I've hinted at this before but it's time for me to make it official. I'm ready to make singing and songwriting a hobby again. I've played and performed professionally since I was in high school. Yes, there have been long periods of time when I was working in other career paths, but music has been the mainstay. I'm going to be retiring from booking solo performances starting now, as of June 23, 2020.
I'm willing to play under these circumstances:
- Any special event at Avogadro's Number, City Star Brewing, or High Hops Brewery, if they make the call.
- Any opportunity to play with my music partner and pal, Todd Silas.
- An occasional gig with Paul Chet or Vi Wickam.
- Any memorial service for someone I knew personally if I can actually get through it.
- Gigs in events designated specifically for music listening if they make the call.
- Special events like The Last Waltz Revisited.
What I don't have the bandwidth to continue is booking myself, promoting shows, hauling gear, setting up gear, playing for two or three hours for people who aren't listening, tearing down gear, drinking coffee to make it home safely, staying up all night wired from the gig and the coffee, taking three or four days to recover. I need those days to be over now. Thanks for understanding.
I also want to let people know that in the coming weeks I'll be stepping down as music leader at Unity Church of Fort Collins. This hasn't been an easy decision because I consider this my home and my community, but I need to lower my stress level and really focus on my health and financial well-being. I'll be setting an official date soon based on finishing up a few important tasks there.
One thing that is the most difficult about this is that the joy I once felt performing and leading music is largely gone. I'm not sure why, but it is true. For most of my life I would pick up the guitar at least once a day and see where it would take me. Sometimes it was playing a favorite tune, sometimes it was writing a song, sometimes it was recording a demo of something. That hasn't been the case for me in a few years. I want to want to play again.
While I may sound depressed, that's not what's going on. In other areas of my life I'm fully and joyfully engaged. I love the work I've been doing helping people find their calling, their business sense and their path. That gets more rewarding every day. Working with LBDC and SBDC are also things I look forward to each time they come around. The new partnerships that are starting to form with other professionals are situations that I've wanted for years and have only started to cultivate recently. I'm also enjoying the extra time with my family these past few months of quarantining has enabled. My wife and kid are amazing people and I'm lucky to be able to have so much time with them.
The highlights of my frequently derailed music career are many - from the stages I've played and shared, to the people I've opened for, to the festivals where I would meet so many new friends and fans, to Nashville writers nights, to open mics, to The Kennedy Center, and almost every venue who hosted acoustic music in the places I've lived. I've been lucky to play with some incredible players - from high school bands and jazz bands, to college playing opportunities with people like Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, and hundreds of players you've never hear of but should have, to studios in Indiana and Nashville where I met some of the best musicians alive, to all the singer/songwriters who asked me to sit in or be their lead player. I can't say it's been a bad ride at all.
What I want to happen next is to get excited about recording again. I love the studio and I have a great set up. I have a ton of songs that I've written but never recorded. I need to have the bandwidth and desire to get that done. I also just want to sit in my room and regain some curiosity about music again. I want to open up some tunebooks and sight read for an hour or two.
One other thing...though I've had a long time of it, there have been people along the way who didn't think I could do it. I believed them for awhile, until I couldn't hold it back any longer. Some of these people have been "friends" who may have been trying to protect me from the pain of failure or rejection. You all weren't doing me any favors. Rejection and failure are a part of the deal. They're called life lessons. Still others didn't like the sound of my singing voice. I'm happy to have Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, John Prine, John Hartford, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and so many other unique voices to be my guides.
What I'm most grateful for are the people who would show up to listen, who would keep the barstool warm until I was finished playing, who would buy a shot or a beer and have it brought up to me, who would call out their favorite requests, especially if it was for one of my songs. Your presence has made the whole thing worth it. You are the ones who close the circle for me and keep me from singing into a vacuum. You've received me so well and I am forever grateful.
That's all for now folks. I'll see you around.