Books I Read in 2023

I managed to squeeze in a bit of reading this past year. I read or reread the following books in 2023:

  • Buddhist Suttas for Recitation: A Companion for Walking the Buddha’s Path (Bhante Gunaratana)
  • The Right Stuff (Tom Wolfe)
  • Richard II (Shakespeare)
  • The Birth of Loud (Ian Port)
  • Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah (Ajahn Chah)
  • Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit (Dane Huckelbridge)
  • Come and See (Bhante Gunaratana)
  • Impermanence in Plain English (Bhante Gunaratana and Julia Harris)

Great stuff! If fortunate enough to compile more of these annual reading lists, I’ll be listing several of these books again.

The Jerrys Release “Gloria,” Announce Covers Album

The Jerrys will release an album of cover songs in early 2024 and have dropped a new single, “Gloria,” ahead of the album. The as-yet-untitled album of cover tunes will include songs by The Beatles and The Kinks, among others.

Written by Van Morrison, “Gloria” was released by Them in 1964, but the song was made a bigger hit the following year by a Chicago band, The Shadows of Knight. The latter version contained lyrics that were more radio-friendly, and the song became hugely successful as well as a staple among garage bands everywhere.

While The Jerrys have released cover songs on occasion, the upcoming album will mark the first time the band has released an entire album of covers. The band is also working on new original material.

Listen to “Gloria” now!

The Jerrys Drop New Single “Think for Myself”

The Jerrys have released a new single, “Think for Myself,” their first new music since last year’s full-length Ready or Not. Fans of power pop will like this one, complete with big guitars, handclaps, and attitude.

I’m not a big fan of people thinking for me, so once I decided on a song title, writing the rest was easy. Each of us has our own life, and each of us gets to make our own decisions. While writing “Think for Myself,” I kept recalling Eric Burdon singing “It’s my mind and I’ll think what I want,” and I thought, yeah, that’s me. Don’t push me.

I’m happy to say that after a short absence, Robert Porche has rejoined me and Jim Losby on the new single. Both Robert (drums, backing vocals) and Jim (bass guitar) have appeared on numerous recordings of The Jerrys, and we’re working on more releases for 2023 and beyond.

Listen to “Think for Myself” below.

“Think for Myself” is out now.

Creating Goals for the New Year

For most of my adult life, I’ve used the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year to create measurable goals for the coming year. These goals never included professional ones, as those goals only helped me achieve the success I needed to support my family. The goals I create for myself are infinitely more meaningful and focus on what I need to do next to achieve my bigger lifetime goals.

An honest assessment of the previous year’s goals versus achievements goes a long way when it comes to creating better goals for the next year (it’s important to create measurable goals so that it’s easy to determine whether the goals were reached). The whole process gets easier each year. Similarly, the experience gained over time helps when creating the strategies needed to meet those goals.

I find it helpful to divide my goals into several main categories, and those categories change according to need. For 2023, my main categories are musical, literary, and personal. While I’m still in the drafting stage, I already know what my priorities are for the new year, so I’m off to a good start. I won’t be pinning all my hopes on a future that’s not guaranteed, but I like having a roadmap. As George Harrison put it, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

The Jerrys Release New Album, Ready or Not

In February, The Jerrys released “Alicia” ahead of their upcoming album. That single, the band’s first new music in three years, was quickly followed by another, “Love Me Now and Leave Me Never,” a 007-inspired spy rocker. Today, The Jerrys are releasing Ready or Not, their first studio album since 2011’s Let’s Groove, as well as a third single from the album, “Lean on Me.”

I liked Ready or Not as an album title for a couple of reasons. For one, I’d barely started recording the album when I had to put my studio in storage between moves. My wife and I had sold our house but hadn’t found another yet, so we lived with my father-in-law for a few months. By the time we found a place of our own and settled in, I joked the album would have to be released “ready or not.” Also, I’d written a raga and a country song that I wanted to include on the album, so I was thinking “here they come, ready or not!”

Listen to “Lean on Me” below.

Ready or Not is out now.

The Jerrys – “Love Me Now and Leave Me Never” (LISTEN)

Last month, The Jerrys released “Alicia,” the first single from their upcoming album Ready or Not, due out 5/4. Today, the band is putting out the album’s second single, “Love Me Now and Leave Me Never,” a Bond-inspired spy rocker.

I’ve always enjoyed watching spies on the screen, and I wanted to know what it would sound like if my band did a Bond movie theme. After creating a fictional movie title, everything fell into place, including using a sitar (I always loved that sitar in the Bond-like intro of the soundtrack version of The Beatles’ “Help!”). The lead guitar solo is a tribute to Johnny Rivers’ solo in “Secret Agent Man,” an old favorite of mine. I was encouraged throughout the writing process by listening to several really bad Bond movie theme songs.

Listen below.


Also, in case you missed it, a new lyric video for “Alicia” was released a few weeks ago, and you can check that out below as well.

Get ready. Or not. Ready or Not is out 5/4.

The Jerrys Share New Single, “Alicia”

The Jerrys will release their new album, Ready or Not, on May 4 and they just shared the first single, “Alicia,” a power pop homage to the real-life Alicia.

As a teenager, I wrote a song about my girlfriend Alicia dancing to the record player. To fit the lyric, I used her first name, but no one knew her by that name and The Shadows of Knight and others had already made the name a hit anyway, so I ditched the idea. Decades later, I returned to writing a song about Alicia, even spelling out her name and singing about her dancing when the music’s streaming. For the record, though, she’s my wife this time around.

Listen to “Alicia” below.

Ready or Not is out 5/4.

Update on The Jerrys’ New Album

A few weeks into spring, The Jerrys‘ new album is coming along nicely. Writing, playing, and producing a full-length album takes hundreds of hours, but I enjoy the work and the challenges that confront me along the way. I ditched my career to do what I love, and I’m doing what I love more than ever. If one were to say I’m living the dream, I couldn’t disagree.

At least a few tracks have been recorded for each of seven new songs (more songs are planned), and I’ve written titles and lyrics for six of those. Among the new tunes are a James Bond theme song (“Love Me Now and Leave Me Never”), a song about my better half (“Alicia”), and a song about a guy, his girl, and his guitar (“Just Us Three”). The first two are rockers (as is “Lean on Me,” another new track), while the latter recalls the style of The Everly Brothers.

I’ll provide another update on the (as-yet-untitled) Jerrys album in the summer, as well as news on the single that will be released in advance of the album. Until then, there’s a lot more studio work to do. One thing is certain: If anyone has half as much fun listening to the finished album as I’m having making it, it will be The Jerrys’ best effort yet.

New Lyric Video: Anna Marie

Here’s the new lyric video for “Anna Marie” by The Jerrys. The song is from the EP, The Wind Cries Jerrys.

Anna Marie

You turn round and tell me you love me
After all that we’ve been through.
You run round like you’re miles above me
Make a scene like you always do.

Why you do it to me, Anna Marie?
What’s the use in trying?
Why you do it to me, Anna Marie?

You get wound when I say do you love me.
I get sick when I hear you say
You’re not lying when you’re lying about me.
You look best when walking away.

Why you do it to me, Anna Marie?
What’s the use in crying?
Why you do it to me, Anna Marie?

You shut down when you’re tired of me.
You say stop when I say hello.
First you say no, then you say no.
Then you say no and then I go oh no.

Why you do it to me, Anna Marie?
What’s the use in trying?
Why you do it to me, Anna Marie?
What’s the use in crying?
Why you do it to me, Anna Marie?
What’s the use in trying?

Words and music ©2017 by Jerry Schwartz

Books I Read in 2020

When I say I read a handful of books in 2020, I mean it. I only read five books in 2020! Here’s the list of books I read or reread during a very busy year:

  • Buddhist Suttas for Recitation: A Companion for Walking the Buddha’s Path (Bhante Gunaratana)
  • Post Office (Charles Bukowski)
  • Revolution in the Head (Ian McDonald)
  • What Why How: Answers to Your Questions About Buddhism, Meditation, and Living Mindfully (Bhante G)
  • Hawk: I Did It My Way (Ken Harrelson)

Despite the small list, I love to read (I even wrote a song about it), and I plan to read more books in 2021.