Well, spring is here and it’s good to get some vitamin D.  I just got back home from a tour to upstate New York to perform the album on WDST Woodstock.  The link is here:


It’s an ideal way to hear the record.  I enjoy the trio setup with bass and drums, and these guys (Caleb Dollister and Sam Trapchak) both live in Queens, so I have a band in New York while living in Arkansas, which is a testament to how geographically confusing my life has been since beginning this venture into making records a couple of years ago.


I hope you enjoy the show.  It’s been a fun trip up to the northeast.  I’m glad to be back home for a bit, and will spend the next couple of weeks trying to get a plan together for the future.  I’ll keep you all posted.  In the meantime, stay cool and enjoy the spring weather.  Best.






Sometimes all the information available at our fingertips isn’t enough to make sense of the world.  

On Wednesday, the world was in chaos and I had to shut everything off and go write a song about it.  It’s hard to watch people in this country be so afraid, but we’ve been afraid for a while.  It’s just hard to watch it kick into high gear and seemingly eclipse all other brain function.  So yes, I feel the fear right now, but we owe it to ourselves to keep it in perspective.  Last night I watched Batman cartoons with my young son while he gave animated reactions and commentary, and while wrapping a piece of string (to him it’s Spider-Man’s web, you see) around a toy batmobile.


So rather than letting fear paralyze me, I prefer to just reflect on that part of me that thought balls of yarn could be spider webs, and just think about how lucky I am that I get to sit in an air conditioned room with my sons, rather than carry them across a Syrian border because our home is no longer livable.  Because really, the only thing that separates us is where we happened to be born.  None of us had any control of that, just like none of us (that I know personally, anyway) have much control over whats going on in our global political climate.


This holiday season, I’m going to try to be a little more thankful than usual for what I have, and just hope that the extra thankfulness manifests itself with a little extra patience and gentleness towards my fellow man and woman, be they Syrian, American,or whatever.  Maybe rather than eat others alive on social media, I’ll just reach out to an old friend,  tell an acquaintance I love them, hug a loved one a little tighter, and whatever else I need to do to remind myself that things could be a lot worse.


(Note:  There’s a new song at the bottom of this post.  I just wanted you to have to scroll through my nonsense first.)

Okay, I’m long winded, I know…  Here’s the song at the top of the page.

Only a year remains until the Presidential election: That special time that only comes once in a leap year, when us little people choose which person in Washington, D.C. has better fooled us into believing they’ll do a bunch of stuff they say they’ll do, but probably won’t, and reward them with a cool house in a walkable urban neighborhood and an entire military to blow stuff up with.

It’s an exciting time in America, but it’s easy for some of us to get a little carried away with our excitement.  With social media providing an open platform for so many people to share their political beliefs, things can get kind of messy.  It’s easy to lose sight of the goal of online political debate:  Convincing those who disagree with us that they are tearing our great nation apart, brick by brick.  I wrote a song about this, posted at the bottom of the page, but it’s easy to offer criticism without solutions, so I see it fit to provide some guidelines on how best to benefit from our inevitable squabbles over the next year.  I hope they are able to help us all in our efforts to eradicate those people who insist on being wrong on the internet. 

Guide Line 1:  Arguments are better made with no paragraph breaks and poor punctuation.

Ambiguity is key here, folks.  The more I have to strain my eyes sifting through line after line of clustered, period-less run on sentences and wonder “is there supposed to be a comma there?”, the more time you have to plot your response to my response— which you’re not going to read anyway.  Which brings me to my next tip:

Guide Line 2:  Don’t read the other persons response.

Not fully, anyway.  Skim it and assume the rest is bullshit.  It probably is.  I’ll explain this in my next guide line.

Guide Line 3:  Give no one the benefit of the doubt.  they are stupider than you are.

In fact, debate tends to work best if you just lead with this statement.  “You are stupider than me.”  That way, no one is standing on ceremony.  It says right away:  “I know more about this than you, and you have to either be a mindless sheep, or your once intelligent brain has been indoctrinated by whatever media narrative has turned you into a mindless sheep.  You mindless f&*!ing sheep.” 

Guide Line 4:  At least once in every ten or so political discussions, state firmly that you will leave this country if the person you’re voting for doesn’t get elected.

I said at least one in every ten discussions, but feel free to overachieve in this.  It’s really the only way people know you are really serious about what you are saying.  Who would want to stay in this sh*t hole after that one guy gets elected, anyway?  Only the person you are arguing with… and that person is stupider than you are.

If you’re in a political discussion, and you’ve already threatened to leave the country, but haven’t told the person you’re debating that they are stupider than you, immediately stop whatever grand-slam of a truth-nugget you are chomping away at on your keyboard, (use the “cut” function so you can paste it back later) and just specifically address the fact that the person you are debating is stupider than you are.  Just say “You are stupider than me.”  Then, paste your truth-nugget back into the comment box, and finish annihilating whatever stupid, sheep-like argument the stupider person than you is trying to make. 

If you really want to win this argument, end your truth nugget with “I wish all you so and so’s would just get out of my country”.  That way, the stupider person knows that if you’re candidate wins, they are free to leave the country and it will not hurt your feelings one bit.  This is a pre-emptive move that will render their threat to leave the country useless.

Guide line 5:  Remember, there is nothing you can learn from anyone who thinks differently than you. 

Which is why it’s really just best to surround yourself with people who agree with you.  There are so many things you can learn from these people, like how to respond to that one person over on so and so’s wall who you know is stupider than you, but talks all smarty-pants and presses you to read articles that are really long and say nothing that confirms what you already know is truly true. Which brings me to my next guide line.

Guide line 6:  Only read articles from extremists blogs that really piss you off.

Preferably, the article should piss you off because the blogger is so brilliantly pointing out what a huge threat the stupider people who disagree with you are to your way of life.  You SHOULD be pissed.  You SHOULD be scared.  That blogger knows this.   That blogger knows that the only way we can really get this country pointed in the right direction is to show our anger by writing angry posts as quickly as possible.  No time should be paid to paragraph breaks or to punctuation (See guide line 1) .  There’s no time to google those words that you’re “pretty sure they mean what I think they mean”.  After all, if it does happen to mean something different, who would know?  The person you’re arguing with?  No.  That person is stupider than you.  Just write fast and make sure you post it before the stupider person posts their brainwashed nonsense. 

Guide line 7:  Agreeing to disagree is for sissies.

And frankly, it’s quite boring.  No one is grabbing the popcorn over that nonsense.  When someone who is stupider than you wants to “agree to disagree”, you have two options:

1.  If you only know them on social media, and not in real life, explain to them (this may be a good time to reiterate the fact that they are stupider than you.) that you wish it was as simple as “agreeing to disagree”, but this is America, and we don’t play that way.  You can follow this with an unsubstantiated insult.  Here is a short list of insults to start with:


-Muslim apologist terrorist lover


-baby killer

-woman hater

-tree hugger

-capitalist pig

-corporate scum

There are plenty more, but whatever you call them, make sure to punctuate the insult by telling them again that they are stupider than you.

2.  If you know the person on a personal level, use something that you know about them and turn it into an insult.  Personal insults are the best way to make sure the stupider person knows that they are the stupider person.

Guide line 8:  Try to operate in groups.

Sure, a discussion between just you and the stupider person is fine, but if you can find a group of people who are as smart as you and also know that the stupider person is stupider than all of you, the stupider person quickly gets confused about who is talking to who, and the stupid really shines through the stupider person.    

And finally,

Guide line 9:  There are only two kinds of people in the world:  Those who agree with you, and stupid people.

Two Kinds of People Play

I hope that these guidelines, and the song, will help you in your internet wars over this election season.  Remember folks, we only get one vote, so it’s important to stress how angry we are at the stupider people who will waste their vote on the candidate for people stupider than us. 

Election 2016 is upon us.  Don’t screw this up, America. 


Music, Race issues in America, and Songs of Home, pt. 2

As I release Songs of Home, pt. 2 this week, I feel it is necessary to provide some more insight into what I feel is important about this record, if to no one else but myself, and why I hope it finds importance in other people’s lives. 

The first songs I wrote for this record were “Winter, 2001.” and “Born in the Wrong Time.”  I wrote them together, as a single song, but it made more sense to separate the tracks on the record.  Those songs are a continuation of the “County Fair” character (also the character in “Bless the Winds”), which is sort of autobiographical fiction, but more of an archetype for the millennial experience, before and after 9/11. 

“Bless The Winds”


Originally, it was meant to be the focus of the record, but after writing “Eric and Lily” on the first record, I became intrigued by looking at my “home” through the eyes of someone who experiences it in a far different way than I ever did as a child, and now as an adult.  As I have noted before, this intrigue resulted in personal interviews with friends of mine who are immigrants from Mexico, and three songs (“Coyotaje”, “My First Job”, and “Stranger”) that act as a contrast to the small town-raised, white millennial story. 



Since writing this, it seems race issues all across America have been increasingly heated, whether it be immigration issues, black-white relations, etc.  Republican debates have been filled with the discussion, riots have been aggressive, and tension seems to be growing daily. 

In my own hometown, I have been personally involved in a heated debate over my high school alma mater’s “Rebel” mascot, since the Fort Smith Public School Board voted to change the mascot in July.  In addition to writing an essay (See:  To A Town Divided: A History of the Southside Rebel) about the history of the mascot’s adoption upon the school opening in 1963, I have spoken at School Board meetings in support of this change, and been involved in ongoing debates (“debates” is probably the incorrect word.  “rants” and “brawls” may be a better description) on Facebook with locals who are outraged at the change, who repeatedly feel justified in their outrage for various reasons, few of which involve confronting the historical significance of the mascot as it relates to current race relations on a local and national level. 

The Republican debates seem to confirm a mentality on a national level that I am observing here in Fort Smith.  Dr. Ben Carson, most notably, responded to Meggyn Kelly’s question about how he, as President, could help heal the racial divide in America.  Dr. Carson first referred to “Purveyors of hatred who take every incident involving people of two different races and try to make a race war out of it…”  and goes on to reference an NPR interview in which he responded to a question about race relations by saying that he is a Neurosurgeon, and tells the audience that “When I take someone to the operating table, I’m actually operating on what makes them who they are.  The skin doesn’t make them who they are, the hair doesn’t make them who they are, and it’s time for us to move beyond that…because our strength as a nation is in our unity…”

This is a common philosophy on race that I have repeatedly encountered during this mascot discussion.  The idea that we are “one race”, and that our race doesn’t determine who we are, and so we should all learn to “look beyond skin color”.  While the majority, if not all, of my personal encounters with this philosophy have come from white conservatives, Dr. Carson’s affirmation of this philosophy is important as a black American seeking the Presidential nomination by a largely white audience. 

While I do feel the “we are one race: human” mentality carries a lot of truth in it, I personally feel it is insufficient if not harmful when trying to apply it to race relations.  Specifically, the notion that we should “see beyond color” is troubling and confusing to me.  To act as though race does not exist seems to me an unnecessary denial of the reality of race, skin color, and heritage.  Perhaps the “see beyond color” philosophy is popular among some because it implies that how we have dealt with race relations throughout history is less important than how we deal with it moving forward, and that if we separate ourselves from that, there is some sort of “clean slate” that exists. 

To me, this mentality skirts the issue.  The context in which it is lauded is under the pretense that to “see race” inevitably results in hatred, divide, and disunity.  But this is a false pretense, and I contend that to “see race” and be frank about it in discussion, has potential to create an America in which we acknowledge and celebrate racial differences, and dissolve the association of “race relations” with hatred and divide.  Undoubtedly, this is a far more painful and difficult process, at least in the short term, than to pretend that we “don’t see race”.  But to pretend that we don’t see race is to apply a “band-aid” to deep wounds that have cut ever deeper over the course of history.  To see race, I feel, allows us to heal those wounds and gain a deeper understanding of others’ heritage, and through that process, we can truly stop looking at “race” through the collectivist lens that tends to focus on disdain for racial stereotypes, and start truly seeing the individual human beneath those racial stereotypes. 

I decided to write songs about immigrants from Mexico because I found their story fascinating.  These are people who live in the same town as I do, and yet have come to it in a completely different way, and see it, and The United States as a whole, with a far different perspective than my own. Through it, I have learned to appreciate my own place in the world while learning to appreciate and admire the place of others. 

I am grateful to get to tell these stories.  I don’t tell them with the intent to change someone’s political views, though certainly there is political relevance to them.  I tell these stories because they are stories of the human condition, and as a writer I feel a responsibility to look beneath the shallow surface in which our fleeting and fickle socio-political culture exists, and find the human story that we all share.  I hope that those who hear these stories can experience them as a listener in a similar way that I have as a writer. 


Hey folks,

Here are a couple of links to an interview I did for “Ozarks at Large”, the Fayetteville, Arkansas NPR affiliate.  I talk some about the new record and the stories behind the songs, as well as my favorite track off of my first EP.  Hope you enjoy!  Album release is right around the corner, coming October 9th!

Songs from the new record are here:

Singing the Stories of Home


And the song Eric and Lily with the story behind it here:

Listen, Don’t Miss Eric and Lily




Come Join us October 3rd at the Walmart Museum in Bentonville.  5$ show, all proceeds go to the ALS Association’s Arkansas Chapter!



After what seems like an eternity, I have picked a release date of October 9 for Songs of Home, pt. 2.  

I’m calling it a Novella Album because the album is a continuous narrative that is meant to be listened to in a single setting.  There are two main storylines in the album, one of which is a continuation of the young character in the song “County Fair” from Songs of Home, pt. 1, and the second story line is from the point of view of the Mexican immigrant.  The immigrant stories come from personal interviews with some friends of mine who were willing to share their stories with me, and whose stories I am grateful to tell.

That’s all I really want to say for now, but please stay tuned in the coming weeks as I will be releasing a single and other album related content.

Be Good.



As our nation debates the place that Confederate symbolism has in our government buildings and our history, last night my hometown voted to discontinue the use of my former high school’s mascot, the Rebel, and fight song “Dixie”.  Prior to the vote I decided to spend some time researching the integration policy in Fort Smith after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, and how Confederate symbolism was used locally and nationally leading up to the time that Southside High School opened it’s doors and chose it’s mascot in 1963.

It’s always a fun process to research and write essays, and especially when the topic is relevant to current local and national discussion.  It was also nice of The City Wire, a local Fort Smith news publication to offer me an outlet for it.

To A Town Divided: The History of the Southside Rebel





Elise_Luke_6_25_72dpi (1)

Well hey everyone,

I’ve been fairly absent yet again with the blog, but here I am.  I always keep a little bit of guilt in my heart for not using this blog as much as I should, but then I figure I maybe just don’t have anything real bloggy to say.  Most of the things that I want to discuss in the world are based in social matters and politics, so maybe eventually my rants will make their way on here, but for now I figure I’ll just use it to occasionally try to sell you some music (people pay money for music?) or invite you to some show so you can buy a t-shirt.  I’ll try to be clever about it in the process.

Anyway, onto the news:  I’ve recently put a band together.  You can see a performance in this video below.

That was a show at South on Main in Little Rock a couple weeks ago, and we had a great time.  The crowd noise isn’t actually part of the song, and none of the audience members get any credit as being part of the band.  I do give them credit for being a great and respectful crowd though, even though there was some chattiness going on in that particular video.

I’ve learned a lot about audiences since hurling myself back into the world of music performance.  Mostly I’ve learned that it’s almost always unpredictable how the audience will behave at a music performance, and I’ve learned to engage with who I can, and not be upset about those who I can’t. Don’t misunderstand me, I love playing for a crowd that is fully attentive, but we can’t script our audience, and frankly, at this point in my career I feel humbled and fortunate to have people in the room.

I learned an important lesson in this last winter when I saw Paul Simon and Sting in concert in Dallas.  We had great seats in the first ten rows or so, and it never failed that when a quieter or lesser known song was played, people around us would start talking to the point of distraction.  I was annoyed as a ticket buyer, but had to laugh a bit at the realization that a fully attentive audience is difficult to find even at the highest rungs of the music business ladder.

Anyway, enough about that.  This band is really cool, and we are playing a show at George’s Majestic on June 25th on a split bill with Elise Davis, a Little Rock native who has taken her songwriting talent to Nashville.  It’s going to be a great time.

I am also gearing up to release “Songs of Home, pt. 2” in the fall.  It’s been finished for a while, but I’ve been taking my time on releasing it, partly because I’m trying to build a team of people who know how to release a record and strategize accordingly, and also because we just added another baby boy to the Pruitt clan in March, and daddy duties call.  I finally feel like I’m getting my head above water, though, so the ball is starting to roll.

I recently did a little interview on KNON Dallas radio where I give a little insight into the concept of “Songs of Home, pt. 2”, along with an acoustic performance of “County Fair”, a song from part 1 who’s main character is part of the main story line of part 2.  I will link that on this blog for you to hear, and I’ve got some more stuff coming that I’ll keep you posted on.  I hope some of you can make it out to George’s on the 25th, or at least share this with folks who may be able to.  Best to you all, and take care.












Pho Vietnam Restaurant in Fort Smith


3 February, 2015

Songs of Home, pt. 2- a foreward.

As I performed the songs from Songs of Home, pt. 1 last year, most commonly on acoustic guitar, in an opening slot at a music club, sometimes to a good crowd, sometimes to three passers by who happened to stop for a beer, or to a coffee shop audience where I could hardly hear myself over the crowd, I started to notice a moment in the show that seemed to catch everyones attention, regardless of what room I was in.  The moment is when I tell the story behind the song “Eric and Lily”. 

The song has always been a personal favorite from Songs of Home, pt. 1, because of the relationship I have with it.  It is most definitely a “song of home” for me, and an ode to where I wrote it:  Fort Smith, Arkansas.  The story before the performance usually goes something like this:

“I grew up in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a manufacturing and shipping town on the Oklahoma border.  The town has a few claims to fame, but one fact about Fort Smith that a lot of people don’t know is that after the fall of Saigon in 1975, Fort Smith became the home to many Vietnamese refugees. 

So if any of you need an excuse to stop in Fort Smith some day, you can find a Vietnamese Pho kitchen on any corner, and all of them are great.  As I was writing “Songs of Home, pt. 1” I knew I wanted to represent this aspect of the town, and so this story is about my favorite of the restaurants, and the story about it’s owners. 

It’s a classic ma and pa cafe called Pho Vietnam, and it’s owners are Eric and Lily.  As they were boarding a helicopter to leave Saigon in 1975, Eric was shot in the back of the head.  The bullet went through his neck and came out his cheek, and he was forced to board the helicopter and fly 30-something hours to the United States, where he stayed in a Florida hospital for months, having reconstructive surgery on his jaw, as well as other surgeries, before being sent to Fort Smith.  I grew up eating at their restaurant, and I just figured that if I didn’t write them a song, no one would.” 

I think through writing this song I was sort of forced to look outside the box of what is typical subject material for “Americana” or “Songwriter” music in this day and age.  Being a Nashville student of the post-Ryan Adams era, the songwriter is sort of focused on singing songs to the love sick, to the restless youth, to the self destructive side of our personality.  The songs typically have the singer as the narrator, are usually arranged and produced in a sort of a roots based, “stripped down” style, and usually come from a sad place, where the singer has lost a lover, or never had a lover, or is reacting to a once passionate love that has faded. 

So I think what I like most about this song is that it forces me to notice all of those trends, and then realize where I have departed from them, and where I could depart from them further going forward (or not depart from them).  Also, it’s just a good story about home, and a perspective on home that at least makes me look at the idea from a different angle than I normally would, which was the main goal I had when I started writing the “Songs of Home” series, and is at the forefront of my approach to “Songs of Home, pt. 2”.  I will share more details on part 2 in time, but for now, listen to the album version of “Eric and Lily”, and check out the lyrics as well.


Eric and Lily leased this old fillin’ station

November 1984.

Lily’s worked ten hours a day in the kitchen,

Eric the Banh Mi, the green tea, the floor;

Tiled in vinyl and dirty from time,

From each muddy boot, each spill of pho.

Two kids through school on the cash only dive,

American “Ma and Pa”.


From gravity’s fall on a Saigon home

To this any American town

Stories are told all over the country

But most of them ain’t written down.

So if you don’t listen, you’re likely to miss ‘em

and they won’t always be around.


Eric was shot in the back of the neck

while boarding a chopper to flee

The land he was born, with Lily beside him,

To a far away hospital, just refugees.

Nine months of surgery, forty years sore,

And he never could talk like he once did.

But I hear his story in the scent of the tea,

and when he takes my order, and thanks me.


From gravity’s fall on a Saigon home

To this any American town

The stories are told all over the country

But most of them ain’t written down.

So if you don’t listen, you’re likely to miss ‘em

and they won’t always be around.


I go when the crowd thins, about two or three

as Eric cleans up the last tables

she brings their meals, and they sit together,

and I’m in the corner, the news on TV.

Some story ‘bout divide, and a split constitution

but I was listening to them speak Vietnamese.

The whole conversation, the decay of the nation

brings me back to these refugees


From gravity’s fall on a Saigon home

To this any American town.

The stories are told all over the country

But most of them ain’t written down.

So if you don’t listen, you’re likely to miss ‘em

and they won’t always be around.