Join, Or Die. 

Join, Or Die.

An Album in Protest

Doomscroller Folk Music

Revelations 3:16
"So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

Over the summer of '20 I spent time alone, thinking on my past and recognizing the deep cognitive dissonance I had cultivated during my upbringing as an evangelical Christian. The result was a collection of poetry and guitar that is an effort to unpack and repack my philosophy and be bold to say that burden which weighs so heavily on my heart. I have traveled to the wild spaces of my past and stand before you whole and new.

Join, Or Die demands answers for the spectres that haunt our adult life. From climate grief to Christian culpability in the oppression of the least, from nationalized slavery to the American Dream being based on ancient genocide and theft, this album journeys towards the synthesis of something once thought impossible: the actualization of justice in the modern age.

The following is an in-depth explanation of the thoughts and writings behind each song.

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A Heart is a Heavy Burden 

  • The title of this EP was inspired by a line from Hayao Miyazaki's film "Howl's Moving Castle." 
  • This EP speaks to the pain that come with caring and the struggles of righteously seeking what is good while trying to maintain harmony in your immediate communities. 
  • There's no way to know what will happen, but seeing what's going on it's hard not to compare the methods of the opposing groups in our country and see a pattern in the history of the actions of an overpowered executive branch (Police) that's been wielding greater and greater unchecked power, often towards the already historically oppressed and disenfranchised with no repercussions. 
  • Ultimately this documents my journey through the pain of slowly and truly connecting with the world after being withdrawn from it as a child. The tracks travel: 
    • 1. Granite City, IL - through the stories of my family's youth 
    • 2. Pity - Reframing my disgust and self-hatred as pity for what I've been 
    • 3. Prayer for the Reformed Hoarder - Trying to unpack my understanding of emotional baggage as old worn out luggage I've been keeping in the attic 
    • 4. Alvarado, TX - Trying to see the beauty and glow during the formative years of my adult life even amidst its hangups 
    • 5. A Heart is a Heavy Burden - Finally, wrapping up with this track about what might need to be done for the good of the future even if we carry the weight of our mistakes with us through and beyond. 
      • At the end of the EP is a reprise of the opening track set in a cheeky, a capella traditional folk band style to lighten the mood and send the listener away laughing rather than just commiserating

  • Secret Pre-Release Listening Link
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Granite City, IL 

Listen Now!

This song follows the stories of my family. Growing up my mother's family was fractured and combative for ways I couldn't understand. I learned my grandfather died 5-6 years before I was born. Over the 9 years I lived with my grandmother, I absorbed the stories of our family (from her perspective) and now have put them to song. 

First verse: Growing up with my grandma in southern Missouri.

Second Verse: Learning of how the Great Depression shaped my grandmother's childhood, how she married young and started a family that was then fractured by Robert Soles Sr's death to mesothelioma (from exposure to asbestos.) 

Outro/Bridge: My own views and what I can imagine the well-pressed men who presented my grandmother with arbitration/settlement were saying through the thin veneer of their concern (for their stock options.)


Granite City, IL 

I don’t see what all the fuss is about 
There was always plenty of food in the pantry 
So many ways for us to spend our time 
As long as we spent it alone 

My grandmother told me stories 
Of apples for pennies fresh from the street corner 
And how her husband had bees in the back yard 
As the fruits of his labor filled his garden and lungs with blood 

For our bloody gods 
Keep the stock option over the broken homes 
Settle fevers with a fresh cut of sod 
Fill the hole in your heart with your children’s children

Wild Spaces 

Listen Now!

A man, his guitar, and his quest to find the wild spaces in his life. 

1. Doing what he can to save the bees and other pollinators. 

Oh Honey Please, Do It For The Bees 

G. C 
There’s new flowers in the field 
Am D7 
As the spring earth starts to yield 
Food for the bees fruit of the soil 
And y’know what they’ll get for their toil 

Am. D7 
Their tiny brains all full of roundup 
G. Fdim(?). E7 
Dandelions just weeds to you and me 
To soon we’ll only hear the sound of 
Silence buzzin through the trees 
So stay your hand domestic gods 
G. E7. A7. D7 
Try to see the beauty past your pasture of sod 

And won’t you 
Oh honey please do it for the bees 
Oh honey please do it for the bees 
Oh honey please do it for the bees (and other pollinators) 
Oh honey please do it for the bees 

So if you love the way honey glistens 
And preventing the collapse of our ecosystems 
All it takes is planting flowers 
And making your voice heard to the powers 

Whether they’re neighbors or congresspeople 
Tell them that the future of our food is past the brink 
Or bring your case to your weekly steeple 
If he made them all why should we make them all extinct 
And if my words sound off or odd 
Know every spray of poison spits into the face of God 

And won’t you 
Oh honey please do it for the bees 
Oh honey please do it for the bees 
Oh honey please do it for the bees (and other pollinators) 
Oh honey please do it for the bees 

2. Finding his peace in the woods of Central Oregon, working in the Deschutes National Forest at Camp Tamarack. 

Forest Bathing 

Never was the one to take the criticism lightly 
In fact you’d find me lying awake on my pillow nightly 
Always something on my mind 
Always something on my heart 
Always words caught in my mouth 
As I shut it tightly 

So as the hours pass the darkness lasts til day comes brightly 
And the fading thoughts they burn away like dreams of flying 
Carried away on the wind 
Float away and then begin 
Thankful for another day 
A bit of fright and then it’s 

Off to the woods without the fear and 
Into the lake as the icy clearness 
Soaks out the world with joyful tears 
And shivers bring out a moment dear 

So inbetween the seasons counting reasons til I’m sleeping 
Often finding hopeful dreams of mine hard to believe in 
There’s no shame in feeling frail 
Find the center of the gale 
Never worry if you fail 
Depend on those who take you 

Off to the woods around a fire 
Awakening hope and true desire 
Sun, pine and smoke are not a liar 
Bringing our spirits ever higher 

3. A song dedicated to his godson and the future of all children who will come and who have come before. 

Murphy’s Song 

I wanna lay in the woods 
I wanna hike every mountain 
I wanna climb up the trees 
I wanna smell the blossoms 

I wanna feel the leaves 
And hear the ground crunch underfoot 
I wanna see and believe 
In the things I know I should 

I wanna see the love 
For that which gives us life 
Whether it comes from above 
Or in the peace that’s in the night 

I wanna see the moon 
I wanna see the Stars 
That means I wanna live 
Outside the land of cars 

I wanna walk out to the sea 
Where the waves crash on the shore 
I wanna be the next of kin 
To aspire for something more 

I wanna swim in the lakes 
Fed by the glacial melt 
But they’re getting pretty deep 
Much like the fears I’ve felt 

This is the song of your children 
This is the song of your grandparents 
This is the song of anyone who has ever gone out of their way to love 
They are watching you 
They are hoping for you 
They are wanting you 
To make it right 

Please make it right 
Doesn’t have to be fair 
But it could be right 
Please make it right 

This is the last time 

We’re gonna ask nicely 

I wanna see the moon 
I wanna see the Stars 
That means I wanna live 

4. A celebration of the lush, icy cold Oregon watershed. 

Sahalie & Koosah 

Green boughs swayin 
Dripping sunlight filter dew 
Those mossy highways 
And bending flowers pointing towards the truth 
Steep river rushing, rushing through 
It’s that wide eyed, white cap misty morning with you 

Oh Oh Sahalie 
And Koosah, south of Santiam 
On the McKenzie 
On down to Blue Pool, coldest water I can stand 

And I see the cloud 
That tells me you’re still heaving 
So close to God 
Almost got me believing 
We’ll go down to Deer Creek 
It’s murky but it’s steaming 
Crispest breeezes blowin 
Can’t even think of leaving 

Leaving Sahalie 
And Koosah, south of Santiam 
On the McKenzie 
On down to Blue Pool, coldest water I can stand 

5. Finally, a lifelong quest of finding the wild spaces of his life no matter where he finds himself. 

Wild Places 

Get you to those wild places 
Let your legs carry you into the unknown 
Exit all of your daily races 
And face the mystery that you’ve been shown 

I remember nineteen, living what I thought was the dream 
Concrete box all my own, vintage carpet and shared showers made a home 
But Sunny Texas made me seek the shade 
I found a city park and considered the offer it made 
Follow the stream around the bend just outta sight 
No one here it’s just me and all the leaves, a tiny 

Wild space 
Let my curiosity reap what it sown 
Found some rest in a secret place 
A way for my weary mind to atone 

I remember being only nine 
A six year old in tow her eyes shine just like mine 
The trees in Ozark, the moon over our head 
It’s been many many hours and we’re overdue for bed 
Trails fresh cut by our uncle still oozing with their name 
Little did we know someday they would be tamed 
Til then we’ll run and fill the forest with our fame 
Two wild children discovering the same 

In our wild spaces 
Across lake table rock the stars and moon shone 
Through those hills we did hasten 
Never worried about our hunger never listened for a phone 

Now I’m nearly thirty 
Been so long since I’ve been anything but good and dirty 
Perched on a bus outside Bend, feeding the fire 
Living for the outdoors, in the woods, on top of tires 
Feel the cascades, reaching juniper and stone 
Smell the snowy wind that beckons you on to a 

Wild space 
See how the land around you has grown 
Shed your contrived social graces 
Lose your shoes for a moment and feel your home