RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Tuesday, October 31

SONG OF THE DAY: There's a Red-Neck In The Soul Band (kudzu'd)

In my 45 digging of the past couple years, this is by far one of my favorite tracks. Latimore is one of those dudes that white people seem unaware of but black folks of a certain age all know about. And this track is just wild as hell. Go ahead, Red.

Friday, October 27

SONG OF THE DAY: Mundian To Bach Ke (kudzu'd)

This song is perhaps the most wonderful song of the past 30 years, and the bizarre mix of culture that happens in post-hip hop world. Bassline and beat for an old Busta Rhymes song jacking sounds from the Knight Rider TV show, mixed into a new beat with heavy use of bhangra music by an British producer of Indian descent, so vocals are a Punjabi artist. That then slowed down, perhaps antithetical to the hypeness, but it unlocks clangier funk imo. People complain about there being no new music to do, or that sampling is stealing, but honestly the copyright laws that got enforced so that people couldn’t sample intricately and instead had to pay exorbitant prices for samples meant they were forced by legalities to sample more simplistically. We could’ve had weavers of wild style vibes running rampant the past 20 years, but nah, culture had to shut that shit down, due to legal reasons all based around somebody owning snippets of sound from the past (often times not even the artists who made the sounds). But the law can’t keep up with everything and chaos engineers are still out there, cooking up mad wild style shit all over, copyrights be damned. I guess it makes sense that my 45 copy of this song is some sort of probably not entirely legal bootleg reissue, too. Bootlegging is a greater Appalachian tradition anyways.

Thursday, October 26

SONG OF THE DAY: Fantasy (Bad Boy Remix) (kudzu'd)

Dreams are just goals without plans. That’s the type of thing fake self-help alpha male influencers say all the time. Fantasies are just experiences without the fuck it. That’s the type of thing I say when I’m pretending to be one of them. Doesn’t really matter if it’s clever or not, mostly just posting here for data miners to scrape through, who probably don’t even understand the word patterns. Maybe three or four other people will see it. That’s the nature of modern digital existence… we’re all just skipping stones into streams of 0s and 1s making little ripples that die in the reverberation of algorithms and hopefully one of the four people that accidentally see it give half a fuck. Progress.

Wednesday, October 25

SONG OF THE DAY: Scorpio (kudzu'd)

The last time I went on a wander for train tracks and used record shops, I went to one in a small town in North Carolina, but the dude running it didn’t take in store customers no more. He let me in to talk though and he had a shelf full of old 12-inch singles in the back that I saw, all faded and enticing. I stopped at an old school turned into giant junk market that I had passed too, because I figured he had to have a stack of 45s in there somewhere. The Record Gods smiled on me that day, because he did have one small shelf with a stack of like 75 or so. But in that stack I found a couple very clean copies of Yarbrough & Peoples “Don’t Stop the Music”, some clean Solar Records 45s (always a groove slowed down), and yet another scratchy but wonderful copy of Dennis Coffey’s “Scorpio”, the famous break that’s been backbeat to hip hop since the beginning of Kool Herc having parties. I’ve been meaning to sample my scratchy ass copy to send Boogie Brown to use in a beat, because in our modern digitized fake perfection realm, having a classic breakbeat looped from actual raspy ass vinyl copy from North Carolina junk store adds a missing spice to our cyber-life. There’s a reason all those old breakbeats were so popular, and I bet there’s more still hiding, maybe not in American music genres, because them old school DJs dug pretty deep. But stuff is still hiding. There’s always gems you can dig deeper for.
Anyways, I’m contemplating a drive to a big ass used record store this weekend, to take my luck with The Record Gods, and see if I’ve been living right. I feel like I have, but you never know what they have in store for you. I seem to be ruled by record stores close to me that don’t believe in The Record Gods no more, and I can’t stand those secular ass bougie colored vinyl spots. If that’s your thing, fine, enjoy your life (if you can afford it). But to me, true digging is always going beyond what’s known, and keeping it cheap as you can. Ballin’ on a budget… that’s a foundational tenet of hip hop actually, which for some reason as we get all this 50 years old hype, nobody talks about that aspect as much. Capitalism co-opted the fuck out of it, and is riding the vinyl resurgence as well right now, beating it like a sick horse to crank out seven colors of the same Taylor Swift shit. I still worship The Record Gods and bypass all that shit, and I’ll take my chances with dusty fingers in some fucked up spot a boy told me about a few months back. Also hoping The Train Gods bless me too, because probably gonna try to scribble a few dirtgods while I’m wandering.

Thursday, October 19

SONG OF THE DAY: Go Steady (kudzu'd)

Futurism always seems to be set in space, and in positions of authority, or at least controlling the destiny. I’ve been thinking about true funk Southern Gothicc Futurism is gonna be right here where I already am, not in space, not escaping the mess already created, but living with what’s left of the messes that got left behind. There’s never any science fiction about the kitchen workers on a spaceship, always the officers. Give me a thousand page novel of the random stormtrooper on the Death Star, fourth generation stormtrooper, don’t even like them fuckers but didn’t have no choices in life so just ended up being a stormtrooper, but before the Death Star got blow up, he could tell the vibes were off, and went awol with a few co-conspirators, and they’re living on one of them junk planets, just vibing, banging on old gas tanks to make a beat, building synthesizers out of spare parts, pitch shifted theremins the size of radio transmission towers with old cranes dangling a wrecking ball to adjust the sounds. That’s what I envision my Southern Gothicc Futurism to be, right here, down in the woods, or over there, too. My mother just passed, so I finally get to go back to the woods I fucked around in as a kid, and the old Chevelle carcass is there that I wrote all these myths about it being a time machine that goes to the Food City in Pikeville, Kentucky, so I can get with that environment again, too. The time machine is broke right now, but I can fix it. It’s gonna take a decade or so though, but I got time, even if I don’t.

Sunday, October 15

SONG OF THE DAY: The One Who's Hurting Is You (kudzu'd)

Looking for a home for my DJ Honeysuckle Vines cyborg resistance Southern Gothicc Futurist slowdies show. Need an in real life vibe where people are drunk off life, believe in Universal Magnetics, and are at least basically enculturated with the idea that not doing shit is a form of resistance to every human life getting mechanized by the grind until it's impossible to think of yourself as anything more than a checklist. Once I find that home (or multiple homes), we can properly begin to unlock the deeper tenets of Southern Gothicc Futurism, magnifying the Power of Lounge for more folks to realize what they already know but got buried underneath a bunch of bullshit.

Friday, October 13

SONG OF THE DAY: Foggy Mountain Morning

Rocking the vibes of a hued man feeling like they’re walking through fog half the time, but still scratching around this stone floating through space, trying to be at peace with the path they took. Rocking the vibes of the constant seeker that always has to dig around in the dirt, and knows the reaper will always lurk, but you can’t live a good life in fear of that. Just rocking the vibes of trusting the power of lounge will always shine a little warm shade (counter intuitive, but opposites are always true in the real world) on anybody halfway trying to keep themselves attuned to how the Universe bends regardless of the crooked axis this World all too often is spinning upon. Rocking the vibes of pitch shifted Ronnie Van Zandt vocals saying, “take your time… don’t live too fast” as the days pass, but I don’t bother counting them. There’s enough fog to work through already without getting lost in all those numbers that choke a mind to death even while still breathing.

Thursday, October 12

SONG OF THE DAY: Out Of My Reach

One day I'll have a G-body sitting on 20-inch chrome wheels, hopefully a garish paint job on it but even if not, I'll ride that rust all the way back into the grave. And I'll be riding down by the river on a Sunday afternoon, blasting the smooth old jams nobody ever knew but were perfect the whole time, just nobody made us know. And I'll sit there by the river, watching the train pass, riding the vibes that unclog your soul and keep the heart pumping love in all directions.

Tuesday, October 10


I think I am slowly working my way back to no social media. I miss the old internet, which was far more creative, kooky, and actually informative. I was reading about “cyberbalkanization” the other night, or how the internet has contributed to the fracturing of people into sub-groups, thus adding to the divisiveness of the physical world. And to be honest, the internet was plugging along just fine without that problem. I’m sure it existed, but it seemed like you were more likely to find weirdos you got along with more easily than things to be mad about. The algorithm-driven social media we’ve come to depend on has definitely mauled those divisions into different channels, and even Google search results have gotten so trash in recent months. I’m not sure if it’s an overload of bad information, algorithms pulling too heavily from certain sources, or a combination of it all. And weirdly, this stupid little blog has plugged along for well over a decade (maybe longer, I couldn’t figure out how to see the first post). We feel like we have to re-brand ourselves so often too, where if we have a new idea or new phase, we kill off all the old versions and create new ones, abandoning the layer of cringe that built a sediment of our digital existence (and an important one since every layer is built upon the previous ones). It all feels so fucked. But I still post various projects and posts here because it’s kinda like throwing a rock into a creek… it still makes ripples, even if mostly nobody sees that ripple. I guess the real difference is I don’t encounter many frogs by maintaining this page, which is a shame.

Saturday, October 7

SONG OF THE DAY: Creeping Away (kudzu'd)

My mother passed away this past week, and our relationship had been strained, but there was always love between us nonetheless. Family is always more complicated and nuanced than a simple read would tell you. I drove between her house and Keysville a couple times this week while down there, and one of my favorite memories was from there, when I went away on a trip to Oklahoma and Colorado years ago. I left in Farmville, with my dad taking me to where the bus station used to be at a gas station that's not there anymore near the hospital heading out of town south on 15. But I came back to Keysville for some reason. I remember some old lady got on the bus in Richmond and sat beside me, and when we passed the truck stop in Amelia, I remembered my grandma had lived down a road to the left there (which my uncle just told me last night around the fire exactly where that was down that road). And then riding 360 past where you turn off in Amelia to where my grandfather is buried, on through the outer edge of Crewe where my mom worked at Piedmont Geriatric Hospital back in the day, on through Meherrin to Keysville, where the bus dumped me off at the old commercial building by Sheldon's Motel that used to be a convenience store and ice cream parlor, and was an arcade at one point in there, and also a video store. I think at the time it still had the remnants of a country store, and now I don't know, it's an insurance office or something. But there was no pay phone there, so I had to walk up the road to the abandoned gas station, because that's where the closest pay phone was. (It's funny, somebody renovated the gas station and now it's open again, but there's no more pay phones anywhere.) I did the old collect call trick saying my name was "Raven just got home I'm at the old gas station before Keysville" to collect call my mom. I waited to hear her answer and hear who the call was from, then hung up before she could accept charges, although she knew better anyways. Then I sat down on my backpack there under a tree and waited 20 minutes for her to show up.
When I'd gotten past that spot in Amelia, I was telling the old lady how I'd ridden all the way from Denver, through the flatlands of the midwest once coming down off the Rocky Mountains, and then the ripples of Appalachia after all that midwestern flatland, and now these hills of Piedmont felt like I'd gotten home. I was singing Jim Croce's "Walkin' Back to Georgia" the whole time I walked from where the bus dropped me off in Keysville to the pay phone a mile or so away, and I kept on singing it, over and over, while I waited for my mom to show up. She was glad to see I'd made it back, and we went to the house I grew up in, and I might've lived there a couple days or a couple months, not sure. I came and went a couple times over the years, as did others throughout the family. But I remember that day, getting off the Greyhound in Keysville, the only person getting off or on at that stop, and walking my slow way to the pay phone, knowing she knew I was getting back that day and was gonna pick me up if she was home (or I'd keep walking towards her house another ten miles if she wasn't home), and just sitting there under that tree, waiting to see her car pull up.
It could be chaotic, our family, with all the things that went on, both accepted and ignored. But there was always a lot of love too. The past few years, because of some of the things she never improved on for me, which affected my kids, I didn't talk to her. That didn't mean she didn't do a lot that I'm grateful for; it just meant I hoped for more with some things, and expect more from myself, too. One of the folks we had to let know was my parents' old friend Wolf, and we couldn't get ahold of him, but one of my mom's friends drew me a map at the kitchen table, explaining the map, and me and my sister went to go find Wolf and let him know. The map was good, but misleading, because you need the story my mom's friend Sue told me as she drew it, to go with the map. One without the other didn't work. So my sister looked at it and it didn't make any sense, so I explained it to her, and she had lived back here once years ago for a little while, and we took one wrong turn but knew enough to know it was a wrong turn pretty quickly, so made our way back to the right path.
Sue had said about where Wolf lived, "He's got a trailer, and then there's a second trailer, and he's got a third trailer there, too." And at the time, I thought, "Why didn't she just say it was three trailers?" but when we got there it wasn't three trailers at all, but a trailer Wolf lived in, but he had another trailer beside it, and there was a third trailer. She had actually described it perfectly, so that if she said he had three trailers, I would've missed it, but saying it the way she did, I knew it as soon as I saw it. We went in, me hollering, "Hey!" like my daddy had always showed me growing up, announcing your presence in a loud but friendly way, making sure folks knew you were there in a good way, but making sure they knew. Neither me or my sister had seen Wolfie in years, and he looked older but he looked good to be honest, and his home seemed perfect to his ways. We told him, and he was of course said, saying, "That's my oldest confidant." As we were standing around, talking, he shared a memory of me being a toddler, and my folks and him doing acid with somebody else in a VW bus that had a woodstove in the back, and while they were riding around, I touched the stove and burned myself. Wolf laughed, "It didn't burn you bad, but you didn't touch it again."
I think sometimes coming from environments that aren't what folks consider normal, the chaotic parts get focused on too much. But it was always full of love, lots of lots of love. I think you need all that love to survive some of these more chaotic environments folks are born into. I didn't forget all that love, but I know I was angry about the other parts of it sometimes. It's been good to go back home and remember all the love that's there, too, even if it was chaotic at times. Without all that love, I wouldn't be the chaotic good person I am today.
I know my mom still read these things for years, even after we didn't talk so much, then didn't talk at all. She'd leave comments sometimes. My sister does that too. These are stories that don't get told, for whatever reason. The "normal" world only likes them packaged a certain way, for their own gawkish enjoyment. And our world only tells these stories around bonfires or truck beds, and even then we leave out some of the stuff that nobody wants to say out loud. I need to be better about sharing these stories, in a way that's true to where I'm from, but in a way that also tells the whole story, in a respectful and loving way. Anything else starts creeping away from the truth of it all. And that truth is never simple, and it never will be, because life isn't either, if you're truly living it.