entry was smooth and fun and the experience definitely got off to a great start, which only got better from there.
As we approached the One Day Pass entry gate, I noticed the line was incredibly short, and everyone around me looked like friends I’ve known since high school. I felt totally at ease as I approached the gate keepers, handing them my vaccination card and ticket. The lady noticed my t-shirt and said, “Hey cool shirt! That’s the first American Football shirt we’ve seen so far.” Which was surprising to me, so I responded, “Really? That’s crazy! But, cool… and thank you!” I got my hand stamped and a purple band was secured around my wrist and then I proceeded to the Security Guard with the metal detecting wand, looking back as my daughter was entering. They noticed her leather jacket that she decorated and painted herself, her pins, her spikes, and her boots. “Wow, you look awesome. Love the jacket!” She replied, “Thanks.” Then she said, “This isn’t really my scene”.
I smiled. Little did she know, it actually is.

My daughter is on another level when it comes to music taste. She is unashamedly into the heaviest/ most gravity defying punk you can imagine. She likes the classic, respectable bands who have undoubtedly earned their stripes. These bands on this Level X ticket are lightweight losers compared to the shit she listens to. We will be watching Bad Religion next month. That is more her scene. This was all she wanted to desperately get across to these softies.

We walked through the main isle, with cool venders along either side. I browsed through the stuff, hesitant to stop in fear I would spend enough money to diminish my pride and result in questioning why I didn’t just go ahead and get three day passes in the first place… so, moving along…

We get to the main stage, which is set up in the yard. We sit down in the grass, and hang out for a while, allowing our food to digest and look through the line-ups for all three stages to determine which stage to make our way to, and when. I see some bands at the Plug Your Holes stage that I never had a chance to see in high school, so we walked across the property towards the furnace. We maneuvered through the light crowd towards the front of the stage to see Better Off and Evergreen Terrace. These bands were amazing live. There wasn’t a whole lot of moshing for Better Off, but their set was definitely a nice warm-up for Evergreen Terrace.

Evergreen Terrace is fucking insane. (Side note- It is so amazing to see how these people have aged. You can tell they have definitely dealt with some shit, and over time, owned it all. They persevered and kept grinding and doing what they love, what they’re good at, despite any differences between themselves and society. I respect that.) The band is named after the street in The Simpsons, and their singer, Andrew Carey, is one of the best hype men I’ve ever seen. He surfed the crowd, stood on the bars reaching for us (I could have hugged him at one point), and totally engaged with the fans. It was just like the scene I had viewed on dvd’s from their small venue days. It was as though nothing had really changed. There was still love, anger, emotion, and plenty of reasons for letting it all out.

After that performance, we made our way to the potties and then bought a water. I wanted to pace myself as I had been awake since 7 am, and my back, knees, and feet aren’t in tip top condition. We walked back to the same stage, with major anticipation to see Hopesfall.

Bloodjinn was up next, and we landed halfway to the stage before I ran into two old friends. One, Lyle, is a musician, and the other, Brian, a photographer. They are both incredibly talented guys, and their creative works have taken them far elsewhere, allowing them to grow in their talents and both have really made a name and respectable reputation for themselves. I am very proud to know them both. Lyle informed me three other friends of ours were there, and I hoped we would eventually run into them. My friend Peter, another incredibly talented writer, musician, and hair stylist, was among them. He had lost his mother, an Asian immigrant, to Covid last year, and had just gotten married, so I was especially grateful to see him given all the heavy circumstances. I discovered he had moved back home to his family farm recently, and we exchanged numbers. He was also blown away with how long it had been since he last saw my daughter. Social media allowed us to keep tabs on each other through the years, but it wasn’t the same. The day was not only turning out to be a great day full of amazing music, but also a reunion of close friends I had not seen since before the pandemic, friends that I’ve been missing for years, who I feel confident I will now see more of in the future.

Enter Hopesfall.

Hopesfall is a band that I have loved since the release of The Satellite Years in 2002. This band is purely hard. Screaming vocals, poetic lyrics, melodic guitar, crashing drums- ugh, devastating. I had never gotten the opportunity to see them live in our primes, but they were a band I knew I would eventually see if the opportunity presented itself. I didn’t know that it would take nearly two decades for this to happen, so this raised anticipation was now old enough to birth a baby. Luckily, mine had grown old enough to experience them live while in her high school stage. It is something she’ll never forget.

One song they performed was Waitress. Waitress is one those songs that I could put on repeat and listen to for literally two hours straight. The Satellite Years as a whole album is gorgeous. It begins with Andromeda, a spacey instrumental featuring repetitive tones and intricate beats which I absolutely adore. As much as I love this song, I would usually skip straight to Waitress. The lyrics are:

These faces have fallen here before
Tired and blue
A light that bleeds unforgiving shadows

Her olive eyes repeat failure in every glare
A failure that mirrors itself with a foreign stare
Hold it together you’ll find your peace
But the pieces are burnt shells that frame regret on every wall
Reflections of olive eyes pierce holes through her haunted heart
She hates that stare
Her smiling face defense to the world
A world filled with olive eyes that frame regret on every face

This reads like every page in my high school poetry notebook, so you can imagine me in 2002 during that phase, screaming these lyrics right along with Jay Forrest. Hopesfall was incredible then, and they’re incredible now. And I feel so happy and thankful my daughter and I were able to share that experience together, with it being the first time for us both.

After Hopesfall wrapped, we made our way to the LevelX Stage and were able to catch Cartel, Mae, and The Bled. All bands were super good. I exited the front of the stage crowd, leaving my daughter there to experience The Bled as one should (moshing very hard), as I sat on the sidelines with my friend Peter. We did more catching up and then it was time for him to go back to Plug Your Holes (he wanted to see Beloved, Stretch Arm Strong and Glassjaw), while I was pumped to see Anberlin, Mayday Parade, and Further Seems Forev- er, uh… Taking Back Sunday. (We’ll get to this later in the day.)

Anberlin is another band I have loved for years. I discovered them in 2003, when Blueprints for the Black Market was released. They are one of those bands that are hit and miss for me, meaning, I don’t love every song, but the ones I do love, I really, really love. The Unwinding Cable Car (my personal favorite), Cadence, Ready Fuels, Change the World, Glass to the Arson, etc. They are definitely talented guys, and not only that, superb humans. The day before Furnace Fest, they released a new track called Two Graves, which I think is brilliant and beautiful. They played this song as well as other crowd favorites, wrapping up their very short three week tour. My daughter and I were in the very front of the stage, dancing about, having a great time. Mayday Parade performed next and put on a nice show. I don’t have too many personal experiences involving Mayday Parade, but I do like them and was glad to see them play. The next- and final- band to take the stage, however, is a band that, I am proud to say, I was the first to Tell All My Friends about.

The year was 2002 and I was singing in a rock band. My rhythm guitarist and I were big into the emo scene at the time, and Taking Back Sunday was among that scene. Not many people around us had heard of them at the time, but when you dig into certain bands, you might also dig into their labels, discovering similar bands you will probably enjoy. Thursday, Silverstein, Hawthorne Heights, Atreyu, Bad Brains, etc. have all worked with Victory Records, and Taking Back Sunday fit the bill. Did I tell all my friends about TBS?

Yes.

I love this band. Tell All Your Friends was one of my favorite albums to listen to at the time. It was so fun. I remember driving back from Tennessee with a group of my friends (Braver by the 2nd) after they performed (I photographed) and while heading home, we all scream-sang this album together. These are the moments that stick with you. These are the moments that matter.

However, I had many more moments like this involving the band Further Seems Forever. Further Seems Forever was my all time favorite band when I was in high school. When The Moon is Down was released in 2001, I fell in love with Chris Carrabba (who later broke away to form Dashboard Confessional). I wasn’t mad because I also loved DC, and the second singer for FSF wasn’t too shabby, either. In fact, when How to Start a Fire was released, Further Seems Forever became a band that means more to me than I could ever describe.

Further Seems Forever had a message board on their website, and being such a huge fan, I participated in this board. I had just moved to south Florida, where the band originates, and my mom (who I was living with at the time) suggested I might meet up with some of the local FSF fans from the message board so I could make some friends. That is how I met my friend Shaun, and later, my SoFla crew. I won’t get into all of this now because that would take Forever, but for now, just know that this was a special crew who I still keep in contact with and love to this day. My friends were mutual friends with Further (as we called them), but I never got the opportunity to see them perform. I was working and going to art school, and then it wasn’t long after that, I moved back to Alabama and not long after that, became pregnant. Once again, it would be nearly twenty years into the future before I would see them play in Atlanta for their damn near perfect reunion tour, where they performed songs from How to Start a Fire, as well as a tribute to Jon Bunch (the third and final lead singer, who later killed himself).

Further was due to perform at the Heartsupport Stage from 9:25 to 10:15, while TBS was scheduled to play from 9:55 to 10:55. I had an incredibly personal and difficult decision to make. I began looking at and weighing the pros and cons as early as Anberlin’s stage breakdown. “Would I have time to catch Further and then make it back to wiggle through the crowd to get back to the front and see TBS?” was my first internal question. After deciding, hell no- that’s crazy, I thought things like, “Your kid wants to see TBS more, and you know you would rather see the show with your kid than leave her here to watch them without you,” and then followed it with, “you know Further put on a hell of a show, but you’ve seen them before and you haven’t seen TBS.” In between this form of rational thinking, I also thought things like, “But it’s Further!” and “But you would probably enjoy their set over TBS’s set!”, etc. I dismissed the thoughts and stayed in the front and center of the LevelX Stage, beside my child. And we watched the lights go completely down. When they came back up, the music started. Taking Back Sunday kicked right into it.

Aside from Adam’s bleach blonde hair, there was nothing about Taking Back Sunday that didn’t appear any differently than what I had known throughout the releases of seven studio albums. Adam talked about his upbringing in Florence, Alabama, and interacted with the crowd. Someone who had dressed as Waldo was among us, popping up in various locations in the crowd, the band announcing his location after wrapping up a song or two. It was a fun show. It was a great performance. Everybody moshed, danced, surfed, sang. I felt like my daughter and I experienced this together and it was amazing.

Yesterday, I got kicked in the head, shoved, had my hair pulled, had my feet stomped on, had beer splashed on me, fell down on hay and gravel among a sea of people being physical, didn’t buy any merch, and missed my favorite band performing live.

On the other hand, I had people screaming to help me back up, people reaching down to me to pick me up and support me until I was stable again, I laughed my ass off, I cried happy tears, I moshed (it’s been a while), I screamed, I reunited with dear old friends, I sang my heart out, I danced, and I had the best concert experience of my life… with my kid.

Adam said TBS had to wake up at 4 am to make it to the show on time, and then he went on to say “Totally worth it.”

To my old friends from Alabama to my new friend from North Dakota, I whole heartedly agree.

The Devil, Jesus and Me

Well, it is the first day of fall and I love it! I enjoy the autumn and spring seasons the most, and I like summer, too. Outdoor activities are my life. Winter can kiss my ass, but only because Alabama winters are just sludge and gray and bleak and depressing. Not into it. But today was beautiful and the temperature was perfect and the breeze was calming and the air was crisp. And I am thankful.

It’s interesting that I’ve written more lately and even more interesting that I am writing about something so simple as the season changing, or the weather. I’m writing the way I used to, before I started becoming gravely concerned about everything and everyone around me. Now, I feel like in taking a step back, away from anything related to social media (besides WordPress) and current events, I have transitioned back to my happier, more carefree self. I’m smiling and laughing more, just the way I used to. I’m feeling stronger, healthier. These are good things, I think.

I feel like I can finally say with confidence that I have reconnected to myself, and this is something I have been actively working on for a number of years. I even wrote about this (trying to reconnect to myself) years ago here in this blog, so it is pretty cool to have this ability to physically see my progress through my writing. Writing is something like an anchor for me. Bob Ross had his paint, I have my keys.

Besides writing, my faith is something that keeps my mind and heart feeling happy. I’ve touched on this subject before, but I’d like to dig into this subject this evening because after some events played out today, I felt like I was naturally heading in this direction anyway but was shoved into it by unseen forces.

If you have traveled along the main vein, Interstate-65, through the state of Alabama, there is a chance you have seen a large, wooden sign just north of Prattville that looks like this:

This Scythe, Your Ass

I went to The Hanging Lady- a horror/oddities shop in Hanceville- recently and bought a bumper sticker replica of the sign above, so now anyone behind me who feels the need to ride my ass has the pleasure of being reminded or enlightened that they’re actually unworthy regardless. SO get off my ass, or feel my wrath.

This obnoxious but kinda funny sign has been a permanent fixture along the busiest travel route in Alabama for decades. Another more recently erected fixture is Gardendale First Baptist Church’s enormous, 125-foot cross that is illuminated at night, visible for miles. CLEARLY seen here:

A Huge, Expensive Cross

These gentle, subtle reminders that a literal heaven and hell (which have been determined to be actual places) do in fact exist are unabashedly settled at every corner, every nook and cranny, on the inside and outside within my home state. It is super hard to feel like the power of Christ isn’t compelling you in some way, shape or form (kinda like… in the form of, say, a crucifix).

I work at a Psychiatrist office and there are Bibles, crosses, butterflies, and so forth along the halls, in the lobby, and in providers’ offices. I am constantly reminded that the good Lord is present in every single place I go, whether I like it or not.

Heaven help me.

I have mentioned being raised in a Church of Christ and my running away screaming as a teenager, and then some other things happened in my mid-twenties, and now I am a whole hearted believer in my mid-thirties, full of love and gratitude for both my Creator and all of Creation. With this in mind, now this: I ventured back to my home church and got to work. I was volunteering, teaching Sunday school lessons to orphaned young mothers. I was participating in art classes. I was volunteering my time, equipment, and talent in graphic design. I was involved in the mission again. I felt like I was doing something important, for others, which I feel is what church is all about. Or at least, what it is supposed to be about.

I was actually really enjoying reconnecting to people who had strongly impacted my life, when a new member decided God was telling him that I would be his companion. This was a guy who had found Jesus in jail, and had struggled with substance abuse and relationship issues. Because I was so friendly and down to earth, he mistook my friendliness as an open invitation to ask me out. I declined, and afterwards, learned that he was still struggling with drugs, and his associates who also attended church, were in the same boat. Actually, they all lived in one great big house. And this house was a house I would never feel comfortable sipping a cup of coffee in, and it made my church house feel no different when they were present. One man had even had a relationship with my sister years prior, and was physical with her and her dog. There were a few more incidents that occurred, and things said to and around me that made me uncomfortable, and so, once again, I left the church. I even sent an official letter to express my regret to resign, especially since my great-grandmother was one of the founding members. It was sad. I still get sad about it sometimes. I even hear from old members who still remain hopeful that one day I will return.

But I’m never going back.

Two men, who are very different, interacted with me today. And I wanted to share these stories because one is very much the reason I left the church, and the other is very much the reason why I miss my church.

A man, probably in his late twenties, came into my workplace today. As he did this, he ignored a couple of very obvious signs. One was a sign that said “Mask required”, and the other was a sign that said “No soliciting”. This unmasked man had a stack of painted, decorative wooden crosses, and a small flyer.

Hey I’m with so-&-so and I just came by today to spread the good news and offer some of these crosses for sale.
-Nice crosses! Unfortunately, you walked into a Psychiatrist’s office, which is a medical facility, without your mask and we don’t accept solicitors. We take patient privacy and safety very seriously here. I’m sorry, but you need to please leave.
Well someone who works here said it was okay. (He hands me his small flyer through the tiny mouth hole.)
-Oh, I see. Still, that really doesn’t matter, and nobody alerted me that anyone would be visiting to sell crosses. Again, I’m sorry, but you need to please leave now. Thanks anyway, though.
Do you believe in Jesus?
-Um, yes sir? But my personal faith has nothing to do with what I’m saying to you. (He interrupts me.)
Well, our Lord and Savior is good, isn’t he? (He’s getting agitated at this point.)
-Okay, look. (More sternly, but still patient and professional:) You’re putting me in an awkward position. I have to turn patients away to go retrieve their masks from their car when they walk in here without one. And those are people with appointments, who pay to be here. We have people who come here that are on oxygen or have other major health issues. You are not a patient, this is not a walk in clinic, this is a medical facility, and you come inside the building without a mask to sell something, which is 100% not allowed. I’ve asked you nicely to leave and then you ask me about my faith. None of that is truly your business, but being that I am faithful in love and kindness, I’ve been patient. Please don’t make me get my manager. Thanks for checking, but next time, please pay attention to the signs that signify whether or not this kind of thing is allowed. Most businesses reject solicitors.
He grumbles and says something, impatiently and trailing off, gathering his crosses and making his way to the exit. I found out five minutes later that he had approached one of my co-workers while she was smoking inside of her vehicle on break. She told him to get lost, and not so politely.

Now, why the fuck did I have to go to this extreme so someone would simply listen to reason?

BECAUSE SOME OF THESE ASSHOLES ARE UNREASONABLE AND EXACTLY THE REASON I NO LONGER WORSHIP GOD BESIDE THEM AND UNDER ONE ROOF.

Done and done. *clapping the dust from my hands*

HOWEVER, there are some diamonds in the rough around here. This next fella is one of those shiny diamonds of a human. My dentist. I saw my dentist today for a cleaning and his family is very dear to me. When I was an angry, confused, resentful teenager in mourning, his mother took me in like a lost little lamb. We shared many precious moments together. She took my sister and I to the zoo, and we would watch movies in their home theater, and go paddling on the lake, etc. She was one of my heroes. I wrote her a poem about storms and how scary life can seem sometimes, but eventually, there will always come a ray of hope that guides us home. Years later, she told me she kept that in her little locker, and it helped her get through many tough times. Years later still, I returned to church, and it wasn’t long after that her husband, Doc, had suddenly suffered a cardiac arrest and dropped dead during a family get together. She was at church the next Sunday anyway. She is a pillar of spiritual strength, no doubt.

So Little Doc saw me today, and I had my cleaning (I can still say I’ve never had a cavity!) and we were able to do a quick 5 minute catch up with one another. Swapping the “how is your such and such and how is so-&-so”, etc. He then said, “Mom’s in Texas right now but she’ll be back in a month. You should call her.” Our brief exchange of words and smiles was enough to remind me of the goodness that can come from communion, and how sometimes, I do long for a reunion.

Shitty people can ruin good things for people. Don’t let them. And this is the next thing I’ll be actively working on. Hopefully, this process won’t take four years.

Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye and Other Black Crowes Songs

This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for years, but am glad I waited ’til now to actually accomplish. Sometimes putting something off is a good thing. You know what else is a good thing?

Being raised up listening to Black Crowes bootlegged cassettes.

I almost named this post She Talks to Angels, and Other Black Crowes Songs No One Should Cover Ever Again, but instead opted for Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye for a few reasons. Before I explain, let me just say something about you and your acoustic guitar and your confidence in your vocal talents.

You are not fit to cover She Talks to Angels. Not because Chris R sings the shit out of it. Not because it is the most overplayed BC song ever, in history, forever. Not even because any time anyone plays an acoustic set anywhere, this song is on the list, or worse, REQUESTED. But because I HAVE HEARD IT THREE TRILLION TIMES ON EVERY BLACK CROWES BOOTLEG EVER ILLEGALLY MAILED AND/OR EXCHANGED AND IN EVERY RESTAURANT I HAVE EVER WORKED FOR AT THE BACK OF THE HOUSE, AND I HAD TO HEAR THIS FUCKING SONG EVERY SINGLE TIME WHILE I WAS JUST TRYING TO WASH DISHES, MAN.

Anyway, Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye is a song by The Black Crowes, a band that isn’t even my favorite, but way up there in probably my top five, that begins with my favorite introduction to any song ever.
in history.
forever.

My on and off boyfriend of five years has blue eyes (and has been repeatedly told he is a prettier version of Chris Robinson and obviously I’m into that). So naturally, any time I hear this song, I think of him. The other reason why this song reminds me of him is that he always seems to have bad luck. And finally, another reason I think of him when I hear this song is because I’ve broken up with him (said goodbye) exactly, and without exaggeration, four hundred and twenty times. So yeah, Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye! Makes sense!

Unlike our desire for commitment, The Black Crowes have always been a constant in my life. My mom and uncle have seen them a thousand times live. Even (actually, especially) in the smaller Atlanta gig days. They still play those shows, and I’ve seen a couple. The last thing my parents did together was see BC live. The last thing my baby daddy and I did together was see BC live. (Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye for good there.)

Cursed Diamond is a fun song. I used to hear this song and retreat within myself. My birth stone is a diamond, and being that I wrote my own obituary at the ripe old age of twelve, I am not at all hesitant to tell you that there are moments in my life when I feel, uh… what’s the word I’m looking for… oh- CURSED.

I recorded a homemade music video to Cursed Diamond that I stupidly shared on YouTube, and it has since gained momentum (only because it pops up if you search the song), which only terrifies me. Why in the hell did I post this? I can’t remember the login, and an old email account is attached, so there it is, trapped,
in history…
forever.

But, there is a part of me that is glad I can see it any time I like. Those are memories I love arranged to a song I love and hopefully it will be easily accessible while I rest my bones in a nursing home. If I’m LUCKY. I look at the bright side now, but that wasn’t always the case.

Which brings me to Sister Luck. And heck, let’s throw in Sometimes Salvation while we’re at it. These two sad old songs cut me DEEP.

My sister and I are two and a half years apart in age. The half is very important to us. We were forced to share a bedroom, and a lot of other things, growing up. As younger sisters tend to do, she annoyed the shit out of me. It was nerve racking, for someone like me who just wanted privacy and space. Any time we had a fight, my parents would make us sit next to each other until someone apologized. Then we were to stand facing each other and say “Sisters are (you guessed it-)

forever.”

There are, of course, very personal reasons why Sister Luck and Sometimes Salvation open my floodgates of emotion. Like anyone else born in the South, a sad song relating to numbing the pain with drugs, etc. will probably be one you feel you can relate to. There are so many people I have lost from one thing or another. It’s just common. When it’s your sister, though… that’s a really deep wound. But, it’s one I’ve coped with for years, with the help of The Black Crowes.

Writing about your struggles and pain seems like it’d be really dumb these days. The cycle continues. But people need to face the realities of the struggle. Yes, it is real. But in that struggle comes some really beautiful transitions. You can even become Ashley’s probably fourth favorite band.

Thorn in my Pride, Wiser Time, P. 25 London, Nonfiction, She Gave Good Sunflower… and so many more Black Crowes songs to name that have been present in one version or another through my life. This is just my thanks, for being present before, during, and after every single one of those splits. Seems like the Robinson brothers can relate.