On this Tuesday morning, while scrolling through my Facebook memories for this date, it didn’t take long to notice that most of them were related to gigs and my travels as a touring songwriter. Among them were photos of a week in 2018 where I played six shows over a 5 day period, which concluded with a quick tour consisting of three dates in two days in the Hudson Valley of NYS and Western MA. There is also of photo of myself from 2017 with now retired NASCAR driver Danica Patrick when she happened to be dining with her crew at The Rooster Fish Pub in Watkins Glen when I was performing that night, photos from dates at local breweries, as well as announcements of opening act confirmations and award nominations I have received over the years. My days, weeks and months flew by because I was so incredibly busy and my schedule was so full.
Now, the days have a strange feel to them. In all honesty – the last three years have felt different, and perhaps all of the work provided a comforting distraction from the constant barrage of the news cycle. While I am incredibly grateful to be back at work and receiving more hours at my day job, to have a home, to be loved, to be healthy and safe – on most days, I feel like I just need to “get through” each one, and come out on the other end of it with my sanity in place, as I count the days in the hope that we’re getting closer to the end of this - even though it seems at times that as a whole – we’re not.
As much as I have confessed that there’s not much I miss about bar gigs, and how nice it has been to be at home, to wake up in my own bed, to slow down the pace of what was an incredibly hectic life of juggling a day job, playing gigs, and booking them, etc…. I do miss having the work. Maybe part of it has to do with seeing posts from other friends announcing where they’re playing, and I’m wondering what they’re doing to get the gigs. Are they reaching out to venues, or are the venues reaching out to them? I still feel conflicted about all of that at times. I wonder if it’s okay to contact a venue to see if they have resumed hosting live music. I wonder if there’s a reason venues I have relationships with haven’t reached out to me, and I know that’s my ego talking. I wonder if any of this gig activity is truly safe and if there is going to be an eventual setback from any progress we’ve made in “flattening the curve?” And when I look at the calendar of my website - now filled with cancellations and open, unfilled dates - I wonder if it’s ever going to be even half as full as it was, or if I will want it to be.
Perhaps some of it has to do with just being human, and as I am nearing my 57th birthday, in my mind I am inching ever closer to 60 and the close of another decade on this planet. Maybe it’s normal to reach a certain age and begin speculating about how much time you might have left, to start thinking about the end game, to wonder if you made the right choices on the journey - in my case, it was often trading financial security for the adventure and experiences that came with travel. These thoughts begin to arise when some of your musical heroes or some of your friends and contemporaries who are either in your age bracket or only a decade older begin to leave this plane of existence.
I remind myself that I have the creative outlets of writing and recording in my home studio, I am blessed to have the love and support of my partner Sheila, that we are not in want or need, and that life as it is – isn’t really that bad at all – it's just requires a bit more sacrifice than we’re used to.
Through all of that whirlwind of thought, worry, and the inevitability of age – somehow I still believe I can find the quiet place, that I can continue to grow and get better as a person, as a partner, and as an artist – I’m still searching for that one great song that is locked somewhere inside of me.
Memories are often beautiful evidence of what was. I hope there is still so much yet to be.