Ruby Ramblings

On the Road Again
May 28, 2011, 7:35 pm
Filed under: Music, Nashville, Travel | Tags: , , ,

05 Dream Next to Me (click to open wordpress music player and listen while you read.)

It has been a whirlwind week back in Nashville full of the kind of surprises and experiences that I won’t say can only happen here, but that keep me coming back even when I swear this town and all its cowboy hats off. From my favorite thing in Nashville, the Wilhagan’s campfire circle, to a songwriters night in Mt. Juliet that was literally just a waste of gas, it’s been an interesting and busy transition back into the country. Just for the added practice, and because I’d never been to it before, I went to the Cafe Coco’s Tues. night open mic, and met some really talented and cool folks. The night started off with a gorgeous, heavily tattooed black woman wearing pajamas singing Lynard Skynard’s Simple Kind of Man. Again, I’m not going to say that could only happen in Nashville, but, really.

I embark on a tour of sorts on Monday, and have started out with the proverbial flat tire. I wanted to get a different kind of pick-up installed, and on the recommendation of the fantastic Sturgill from Sunday Valley, I called Artisan Guitars in Franklin. They were extremely helpful and suggested a pickup that is better suited for both my style and my guitar, and it cost well under $100 (The K&K pure western mini). That’s when the flat tire happened.

I took the guitar to Delgado Guitars in East Nashville. A third generation luthier of over 40 instruments, Manuel Delgado is an extremely knowledgeable, down-to-earth, and approachable dude. The guitar got dropped off, and not thirty minutes later, I got a call, “you should come down here and look at this.”

Now, I didn’t NEED to spend the money on a new pickup, the L.R. Baggs soundhole pickup I’ve been using isn’t bad, but I’m not a music techy person, and it needed some adjustment to suit my style. But it’s a damn good thing I did, because, otherwise, I would never have caught the rupture that probably would have caused my bridge to jump clear off the guitar on a hot humid festival day. I play guitar the same way I drive my car. I take it out of the case, put it drive, and expect it all to work. I hadn’t even noticed the bridge was lifting clear off and the only thing holding it down were the pegs. Apparently this is a common problem with the masterbuilt series since the tops are spray finished before the bridges are set, so the bridge is actually just glued to the finish, with no true wood to wood bond. Considering this guitar has been back and forth to Asia three times, and just recently enjoyed the fresh, hot, Mexican air, it’s no surprise the glue wasn’t holding up.

When I asked how much it would cost, I’m pretty sure Manuel saw by the look on my face that it wasn’t a matter of being expensive, but that I literally just don’t have it. After we talked about some options, all of which required putting off work that would cause further damage and need to be dealt with later anyway, and me bursting into tears at one point, he struck me a deal. He told me how much he needs up front, and told me to come by with the rest whenever I have it. No dates set, no interest rates, no invoices, just a deal between a struggling musician, and a person who loves guitars.

Now, I’m out half of my gas money, but at least the tools of the trade are in working order.

Dream Next to Me, the song you can click and listen to at the top of the page, is one of my older songs, and one I’m really happy got on Fieldnotes From a Caravan. It’s a song I wrote right before moving to Nashville.

I really hope that people that like the music will consider buying a record, or some singles to help refuel my travel fund. At this point, I don’t have enough to make it to Maine, and am hoping that record sales online and at shows along the way are going to make up for it. The risky, but realistic gamble that most people have to take to tour.

The music is up on several different sites, but the two that benefit me (where I actually get most of the money you spend, and it gets to me quickly) are:

Downloads (including PDF files of all artwork): Bandcamp
Downloads and CDs: Cd Baby

If I’m coming through your town, I’d love to see you:
May 31 WDVX, Blue Plate Special Knoxville, TN
May 31 Preservation Pub, Knoxville, TN
Jun 02 Main St. Cafe Berea, KY
Jun 04 Common Grounds Coffeehouse Lexington, KY
Jun 05 The Purple Fiddle Thomas, WV
Jun 06 Club Cafe Pittsburgh, PA
Jun 10 Caz Cafe Coffehouse Buffalo, NY
June 13 Nietzsche’s Buffalo, NY
Jun 17 Five Rivers 3rd Friday A Bath, ME
Jun 22 Dogfish Bar and Grille Portland, ME
Jun 25 Gorham Grind Gorham, ME
Jul 07 Dogfish Bar and Grille Portland, ME
Jul 13 One Longfellow Square Portland, ME
Jul 16 Yarmouth Clam Festival Yarmouth, ME
Jul 22 Slainte Wine Bar Portland, ME
Jul 30 Furey’s Cafe Folk Festival Lowell, MA
Aug 18 Indiegrrl International Festival Knoxville, TN
Aug 26 Main St. Cafe Berea, KY Link
Aug 27 Taylor Books Charleston, WV
Aug 28 The Purple Fiddle Thomas, WV
Aug 31 The Commodore Bar and Grille Nashville, TN

A new album, a new place, a few new songs
December 9, 2010, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Music, Nashville, Travel

After a year and a half of Asian travels, foreign languages, pictures of exotic places, and eclectic folks, it’s been great to be back in Nashville for a couple of months. I have been creating, just in a different medium. I’ve finally finished a new record: Field Notes from a Caravan. Nine songs spanning years of travel in four different countries.

We are 100% finished with the recording, and will be ready to send to press within two weeks. We have to be, since I am once again leaving the country, this time headed to Mexico for a five month teaching position in Tlaquepaque right outside of Guadalajara.

Here is where the shameless self-promotion comes in. We’ve made a fantastic record, Azal Khan, Josh Pessar, Kevin Gordon, Eric Elsner, Troy Jones, Chris Clawson, Moriah Harris, Dan Schaefer, Joe Bloom and I. In order for you to hear it, and for me to keep traveling and writing songs to tell you stories, I need a little help from my friends.

Although I can’t guarantee a Christmas delivery, if you were so inclined to preorder a copy, pay for it in advance so I can get the printing done, and wait by your mailbox patiently, a magic little package complete with a signed disc, some snappy schwag, and a happy musician on the other end will arrive at your doorstep soon after New Year.

Don’t just wait for the itunes or .mp3s to become available – first because if you do that I may not be able to release the album, and second, because it sounds better and comes with cooler stuff in pure physical form.

$13.00 per copy
$10.00 per copy if you order 2 or more.
$1.00 for shipping domestic or international

I made a handy-dandy paypal button, but wordpress won’t let me post it soooo..
For paypal use rubysales @, or e-mail me at the same for options other than paypal.

I also have many of the photos that you have seen on this blog for sale at You can buy prints of my favorite photos from around Asia in postcard, greeting card, poster, and many other forms. Red Bubble makes extremely high quality prints and is a great artist community.

Thank you to everyone who supports my art, my music, and my travels. Cheers to years and years more!

Driving in the Smoky Mts.
March 13, 2009, 3:06 pm
Filed under: Nashville, Travel




Bledsoe Creek, TN
February 9, 2009, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Nashville, Travel

While I have been unemployed, as are a record number of Americans in 20 years, I am grateful to be spending my time catching up on what is happening in the world in such a beautiful setting.

The view out my bedroom window.




Athena- The Goddess of Heroic Endeavors


There is a statue in Nashville, inside the life-size replica of the Parthenon built for a fair in 1897, that stands almost 42 feet tall.  The statue is inspiring and quite impressive, the Goddess of heroic endeavors, also considered the Goddess of the “disciplined side of war.”  Whatever that is supposed to mean.  Her shield is called the “aegis”.  Like the Aegis destroyers, military gun ships, built in my home state of Maine at Bath Iron Works.  Aegis means something under protection of a powerful, knowledgeable, or benevolent source; mighty presumptuous don’t you think?
On the way home from visiting this museum and taking pictures of the giant woman presiding over war and heroics, I listened to a story regarding the recent move toward using robotics in war.  The NPR story on P.W. Singer’s new book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Centurydescribed a terrible future (and present) of warfar by remote control.  Has no one read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Machine Stops by E.M. Forester, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein? 

Anyone, anyone at all?


The ramifications of using robots to do jobs that humans used to do raises insane ethical questions.  Sure it’s great to use robots to unarm landminds, saving life and limb of soldier, not to mention the local children, but what about killing by video game controls?  The army is actual setting up tactical video games in malls using the games to lure young men into joining the service.  It’s easy to disassociate killers from the killed in a video game.  No remorse, no guilt, and no immediate retaliation.  One of the issues talked about in the radio interview is how when you are two thousand miles away controlling a robot, you can create your own reality.  Singer describes a situation where they were controlling a gunman robot from afar, believing they were targeting the so-called Chemical Ali.  When they blew the guy up, watching him bounce several times as he hit the ground, they cheered and congratulated themselves on killing a person the US government considered a huge threat and major terrorist.  They found out several days later that the man was a civilian, with no connections to any terrorist groups.

What if we tried this the old fashioned way.  Send people out with shields, spears, and a funny looking headdress.  Make them look each other in the eye, and see how many teenage boys want to sign up then.

Currently reading:

The Buddha at War: Peaceful Heart, Courageous Action in Troubled Times
by Robert Sachs


Quote: “May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness. May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May they never be separated from the great happiness that is beyond suffering. May they dwell in great equanimity which is beyond passion, aggression, and prejudice.”

My old blog, including stories and photos from my ramblings around the US, Nepal, and Eastern Europe can be seen at