Thursday, March 22, 2007


martha is the busiest of all of us. she is truly the most remarthable person I know. she runs our business (entailing constant piles of paperwork to sort through, e-mails, phone calls galore, packages to send, tax forms to file, plane flights to book, car and truck rentals, maintaining the e-store... the list goes on and on.) it would be enough to topple donald trump, but that's only a small part of her daily routine. she also homeschools ava and leah!

homeschooling is not what I imagined. there is no lack of social network and the kids are not home all day. it involves endless shuttling to lessons, gymnastic meets, dance recitals, and something called the co-op which is the closet thing to a real school room. (martha teaches 5th grade history at the co-op.) the girls take piano, dance, and gymnastics at various places around town, as well as acting classes at the John Roberts Powers school in downtown Nashville. there is a full load of paperwork/bookwork for them to complete at home just as if they had homework. all of this falls to martha to do while I hammer out a career of recording, writing, traveling, performing. I get the easy jobs.

the public school system of our great nation is not the best thing for all children. truly gifted kids like ava and leah are just considered weird and cannot be allowed the time or attention they deserve. classes are too large, money too little. a sad commentary that the #1 nation in the world has as its main commerce #1 oil and #2 weaponry leaving our children's educational system ranked #14 among world powers.

so martha felt she had to craft our own curriculum for our kids and see to the daily execution of their education. costly, time-consuming, and never-ending but what else is there to do if you believe your children deserve more?

martha is the kind of person who gets in life's face and meets it head on.
a hard worker who relishes knowledge and achievement,
has lofty standards, and is relentless in pursuing them.
she is the most misunderstood person I know.
because she's so good at business and handling money well
she's often seen as some kind of hard-ass
behind the nice guy puppy adrian.
(she completely re-vamped our business 10 years ago
prophetically seeing the future of the music business
as one of do-it-yourself artist-driven independence.)

only to her private friends and family does she show the real martha:
sensuous, funny, fair-minded, dependable, resourceful.
a lioness, a loving mother, and a beautiful sexy wife
who just happens to be very smart at many things.


  1. The times I have met Martha she was incredibly nice, I don't who would ever think of her as a "hard-ass".
    I appreciate that every shipment from Store Belew includes a thank you note. It sounds like Martha's duties are much more complicated then any of us ever knew.

    Thank you Martha !

    PS, in the download request department: This probably isn't high on the list for most folks
    but ,if legalities permit, I would like to have a high quality, complete version of the Bud Commercial.

  2. I admire Martha for all she does, especially with the homeschooling/co-op work she does. It is truly sad that the public schools have been designed to fail the best and brightest of kids. Even though I have no real choice but to have my daughter in public school, I am involved in the School Site Council there and see firsthand how the State education boards, textbook publishers and legislators conspire to fail our kids.

    But forget about factory jobs. Those are mostly in other countries where wages are so low that the corporations reap all the benefits. Most kids who do graduate from public schools end up working at fast food joints, Wal-Mart and other service industry (minimum wage) jobs where there is no hope of a better life for them or the families they will one day raise.

    I taught my daughter how to read before she finished pre-school, but most parents where I live work two jobs (per parent!) and as such aren't even in the frame of mind to be able to help their latchkey kids with their homework.

    This is a problem that is systematic not within the education system but in society through the socio-political theories being tossed around as if these theories don't affect real people...which they do, and always for the worst.

    If only we could give each kid a musical instrument when they turn seven years old. Then we'd all have something to look forward to other than wage slavery.

  3. Adrian
    You sound as lucky as me in the partner department. :) It is nice to know in this sometimes unfriendly always unpredictable world that there is someone who has your back. I am in awe at my wife’s ability to keep so many balls in the air all the time without a true break, always doing it out of love and with a cheerful heart.
    I am a public School teacher and I take no offence to your assessment of my profession. I worked in an inner city High School for 8 years because I wanted to do my part in trying to make a better world for my community and family. I found the system to be set up to get the lowest through wile leaving the best and brightest to jog in place while the others try and catch up. I always tried to challenge my Gifted students (many times by encouraging them to Mentor the struggling students) but there is only so much one can do when the powers that be have set up for failure and continue a system talking one way and walking backwards.
    I have since started teaching in a different school system one that actually has a goal of doing its part to help each student reach their potential. Granted there are very few of these districts left but there are some still out there.

    Thanks to Martha for adding more intelligent and well rounded people for our collective future prosperity.

  4. It is great that Martha and you are giving your kids the best education possible. We homeschool here also and oddly enough my wife teaches history (two classes, ancient and medieval) to our local small group (although I am not a musician, computers here, but a fan).

    Peace and keep up the good work!

  5. I met Martha once recently and I found her fair-minded and intelligent and a good conversationalist. You found a good one there. She is incredible holding together at least two major projects - a homeschooling family and a web/music business [is that four things?]. I admire her for doing it so well.

    I teach in public school and I understand what you're saying. I started going to public schools when I was five and I've never really stopped. I guess I'm good at it. I know I serve the kids and families who do not or cannot provide an education for their own kids. My wife and I also homeschool our own two sons. I feel like all I do is teach children - someone else’s or my own. Our kids are so busy with Suzuki Piano lessons, and sports [only one per season because my wife and I can't handle any more than that] they really are getting a lot of flexibility and richness in their education that public schools simply cannot provide.

    I encourage anyone who can pull it off to homeschool. Public Schools can be excellent, but mainly are average and are geared toward bringing the lowest up into the BIG MIDDLE. You know leaving no child left behind ....

  6. in no way do I mean to offend the honest educators, administrators, and teachers who do their best to guide our children. in fact, I planned to be a music teacher before those damn beatles came along!
    it is the system itself which has failed, not the people trying to implement it.

  7. Wow. I feel the same way about the American education system. My wife and I have not gone the home school route for our three children, but otherwise, your family routine seems somewhat similar to our own. I'm curious, Mr. Belew, are you in favor of school choice? I like the idea and agree with the late Milton Friedman that it would be the best prescription for better educating less fortunate Americans, like those in the majority who can't afford private art class, gymnastics, ice skating, music lessons, etc. What do you think about privatization of education and using government revenue to empower school choice for the masses?

  8. The system hasn't failed everywhere. There are pockets of good public schools all around the country. In most urban areas the public schools have definitely become babysitters and any hope for challenging and developing the students is all but lost. But in general, this is more due to the parenting (or lack of parenting) of their customers. Kids that have only one or no parents, don't show up for school, are un disciplined and behavior problems, and see a family support group that teaches them life is a dead end and illegal activity is the only way to make any real money. In those situations the schools are doing the best they can at replacing the parent and teaching things like responsibility and consequences instead of academics. So it's not just the system, it's the deterioration of the family unit and community as well. Where the communities are good, the schools are better.

  9. I'm a teacher by trade, but have, for a variety or reasons, moved out of the U.S.. I have taught in both private and public schools in the U.S. I can say that the difference in how talented students were treated was huge. I would now never send my son (who is now only two) to a public school without investigating it thoroughly first.

    My family and I have been living in Slovakia for several years now, and the system here has a different set of problems (most particularly a lack of money). One thing which is a plus here though is the availability of school choice. However, home schooling is just not typically done here. My wife and I have a lot of decisions to make regarding our son's education.

    Thanks you Adrian and the other posters for your insights.

  10. If it weren't for all the factory workers and worker bees you wouldn't have all of those TV's, cars, and electronic music gadgets at your house:) They are very important to our economy and our way of life. You should not belittle what they do but thank them for all they do. Not everyone can become a successful musician like yourself. I am a product of the public school system and I am a professional who saves lives everyday. I take my children to dance classes, music lessons and church. It is up to the parents of children to help make the most of their talents and abilities, like you and Martha are doing. The system does not fail people, people fail themselves.

  11. I was about to write nearly the same that ddc. If some kids "deserve more than factory jobs", that means some other kids "deserve" factory jobs.
    If factory job means underpayment, bad working conditions etc etc, then everybody deserves another thing, not only your kids. If factory job means only that, well, I don't get it. I don't consider a doctor or an artist being more important than a carpenter or the cleaning guy.
    Since I don't live in the USA I cannot comment on you educational system. I live in Argentina, where it leaves much to be desired, but it was not imposed by aliens. We choose the people who do that job, so we're responsible for that too. Besides, there must be some connection beetween being #2 on weaponry and #15 on education.

    I love your blog, really. Thanks fot the music and come back to Argentina soon. I'll always remember your unplugged at Teatro del Globo, and the ones with Crimson.

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  13. wowwee! once again I did not mean to offend anyone. I worked in a furniture factory for a year and a half (the only plus was my father worked there as well) and I consider myself a worker bee of sorts by choice (both martha and I are workaholics who rarely take breaks.) I DO appreciate every kind of contributor to our delicate society. I would be happy for my children to work in any profession which made them happy. I was dirt poor as a child and even worse as a young adult for a very long time (see the story about living in my van and sleeping in state parks) and I want better for my children.
    here in tennessee kids seem groomed to be part of the work force and nothing more. some of the teachers here in tennessee have worse grammar than an illegal alien.
    and yet tennessee turns out some great people who are not a burden to society so obviously the system CAN work despite itself.
    my point was not to demean the work of others nor to say my profession is better (it's not), my point was:
    wouldn't it be wise for america to invest more in the education of our next generations?

  14. “The system” in and of itself doesn’t fail people. That’s true. But it is often a significant contributing factor. The family is more important, but the school system does have a large role to play. Some kids from dysfunctional families often do not get the proper support from society, schools included. And some schools do have a tendency to stifle creativity, though this is not generally their intention.

    Regarding whether some kids deserve factory jobs, we’re all talking about kinds of jobs society often defines as demeaning. This is the fault of these companies and the communities around them that these jobs are seen this way. Of course, having a factory job doesn’t make you any less worthy of respect than being an artist, doctor or some other “well-thought-of” profession. It’s up to society to change this.

  15. Most (if not all) of the teachers at my children's school have Master's degrees. I find it hard to believe that their grammar is worse than an illegal alien's. (I live in Tennessee also). Yes, there are some bad teachers, just like there are some bad doctors, lawyers, mechanics, etc., the list could go on and on. I don't think you should be generalizing about all teachers in TN. Isn't Martha from TN? I venture to guess that she went to public school in TN. She turned out "OK". You have your reasons for homeschooling and I'm not saying that I might not homeschool one day, but there is no reason to put down the whole system just because it doesn't fit your needs or your expectations for your children.
    OK, I'm off my soapbox now. I like to keep my music and my politics separate, if possible.

  16. fair enough ddc. one thing I've learned: it's easier to criticize than to do. so in that spirit I would like to retract my rather broad statement that the public school system has failed us. it may turn out to be the best thing for our children. homeschooling is certainly an experiment. moreover, it's a lifestyle preference and in that regard it has little to do with anyone else's failings.
    so thanks to all of you for your thought-provoking comments.
    Life is the classroom.
    I'm still learning.


  17. Martha is a wonderful woman...we are always glad to see her at your shows.

  18. Wow Adrian, you certainly got your money's worth out of that blog entry! :-)

    My wife and I are currently wrestling with the public school system here in Maryland. My 9 year old son is a sweet, thoughtful, beautiful boy that doesn't quite fit into the box that they issue all the kids here on the first day of school. He struggles to follow the path that the system has laid out for him so ends up in trouble on a regular basis.

    Since both of us work outside of the house, home school isn't really an option for us and our income level isn't enough to make private school an easy alternative.

    For now we are forced to keep him in a system that doesn't quite fit his needs and I admire Martha and you for taking on the enormous task of educating your children.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I hope that comments here won't make you shy away next time.

    Kind Regards,

    PS - A kid that goes out and spends his own money on a Stratocaster can't be all bad. :-)

  19. Sorry to mess up your post which was originally an homage to your wife. She does deserve recognition for all she does. It just struck a chord (pun intended) with me. I'll try to chill out now. I enjoy your music and your blog. Thank you.

  20. Busy little worker bees the two of you!! HA.

    Beautiful Martha. "Love you Martha!" <3

    "she is the most misunderstood person I know"

    Martha's wonderful. She is always accepting of us, your fans, in all my experiences.

    The best thing Adrian is the amazing love and happiness that you both have given to each other. Cherish it. There's nothing better than knowing that love. It's really what life IS all about. What was it I heard... "life is short, make the most of it."

    You share a glimpse of her here with us but of course, it's not that simple. And to all the music she's inspired, I'm grateful.

    Now then.

    "Most kids who do graduate from public schools end up working at fast food joints, Wal-Mart and other service industry (minimum wage) jobs..."

    This is simply untrue. I think the majority go to public school. The importance of parental guidance, stability and home education goes very far. Children that are most successful in school, public, private or homeschooled, are those with parents that have taught them since day one. It's a shame for students without home support, but that's on the parents, not the schools.

    *wondering now what Martha's major was in college*

  21. When I started in public school, too many years ago to mention, it was apparently set policy to devalue any thoughts related to the arts. ( This was in TN, BTW )
    I think some of that lingers still.

    I saw a piece on the news recently about a very wealthy mathematician who has started a program to lure college grads that were highly gifted in the math area to take teaching jobs rather then shooting for the big dollars they have the potential to be earning.
    He has, as of that report, brought 400 new teachers on board.

    I certainly don't believe that offering "vouchers" so that people
    can choose another school is the answer. Fix what is broke.

    I don't mean to devalue the "worker bee" either, I've been one most of my life.
    I think we all have parts to play but I feel like our country is devaluing the hard working folk on whose backs they became wealthy.

    My sister and her husband are both career teachers, my sister teaches not that far from Adrian's little hamlet. I know they are good at what they do, the burdens put upon the teachers and staff these days are overwhelming.

  22. I'd love to be able to homeschool, but I can't do it and work. We're lucky that my son's father makes enough to pay for private school. My son is a little Asperger-y, and sensitive, and brilliant, and the public schools available here would not do him justice.

    I know of a few relationships where you have a very artistic person married to a good organizer; I think that works well.