And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with joy and singleness of heart Acts 2:46
So, the Common Ground Sound project is not really about meat, or beef, or cows. But then, really it is because it has to be. After all, that is the linchpin of the story. So, I will cover this subject. Just so we're clear though, Common Ground Sound is about ideals much greater than the topic of beef. But, let me oblige the curious minds regarding this subject, specifically in relation to the story of my family - because I've been asked, ya know.
When I got diagnosed with (technically) Stage IV ovarian cancer, food suddenly became an extremely important subject. I literally sat in El Vaquero one night with members of my cattle ranching family and declared that I was now a vegetarian. Donna Sue, (my mother) shot me a look and blurted out her knee-jerk response, "Good Lord! Don't say that out loud in here!" She was half joking and half panicked by my overtly inappropriate behavior. There was one problem with me being a vegetarian - I love, and I mean I LOVE beef! So, my vegetarian phase lasted only through the rough part - the intense healing part of that cancer journey. To this day, I highly recommend that for anyone dealing with serious illness. Most illness is just asking you to clean up your internal systems and reset things in your body so you can heal. So, am I saying beef is "dirty" if you need to stay away from in it in order to "clean up" your system? Well, yes. I am.
Picture, if you will, cattle standing on heaps of their own waste for days on end, week after week, while fattening up in a feed yard ("feed lot"). It's not really a pretty sight and certainly not an appetizing one. It is a sight that will make you question the chosen methods of producing and processing beef in America. It is a question worth asking. But, if you're like me, you'll find yourself humbled by the overwhelming complexity, scale, and scope of that answer. Stay tuned and I'll point you in the direction of people who know alot more than I do on the subject. Then, I invite you to draw your own conclusions.
"Four Down" is the latest song released from the concept album, although it's really more of a poem than it is a song. It depicts the "feedlot debate" between my grandfather and the other cattlemen of our family. You can listen to it here: FOUR DOWN