Song for Julie…

January 11, 2012

Allow me for a moment to share with you a story that has inspired me, our band, hundreds of our friends, co-workers,  and countless others.  Our friend Julie K. Shaw who, with every word has encouraged us to “cherish every day”, has been fighting tooth and nail with stage IV colon and liver cancer for 18+ months. Most of the DejaBlue Grass Band and many of Julie’s friends were living it up on the tarps of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival with not a care in the world in June 2010,  when we were rocked by the devastating news of Julie’s diagnosis.

Several times hence have I and my friends visited with Julie, and each time, when asked how she’s doing, she has never responded with anything less than “I’m doing fine”, far more concerned with the needs of those asking the question than for herself.

One day in late 2010, while Susan and I were talking about Julie, Tim, and their family, this song came to me, nearly whole cloth.  I had every intention of recording it in earnest and giving it to her and Tim as my gift.  I had grandiose ideas of how it might sound with cello, perhaps pedal steel guitar, and accompanied by sweet harmony to make it a song worthy of the inspiration Julie has infused us with.  But alas, we never got further than it’s current form:  a one-take raw recording of me, my guitar, and a microphone with no effects, harmony, accompaniment, or vocal altering.  I recorded it at Cody Marshall Studios, just a scratch recording intended to get levels right, and for the producer to begin thinking about what accompaniment might be right for the song.  However, we found out this weekend that she is now in the care of hospice.  Perhaps the song is more fitting this way, anyhow…callow and rough with all it’s imperfections, yet a sweet sentiment…such is life.   And if Julie has taught us anything, it’s to be yourself, love one another, and always let your light shine no matter how it comes out.

Julie, I hope you get a chance to hear this. The song is called “I’m Doing Fine (Julie’s Song)” and I hope you and Tim receive it with the spirit from which it was written: in veneration of your grace and courage through this fight, of your ability to stand strong no matter what you are beset with, and to show love and deference to others when our hearts are breaking.   God bless you, Julie. We love you.

Click here for “I’m Doing Fine (Julie’s Song)

Edit (1/12/12): Julie passed in the middle of the night last night. I have been so moved by the thousands of people who visited this site in the past couple of days, heard her song, and those who have taken time to share their own story of what it means to them. Anyone of the thousands of her friends could have written this song, because she moved us all in a similar way. I was just lucky and blessed to be the one He chose to pull it out of the universe and pen it. I mean that sincerely.

Many of you have called or sent me an email requesting to own a copy of the song. We are working on a way to finalize it and make it available for her friends in a way that will benefit Julie’s family and all those who she has inspired. Details to follow.



  1. Rut, that was incredible. God bless you man! Incredible. Hope all is well with you and yours. Just heard about Julie and hospice late last night. Please keep me posted. That’s the one thing that sucks about being all the way out here on Maui. I’m not in the loop with happenings with everyone.

    Much love & aloha,

  2. so beautiful.

  3. Our thought and prayers go out to Julie and her family and friends. Beautiful song Joey!!!

  4. Rut – I’m sure every single person that has ever met Julie can recall a similar experience. Thank you for sharing the sentiments of so many others in such a beautiful way. Sara Barnes

  5. You are a talented person who knows Julie so well. The word “Surreal” stands out to me I don’t know how many times she used that word to me in the beginning of her treatment. I can tell you she will love this song and it will mean so much to her that you took the time to really listen to her. Thank you for being such a good friend to her.

    • Bless you, Michele. I only wish I would have made the time to have it fully produced, but regardless I do hope she hears it.

  6. I had to leave a message to say how absolutely beautiful and touching your ‘Song For Julie’ is. You mentioned you wish you had time to have it fully produced, yet I somehow feel like ‘time’ produced it just as it was meant to be. 🙂 I’m just an aquaintance of Julie; just one of the many whose life has been touched by her spirit, but I know she and her family will adore this beautiful tribute.

  7. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this song with everyone. What a blessing.

  8. Okay, I dont know you… I was web surfing and came across this through a friend of a friend of Julie’s… but I was so moved by this song. It reminds me of my grandmother, who at over 90 years old, lost her husband of over sixty years. As we sat there through the services, all of us going through our own grief & sadness, she shed some tears, but was remarkably composed. At the end of the services, we stood up to exit first, together, as a family. Much to everyone’s surprise, she turned to face the entire crowd of people. She raised her hand to speak, and turned to address everyone. In her very frail, 90+ year old voice, she thanked everyone for coming, and apologized that she had not had the time to stop and talk with everyone and properly thank them in person. She then reassured everyone there that she was so incredibly blessed to have shared my grandfather’s life with him, and that everyone’s presence was such a blessing to her and to his memory. She was doing “just fine” thanks to all of God’s blessings, but the one thing she said she regretted was not being able to personally talk to every person in attendance and find out if they were doing “just fine”, too.
    This was in 2008, and to date, she still lives on her own in their house. Although very frail, suffering several health issues, and a lot of difficulty moving around, Everytime I travel the 600 or so miles to visit her, she still gets so excited she cries, and despite everything she has going on, she tells me she’s “doing just fine now that you’re here!”. Then she starts asking me questions about my life back in DC, and how things are there. She is an amazing, incredible woman & I listened to this song with tears in my eyes thinking about her. Beautifully written & poignantly presented!

    • Mark, thank you so much for listening and taking time to respond. Very moving story, too. Please keep our friend Julie in your prayers. Best regards to you.

  9. Rut, Just had to let you know that was a beautiful song! Love it.

    • Thank you for the kind words, Christi. I’ve enjoyed keeping up with you and your beautiful family on FB. Great to hear from you.

  10. This song is amazing beautiful for an amazingly beautiful woman – inside and out. I only know Julie from Step classes and she is one amazing person. thank you for sharing! I truly am sad for Julie and her family as she has put up one heck of a fight! While I sit at my desk at work, while prayers are being lifted up, tears are fallling down for this family!
    Love the song. Hope you get it recorded as I would love to have a copy!

    • Indeed she is, Cynthia. Thank you for taking time to listen.

  11. Truly amazing song, Rut. What a beautiful tribute to such an incredibly loved person. I’ve played it over 3 times and am just so touched by the lyrics …and her story.
    Thank you, thank you.

    • Thank you, Shannon. I’m grateful to be counted among Julie and Tim’s friends. Best to you.

  12. Incredibly, incredibly beautiful…..just like Julie. No words can adequetly express how touched I was by your song…I can only imagine how Julie and Tim were touched by your expression of love and friendship.

  13. Absolutely beautiful song. Dont change a thing. Prayers for Julie and her family.

  14. God is good and thru you he is still instrumenting the words of love and compassion…I linked here thru a blogger that I follow….just another extension to your plea for prayers…..God Bless you for making life’s journey for Julie, this person I do not know but I know for sure thru your lyrics, she is an Angel! Many Prayers for all the family and friends.

    Pamela Graham Canyon Lake, Texas

  15. Beautiful. Thank you.

  16. That was truly God-inspired! I could hear Julie’s voice in those words, which perfectly conveyed her spirit and beliefs. What a wonderful friend you are to put this into such a perfect song for her.

  17. How awesome are God’s ways and the way He used you to write this beutiful song to our dear friend is just amazing. May God bless you and your band. Hope we can see you playing one day.

  18. Love everything about your song…do want a copy when you get to it. Hugs to you, Julie is in good hands now and is at peace.
    God Bless

  19. Thank you!

  20. Your song “I’m doing Fine” for Julie is beautiful… was exactly her words every time I saw her. My daughter is on her daughter’s gymnastics team and we carpooled together for the past couple of years. God put those words in your heart and you put them music… Thank you for sharing your spiritual gift, the talent that God has given you, with all of us. I know Julie is singing and dancing in heaven!
    Blessings to you…
    Patti Pass

    • Thank you so much, Patti. Very kind of you.

      • Julie’s song was even more beautiful in person. Thank you for sharing it with us all today in Alabama.

  21. i didnt know Julie but touched by her story and moved by ur song! Beautiful!

  22. wow..that is a beautiful song. obviously to a beautiful woman…love and prayers to you…amazing…

  23. Rut .. came across this link on Joey’s twitter… thanks for sharing it…

  24. It’s a beautiful song and a wonderful tribute to my cousin,Julie. I especially like it’s simplicity. Thank you for sharing.

  25. I heard your song today and loved it! She is doing more than fine! Thanks for singing it at her Celebration of life today!

  26. My husband and I both attended Julie’s Celebration of Life yesterday; you most definitely put the finishing touch on a beautiful memorial to someone so special. I would love to know when you do the final recording of this song and would love to have a copy of it. Our son went to school with Julie from 7th through 12th; and I always thought so much of her. She was like having a sparkler that was lit all the time. Thanks for being there and singing your Song for Julie!!

    • Thank you, Connie. I loved doing it. The recording has been finished and it will be up soon. Any and all proceeds from the sale of the song will go to a fund for the Shaw kids education fund. Stay tuned. Thanks for your kind words.

  27. This song is beautiful and reminds me so much of her. Thank you for sharing this!

  28. I didn’t know her but because of you, I feel like I know her spirit. I love this song especially the line, “the king is not the lesson, the lesson is the king” Stunning!

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