Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Garcia’

Dylan’s Ghost- We Made a Video :)


Thank you to my Producer, Jeff Severson, who shot and edited this humble little video. Here’s a You Tube link.   Jeff gets very fancy-pants as the video unfolds.  At the second verse, the production is in all its splendor!   The song is from my album, Dylan’s Ghost- Songs of a Lifetime, available on I-Tunes, CD Baby, and Amazon Music.  And the song is dedicated to my wonderful, deep, beautiful, musical and meditative son, Charlie Garcia. Notes on the writing of the tune can be found here.




Dylans’s Ghost- Track 1- Songs of a Lifetime

February 16, 2016 5 comments

Album2- R&G

I’m blogging some background on the songs on Dylan’s Ghost.  Here’s the story behind the title tune. The photo above is me and my son, Charlie, performing in Reston, Virginia about six years ago, just a couple of weeks after the song “Dylan’s Ghost” was written.



The title song of the album is a tribute to my son and a recognition of what I’m sure happens with all parents when they have what I call the “full-circle moment.” That’s when all of a sudden you realize your child is all grown up and some of the things that used to inspire you, now inspire them too.

First of all…here’s Charlie:


This song was written in early 2009 in New York City. I had the great fortune of living in a really nice apartment on the Upper West Side. Here is the approximate location:

W.60th APT.jpg

I woke up one Saturday morning and it was snowing hard. There are few more beautiful views in this world than the Manhattan skyline in a snowfall. From 18 stories up. Just gorgeous.

Anyway, I checked my e-mail, and my then 18-year-old son, Charlie, who was living in Atlanta, had sent me an audio attachment. It was him singing Wagon Wheel– a song started by Bob Dylan and finished up by Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor, 40 years later and would become a country hit for Darius Rucker in 2013.

Charlie’s version, the Old Crow Medicine Show edition, was so sweet and sung with such passion. And I’m realizing as I’m hearing this, that my son has discovered Dylan and the whole genre with the “folk” pedigree now known as “Americana.”

So with Charlie’s voice echoing in the room and watching this beautiful snowstorm- a song was born.

Dylan’s Ghost
By Robert Garcia/Copyright 2015


It’s snowing sideways but I’m smiling on the inside
And I’ve got a warm heart thinking of you
Who knew?
It was a cold day like this when I brought you home
Wrapped in a blanket and a prayer
A lifetime to share

Now I’m listening to you sing
As the ghost of Dylan rings
From your soul
You make me whole

Someday you’ll know maybe sitting in a falling snow
What’s it’s like to watch something grow
So strong
So true
So you

The Southbound Train pulled into the station
Rocking like a Wagon Wheel
Anyway you feel
And I don’t know about the destination
I’m just along for the ride
Right by your side

Now I’m listening to you sing
As the ghost of Dylan rings
In your soul
You make me whole

Someday you’ll know maybe sitting in a falling snow
What’s it’s like to watch something grow
So strong
So true
So you

Producer, Jeff Severson’s guitar (and Dobro) work on this tune is just spectacular. The mix of the driving finger-picking that animates the song from the start is complimented perfectly by Jeff’s many guitar riffs weaving in and out like magic. It’s a small thing but I love the replication of the sound of a steam engine just as the line “The southbound train” starts the second verse coming out of Jeff’s ridiculously good guitar break.

The phrase “southbound train” has two origins. It’s the name of one of the best tunes Graham Nash ever wrote and it also symbolizes what would soon be Charlie’s trek south from Washington to Atlanta and finally, to Nashville, Tennessee where he currently resides.

You also now know why the train was rocking like a “Wagon Wheel.”


Dylan’s Ghost- Songs of a Lifetime is available for digital download at I-Tunes, CD Baby, and Amazon Music. Purists who would like a hard copy of the CD can contact me directly at and we’ll make arrangements to ship it out to you.

My Son: The College Grad

Charlie Garcia 2

After damn near two decades of day care, pre-school, private middle school, public high school and then busting his butt at the university level, real life beckons my son, Charlie Garcia, as the child I brought home wrapped in a blanket one cold January day 22 years ago, graduates with an Audio Engineering degree from Middle Tennessee State University this Saturday.

I know the economy still kind of sucks, Charlie. You’d be forgiven if you feel a little trepidation about entering the great American work force. But here’s why I know you’ll be alright, son.

I think you were 15 when it hit you; when music became not just a fascination but a passion. When it became a direction in life. And like the good, practical Capricorn you are, you dissected every element of what it would take to live your life dedicated to a creative craft. And you have stuck with it with dogged determination. You can count on one hand, my friend, the number of human beings who get a notion of what they want do with their life at that young an age.

That was about the time we met Alex, a real-life audio engineer working in Manhattan, who agreed to meet with us in Greenwich Village one Spring afternoon and who laid out the not-so-glamorous realities of life in the music business. Wrapping up a recording session at 4am and setting up for the next session at 7am. Making good money mixing rap, even if it was classical quartets that were the true love of his creative life. Ah- compromises.

I remember the portable, digital, recording “studio” I had in my apartment that you used to cut your very first mixing teeth, playing a blue telecaster you would later fix up and own as one of your main performance instruments.

I remember the song you wrote called City Lights, inspired by the twinkling beauty of New York City as seen from the 18th floor of a West Side apartment, a song that appropriately enough, was simply about the joy and angst of writing music.

I remember the young man who in his heart of hearts, wanted to be a record producer but fully understood that to get there, you have to know every aspect of music. You need to write and perform. You need to understand music theory and sound waves and acoustic properties. You need to engineer. You need to edit. You need to mix. You need to manage artists. You need people skills and you need the artistic vision to take your projects from inception to fruition.

And then there is the matter of fear- like that you feel none. Who else meets one of the top music producers in the business at a festival, gets his business card and just a few months later, happens to be in Athens, Georgia, rings him up and ends up sharing lunch with the dude who first recorded R.E.M.. Same with the way you are on stage and performing- no fear. Just tenaciousness…and joy.

This is why, in the long term, you will succeed, Charlie. Because the whole time I’ve known you, if you didn’t have the natural skill, then you worked your butt off to get where you needed to go. Whether it was intense physical training so you could be a goalie on your varsity high school soccer team. Or relentlessly practicing guitar, or piano, or drums or banjo or whatever instrument had most recently made its way into your soul.

And if you needed a little extra cash, you never had any qualms doing honest, physical labor, like tearing down walls and floors for a contractor. Success is not something that has ever been handed you. You have achieved it through sweat and effort. You have never lacked in the area of striving and desire.

I suppose there’s some aspect of genetics that plays a role in creating a young man with such character. But that doesn’t do justice to the effort you put into life every day. I know your incredible mom, Laurie Spencer, who raised you largely by herself while I recovered from one journalistic layoff or another, gets the lion’s share of the credit for the kind of man you’ve become- but even that doesn’t do justice to the fact it’s you who have learned life’s sometimes hard lessons and emerged as a strong, gentle, loving, balanced human being.

I suppose I should get some credit for supporting you emotionally and financially, and, yes, it gives me a measure of pride that you graduate with zero debt to your name. But it has been you who got through the drudgery and the glory of four years of college- growing, challenging yourself, discovering; open to all things professional, spiritual, personal.

So let me let you in on a little secret. Your future is unlimited. Your potential is enormous. But success? You have already earned it. You are already a successful man. And in achieving that, my friend, you have ultimately made me a success as well.

Congratulations, Charlie Garcia.

Brackets, What Brackets?

It was Bill Maher who recently said that if you’re going to show him your March Madness brackets, may as well also trot out the pictures of your kids and your dog too and just show him everything all at once that he’s completely not interested in. 

In that spirit…here’s a picture of my dog:


This is Suki, the dog.  A total ham and scam artist.  She has stopped peeing in the house and has started collecting bird feathers. 

Here’s a picture of my kid:


Charlie is currently blossoming and flourishing at Middle Tennessee State University where on any given night, besides studying very hard, he’s also performing or recording or writing music or engineering, or producing a song or a project or working on getting laid
entering into an enriching and communicative relationship with total sharing and trust.

Here’s a picture of my brackets:

Note how it starts out with so many schools in green colors.  These were winning picks.  I ruled my office pool for the 1st two rounds.  Notice how many schools in the later parts of the tournament are in red.  This is when I got obliterated and all the top college basketball programs in America completely let me down.

I won the office pool last year.  This year, I have been reduced to a laughing stock. 

Oh…and I hate Butler.  Well, “hate” is a strong word.   You can only be Cinderella once every ten years.  Two years in a row and you’re overstaying your welcome and ruining everybody’s brackets.

I hope VCU throttles you. Butler. Please.