free today


life is a mysterious and beautiful journey and 2018 has been no exception. i’ve had the gift of births in the form of a grandson, a new album, a new future and a new outlook. truth has emerged in my relationships, new and old, and justice has been served in a triumph over those who sought to rewrite my history and my essence. it’s taken a little courage, but i’ve stood my ground and the year closes on what feels like a victorious outcome.

i’ve seen old friends from long ago and learned about courage and humility. i’ve seen the survivors of the malibu fires and learned about resilience and hope. i’ve seen the privileged carry those less fortunate because it was their human duty. i’ve learned an awful lot about humanity in 2018.

i am a truth seeker and i found truth in 2018. now that truth has gained such a powerful foothold in my life, i feel ready to move into love, which i know from my dad is the most important thing of all things in life.

after 63 years on this cosmic sideshow, i’m beginning to learn the joy of giving and its place in a life of love. here again, courage is required because giving isn’t always reciprocated and we can suffer the consequences of unrequited love, especially if we give conditionally.

i feel so fortunate to have spent thanksgiving with my son and daughter-in-law and my new grandson at their home in new orleans. i think it will remain my favorite thanksgiving for some time to come. as destiny would have it, i will spend christmas with my late best friend’s partner in tucson, making more new memories with the beloved of the man who had the greatest impact on my life of anyone next to my dad. and they were born on same day. finally, i will see the new year in in provincetown, with a very dear friend who i hadn’t seen in many, many years until recently, who was part of my early years in music and life at large, and who has led a powerfully profound and courageous life.

in late january i return to new orleans and malibu, where i will stay in my beloved point dume at the home of another dear friend and take in the spectacular view above, which i drew from imagination as a child, but discovered as my real heaven on earth 10 years ago. it seems like i’ve been there for a lifetime, and in a way i have.

finally, the van gogh brothers wrap mixes on “free today,” our 14th full-length album during the month of december. the new album features 12 tracks including a new version of “sacred wheel” featuring the legendary scarlet rivera singing lead vocal. in january, the van gogh brothers return to vincent’s worcester on saturday the 12th with the full band and andy plaisted returning on drums. incredibly, we are also working on new material again. i am deeply grateful to have the continued inspiration to write.

happy holidays to all. until next time, as bob dylan said, “i’ll see you in the skies above, in the tall grass, in the ones i love…”


John Cate