Nashville, TN October 2011
Leaves on the ground, bushes over the windows, overgrown ivy, mail spewing out of the tin box, the smell of smoke and fall in the air, car washes, long over due coffee with friends, familiar beds, laundry, laundry, laundry...
Today I'm home after completing the first half of this fall's "Young Love Tour". It's been creatively exhilarating and physically draining. The first days off after a long run always leave me with an immense sense of quiet satisfaction. Somehow I feel mildly overwhelmed with all of the loose ends in my life, as well as the complete freedom to do nothing. It's a strange and relaxing place to be.
I started touring around 2004. I took my guitar & a box of burned cds and played anywhere that would have me. Eventually, I added a dreadlocked friend on piano and later graduated to a tour manager & a van. Years went by and people slowly started to show up. A few dozen at first. From Schubas in Chicago to the Crocodile in Seattle, people would come to hear me play the 10 songs I knew.
When Nothing Left To Lose came out and a single started getting played on the radio, I added a full band of friends, as well as a trailer to the back of our van. We would drive through the night, each person contorting their bodies to find just enough space to lay horizontal across all the benches, on the ground, between the metal bars of the seats, surrendering to the gravitational pull of 3am. Friends limp like crash test dummies hurled across the country in a humming metal box. I still feel hurled along - hurled into a places of awe and places of responsibility.
I have required an immense amount of grace over the years. I have also had to give it away at painful amounts. I never have been one to hold tryouts for a band. I have asked friends to come join me on the road. Sometimes I'm a gracious host, sometimes I'm an impossible to please boss. Lately, I have been seeing with eyes a little more open due to the grace that a woman can bring.
Today, I will rest a little more, but I keep eyeing the guitars on my wall. "What do you want"?, I want to say. Maybe it should say, "Hello dear friend, what can I do for you"? Being a solo artist started out of necessity and grew into an identity. From the outside I watch my friends in bands and it seems like keeping a band together looks like a hellish marriage & other days it looks like true companionship.
It's the brown leaves and the clouds that have me thinking today. I can't wait to keep going and see where this road leads me as a musician, a performer, a friend, a boss, and a believer in the grace of god, because I know I need it.
We are starting the second leg of this fall's tour this week and we will be adding a bunch more dates across the country in the near future. See you soon...
P.S. - We got together a couple of weeks back for a few hours in Austin, TX and recorded an EP for the kind folks at Daytrotter. Here it is - a free gift for you... Happy Fall.