“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers was playing on the record player that day. Appropriate. Also, just a week or so later I would leave that guitar stand in Wisconsin.

“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers was playing on the record player that day. Appropriate. Also, just a week or so later I would leave that guitar stand in Wisconsin.

I’m part of the New American Prairie style of singer-songwriter. If anyone asks, tell them I’m no folksinger, I’m a New American Prairie singer.

Upon the release of my last album, “Three Black Crows,” I said New American Prairie was filled with resilience, quietness, the routine of daily life and the transcending spirit of faithfulness that keeps us hanging in there. Or something like that.

I’m about to set the plan in motion for two new collections of songs. Both in the New American Prairie style, because that’s my thing. Only now, three years later, the clouds have lifted, it was a good year for rain, the crop is coming in easy and the skies are bluer than they’ve ever been.

Instead of fighting with the land, there’s peace in the land. I hope you’ll notice the feeling of openness. You’ll still hear the howl of the wind across the plains, but it’s sweeter. It’s the Sweetheartland.

It is the Sweetheartland. I’m not saying there’s no struggle, or that everything is perfect. We were never going for perfect. In fact, we were never going for happy all the time with nothing to do.

Over here we’re going for wholeness. The whole complete human experience with joy and laughter, frustration and stumbling from a heart where all the pieces are knit together as they should be. You got pieces of your heart floating somewhere outside where they belong? Take them back. They’re your’s. They belong together, all knit as one, no matter what they’ve been through. Take them back.

I think the New American Prairie sound was “shouting at the north wind” the last time we were heard about it. This time she’s standing in the north wind and calling a truce. Fighting looks great on camera, but it’s rubbish for daily life. For me, the battle proved futile about a year ago and ever since I stopped fighting (with myself mostly) life has gotten so much better.

Yes, I still cry in sadness, yes I still get scared facing the unknown, yes, I make mistakes and seek forgiveness and it is all one glorious exercise in feeling everything, walking through everything and giving myself the grace and love and permission I never had before to live in the moment.

Being nice to yourself is the sound of the New American Prairie. An unapologetic celebration of life filled with joy and sorrow, triumph and failure is the what the New American Prairie sounds like. It took me so long to hear it, but I do now.

Hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll be launching a new Kickstarter campaign on Friday. From the REAL HOPE DUNBAR. The one who sings the New American Prairie songs, who quit fighting and started really living, who is unafraid of brokenness, who is unafraid of pure joy and deep love, unafraid. Unafraid. That would be a good way to describe the New American Prairie sound of 2020.

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