Tag Archives: music

272 – Southern Gothic: Ghost Stories and Legends Featuring Steve Gorman of The Black Crowes

To say that the American South has a complex history is an understatement. To us in Wisconsin, it sometimes feels like a different country entirely and 99% of our touring experiences down there have been amazing. There is something to Southern hospitality and friendliness that makes it a pleasure for us to visit.

But the South also has its share of darkness. We live in a racially charged society. It’s not something our band, as three white people from the frozen North, have had to deal with much, but you don’t have to believe in ghosts to know that the specters of slavery and the Civil War hang over the place. And those are the focus of many of the ghost stories of the area. It’s part of the place, but it’s not the be all and end all of it.

The South has its own vibrant and beautiful culture. Part of what makes it great is the blending of all the cultures that has gone on to create art that’s really unique and incredibly popular.

Mike on the left on the bass and Wendy in the back on the violin, playing some Southern Rock in a band called Michael Alexander & Big Whiskey. Photo by John Flores.

Southern Rock for example is one of those artistic gumbos. A mixture of blues, folk, rock ‘n’ roll, and country music, it takes elements of several traditions, black and white, to make amazing music. Even in Wisconsin, when the opening riff to “Sweet Home Alabama” starts, people lose their shit. Women want to dance to it, men want to sing along to it. And one of the most successful Southern Rock bands of all time is The Black Crowes.

Steve Gorman on the far right with his band Trigger Hippy. Photo by Scott Willis.

Steve Gorman was a founding member of that rock ‘n’ roll powerhouse. It’s his drumbeat you first heard on “Hard To Handle”, their original hit (and we covered their version for years.) They sold over thirty million albums in their time but the usual rock n’ roll story of excesses and egos eventually imploded the group. He currently drums with a rock n’ soul band called Trigger Hippy and they are playing in Madison at the High Noon Saloon on November 13th. I interviewed Steve to preview the show (and click on this article if you’d like to read more about the concert) but he also gave me a ghost story, here’s him telling it directly:

Yes, I do have a ghost story. And I say that as a guy who always rolled my eyes at other people’s paranormal experiences and I still do! Despite the fact that I had one.

It wasn’t at a venue or a gig, but a friend’s house in LA. This was in 2003 and our neighbor was having a backyard cookout. I had a toddler and a baby and so did everyone else on the block so we were constantly all hanging in someone’s backyard. And when you live in LA you’re outdoors all year round which is why you wanna go there if you have babies, because it helps. People in Wisconsin can follow that train of thought real easily.

Year-round, your backyard is another room of the house. There’s no mosquitoes, there’s no humidity. It’s pretty great. For awhile anyway.

Everybody’s in the backyard, the grill’s fired up, we’re listening to music, it’s a really nice neighborhood get-together. It’s my buddy Jared’s house and I walked into the kitchen and I was standing at the sink and I realize that there’s a woman standing right next to me. And I hadn’t even noticed her, and I did that thing where I’m went, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you” because I was crowding her by going to the sink… I think I was washing my hands.

I just looked to my right and I said “Oh, I’m sor…” but there was nobody there. And out of the corner of my eye peripherally I saw an older woman who was wearing a red bandana in her hair. An older lady with a red bandana with a pattern on it. And as I went to say “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t even notice you/” there was nothing there.

And it really impacted me. I felt something inside like, “Oh what the Hell was that?” Nine times out of ten I would have thought “oh, I’m seeing something” or my brain had a weird synapse misfire. But it really moved me.

And I walked outside and I went over to Jared my friend and I go, “I just had the weirdest thing happen.” And he goes, “What?” I go, “I was just in your kitchen and I swear there was this old woman that was standing next to me, but she just wasn’t there.” And my friend Jared goes, “Did she have a red thing in her hair like a bandana?” And I just stared at him in absolute disbelief. And I said, “Yeah.”

His daughter’s name is Sadie and he said, “Sadie sees that woman all the time.” And that’s a true story and I have goosebumps right now re-telling it. And I know the look on my face must have been great because he was like, “Dude, that’s alright, don’t worry.” And I was like “What the fuck, man?!” I thought I was losing my mind. He’s like, “It’s fine, she’s always in the house and Sadie just sees her.” So, great, me and a three-year old girl are connecting over this.

Steve Gorman, Drummer of Trigger Hippy and The Black Crowes

While the South creates amazing music, their unique history makes for some one-of-a-kind hauntings. In this episode, we talk about some famous stories and what makes ghost stories in the American South unique. Here are some of the topics we cover, in addition to hearing Steve Gorman tell his story for himself:

  • Haunted plantations across the South
  • Confederate ghosts in Nashville, Tennessee
  • The curse of The Bell Witch and An American Haunting
  • The pirate Jean Lafitte who haunts New Orleans
  • Why Madison, Wisconsin has its own Confederate ghosts

For this episode, we decided to do a version of the old English folk song, “The Unquiet Grave”. American folk music, particularly in Appalachia and the Ozarks, directly descends from the ballads of the English, Scottish, and Irish who settled The New World. In fact, the accent of Shakespeare’s time sounds somewhat more like an American Southern accent than it sounds like the accent of Ian McKellen or Patrick Stewart (as much as everyone loves those guys!)

“The Unquiet Grave” has been covered by everyone from to Joni Mitchell to Ween and it weaves the tale of a pair of lovers where one died too young. In some versions, it’s a girl who died, in others it’s the boy, but what remains the same is that they lay on their lover’s grave until the ghost appears to them. When the lover left behind begs for a kiss, the ghost warns that even a kiss from their lips would kill them and it’s not worth losing your life over lost love.

How cold doth blow the wind tonight,
I feel some drops of rain.
I never had but one true love
And in greenwood she was slain.
I’ll do as much for my true love
As any young man may.
I’ll sit and mourn all on her grave
For a twelve month and one day.

The twelve-month and one day being up
The dead began to speak.
“Oh, who sits weeping on my grave
And will not let me sleep?”
“‘Tis I, my love, sits on your grave 
And will not let you sleep,
For I crave one kiss of your lily-white lips
And that is all I seek.”

“My lips they are as cold as clay,
My breath smells earthy strong.
If you have one kiss of my lily-white lips,
Your life will not be long.”
“My life be’t long or short sweetheart,
But that is all I crave.
Then I shall be along with you
A-lying in my grave.”

“‘Tis down in yonder garden green,
Love, where we used to walk.
The finest flower that ere was seen
Is withered to a stalk.
The stalk is withered dry, my love,
So will our hearts decay,
So make yourself contented, love,  
Till God calls you away.”

214 – Angels Sound Like Yoda: Channeling with Danielle Egnew

Danielle Egnew clearly remembers cuddling up into her aunt’s skirts when she was two years old, afraid of her big scary uncle Dominick who was looming over her.  She remembers how her aunt looked, she remembers the color of the skirt, she remembers the physical feeling. 

Danielle Egnew, when she ran for Billings, Montana mayor in 2017

When Danielle was seventeen, she shared that memory with her mother. But her mother told her that it wasn’t possible. Danielle’s aunt had already passed away at the time. So, who was in her memory? 

Danielle Egnew has been seeing spirits and listening to otherworldly voices from the wilds of Montana since she was a child. She could hear the tonal, musical sounds of the angels and feel the “blacker than black” shapes of demons in her teens. Her muse led her to form a band and she spent the late 90s and early 2000s performing and touring with her group, Pope Jane.

Make sure you watch this video to enjoy a pop-rock blast from the past. As someone who lived through the music and fashion scene of the late 90’s (and it’s unique sartorial choices), it was fun visiting (but not sure I’d want to live there again!)

In the mid-200s as the music industry was changing, Danielle decided to finally embrace the entities that had been speaking to her all her life and a chance reading for the Burbank Police Department in the case of a missing child put her on the path of becoming a professional psychic and angelic channel. So what does that mean?

She describes her work as more of a “translation service” than anything else. She can receive the messages that these angels and extra-dimensional creatures have for us and she shares them with her clients and audiences. While she continues to write and perform music, create art, and do personal readings for those looking for assistance from beyond, her latest project is the “Ascension Tour” where she is doing live translations of these mystical communications for audiences. 

If you’re interested in becoming more in tune with “whatever is out there”, then you’ll enjoy this episode. Danielle goes into detail with what it’s like to be a receiver, how the messages show up, what they sound like, and ways to make it easier to “hear what the universe has to say”. Some of the topics we cover in our conversation:

  • How angels “sound like Yoda” when they talk
  • What it’s like to grow up with a paranormal radio in your head
  • How all artists can be channels for the other side
  • Is there a Hell? Her answer might be a little different than you expect
  • What happens to pure souls with faulty biology (how some humans are broken robots)?
  • Her tips for getting in touch with your psychic side

Check out Danielle Egnew’s website to find out out how you can be part of the live Ascension tour and how you can get in touch with her.

I think that the most interesting thing that Danielle said to me is that human spirits are basically good, it’s the machinery of the body that’s broken. So there isn’t any Hell really. We have a second chance the next time around, even if we’re evil, even if we’re mentally ill. Even if there’s some kind of imbalance, we are capable of being forgiven. 

That reminds me of the legend of Tannhäuser, someone who the Pope said his staff had a better chance of growing new leaves than of God forgiving him. Well, what happens is that the staff ends up blooming, but it’s too late. No one is beyond redemption, no one is unworthy of forgiveness if they are penitent.

What does it mean if there is no Hell? What does it mean if the Universe doesn’t care about justice? What does that say about Free Will? Anyway, just some questions to ponder as you listen to our latest Sunspot track, “Bury It With Me”.

A polluted genealogy
colonized my head
And if vengeance isn’t mine
then anger has no end

a faulty biology
for this blood shed
and if karma is a lie
then you never can forget

Redemption is tears in the rain
sometime before sacred and after profane
So when the sleeper wakes up from the dream
a thousand years have disappeared in the land of the Faerie Queene

as the sinner begs his penance
these wet androids come to me
when there’s no one left to blame
then we’re just broken machines

Oh, bury it with me

177 – Mothman Delusion: A New Year’s Resolution for Paranormal Research

The biggest paranormal story in the Midwest in 2017 was the winged humanoid sightings over Chicago and we have covered the Chicago Mothman extensively over the past several months. First in episode 159, we interviewed the editor of Phantoms and Monsters blog where many of the Mothman sightings have been reported, then we brought on the great cryptozoologist Loren Coleman who just released a new book Mothman: Evil Incarnate.

What’s the Mothman? A dark winged humanoid with glowing red eyes, made most famous by a series of sightings in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the late 1960s. The sightings were followed by UFOs, Men in Black, and a tragic bridge collapse 13 months after the initial sighting.

The Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Fast forward to 2017 and the Mothman has been reported seen over the Chicagoland area dozens of times mostly to a blog called Phantoms and Monsters. My sister Allison has been looking at the stories and then doing investigations of the sites of each reported sighting over at her YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/mothman.

As she was digging she found inconsistencies in more and more of the accounts even going so far as having a private investigator look into a possible police report that was a featured account over the Summer. (She didn’t find it and either did the Chicago Tribune.) Plus, 3 out of the 4 Mothman reports that came into Illinois MUFON came from the same IP address (meaning same Wi-Fi network, meaning the same house.) She began to get skeptical whether or not there really are winged humanoids flying over Chicago.

For her efforts, she’s been interviewed on Midnight In The Desert  and featured on the Mysterious Universe blog, but needless to say it hasn’t made her popular with the Chicago Mothman investigators. So for this first episode of 2018, we wanted to give the Chicago Mothman one more discussion because it was such a big story around these parts. Sure, we’ll come back when there’s a “break” in the case, but the important part is that in this episode we talk about our renewed resolve to use the scientific method in our paranormal research (and Patrick Swayze, but you’ll have to listen to figure how he fits in!)

Joining us for this discussion are two Chicago Forteans, Madeline Kate from Measuring The Circle podcast and Sam Maranto, the state director of Illinois MUFON (who received some of the original reports!) Allison Jornlin of course is involved, as is Tobias Wayland of the Singular Fortean Society, who has been collecting the Mothman stories as part of the original Chicago Mothman Taskforce – he even shares a Mothman story from Rockford that he interviewed the witness personally!

It’s a good frank discussion about the Chicago Mothman – doubts, inconsistencies, disinformation campaigns, hoaxes, and all, as well as how we can try to all get along better as Fortean researchers.

UPDATE: Here’s an extra interview with a Mothman researcher (and Chicago native!)

And for this week’s song, we used some inspiration from good old Carl Sagan, the man who coined the phrase “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. His book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark is a treatise on the scientific method and critical thinking. Yeah, it’s a buzzkill but if we’re ever going to convince the skeptics we gotta take getting the facts seriously. Here’s Sunspot with “House of Cards”.

It’s a demon-haunted world
and you don’t get to dig a grave in my backyard.
you know we have to be the candle in the dark
You can’t build a dynasty on a house of cards.You might think that you’re a monster but you’re just a quack
talking a lot of smack setting the whole field back
a lotta tall tales comin piling up to nothin
looking for the clicks and acting like like a d$%@.

it’s a curiosity, all this privacy
anonymity, who can you believe?
You can tell me all day ‘bout the trash you heard
doesn’t matter how absurd unless stand by your word

All this animosity comes down to money
You’re misrepping all the data just to fit your theory
You wanna sell books or you want some truth?
It sure looks to me you ain’t much of a sleuth

It’s a demon-haunted world
and you don’t get to dig a grave in my backyard.
you know we have to be the candle in the dark
You can’t build a dynasty on a house of cards.

Extraordinary claims, extraordinary proof
winged dudes on the roof kinda sounds like a goof
we need a real witness not all anonymous
how bout some testimony don’t sound like baloney.

Detail needs to be there, you know they’re gonna nitpick,
eaten by the cynics, defeated by the skeptics
t’s need to be crossed, you can’t just gloss,
over all the small stuff or things are gonna get rough.

Gotta share the data, info wants to be free,
transparency, no secrecy,
It takes all kinds of different minds
if we want it to be better, we gotta work together.

It’s a demon-haunted world
and you don’t get to dig a grave in my backyard.
you know we have to be the candle in the dark
You can’t build a dynasty on a house of cards.

New Music Inspired By The Podcast – American Monsters!

So this weekend our band, Sunspot, released our latest EP, American Monsters. What we’ve been doing is creating song demos for the podcast for every episode and then after a few months, we pick our three favorites and go into the studio and record them. We’ve always used the paranormal and pop culture as an influence for our music, I mean we’ve made fan videos for everything from Torchwood to Star Trek: Generations, so our love of sci-fi and the occult has always been baked right into the music. We were having a lot of the discussions that we have in the podcast already (usually in the van at 3 o’clock in the morning as we were driving through the middle of nowhere) so we thought we might as well talk about it too!

sunspot music

We called the EP American Monsters because we thought it was a really catchy name and the episode we did wth Linda Godfrey was one of our favorites. She’s one of our favorite investigators and authors into the weird (and bonus, she’s from Wisconsin too!) Since she covered plenty of American monster legends in her book, we thought we’d take the symbolism of the wild creatures that she writes about like Bigfoot and werewolves. While most of us won’t encounter bipedal canines, most of us face outrage and anger on the Internet every day.

American Monsters: An Interview with Linda Godfrey

While I’m not a fan of the phrase “political correctness” (it’s mostly just a code word in the culture war), I do believe in diversity of opinion and that unpopular opinions (even ones that offend people) have a right to be heard, not shouted down just because some people don’t like it. You don’t win the war of ideas through crushing dissent, you win by convincing people you have the best idea. That’s the essence of our “American Monsters” and it’s a track that’s very classic Midwestern Power-Pop (think Cheap Trick, we even do a sly play on  “Dream Police” in the song.)

Silver Screen Saucers: An Interview With Robbie Graham

“Seeing Is Believing” was inspired by our conversation with the author of Silver Screen SaucersRobbie Graham. It’s a synth-rock Disinformation Age conspiracy anthem about media manipulation. Of course, the song is about how the UFO mythology of the past fifty years was exactly what the CIA wanted us to believe (something even the new X-Files embraced), but it really could be about any story that we get distracted by to take our mind off something that would enrage us.

Alien disclosure would be awesome, but I don’t know if it’s as important as knowing the food pyramid we grew up with was heavily influenced by the meat and dairy lobby, that the Drug War is necessary (and hasn’t destroyed millions of lives), or that the NSA has an actual Artificial Intelligence program named after Skynet from The Terminator. More people know the domestic grosses of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice than know these things.

Have an Out of Body Experience: With Luis Minero

I’ve never had an out-of-body experience but one of these days I’m going to, dammit! Dr. Luis Minero gave some simple steps to attempt an OBE in our podcast interview and one of the things that struck me was when he said you once you reach the right state, you just “push yourself out of your body” and that seemed like a cool thing to express in a song.

Have you ever been in a situation so traumatic that you would do anything to escape but you couldn’t physically leave? Something terrifying or horrible? A lot of people say that when something like that happens, they get that detached feeling of being somewhere else, watching the thing happen to them  – that’s called “derealization” and it happens often during traumatic moments. That’s “Push”, a song about escaping those moments, forcing yourself out of your body to be able to face what you need to.

Anyway, we just thought you might like a little background on the tracks. You can download the new EP for free at http://www.sunspotuniverse.com right now.

If you’re interested in learning more about our band, Sunspot, we have won the Wisconsin Area Music Industry‘s Artist of the Year (an award won by other cheese state luminaries like Violent Femmes, Garbage, and Bon Iver) and have won also Best Rock Album from the Madison Music Awards three times. Some of the latest reviews we’ve gotten are:

“Sunspot learned to embrace its charming weirdness… the band members are making some of the best music of their career.”
– Isthmus, Madison, WI

“They sound oh so, familiar and like nothing you’ve ever heard before.”
– Power Play Magazine, UK

“A perfect piece of Pop Rock.”
– Get Ready To Rock Blog 

We’re really proud of the new music and if you enjoy it, please let your friends know about the songs as well (you can find a bunch of ways to share it on social media right here). Most of all, thanks for listening!

Happy Birthday Ed Sheeran, Is There A Ghost Voice In “Thinking Out Loud”?

It’s a big week for famous singing ginger, Ed Sheeran. First, “Thinking Out Loud” wins the Grammy for Song of the Year and then it’s his birthday on February 17th. I first heard his music during the end credits of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug and liked it and I figure if the guy is alright with Peter Jackson, then he’s alright with me.

But the reason that we’re talking about “Thinking Out Loud” today is that people were hearing a “ghost voice” in the track. The moment happens at about 44 seconds into the song.

So, the Internet being the Internet, the rumor quickly went around that the “ghost voice” was actually a spirit who never found love and is sadly singing from the other side.  Or that the studio that the recorded it in was haunted and that it was the spirit who was singing along with Ed in the vocal booth.

This trended on Twitter last year and became a big topic of speculation for his massive teenage fanbase. Kids love ghost stories, cute singers,  and gossiping with their friends about it, so this was kind of a perfect storm.

And of course, when a topic is trending, there’s no reason not to have a little fun with it, here’s a video with over 100,000 hits purporting to analyze the track and find the ghost voice (but it really just contains a jump scare at the end.)

And this weird speech-synthesized video actually explains the whole issue as just an effect of the reverb.

Reverb? I doubt it. Sounds just like he was putting a little extra inflection in his voice with the word, “heart”. I can’t even hear a harmony background vocal in there on the verse. But when you tell people there’s a ghost voice in there and you can only hear it with headphones they start to convince themselves that it’s in there, especially if they listen to that section repeatedly.

I’ve been in the recording studio and have had that same effect. You’re listening closely to something over and over again and you start to hear phantom sounds. An echo or a weird note can show up that’s not really there when you listen to something repeatedly in a short stretch. Your mind starts playing tricks on you, that’s why it’s always recommended to leave for a little while and studio guys have special tricks to “keep their ears fresh“.

Ed, you’re a Grammy winner now, so you can finally afford that comb you always wanted!

The first studio engineer that Sunspot (Wendy and my band, we write a new song for each podcast episode) worked with was named Ted Weigel and we recorded in his Madison, Wisconsin recording studio that’s now long gone and replaced by the Brink Lounge. We would often start recording sessions in the evening and since we were paying the day-rate and didn’t have a lot of money, we’d record for long spells into the next morning.

Ted would always say “my ears are fried” when needing to close a marathon recording session. We’d always laugh to ourselves about that statement. We were still energetic teenagers and didn’t understand yet how your attention and hearing and senses would just get worn out, like a muscle after a hard workout.

I think the only way to hear the ghost voice in this track is to listen to it over and over and convince yourself that it’s there. So to anyone that can still hear the creepy background voice on the word “heart”, I’d say what Ted used to say in the studio so long ago, “take a break, man. Your ears are fried!”

70 – Spiritual Awakening: The New Age Music of David Young

Twenty years ago, I could never have imagined myself writing this post. New Age music to me when I was a teenager was the saddest, silliest, and least passionate music that I could imagine. It was a crime to art akin to Muzak, which ripped the heart out of what I thought were passionate songs and just left them with a lifeless shell of toothless melodies and tame Mom-friendly synths.

I know I shouldn’t be so cynical, but COME. ON. man…

I was a Rock purist and a musical bigot. I still felt that music had the power to shock the old out of complacency and that’s was its mission. It was the artistic agent of social awareness, change, and rebellion. And some of it was, but by the mid–1990s, that agent of change wasn’t rock music anymore (I guess you could make an argument for the Lillith Fair at that point in history, but the charts and headlines were overwhelmingly dominated by Hip Hop by the middle of the decade.) Someday we’ll talk about the social impact of Grunge and what the death of Hair Metal really meant (but maybe not here, unless we can tie it into a conspiracy theory or something… Well, hello Kurt and Courtney!)

Anyway, this is just a long winded way of saying that I thought New Age music was a joke, something played by men in silly frilly shirts and women with flower tiaras. I mean, I love Ren Fairs as much as the next guy, but Yanni with his pornstar mustache and songs that didn’t even really sound like songs just made me want to barf.

I was very much a stereotypical Angry Young Man and I had an opinion on everything. And most of those opinions were ridiculous and based in what I thought I should be feeling. Indeed, if I really was a Rock purist, then how deep inside could I love Disco and robot music so much too? I felt like one of those televangelists that carries on a secret love life of prostitutes and interstate motels.

The truth is, I started discovering that music could be a lot more fun when you open yourself up to different genres, let go of your ideas of what’s “real art and authentic” and what’s not, and when you realize that other human beings might have different motivations and appreciate things in a different way then you do. In other words, I lightened the Hell up and discovered there was a ton of stuff out there to appreciate. And New Age music with all of its pan flutes, synth strings, world instruments, and thirty something Yuppie Yoga studio atmosphere are certainly part of that.

It’s not just Dreamcatchers and Chakras, look at this guy’s abs. I’m gonna go do some Yoga now…

Music isn’t only art, it’s also a tool. Yeah, it can be that agent of social awareness (from John Lennon to NWA), it can be symbolic of revolution (like Ozzy and Bon Jovi at the Moscow Music Peace Festival) at the societal level. But at a personal level, it can get you pumped for a big race (looking at you Andrew W.K.) or chill you out and help focus your mind when you’re meditating.

And when Wendy and I were talking about the interview in the intro, I realized that I needed to eat my Angry Young Man words to accompany this discussion with David Young. That’s right, I’m defending New Age Music and I’ll take anybody on, because it you don’t like it…

the dude abides

David is a charming and talented New Yorker who has sold well over a million albums in his career. He moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s seeking Rock stardom and he eventually found his way to the Venice Beach boardwalk busking to make extra money playing the recorder accompanying a harpist.

And that’s when things started clicking because the music they started making together became Celestial Winds, a duo whose homemade tapes alone would sell tens of thousands of copies.

That might be my favorite takeaway from the interview, he shifted to what he saw that people wanted, what they were asking him for more of, and that’s where he found what he was looking for. He stopped forcing and started opening himself up to what the world was telling him, he stopped beating his head against the wall, and ended up with a wildly successful and long music career.

After going off on his own and releasing dozens of his own solo albums, Young’s music is heard in thousands of healing centers around the world and his concerts have become less about just listening to music and more about using the music as a jumping point creating a spiritual experience for the attendees. He calls them “Soul Activation Workshops” and they’re all about healing and meditation (and we’ll have an episode about all the wonderful benefits of meditation soon!) He encourages the concert goers to close their eyes, but not after a little showmanship, (and this is pretty impressive I have to say) he plays two recorders at once…

…which made me think of Michael Angelo from Nitro and his double necked guitar solos, who we played with once at a Wisconsin Area Music Industry event…

Sure, meditation is a powerful tool, where we can quiet the mind, get out of our frantic headspace for a little while, and find some comfort and relaxation. But it’s what happens next that make Young’s concerts so memorable. He claims that more people have had out-of-body experiences while listening to his music than any other musician alive. Or they’ve had a visit from a favorite dead relative or even an encounter with who he calls “the Heavenly crew” or “Ascended Masters”, historical spiritual icons like Jesus, Buddha, or the Blessed Virgin. Often, multiple people will share that they saw the same Ascended Master at an event and that they were shown a sign in the form of a flower or animal that they all saw independently.

He ties this in to a Great Ascension he calls it of people becoming more spiritual throughout the world and how that’s leading to greater understanding and love between people. It immediately made me think of the religious Great Awakenings that occurred throughout history and those fundamentalist moments seemed to cause more harm than good (see our episode on the Pilgrims and Satanic Thanksgiving.)

And he gets to hang out with Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, which is awesome!

But David’s attitude is one of optimism instead of pessimism, and I can dig that. While we often link a rise in fundamentalism to the bogeymen of ISIS or the social intolerance of Evangelical Christians, we forget that there is a scientific basis for the human proclivity for spiritual experiences, we seek them and want them desperately. Spiritual awareness without religion provides the comfort and that “we’re all in it together” feeling without the rules that make us judge each other. The more of that the better, I think, and it doesn’t matter if it’s attributable to wishful thinking and imagination or whether there really is a “Heavenly Crew” watching out for us and the people we love.

So, check out a little bit of David’s music right here and if you’re looking to explore your own spiritual experience, we have a five-minute meditation track that we wrote at the end of this podcast. So, that’s right, I made fun of Yanni’s dark long flowing locks or Zamfir and his ridiculous pan flute… And now we made our own New Age track, man. So close your eyes, clear your mind, and take it in.