Contrary to popular belief, the Declaration of Independence does not guarantee happiness, merely the pursuit of happiness. Our founding fathers knew that happiness was too ephemeral to guarantee, so they took aim at the chance to be happy rather than happiness itself. Thomas Jefferson understood this, and so does Joe Virga. On his CD titled STARDUST LAND, Joe exams that pursuit from every imaginable vantage point: from suburbia to junky town; from tender love to tendered money. Happiness sometimes does come true, as in the CD’s title track STARDUST LAND where Joe lays out the classic trip from parenthood to the empty nest and after. His tune CABBAGE KEY inspires hope of tranquility for the middle-aged (not hard to imagine as Jimmy Buffett supposedly wrote Cheeseburger In Paradise there). And PRAYER FOR THE LIVING implores Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer to give thanks for one more day. Yet happiness pursued is not always happiness achieved. In FOR THE FAMILY’S GOOD women wear a ton of makeup to hide their wounds, and an addicts recovery to FREE AND CLEAN can be anywhere but in my neighborhood. Meanwhile, Peter Frampton may come alive in WARRIORS AND MUSIC, but in the end we’re only paying the mortgage. And TENDER LOVING LIES are always present in those dollar bills you hold in your hand. As Greg Anderson famously said, focus on the journey, not the destination, for it is only the trip, the pursuit that is guaranteed. Whether happiness comes your way is anyone’s guess. But make that trip with Joe Virga’s STARDUST LAND and you’re halfway home. On June 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm, Joe Virga will be the first solo artist to perform in the new performing/listening room at Your Big Picture Cafe (4900 S. University Dr, Davie).