Cumberland Blues

By Uncle John

Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead and members of the Terrapin Family band are playing their first concert in this new post pandemic year on April 1st, 2021 under the sun at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. The band, with Stu Allen on guitar, are playing “Cumberland Blues” from the Workingman´s Dead album and I´m outside the gates without a ticket standing in the road by the canal listening to the show. Many in kayaks or paddle boards are in the canal. I notice this giant bird with broad wings flying rapidly from the stage area over the canal heading straight towards me. I hear an eagle´s whistle and I assume it´s an eagle until I later look up and see it´s a red tail hawk. I´m looking straight ahead and can feel the bird hovering just over my head. I don´t look up or at the crowd but I feel their eyes on this bird. I hear a couple people call my name and then someone shouts loudly, “It´s Jerry Garcia!”!

It´s a Holy Ghost moment! I´m standing at Terrapin where the roads intersect crossing paths with a bird. This song reminds me that this Grateful Dead sound is in interstellar space.

See Interstarnet.com


The spirit of Garcia is strong wherever Grateful Dead band members are playing. He shows up at Midnight North too. Sometimes his presence is so real I expect him to show up on a flying horse. I am standing next to a pole and I hear the bird move upward and I look up and see him perch on top of the pole. The red tail hawk is as glorious as the luminous day. He has come to clear the air as a guide with vision, an honest messenger. His message is “let your creative spirit flow”.  He is the gatekeeper to the future who knows the time and the season.

“Does the hawk fly by wisdom?” asks God in the Bible. Not by the prudence of men. He shows us signs in difficult times with the clear sight and sharp sound of a wise, eternal, holy and incomprehensible God.

There is nothing like the Grateful Dead experience!




Lyrics & Music by Uncle John


From the edge of darkness

There is a glimmer of light

Leap for the daytime

Leave behind the night


People are afraid of getting old

Because all old people die

Have you wondered why


In your heart of inspiration


To stop discrimination


Look inside to realize


Through space and stars

And follow the weather

Time can change


Some have been waiting a lifetime for me to show my hand

Time for the showdown waiting for the band

This midnight gambler

Will become a full time rambler

Singing my heart here now for you


Coming into a deserted town

For the showdown

Yes it all comes around

After the slowdown

The sound


I look in my heart

And there you are

Your magic eyes

And dancing guitar


Our eyes are like windows and mirrors too

That can be like a star´s light of truth


The child can see

And is realized

Waiting to manifest

An inner light


For her name is wonder

Staring through you

The golden gate is open

To an inner world of ocean blue


Looking in to the eye of the sun

In order to see

Radiate beautifully

The way to do is to be

For the sea that bore me

Shall free me to be


And this gentle rider

Going to go one higher

Dreaming up a story

Of their morning glory


This began with a bird you know

Begins again here with a show

Surrounded by kind love

And a sunshine rainbow


No longer carrying a frown

I´m coming into town

Going to show up

For the showdown


I been waiting for you

Yes, waiting here for you

Like the sea of tranquil desire

Like the sun with its heart on fire

Like a rose like a rose

Coming home coming home

Like a road like a road

Leading home




Lyrics & Music by Uncle John


Sing you a sweet song now momma

Sing you all the way back home

Sing through the wind and the rainbows

to the desert sun and the travelling show


Came down the highway

to get ready cause it's getting late

Past waiting mystery

to the heart's gateless gate

As a humming voice is heard

Flying free as a bird

The plan is set in motion

with a sound yet not a word


Looking back to where

the circle began

Where we come all this way

sifting through grains of sand

I wake up my eyes inside one morn

to find a clean new land


Sing past the edge of darkness and night

Sing through here and follow the light

Sing you a sweet song now momma

Sing you all the way back home


Get into your dream

Open up my mind

The dead are asleep

Rise and shine on time


Now the trail has been laid

And we've pulled out the spades

Heading straight to twilight day

But in sleep I have seen

There's more to this here dream

Now do you think you know what it really means

You can't fool the river

So don't push so hard

The dead are awake

Playing the hand and not the card


Like the sea devouring the tower

Those walls of time

Like the man who changes

 & learns to be kind

Like the sweet lonesome river

washing away the load

When the reaper brings the harvest

We'll be celebrating in our home


Sing you a sweet song now momma

Sing you all the way back home

Sing past the darkness & the cold

to the everlasting sun's bright glow

Sing you a sweet song now momma



Me & Casey McAllister

Lyrics & Music by Uncle John


Back when the time

That the wheel stood at ten

Me & Casey McAllister

Were brothers from the pen


Now Casey was a good man

Even though he had done time

Even when they treated him badly

He was always kind


Me & Casey would often dream

That there would come a time

When we could live like children

& let everything be so fine


We were playing in the sand

& running under the moon

His momma calls out to him

Said son be home soon


He said now hey momma

He said momma please listen

If I don’t watch my step

I’m gonna end up back in prison


Now this was two years ago

In the town of Ontario

When I jumped over the fence

And ran on down the road

And ran back into Casey

Who says listen here you bird

You might have jumped over the fence

But you can’t jump off the world


And we’d go & gather roses

By the cemetery trail

Rejoicing each & every day

That we’d been out of jail


Now me & Casey were brothers

But not in the usual sense

We travelled to the mountaintop

& shared time in the pen


One day we sat down with a deck of cards

I drew the king he made

But the queen of his heart

Soon came to his aid


Casey chased that lady

All the way to Frisco bay

And he came back again

With the sun shining through the day

When we found a balance

That we know we’d never lose

We woke up with the morning

Every day was ours to choose


Now me & Casey were brothers

But not in the usual sense

We travelled to the mountaintop

& shared time in the pen


We’d go riding in our chariot

And let our hearts shine

Now Casey was a good man

Even though he had done time



Poetry by Uncle John


He stood upon balanced rock

In the garden of the gods

A mountain peak in a twilight storm

In a castle with rock and rod

Wander into sunlight

 Climbing watching little bear

Sunshine peakin' through the clouds

In the cool big top air

And meet at the summit

Of the pyramid there

Powwow with Red Cloud

In the old roundup you steer

One fresh breath of air

And you know God is near

His handiwork is everywhere

Provides for the birds in the air

 And the feathers they wear


We climb a mountain to its elevation

Look to the center core of the eluviation

All along the wall of rock up and down the stairs

Cool wind whistlin' mountain top blowin' her hair


We can go back four centuries

Follow three rivers through the mountains and trees

Two sides of reality

One bright light of an idea suddenly

It is the cool of nighttime beat

The earth rose until the moon set under our feet


The bees and birds and butterfly

All know what to do

 Work and stay busy

Always be true

Willing to change for the best you can do


Red rocks and roses

Forever family bustin' poses

Who seen the sun set over the ocean

And the red rising sun in motion


Looking out round and rounder windows

On a ship sailing around the world

With an original creative and wise

 Independent girl

Able and mature

Kind to all nature

Paint a picture of her


We rode up and around and around

And around the mountain

And up and around and around

And around hula up

To where you can't climb any more stairs

You can't elevate to the caves in the rocks that are there

Peaceful and aware

Among the tree tops we feel in the cool mountain air





Songs by Uncle John

Mystery Rivers*

Sing You A Sweet Song Now Momma*

Poker Face*


The Lover

Let The Good Times Be *

Clues to Our Existence: Part 1 Metamorphosis*

Clues to our Existence: Part 2 Butterfly*

Hello to My Heart*

Home Sweet River

Peace to All Who Enter Here

Wedding Band*

Tombstone (The Fool´s Journey)

Me & Casey McAllister*

Gambling Man

Singing In The Band


The Moon

The Awakening Sun

The Journey=


The Dancer

Sunrise Lady*

The Hunter*

Twenty-two Roses+



=live reading@ Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley, California, October 21, 2019


I wrote these songs in the 1970´s, all of them inspired by the Grateful Dead, except for “Dune”, an interpretation of science fiction writer Frank Herbert´s book, Dune.

I am not a musician because I don´t have the ear for music. Whenever I been on stage with a guitar I had to rely on other musicians to tune it for me. Even with the new tuning devices, I still can´t get it consistently precise. I was fortunate to have professional vocal lessons that enable me to be a singer.

These 24 lyrics (light editing of the originals) will be published this year. The songs listed with an asterisk * are the songs I wrote music to and hoping to record these songs. I was inspired to learn the guitar by Chuck Berry. Back then, I saw him at the Golden Gate Racetrack in Albany California one afternoon and this simple man who travelled with a guitar, and relied on local high school musicians to be his backing band wherever he showed up, showed me what was possible. I learned to play “Promised Land”. The chords in his songs were easy to learn and the Grateful Dead added some of his songs to their repertoire. This encouraged me to write music to my poetry and lyrics. The arrangement+ for “Twenty-two Roses” is with Bob Weir.

--Uncle John, 3/15/21







When The Moment Comes

The embrace by Sergey Gorshkov, Russia

The Embrace by Sergey Gorshkov, Russia

2020 Wildlife Picture of the Year

He set up a camera in the remote wilderness and it captured this picture



Wolf Howling At Moon Photograph by John Lund

Photo by John Lund

It´s January 28, and I´m awake at 2 am when I hear this loud whining crying human sound that seemed to come from inside the house, then another sound that is like a growling animal sound, loud, but I´m still focused on the darkness inside, searching for the sound. Then I realize it´s coming from outside, and I open the blinds to look out the front window, and I see a wolf standing at the edge of the sidewalk in front of my door, his long snout angled up, howling at the moon. Wolves are very rare in California, but I know this one resides locally. I listen to the howling like it´s music and I´m surprised no one else is awake. Is this a sign? A few years ago there was a mountain lion in the same spot in front of my doorway. It reminds me of Aldo Leopold´s lesson about wolves in "Thinking Like A Mountain" that characterizes ecological thinking. "Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf." Having once believed that the eradication of predators, the wolf and mountain lion, would preserve the deer, but didn´t recognize the imbalance it caused, Aldo transformed his thinking to recognize the wolf with a sentiment of ecological integrity. He understood the nature and mystery of the howl. I listen for several minutes, amazed that the animal does not go away, and the howling is louder than any other animal I´ve heard outside. I ran to my room to get my phone to realize I could take a picture. I looked through the peephole of the door and he´s in the same position howling, and as soon as I open the door, the wolf runs away. I didn´t realize it was January´s Full Wolf Moon  until I read Bob Weir´s twitter feed when I got up:

"Welcoming in the first Wolf Moon of 2021! Occurring in Leo, it's said to be the luckiest and most prosperous day of the year. The sun shares its light with the generosity of Jupiter, marking new and bright beginnings..." 



Ain´t no time to hate

Barely time to wait






Hello to my Heart

Lyrics & Music by Uncle John

The movement of the wind
Turn on the night lights
The stars in the sky shine
In sight of the sights

Do you know that time is waiting to become eternity
To see you as happy as you can be
Doing what I can
For you when you are kind
Through all the changes in our mind
Thanks for sharing the time

Playing and bells ringing
Dancing and singing
You know who the Master is
I'm just a working man
Together through our work and laughter
We've been chasing the promised land

Now that we are family
With a vision of liberty
I say to you
Hello to my heart
Goodbye to all the misery

The prophesied time to come
For the troubadour of change
Makes its way around now
This world sure seems strange
The circle is complete
Back on the road
Across the great bridge
Like a boomerang coming home

With calm and patience and strength of all we are
I'm just a season to remember
And a long dream about a star
With a love song and a daydream
Vision of the Guardian of the Planet
And the source of our soul
Our life turns
The new world sung
And love
the masterpiece in the universe´s role

Dawn inside
Take me to your golden land
Put your mind in my hand
Look into your heart child and understand
Now that we are family
With a vision of liberty
I say to you
Hello to my heart
Goodbye to all the misery



"Es lo que es, pero se convertirá en lo que tú lo hagas".


"Northern Lights" by Jerry Garcia

Part 4
by Uncle John

North of midnight
Look at the moon like a kite
And the planets like taillights
As we go through the night of nights

Yeah it's really not the same
The only town and the only game
Full of heart and by name
Hidden like her mits firm as the flame

All the king's horses
Leading all the king's men
The wall of Jericho could not be raised

In the sky and in the breeze

Clouds over seas

Leaves rustlin´ trees

North of midnight
Fresh and clear view
Everything will be alright
Turn on the light
Hold the candle and watch the roses fall
Read the writing on the wall



The Same Sky


Lyrics & Music by Marcela Gándara


Uncle John @ Terrapin Crossroads Bar  with Terrapin Family Band

 All Along The Watchtower

Lyrics & Music by Bob Dylan


Canción de Grateful Dead
(Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia)
Translation: Tania Carrasco & Jhon Ramirez
Performed live in Spanish @
 Terrapin Crossroads 12/26/2018
Vocals, Uncle John
Guitars, Ross James & Alex Koford (Terrapin Family Band)
Keyboards, Jason Crosby (Terrapin Family Band)
Bass, Brian Hasrap (Casual Coalition)
Drums, Danny Luehring (Casual Coalition)

¨Box Of Rain" rehearsal 8/1/2020  for RAINDANCE play















22 Bob Dylan Quotes That Will Make You See Things In A Different ...

Bob Dylan´s album release 6/ 19/ 20


"Where do I stand spiritually?

Oh God!!! (with laughter)

Somewhere between Jesus and the devil."




Epilogue: ¨THE JOURNEY¨

@ Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley, California, October 21, 2019

Live videorecording

When your past becomes your path

& you come to answer what you ask

& the angels take you down to your grave

I´m not here to follow the parade


You begin to understand

That you were just a man

But to be a man is to stand in your doorway

I´m not here to judge

 in a world among friends

You know the beginning from where the song ends


Your journey leads us to wake

Up in the eyes of the world

You been working here so long

To fill our hearts with song

Help us to understand our rights

From what´s wrong


I look around for you

In all the places we have been

On a mysterious winding path

The gold of sunshine shining through

seven golden rings

with seven golden powers

that makes good men immortal

Same revelation and secret

Surrounding all of you

Child of magic

With words of wonder

You stopped the world

So the blind man can see

Grateful you shall always be


We are lifted up by the spirit

To soar like an eagle high above

On the wings of the power of love

¨Sometimes the light is all shining on me

Other times I can barely see

Lately it occurs to me

What a long strange trip it´s been¨



UNCLE JOHN'S BLOG  @ http://www.air.bz