Living Under The Red Dirt

Even though the last few years had seen Johnson receive considerable airplay as far away as New Jersey and even Scotland, a time-out needed to be called.

"When life started slapping us in the face, we just had to take a step back for a while," says Scott, his wife and manager. Recently, after revisiting the joys that music has brought to the 46-year-old, Johnson has seen a reawakening within his artistic soul. "We've gone back to sitting in our backyard with Jay's guitar and just playing to the trees."

While the specific wording of what each artist considers as their definition of personal success differs, the conviction, of course, was the same across the board. These artists, thanks to optimism that's attuned with a prudence born out of obligation, and wisdom attained from adversity, have formulated a wiser, more grounded interpretation of "living the dream."

Like Ray, Rush sees success at this stage of life as an enviable but altogether realistic combination of family togetherness, simplicity and artistic acceptance—like Rocky, before and after each of his movies' climaxes.

"I want to be a good father and a great husband," Rush says. "And I want to write great songs and get them out there, so they can affect people. I want to be relevant."

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