The reviews are pouring in!

We’re very humbled and slightly embarrassed by all the attention we’ve been getting lately. It’s very unexpected to receive this kind of praise when we’re just doing what we love.

“This album, from the Captain Ledge Band, introduces some important new and original material to the band’s live set and, in this listener’s view, solidifies Jeana and Cliff Downing’s position as one of the best Americana acts working today. Rumors of the Great White Skunk is one of the best roots-oriented releases in recent memory.”

-review by Jodi Marxbury

Read the entire review here

2018 IMEA Bluegrass Album of the Year

We’re very honored to have our album “Rumors of The Great White Skunk” named Bluegrass Album of the Year by the International Music and Entertainers Association at their annual awards ceremony held on June 16, 2018.

A special thanks for all the musicians on the album. Tony Adams, Greg Gash and Justin Joslin from Cliff and Jeana Downing.


We can’t save the entire planet… but

The Mulberry River is a natural wonder. It flows through the southern edge of the Ozarks through some of the most stunning country in the the Midwest United States. Visitors to the area not only enjoy canoes and kayaking on the river but also some excellent fishing. The wildlife in the area is nothing short of amazing and the scenery is breathtaking at the very least.

For all those reasons and a long list of others we are always honored when asked to return to play for the volunteers that visit the area every fall to help clean up and preserve the Mulberry River.

But the clean up isn’t the only awesome thing that goes on during this annual event. Over the last 3 years we’ve made some incredible friends and reconnecting with those people is a complete joy in and of its self. They are an incredible group of musicians hidden away in this remote part of central Arkansas and we are always honored when they include us and call us friends.

We know that not everyone that wants to help can attend and that’s OK. Let this event be a reminder to you that no matter where you live you can volunteer and make a difference that will be noticed by everyone that visits where you live. Together we can all make a difference and the annual Byrd’s Mulberry River Clean Up is all the proof you should need to be inspired to make a difference in your world!

The music starts at noon at Byrd’s Adventure Center located on the Mulberry River outside of Ozark Arkansas. There will be prize drawings along with some great bands in this mini festival . We’ll be taking the stage right at sunset (6:50pm) and playing until 7:50….. We’ll also be whipping out a giant pot of our now famous “Friendship Stew” so stop by our campsite after our set, share a meal with us and if you’re really feeling good bring your instrument of choice a jam with us. We can guarantee it will be a great way to end another awesome day alongside the Mulberry River.

Learning to Dance!

Just saw this and had to post it. It’s credited to Keanu Reeves but who really knows for sure. After all it is the internet…..

Keanu Reeves writes.. “My friend’s mom has eaten healthy all her life. Never ever consumed alcohol or any “bad” food, exercised every day, very limber, very active, took all supplements suggested by her doctor, never went in the sun without sunscreen and when she did it was for as short a period as possible- so pretty much she protected her health with the utmost that anyone could. She is now 76 and has skin cancer, bone marrow cancer and extreme osteoporosis.
My friend’s father eats bacon on top of bacon, butter on top of butter, fat on top of fat, never and I mean never exercised, was out in the sun burnt to a crisp every summer, he basically took the approach to live life to his fullest and not as others suggest. He is 81 and the doctors says his health is that of a young person.
People you cannot hide from your poison. It’s out there and it will find you so in the words of my friend’s still living mother: ” if I would have known my life would end this way I would have lived it more to the fullest enjoying everything I was told not to!”
None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.”

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. All you have is today and you can choose how to use this moment. Live it in misery and the rest of the day will be miserable. Live it excited and happy to be there and the rest of your day will follow that path.

I never really thought about the phrase “live in the moment” until recently and I think I’m beginning to understand the wisdom of that statement.

Go enjoy a festival this weekend. If you’re in our area then head out to Harmony in the Hollow near Russellville, Arkansas. You’ll get 37 bands for 30 bucks, free camping, meet new friends and you can spend the weekend living in the moment. In fact, if you make it out let me sweeten the pot for you. Come find The CLB campsite (our bus won’t be hard to miss), find Captain Ledge and tell me that I owe you a t-shirt and a CD. I’ll give you one absolutely free just for letting me know you read this post.

And if you can’t make it….

Then live this moment like it is your last because you’ll never regret the things you did, you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do!

Live, Love, Laugh and Dance like no one is watching!

The Summer of Peace and Love!

So, did you click on this because of the title? I hope so and I hope that it means that Peace and Love are something you are very interested in. I know I am and there are a lot of other musicians and music fans that feel the same way. I think there are a lot of us that wish we had been there for the summer of love in the 60’s…. but we seem to be a small group.

I know there are those that will say “HEY! I’m all about peace and love” with the strongest of convictions. But it seems like that group can be very quick to turn on someone that has a differing opinion. That doesn’t seem like sharing love to me if you only love those that agree with you and it certainly doesn’t make for any kind of peaceful co-existance.

I wish I could single out one certain group of people that are guilty but the truth is of late we all are. Lots of you will whole heartedly agree with that until it comes time to take a deep look inside and be honest with yourself. Are you capable of being honest with yourself? Can you take an objective look at your inner being and have an honest conversation with your self?

As a songwriter I’m forced to be honest with myself and sometimes I don’t like what I’m forced to put into words and music because of it. In fact, it’s really uncomfortable. Not so much because of some deep dark inner turmoil but because of how people would perceive me when confronted with my innermost secrets and the internal conversation that is continously running in my over active brain. It’s because there are things about me and some of the things I’ve done that I’m not particularly proud of. Those are the things we tend to try and hide from others and from our selves.

I’m becoming of the mindset that we can’t show peace and love to others if we don’t have it within ourselves and having that as a part of your being means being honest with yourself and that inner conversation that many of us have going on inside.

How does this relate to music?

This is in many ways what music is for me. I’ll probably never be “popular” or “famous” because just writing catchy phrases that sound commercial and might provide great income or even wealth doesn’t seem like being honest to me. In fact, it seems to me, approaching songwriting with an eye towards accumulating wealth is in and of its self dishonest. For me, I want to be able to live with my music and enjoy it. I guess there are those that will argue that if it makes you a bunch of money then it’s going to be really easy to live with. Does that leave a bad taste in your mouth because it does mine.

So…. do something hard. Go out and show some peace and love to someone you don’t really like very much. If you’re of a more liberal persuasion then pick a conservative. If you’re more conservative then choose to show some of that peace and love to a liberal. Pick someone with which you have some really strong disagreements with.

You’ll be a better person for it and so will the world. AND if we all approach our lives that way then Peace and Love won’t just be for a summer. Peace and Love will be forever!

The Unsigned Mind….. New Orleans or “Escaping the Artistic Desert”….

If you’ve been keeping up then you know we had a couple of really important shows recently. I’m not implying that all our shows aren’t important. These shows just had potential for being really huge for us.

 And in a lot of ways they were.

We had the honor of playing in a club that had been a Jazz and Blues club in downtown New Orleans since the 1890’s. The Ramp Room of The Little Gem Saloon is everything you might imagine of a place with such a heritage. Well lit corner stage surrounded by Red and Black seating and carpet with a hardwood bar. It was the perfect ambiance in a place with such a heritage…

But it wasn’t the room that really stood out. It was the performers…. they were awesome and there we were right in their midst. Treated as equals and receving the same accolades from those in attendance as the other artist that crossed the stage.

The next day we attended several seminars on the music business. Aspects of which we barely even knew existed and other aspects we had no clue about how to access….. it was a very eye opening experience. The panelist then spent time visiting with all the different musicians in the room and answering their questions about the music business and how to handle up and coming careers…… and there we were right in their midst. Treated as equals. Some of these panelist even expressing an interest in hearing from us in the days and weeks after the conference….. it was awesome….

Then onto another show at another club. This time in the French Quarter of New Orleans. There were other artist, people from a record company or two and all the scurry and excitement of playing music in such a historical place. You could hear other bands in other clubs up and down the street. Fans of all kinds walking by the doors and stopping to listen or coming in and sitting down to enjoy what ever artist was on stage at that moment…. and their we were right in the midst of the whole experience. Laughing and getting to know other musicians. Talking with people from a record company. Taking in the whole experience and being treated just like the rest of the musicians there….. it was an incredible experience.

We made new friends, some that we’ve already been in contact since the conference. There were other highlights too……

Our first day there as we were going into where the conference was held a man looked up so see us entering and hollered out “HEY, Captain Ledge Band!”…. it was the gentleman in charge of the entire event and he knew who we were! Now, that’s was a different kind of feeling. Eric introduced himself and walked us into the building, introducing us to his “people” and getting us checked in and registered. He event came to our second show and spent about an hour talking with us at the end of the night. Pretty big deal when you consider there were about 130 other bands playing over the 3 days and he chose to come talk to us……. there’s more to tell about how all that transpired but that’s another day for another post…..

And then it was over and we went back to our rooms to sleep a little before the long trip home…..

Honestly, it caused me some sadness……

We joked with people at the conference that our normal audience is the coyotes around the place where we live. We made the decision a long time ago to not be a bar band and instead concentrate on writing and recording. We’re honored to play most of the festivals in our area but those don’t happen on a regular basis so we just play and write music for our enjoyment most of the time.

This has had some positive results for us. We got invited to play in New Orleans for instance. We’ve had a video broadcast nationally on ZUUS TV. Our music and our band have shown up in various charts and rankings on sites on the internet. All good stuff but not near as satisfying as getting to play for someone other than coyotes.

But there’s another thing that we didn’t realize we don’t have until this experience. Something that we couldn’t possibly miss if we never knew we needed it……

The opportunity to hang out and communicate with like minded musical artist. Yeah, we don’t get much interaction out of those coyotes. We don’t get to sit around and talk music with industry professionals and we don’t get to spend as much time as we would like interacting with music fans and the techs that make those shows possible.

And in the process that was New Orleans and The Cutting Edge Music Conference and Festival it made me realize that is the thing that I thrive on the most.

So, we loaded up and headed back to the artistic desert. Yes, we have great friends here. Our family is here and our jobs BUT what isn’t here is that interaction with “music folks like us” and now we discover that this is one thing that is missing in our lives and we need very badly.

That, and more opportunities to share all that music with people that are music fans….

We thank each and everyone of you that take time out of their day to follow The Captain Ledge Band. We thank Web Greg and Tomy McDonald for being in our court and helping us to try and make all this possible. We need each and every one of you and New Orleans let us know just exactly how badly we need you……



The Unsigned Mind……. Busy as Bees….

If you follow Cliff’s personal page you would know there’s a new batch of critters around our house. Not to be confused with the normal parade of animals that pass our window. There are the hummingbirds that flock to the feeders on the front porch in the morning. They create such a stir you would think it was Black Friday at Wal~Mart. There are our dogs…. they don’t exactly pass by the window that often. Mostly they sleep…. and eat…. then they wander out into the fields to do what dogs do after they eat. Then more sleeping, more eating, more wandering. Rinse and repeat….

Cows…. lots of cows…. we see them more in the winter when they come up to be fed but we see them a lot….

Coyotes….. well, we don’t actually see the coyotes. We hear them… A LOT…. especially just before dark. Apparently we live at the crossroads of the coyote party line. When one of them howls they ALL howl…..

and cats…. we’ve got a bumper crop of farm cats too…… all I know is there must be upwards of a thousand of them based on how much food we put out…

sorry, got lost in all that just now….

We have BEES. A whole hive of them and they’re not just interesting, they are busy. I know this because I’ve stood next to the entrance to the hive and watched them come and go. A Bee is a very busy critter. Twice a week I open the hive up and feed them. (2 cups water, one cup sugar) This is when I really notice how busy they are. The feeders go into the holes that are shown in the picture and the bees all seem to be really fond of these holes. They certainly get busy when I pull the jars out to refill them. It was during a recent feeding while I was watching all the milling around that it struck me. The comparison between those bees and our musical family, The Captain Ledge Band.

School has just started and mornings are once again busy. Jeana, Tristan and Baylee all leave at the same time. Me, I’m the lucky one. I get to sit in the quiet and finish my coffee. Recently I’ve been condemened to decalf so it’s not as fun as regular coffee but this is MY morning routine and I’m sticking to it no matter what.

At least I will until the Admiral tells me otherwise. (I may be Captain Ledge but Jeana is the Admiral and has the final say on all things important.) I only am allowed to make decisions when the possibility of something bad happening is involved. I could be wrong but I have some suspicions about this whole authority thing.

I know….. my mind is wandering and there’s a point to all of this somewhere.

So, I’m watching these bees all crawling around and flying and doing all the normal stuff bees do when it occurred to me. Our life is not so different than the bees. I’m not going to get in trouble by stating that the whole purpose to my life is to keep the queen happy… or Admiral or….. yeah, that.

The youngest member of the crew, she’s 7, will get home and do homework, go outside and play, come back inside, go back outside, come back inside, eat, eat some more, take a bath and go to bed exhausted. I’m pretty sure there’s the same sort of pattern at school.

Tristan, percussionist extradornaire and full time teenager, wallers out of bed, groans about school, primps for …. well, as long as it takes, goes back in his room to lay down taking the time to breathe between bites of what ever (seriously, he’s reached the age where he doesn’t really seem to care what food is aimed at his mouth as long as it’s food. I don’t even think he takes time to chew it long enough to taste it and I’ve often wondred why we don’t just put everything in a blender and feed him with a funnel. LOT more efficient that way and less dishes)…. yeah, off topic again. He then is aimed at school where I’m pretty sure he goes “off” all day, probably into the preverbial lala land, comes home, complains about school between shoveling bites of food into his mouth, does homework. Rest before bedtime cause he’s worn out from all that eating. Eats dinner, then more resting then a bedtime snack. In the midst of all this there’s constant texting and complaining about how dull and boring school is. THEN we somehow manage to interrupt his busy schedule with a nightly practice with The Captain Ledge Band. Yeah, it’s that busy…

Jeana, aka MOM, aka The Admiral, gets up an hour before everyone else so she can have some quiet time. Some mornings I think she just sits there waiting for the coyotes to howl. She has coffee, does some reading then simultaneously is able to get both her self and the 7 year old ready for school. Drives into work, tolerates all sorts of “stuff” in her office, comes home, cooks, laundry (which is a NEVER ending thing in our house), overseas the completion of all the aforementioned homework then does the band practice thing followed by a few minutes of time with the Captain in which we both set there and stare off into space like brain damaged zombies. Sleep and repeat.

As the Captain of this zoo I manage to observe this whole circus of the brain dead, go to work, get home, take care of all the assigments from the Admiral, PRACTICE followed by the aforementioned “Zombie” period then off to bed and repeat.

As I was feeding the bees today I began to wonder what the bees would think of our routine? I know there are normal families out there that don’t have a band practice every night. I’m betting there’s some other sort of “activity” they participate in and I’m betting they might just be as tired as we are when they finally crawl into their repective overnight hibernation zones. At least I really hope that someone else has as hectic a schedule as we do.

This week us bees are even busier! Yeah, hard to believe…..

On top of everything else we did a show on Saturday and now have two more days of practice before we pack mule it off to New Orleans. I’m not sure just what we’re thinking though. If we have a successful trip we’re going to become even busier and we’ll start looking more and more like those bees.

Yeah, didn’t think that one through before we “jumped” at the opportunity did we? Lol……

But, being busy as bees is a good thing. The alternative is to sit around and do nothing and I’m just not a big fan of that. In fact, if I were to sit around doing nothing I would end up feeling rested and we can’t have that happen can we.

So, I’ll keep feeding those bees. Practicing music with The Captain Ledge Band on a nightly basis and coming soon, we’ll begin recording the next album. It’s kind of our form of the honey those bees work so hard at. Only, our honey is music and just like the bees, it’s pretty sweet stuff when shared with friends!

By the time you read this we may be back from New Orleans at which point one of two things will be happening. Our lives will be different or they will be the same. Unlike the bees though we’ll have all that experience to share on our website.

We’ll be taking lots of pics in New Orleans and posting them online. There’s a feed from Flikr at the bottom of the main page of the site where you can catch glimpses as we run past the camera doing our very best bee imitation.

The Unsigned Mind….. what you don’t know can’t hurt you…


it’s been an amazing couple of weeks on every level. Work, Music, personal… just amazing. BUT, you have to take the good with the bad and there have been some bad things come this way also.

The good……

I have incredible people that I work with in an office environment and we tend to stay very busy. The people I work with have demonstrated so much kindness and willingness to help that just saying thank you will never be enough.

There is our Web Developer/art department/social media guru. Greg (or Web Greg since he and our guitar player share the same name) has been amazing in keeping up with everyting that is involved with promoting The Captain Ledge Band. I’ve never met him in person but we’ve accumulated hours and hours of time on the phone. I truly look forward to actually being able to shake his hand and today we count him as one of our good friends.

We now, thanks to another good friend, have a bee hive at our house. Well, it’s not IN the house but it sits about 100 yards in front of our house. We’re very aware of the health benefits of local honey in our home and to be looking at a hive that represents hope for those benefits is something else we just can’t say thank you for enough.

Musically we’ve passed a few milestones. We’re being asked to book a few gigs here and there. We were invited to be a guest at a radio station. It turned into being guest at TWO different stations. We were asked to perform a second show in New Orleans. LOTS of awesome and exciting stuff is beginning to happen.

And the list goes on and on…… Yes, it’s an incredible blessing to our band, our family and our lives.

But life isn’t all a bed of roses and there have been some bad things that can really take the wind out of the sails….

I wish I didn’t pay attention to or care so much about peoples perception of the things we’re involved in. It’s almost as if there are people that just don’t care how their words or actions affect us or those around us. It can be a tremendously depressing thing when people you trust turn on you in ways you never imagine possible.

And so the title to this post. What you don’t know can’t hurt you……

If we didn’t pay attention to these things or didn’t know about them then it wouldn’t be so depressing. Depression…. that little thing that caused one of the great comedians of this generation to feel so desperate and hopeless that he took his own life. If I didn’t know about what happened and didn’t have some understanding of those feelings it wouldn’t hurt so bad.

We know, for instance, where our support for our music comes from. We know where most of the people that listen to us are AND we know, thanks to social media, those that mention us in their post and where the people live that “Like” our page.

It’s not coming from those that we would be most hopeful that they would take notice how hard we try.

If we didn’t know these things then it wouldn’t hurt so bad.

Yes, there are some around us that are VERY supportive and we truly have a very deep appreciation for each and every one of them. Then there are those that have tacky, rude or snide remarks to make. It’s almost as if they hate that good things happen for us.

If we didn’t know these things then it wouldn’t hurt so bad.

Maybe we’re just sensitive to our envioronment. Maybe in our effort to put emtions into word and song we’ve become overly sensitive to our surroundings and the people that we would hope might express some minor acknowledgment of these things are not comfortable expressing anything positive to us. Maybe……

Maybe if we didn’t notice these things then it wouldn’t hurt so bad.

In fact… there are lots of things we notice that cause us pain. I’m sure that everyone that reads this has this experience. I hate seeing pictures of women that have been beat up by some jerk. It disgust me to see pictures or starving children then drive past a large church all landscaped with stained glass windows and large concrete parking lots with “No Skateboarding” sings. It makes me wonder how much good could have been done or how many of those starving kids could have had a meal with the money spent on all that.

Maybe if I didn’t know these things then it wouldn’t hurt so bad.

I know we can’t save the world. Heck, I can barely keep up with saving or protecting our little corner of it but I can guarantee you it’s not from lack of want to or lack of trying.

Maybe, if I didn’t know how much I cared it wouldn’t hurt so bad.

So, we get up every morning and continue our walk down the road that is life. We experience the good and the bad. The joys and the sorrows. We bury good friends and watch people that are determined to cause others harm continue to walk along committing their atrocities against those that are in their path.

We hear about terrorist beheading children, raping and killing their mothers and hanging their fathers after they force them to watch their families being tortured. It’s a terribly sad thing what one human is capable of doing to another.

Maybe, if I didn’t know about such things it wouldn’t hurt so bad.

Well….. I think that for now I’ve gotten this off my chest. It was something bottled up inside me that I had to get out someway. I had to tell someone that I DO CARE…. and that I’m feeling a little helpless.

We have an amazing couple of weeks ahead of us. In fact, it could be life changing. At least that’s our hope! BUT, no matter what happens as we move forward it seems important that I say this to everyone that is reading.

We care. We care A LOT. If ever you need to know if someone cares PLEASE shoot us a message and just hang in there. There are a lot of people that care and we are just a few of them.

I apologize to those that were expecting humor or musical topics today. I know this isn’t what you expected. However, please consider taking the time to let someone know that you care today.