Welcome to my web site. Here you shall find music, food and laughter (pretty much in that order). As you listen to my music remember these quotes, which I keep in my studio for inspiration:
"What I do is me: for that I came." Gerald Manley Hopkins
"Music touches feelings words cannot." Anonymous
"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt." William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure (I, 4)
"Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!" J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
November 14, 2013
I’d like to pay tribute to a man whose name you’ve never heard before. But, believe me, he deserves this tribute.
Late last month came word that Chuck Klieman, Thoracic and Endovascular surgeon at our hospital, died in a diving accident in Hawaii. Our hospital was, to put it gently, devastated.
Of course, none of you knew the man so let me explain that 1) he was an all-pro surgeon and 1) the word unavailable simply wasn’t in his vocabulary. Unless he went on vacation you could call him any time of the day or night and, no matter what the circumstances, he’d reply “I’ll be there”.
I don’t even want to think about how many people Klieman put back together in his lengthy career.
There’s another word that just wasn’t in his vocabulary. That word is panic. Charles Klieman got about as nervous and jittery as a bucketful of collapsed matter. You’d accomplish more if you tried to scare a brick (You know, red? Oblong? Makes a good wall?).
A lot of people think that their favorite artist or band is cool. Well, if you really want to see cool you should meet many of our physicians. Klieman held his own with the best of them.
Need an example? Our hospital is an inner-city trauma center and we get numerous gun shot wounds, stabbings, etc. One day a while back Dr. Klieman was called in emergently to help with a patient who was seriously bleeding. Some bleeders are trivial. Some are serious. This one was a four-alarm fire. I was involved because, as head of the blood bank, I had to keep an eye on inventory. So there I am shuttling between the lab and the OR where Klieman and Dr. Maxine Anderson (another physician way up there on the cool chart) are, no exaggeration, elbow deep in blood.
As I rushed back to the OR from checking on the status of the blood bank I literally stopped dead in my tracks. There’s Chuck Klieman, standing next to the front surgery desk, arms folded, as calm as if he were watching a weather report on TV.
I managed to say, “Is the patient OK?”
Chuck got a slight grin on this face. “The patient’s fine,” he said.
“You sewed up the bleeder?”
Still grinning he said, “Oh, yeah.” We could have been discussing what the cafeteria was going to serve for lunch. All I could do was salute. Instead of going to the morgue the patient walked out of the hospital.
When he wasn’t taking people apart and putting them back together again to keep them breathing he loved to paint. As I write some of his artwork hangs in our hospital.
Remember the classic movie, It’s A Wonder Life? Clarence, the guardian angel allows George Bailey to see what everything would have been like if George had never been born. At one point Clarence tells him, “Strange, isn’t it? Each mans’ life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
When Jeffrey Lucey died he left behind a mighty big hole. All of the over 4,000 American soldiers who died after our invasion of Iraq left behind huge holes. When my father dies several years ago he left a terrible hole behind. And when Charles Klieman left this earth he left behind an incredibly big hole.
But he’s still there as far as I’m concerned. He’s right there standing next to the surgery desk after having put out another impossibly big fire, grinning, as calms as if he were painting a portrait instead of snatching another soul back out of the reach of death.
Along with unavailable and panic, there’s one more word that will also never apply to Chuck: replaceable.
Producer-Director Nina Gilberti is currently working on a new documentary film, entitled “When Jane & Johnny Come Marching…Homeless”. It deals with the myriad problems faced by our veterans after they return from war: PTSD, suicide, drug addiction, homelessness and more.
The promo for this powerful movie can be found at http://www.jamontoastproductions.com/wordpress/. Click on “trailer~promo” and follow the link/password provided. Among the scenes you will witness as part of the promo is a portion of an interview with Kevin and Joyce Lucey describing the death of their son, Jeffrey.
Also, a Facebook page for the film is now up: https://www.facebook.com/pages/When-Jane-Johnny-Come-Marching-Homeless/118167492759?ref=hl.
Needless to say, the promo alone is worth far more than 10 minutes of your time.
I would like to tell you all about a young man named Jeffrey Lucey. The third song on my new album is called “One Falcon Down”. The song is about Jeffrey.
One day, several years ago, I was driving to work just like any of you would be. I had the radio on and was channel surfing. That morning I happened to stop at Amy Goodman’s morning radio program “Democracy Now”. It was just before the seven o’clock hour when I caught the tail end of Amy interviewing a husband and wife about the death of their son. The description was so harrowing, so unforgettable that I ended up looking up the interview on the “Democracy Now” website shortly afterward.
It turns out Amy had been interviewing Jeffrey’s parents, Kevin and Joyce Lucey. Their son Jeffrey had been part of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and had been present during the first few months of the occupation. To be brief, Jeffrey returned home, developed a terrible case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and ended up taking his own life in June of 2004.
Three years later during the holiday season of 2007 I found myself writing a song about Jeffrey and what had happened to him. It’s important to note that I had been vehemently against the war and not just because the occupation began to go poorly. I was totally against it before it began, when it began and after it began. I had been totally unconvinced by the Bush administration’s case for Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction and was just as unconvinced by the allegation of collusion between Hussein and Osama bin Laden over September 11, 2001. I mixed Jeffrey’s story together with my own anti-war sentiments. The result was “One Falcon Down”.
Recently, I have had the honor to be in contact with the Lucey family. I hope to write more about this subject and the problem of PTSD that is currently plaguing the American military in the future…because Jeffrey was just like any other young man. As I wrote in the song, he could have been anybody’s brother or child.
The Press Release has gone out!
Orange County folk-rock singer-songwriter Garrett Sawyer is pleased to announce the release of his new album “Chronicles and Vanity,” containing a tribute to a fallen soldier.
Also I now have a Facebook page! Come and take a look: http://www.facebook.com/GarrettSawyerMusic
Much is happening! Just a few days ago I gave my final approval for the master recording of my new album, “Chronicles And Vanity”. As soon as the graphics are ready it will go to the printer. When I get the copies back the process of releasing the album will begin!
They’re heeeeeeeeeeeeeere!! The album is ready and I’ve already copyrighted the album. The official release date of the album is February 15, 2013. Launch sequence has been initiated!