I hesitated to post this, as I didn’t want to have it come off as tacky marketing, but in lieu of recent events, I feel that it would honor his memory and simultaneously provide some insight into the inner workings of Munook.
Just this week, my wife’s Grandfather, Joe Willingham, passed away. He lived a full life and taught everyone close to him the importance of steady, persistent, hard work as the only way to bring about results and satisfaction. At least that’s what he taught me.
The man ALWAYS wore a cowboy hat and in this day and age, one could go as far as to say he was indeed, a cowboy. He was quick to support his loved ones, was rarely distracted from his work, chivalrous, and had a Clint Eastwood attitude towards any punks feeling lucky. However, despite the genuinely rugged exterior, he was very caring and only wanted the best for everyone.
As the patriarch of his large family, most holiday gatherings tended to center around him and was more times than not filled with music. Live, Country music played by him, his family, and friends. Not early 90’s mainstream country, certainly not Talyor Swift’s “country”, but the real roots of the music form; Appalachian, old-time folk music developed in the 1920 and 30’s Southeastern United States, the era and region in which he came up as a child.
As a classically trained musician, I always appreciate the ORIGIN of music forms, in a high regard. I really hate the over glamorized, celebrity driven, money making machine it becomes, but I love the core of it. It’s soul. Joe’s love of country and the years of listening to him play REAL country with his friends and family inspired me to incorporate it into my own songwriting. There was something about it’s simplistic, story telling nature that really captured me. I’m constantly surrounded by musicians who feel the need to prove themselves by squeezing as many notes as possible into one measure of music, but listening to Joe play 3 simple chords and sing about coming home to his wife after a long day of work; had far more impact that any “musical juggling” I’d ever seen or heard.
So, the song “Cactus Flower” was born. It was my best attempt to integrate what I had learned from him about the the soul of roots country. In a small way, his spirit lives on through it. On a final, passing, but not insignificant note, some of you may know of my affinity for the supernatural and esoteric. In his final days, Joe was seeing people in the room that no one else could see. I believe him; I’d like to think that there is a thin veil in this world between what we think there is, and the great beyond. I dare say that I know there is. Enjoy.