FED UP WITH POLITICAL CORRUPTION AND SO-CALLED “LEADERS” WHO REFUSE TO“PLAY BY THE RULES”? MEET JOHN CHAFFEE AKA “UNCLE SAM”!
The Cleveland Based Singer/Songwriter Gives Voice To Millions Of Frustrated Americans With His Popular High Definition YouTube Video Of His Country-Bluegrass Song Addressing Our Nation’s Ills With Biting Humor And A Much Needed Dose Of Truth
After 9/11, country superstar Toby Keith captured the collective vengeful anger of millions of Americans in his now classic hit “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American).” The song reflects a time when we all bonded together against a common enemy.
Eight years later, we’re still at war with Al Qaeda, but a quick glimpse of our 24-hour news cycle reveals the disturbing truth: we’re also locked in a battle with each other, part of a political culture where crushing those who think differently is more important than coming together for the common good.
But as Cleveland based singer songwriter John Chaffee points out with biting wit and blunt truth in “Play By The Rules,” his explosive new song and High Definition YouTube video (www.youtube.com/chaffeekid), we do share one thing: we’re all fed up with leaders and others in the public eye who keep failing us because—you guessed it—they don’t “Play By The Rules.”
In the same fiery spirit as the Keith song and with infectious country-bluegrass flair to spare, Chaffee gives voice to millions of his fellow frustrated Americans with a song and video concept that grew out of his growing anger over a daily dose of stories of corruption and scandal, not only in our nation’s capital but also in communities across the country.
The colorful and irresistible video features Chaffee, a dead ringer for “Uncle Sam,” in red, white and blue garb singing as he walks through colorful but decadent urban landscapes including junkyards that work perfectly as a metaphorical backdrop for his pointed plea of a chorus: “Cut me in, bail me out, failure’s not my fault/Responsibility, what’s that, just a word that’s all/I’m trying very hard, to chill and keep my cool/I’m trying hard to find someone, who’ll just play by the rules/Is there anybody out there, who’ll just play by the rules.”
The clever costuming idea of “Uncle Sam” in 70s era Fee Waybill (The Tubes) styled red, white and blue platform boots came from an image of the bearded, top-hat wearing icon that Chaffee saw when he discovered an old document called the “Citizen’s Rule Book.” The music was recorded with prominent Nashville studio musicians at that city’s Trax Studios and the video was shot by Cleveland based film director and videographer Ted Sikora of Commercial Recording.
The verses cover everything from a “treasury man who won’t pay his taxes” and “bribes and payoffs now the norm” to “lower standards, lower morals, lower expectations” and “scandals every minute” as “I get fired, you get a bonus.”
Chaffee was inspired to write “Play By The Rules” when he saw that those in government began overlooking significant tax problems in appointees, even with the Treasury Secretary. Another line in the song sums up how he feels: “Not exactly what was planned when The Fathers made this nation!”
Chaffee’s song and video are also a powerful call to arms designed to inspire millions of Americans to stand up and take action. Later in the song, he sings “Do we stand up mad as hell? How much more of this can we take?”
“Early this year,” he says, “it seems we were told almost daily about another tax issue, or ethical issue, or moral issue, not just with the nominees for public office but also our representatives currently serving in government as well as others in positions of public trust. It’s an arrogance that leads to the belief that there are no consequences for your actions.
“And I wondered,” Chaffee adds, “‘how do you know who to trust anymore? It seems nobody plays by the rules. The American people are coming to grips with the grim reality that trustworthiness is becoming a difficult thing to find. To me, ‘Play By The Rules’ is a song about the values taught to us as children that seem to be eroding in the lives and conduct of those people we are supposed to be able to look up to and respect. In many ways, America has become like a rudderless ship, careening across the water wishing she had a moral compass. There was once a Dignity Code, but it’s no longer in our rule book. Maybe it’s time to bring it back.”
A Holiday Classic: The Poignant, Beautiful Single
“SOMEONE IS MISSING AT CHRISTMAS”
Offers Hope And Inspiration To Thousands Who Are Grieving
Or Are Separated From Loved Ones As The Season Approaches
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Written by Radio and Television Veteran John C. Chaffee and Sung By Anne Cochran(Famed For Her Recordings and Concerts With Pianist Jim Brickman), The Song Was a Top 15 Adult Contemporary Hit in 2005 And Was Played On Over 150 All-Christmas Radio Stations Last Year
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Hoping to Draw More Attention to Illnesses That Have Affected Such Icons As Melissa Etheridge, Christina Applegate, Sheryl Crow and Olivia Newton-John, Chaffee Is Donating A Portion Of The Proceeds From Sales Of The Single To Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Organizations.
With the holidays fast approaching, millions of people throughout the world are preparing for another season filled with the spirit of sharing joy, peace and laughter with loved ones. But for those who have recently lost people in their lives—or who are separated from their family members and friends by emotional or physical miles or wars halfway around the world—November and December can be a time of great sadness when it hits home that this year, “Someone Is Missing At Christmas.”
A true holiday classic, “Someone Is Missing At Christmas” is an emotionally gripping song whose moving melody and touching lyrics offer empathy, hope and inspiration to anyone who is grieving the recent passing of someone close to them or who is separated from a person they love.
Written by Cleveland based songwriter John C. Chaffee, Jr. in 2003 upon the death of his just turned 62-year-old sister Lyn—a 21 year breast cancer survivor–from ovarian cancer, “Someone…,” featuring the warm and heartfelt vocals of singer Anne Cochran, has become a cherished modern holiday classic since its release to radio and retail in 2005, when it reached #11 on Billboard’s AC chart.
Chaffee made the song available for purchase on his website, www.patriciamusic.com, as well as Amazon.com, CDBaby, iTunes, Rhapsody, Emusic, MSN Music, Rhapsody, Napster, Sony Connect and Liquid Digital Media.
In honor of Chaffee’s late sister Lyn, Chaffee is donating a portion of the proceeds from “Someone Is Missing At Christmas” to organizations dedicated to finding the cure for breast and ovarian cancer. He has been encouraged by the greater public awareness of both illnesses that has resulted from the candidness of many pop culture icons as they have publicly shared details of their own personal battles, setbacks and triumphs, including Melissa Etheridge, Christina Applegate, Sheryl Crow and Olivia Newton-John.
Aside from touching people’s hearts with “Someone Is Missing This Christmas,” the composer hopes that the song will draw further attention to these crucial causes that impact so many women around the world.
“When we lose someone or are separated from someone close to us, there’s this tremendous burden of sadness no matter what time of year it is,” says Chaffee. “At Christmas, when families and friends usually gather for what should be a festive occasion, the hole is magnified. This song is meant to say it’s not wrong or a bad thing to be sad, but truly, when you think about it, your loved one is not gone if you always carry that person in your heart. That’s the hopeful twist that happens towards the end of the song, when Anne sings, ‘wait, someone is touching my heart.’ Then, truly, ‘Someone is With Me At Christmas.’”
Beyond widespread critical acclaim for the song, Chaffee has been touched over the past three years by the loving responses the song has elicited from listeners on retail websites like CD Baby. In many cases, it prompts them to share with the songwriter their own personal experiences.
“Tracy” wrote: “I heard this song for the first time this past Christmas on the way home from the hospital the night my mother passed away. My Mother received a lung transplant in August and succumbed to pneumonia on December 18th. As I made the four hour trek from the hospital to my parents’ house, I heard this song and it was as if she was telling me she was alright and she will never be far away. I had a strange sense of peace. Mom made Christmas special for many people and brought people together for the holiday. This year we were all scattered about for the holiday, but I know that next year we will regroup and she will be with us again, if only in spirit. Your song helped me through one of the worst days of my life and for that I am very grateful!”
“June”: “I heard this song for the first time on Dec. 26, 2007. I only wish I could have had it before to help me through the sad moments during Christmas. It reminds me so much of my sister, that I was so close to, who was killed in a car accident. The words sound like they were written for us. The part about finishing every sentence is true, plus playing together, etc. Six years before her accident, we lost our Mom and Dad only two weeks apart. We had each other and 5 brothers, plus an older sister far away, but, when she died, I needed someone close, like we were. And there was no one. The words at the end help more than you know and I am going to make sure that I play it for my sisters’ three kids. I know it will mean a lot to them.”
“Ruby Buck” wrote: “When I heard your song for the first time a few days ago I was at work in a barber shop and started crying. You see I lost my mother–it will be three years ago this Christmas Eve–to ovarian cancer also, and a sister in law (just turned 40) as recently as August to Breast Cancer. I have ordered the CD from a local store to play for my family at our Christmas Eve breakfast before going to visit our mothers grave site. There are nine of us children she left behind of course grown with children of our own, but you never really get over losing your parents. Thank you for such a great song. It says exactly what I would like to say to my family. I know they too will love it as much as I do.”
Finally, “Mary”: I heard this song for the first time this morning, while I was putting on my make-up. Great timing. I needed those words. I recently lost my best friend of 26 years. The words are so true. I miss her and can’t wait to see her again someday I hope. You were inspired. I am out to buy it and also send it to her parents. Thanks. My heart found some relief.”
Chaffee’s belief in the power of the song to touch and heal people’s hearts drives him every year to both pitch it to more recording artists and promote the original version to some of the U.S.’s most influential pop Christmas stations. He is appreciative and humbled by the outpouring of love “Someone Is Missing At Christmas” has received and simply wants to keep sharing it with a wider audience over time.
“I’m so touched when people tell me that the song I wrote to help comfort my brother and three sisters after Lyn passed away has also comforted them,” he adds. “I’m gratified by the universal way its lyrics have touched so many in their unique circumstances, but in a special way, maybe it also comforts me. I am overwhelmed by the heartfelt response to this song. It has helped me. I hope it helps you!”