…is a reminder. Maybe a remnant of something once crucial that’s been lost, accidentally misplaced or broken. A once mission-critical ideal that made our our lives more beautiful but quietly vanished – gradually usurped, swallowed up in the march to fame, money and empires.
R. Sales is from the very old school that believes trying to lift yourself above others can be a fatal mistake. It can destroy the beautiful, communal mind in process – and for Sales, finding and growing our beautiful mind is the whole purpose of human existence.
This world view definitely runs against the road spikes of modern times, but it’s the central figure in the story of his life – which includes being invited to play at the first Woodstock (a hilarious story), writing music for the Grateful Dead, extremely popular custom songs for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” music for PBS, Apple, Nike, Greenpeace, producing Wavy Gravy, Bhagavan Das, John Fahey, backing up Chuck Berry, performing at seminal antiwar / civil rights / enviro protests in Washington DC, Portland, Oregon and LA, sharing the stage with The Ramones, recording Miles Davis live, was a closing performer at “The Memphis Country Blues Festival 1969” with most of the surviving giants of the Delta Blues musicians (now a movie, “Memphis 69”). He was offered record deals and blew ‘em all off.
Moving up the food chain wasn’t a priority for Sales. Keeping the unruly, holy blood moving was, but the slave catcher of ego/fame chased him wherever he went. Moving to an island off the west coast of Canada to raise organic blueberries and restore the farm’s forest and wetlands was an effort to finally elude the limelight and live an honest life. But soon after he and his family moved there, he performed at the big folk festival on the island. It was phenomenal – and generated a full front page photo of him on the Comox Courtney Reporter. So? He immediately canceled himself and focused on his lovely daughter, Hayley Sales. They produced two hit records in Canada (Universal Music). He toured with her. The song she cowrote with Sharon Stone (produced on the farm) has become a hit. She just completed a movie with Bruce Willis.
He’s emerging now because he thinks the world is in very deep trouble. He believes in songs and the power of an honest song to heal and resurrect broken things. If he has to endure exposure to get the songs out there, so be it.
He’s seventy three. He feels pretty safe now.