Archive for April 2015

“Ask A Reverend” Periscope

April 17, 2015


I’ve been trying out a new app under the Twitter umbrella called Periscope – using the tagline: Ask A Reverend” and my twitter account: @johnnyleestiles. It’s live video streaming of whatever happens to be happening at any given moment (yup, some of which can be pretty mundane). But every now and then you catch some great sunsets, strolls along Venetian streets, or some crazy shepherd bringing in the flock from a pasture in the UK. Even if you don’t have the app you can watch what’s streaming online, here: …for now, at least. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Tribute to “Doc” West – As Long As The River Flows Free

April 14, 2015

When my dad died a few years back, I inherited a whole stack of sheet music – songs he’d played in bands growing up, songs he’d written, even a love song for mom.

But buried deep at the bottom, were a dozen or so songs written by dad’s friend, “Doc” West, most of which were never published or even set to music, as far as I know. I have the originals, yellowed a bit with time, hammered out on a typewriter.

This song I have recorded (written in 1975) is about a young man growing up under the burden of violence and racial tension. I can only imagine that the author (Dean was his real name) struggled with the same questions of identity, depression, or possibly mental illness that Johnny Ray Eagle did.

Doc was the first person I ever knew who committed suicide. He was my next-door-neighbor at the time, and ended his own life a couple years after writing these songs. I spoke with his widow a couple years ago and asked if it would be okay to write some music to go along with them. She gave me her blessing to put some of these songs out there. So I did.

I hope you enjoy it. But even moreso, if you or someone you know has had suicidal thoughts or concerns please seek help. A great place to start is the NAMI website (National Alliance on Mental Illness) right here:

Makin’ Music

April 1, 2015

I’ve been writing music again.  Here’s a song I recorded this week. More on SoundCloud.