woensdag 30 september 2015

Who the Hell is Dow Jones

In 1992, I wrote a song that suddenly connects to the grim reality of today. To quote Brian Hansford (UNHCR Spokesperson in Washington): 'Refugees are part of humanity and we can't leave them behind'. That's it. There are refugees. They come from the worst of circumstances. As long as there is a chance of a slightly better life somewhere else, they will go somewhere else. So would you.

You can find the song on youtube.

The lyrics of "Who the Hell is Dow Jones"
Copyright Diftong 1992

Spokesmen of the government complain
They have no money in their purse
Social security costs to much
And the situation is getting worse, they say
Shiploads of refugees coming in
All asking for their share
Economic growth not fast enough
The costs are more than we can bear, they say

They show us graphs on the news
Lines going up and going down
No smiling faces at the stock exchange
They got reasons to frown, they say
They show us pictures on the news
Of people skin over bone
And then they tell us it’s too hard
To get some food to the war zone, they say

Who the hell is Dow Jones anyway
Someone I should know
Can I get him on the phone
Can he tell me where the money goes

Don’t bet your money on the wrong horse
You’d better save it for the right cause

maandag 21 september 2015

And then there were three

Diftong revisiting Goudargues
On July 2, the fantastic e-zine Americana-UK, the UK home of Americana music, honored me by publishing an interview with Rudie Humphrey. Who could wish for a better start of the summer? A summer spent rehearsing my new and old songs with a trio! I already played some shows with Jeewee Donkers on guitar, mandolin and lap steel. Now, JD Dekker, my companion in The Understate Men, has joined us on bass. Our debut will be on October 8 at De Bunker in Gemert. There will be a mystery guest involved and a new version of my old song "Who the Hell is Dow Jones" that suddenly gained relevance in the current fuss about refugees.
After a refreshing vacation in the South of France, I am really eager to play. Especially after visiting Goudargues on this trip, the lovely French town where I played the Goud'acoustic Festival in 2008 and where I return once in a while to have a good meal, enjoy the atmosphere, visit some friends and play some songs.

I hope to see you at one of my shows.

woensdag 10 juni 2015


Opening for Christina Martin on May 20, 2015
It has been exactly one year since I was in Nova Scotia, recording The Rocket Swing with Dale Murray. A lot has happened since then. The tragic passing away of Fleur Mainville who played fiddle on the album. The release of the video of Dying of the Light on Dylan Thomas' 100th birthday. The album release on February 1, 2015. The appearance of a whole bunch of good reviews in The Netherlands and in Belgium. The booking of a tour in the Netherlands. The bandcamp release of Wakeman's Peace and some heartwarming reactions to that song coming from Canada. And as the icing on the cake: Diftong and JeeWee Donkers opening the show of Christina Martin and band in my hometown. Where I had the honor to play The Rocket Swing with Dale Murray on lap steel.
All in all, it has been a great year for Diftong and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning. A good moment to thank all who supported my music in the last year. I will see you whenever and wherever our paths cross. Thanks!

Don't forget to check my website for the tour schedule and the latest news: http://www.diftong.nl

zaterdag 2 mei 2015

Seven decades of freedom

On October 5 in 1944, Canadian flyer Harold Frederick Wakeman crashed near my hometown Veenendaal. He was only 22 years old. His squadron was bombing a train, when one of the bombs hit the tail of Wakeman's Typhoon plane. When I heard the story from local journalist Sjoerd de Jong, I decided to write a song about this tragic event. And so, after 70 years, I was present at the annual commemoration by Wakeman's grave, under a blue sky on a beautiful October day.

R.I.P. Harold Frederick Wakeman.

The song is called Wakeman's peace. It is on my bandcamp page:
Here you can listen and if you like it, you can download it for free.

Wakeman’s peace

This is the story of two fliers
And a girl witnessing their fate
Filed under friendly fire
One down, one devastated

Typhoons, still with their deadly load
Came flying back from the East
People wondered, friend or foe
One girl dared to wait and see

An aborted mission made them eager
They dropped their bombs on an empty train
There was a slight miscalculation
One of those bombs hit Wakeman’s plane

After the crash she saw him lying
On the road as she came near
Surprised to see his face so peaceful
Without a single trace of fear

Back in October ‘44
The sky was the same shade of blue
A cold hungry winter still in store
Before the war
Ended without you

Under a blue October sky
We are standing by a grave
In a moment of silence
We appreciate
Seven decades of freedom
Seven decades to date

dinsdag 7 april 2015

Radio and live shows

Picture by Betty van de Bunt

A long time ago, radio was the only way to get to hear new music. These days, there are many other ways. Internet radio, streaming services, you name it. So, don’t complain about radio, turn the thing off and use the time to find music you like. Find friends that share your tastes. Go to one of the few remaining record stores or order your music at a small expert webshop, where you will find the good stuff. And the best way is to go to a live show and buy your CD from the artist.

Two months after releasing the Rocket Swing, I have had several very good reviews, some airplay on internet radio, a ton of praise from a ton of people and bookings for live shows all the way up to February 2016. See the calendar on my site: http://diftong.nl/live.php

If you are on facebook, don’t forget to like my Diftong page: https://www.facebook.com/diftong

You can buy my CD and loads of others here: http://www.luckydice.nl/

You can read The Rocket Swing reviews in Dutch:

woensdag 11 maart 2015


Since about 13 years I am putting my music up for sale at CDbaby in Portland Oregon. They have a cool website that explains what you can do and how to do it in such a user-friendly way that even I can handle it and I am a VIP (very impatient person). They send you all kinds of cool suggestions how to sell your music. They answer your questions. They even pay you for your sales.
With my latest release I ordered download cards. These are fun. It is a kind of business card enabling the receiver to download my music from the CDbaby site with a unique code. I got a discount and paid very little for them. However, when the DHL man brought them, I had to pay about twice that amount on VAT and another 80% of the amount on administration costs. Flabbergasted, I e-mailed DHL asking why and got a long standard reply I couldn’t really figure out. No specific explanation. No options. They just told me to take my complaint to the sender.
So I wrote to CDbaby. They answered straight away, explaining that EU tax rules had changed as of January 2015 and that this was a new problem they would try to tackle. In the meantime they would refund my extra costs. I was flabbergasted all over again. Now, putting all money, tax rules and market-mechanisms aside, I must say this: it is a relief that there are actually people in this world whose reply to your message deals with your problem. Wouldn't it be great if this was the rule rather than the exception.

Thank you CDbaby! http://www.cdbaby.com/

woensdag 4 februari 2015


Pictures by Pim Molemaker
I would like to quote Otis Gibbs from his great podcast Thanks for giving a damn:
 - There are only two people in art that matter: There's the creative individual and the person experiencing it. Everything else is an artificial filter. -
His words exactly cover my perception of The Rocket Swing release party. On Sunday February 1, 2015 thirtysomething people were listening to me and JeeWee Donkers performing the songs from The Rocket Swing in the beautiful art workshop of Suzanne Visscher and Pieter van Slooten. There was art on the walls and on the workbench. The stove was burning. The audience was perceptive (during songs) and cheering (after songs) and JeeWee and I were flying.
My wife Jessica introduced us and compared the event with a Tupperware party. Meant not only to sell a product, but also to inspire people to organize their own party, invite friends and spread the word. I like that idea, because I would like to play this way as often as I can.

Thank you for coming, for listening, for buying the cd, but most of all for your vibes. Special thanks to Suzanne and Pieter for being beautiful hosts and JeeWee for lifting me up.

All we had to do is play and we had wings.

More on:
Suzanne Visscher
Pieter van Slooten
JeeWee Donkers
Otis Gibbs podcast

You can buy The Rocket Swing @ Lucky Dice when you are in the EU
and @ CDbaby when you are elsewhere

woensdag 28 januari 2015

The calm before the storm

The question is, will there be a storm, or will it stay calm?
The Rocket Swing was made with a bunch of  Nova Scotians and with a guest from Toronto. And I am happy to announce that JeeWee Donkers will accompany me on various string instruments on the release party on February 1.
The Nova Scotians Christina Martin, Dale Murray and Brian Murray were busy with an album around the time we recorded mine. Christina Martin’s It’ll be alright will be released on February 24 in Canada and on March 20 in Europe. They will tour Europe in the spring and play my home town (!) on May 20.
Matt Epp from Toronto sang a guest vocal and recently released his EP Luma. He will tour Europe in the spring too and play at Live Stage Marnix in Ede on April 16.
And finally, JeeWee will release his new Live Poets Society album The Road Ahead with Peter Holen just before or just after this summer.
When you do the math, you can see why there will be a storm. Hold tight!

Christina Martin:

Matt Epp:

JeeWee Donkers:


zaterdag 10 januari 2015

Hi-ho here we go

February 1 is coming closer and that will be the day! Mailings about The Rocket Swing release are buzzing around Europe. Requests for info are coming in. New connections are made on social media. And - I am so happy about this - the album will be for sale in the Lucky Dice webshop, which in my opinion is as close to Americana Heaven a person can get in this little country: http://www.luckydice.nl.
All this brings me to the question what to do with this blog, once the CD has been released? I think I will go on using it as an appendix to my newsletter. That way I can send fans short and factual news in an e-mail and write some background in this blog. I will shorten the title to "The Rocket Swing", leaving the link as it is.
Remember, as from February 1 The Rocket Swing CD will be for sale. It has been a blast making this album and I am so proud of it I almost burst.