My dear friends,
I’m standing in my friend’s guest room, back in Santa Cruz, standing because I know if I sit/lie down I’ll pass out in five minutes. I’m still on Europe time and this morning I found myself on my yoga mat hours before dawn. It was actually really nice, to be up while the world is still quiet and no one expects anything from me (i.e. I don’t expect anything from myself). And after six months of carrying my life on my shoulders it feels really freaking good to stretch.
Tomorrow I drive to Oregon to begin shows in OR, CA, NM & TX. Honestly, I feel really torn about this tour - about touring in general - and not just because I feel like there are metal clamps on my shoulders. Around this time every year I say “I’m done with the road!” and then by the end of the year I’m manically booking the next tour. Because I love it - playing music, connecting with you, the freedom and inspiration of travel. But I’m tired. And while the spiritual gains have been tremendous here on the physical plane all I have to show for my efforts are some strained muscles, gray hairs, a stress rash, and a credit card bill.
Sigh. Glamorous, right? I don’t want to be negative… so I struggle with how much and what to share in these newsletters because life is mostly rad, I’ve chosen this path (I think?), and I want to inspire you to pursue your passion. But what is/isn’t inspiring? Who am I to assume/attempt to control that? Is omission a form of dishonesty? My mom tells me to keep it professional and accentuate the positive because she’s a Capricorn and as a responsible goat she puts her head down and plows through any and all adversity… but I’m the Pig to her Snake, an indecisive, hypersensitive, up-and-down tilt-a-whirl Libra born on The Day of Glaring Truth, and my truth has always been to overshare. Because while a photo might speak 1000 words it will never tell the whole story. And I want to. Life is far too interesting, even with the ick and the uck and the void.
I need some time in the void. My life has been really packed for a long time. This week I celebrate ten years of living on the road. Ten years! On my tenth birthday I cried because I’d never be a single digit again. This year I cried because I don’t think I’ll ever live on the road again. I’m not “done with the road” - I’m pretty certain I’ll always travel and perform - but it won’t be like this. (It never is!) What it will be, I don’t know, but for the first time in years I’m not booking a tour in 2018. While this might seem like no biggie to you it feels huge! My life/home/identity/family have been inseparable from the road. Letting go is hard to do, no matter how easy these autumn leaves make it look.
Yesterday I cried (I’ve had a lot of practice since Tom passed away) and my beloved rubbed my back (best response in these/all situations) and I began to unravel the many thought-feelings I’ve been accumulating on my journey, some of which sound like: Am I too old for this shit? Am I being swayed by a lifetime of people telling me one day I’ll be too old for this shit? Am I not trying hard enough? Am I trying too hard? Do I not want it badly enough? Did I ever want it? What is it? What is want? Did I fuck up? What now? Etc.
Fortunately I’m used to the existential firing squad and it quickly dissolved into a vision of myself at the edge of a desert ravine. I had to cross it, and with a running start I probably could, but it was clear that there was no going over, only through. I’d have to slide down and climb up the gravelly, unstable opposite wall. I felt hopelessly weak, lost, and overwhelmed (sob, sob). But when I finally lowered down inside the ravine was peaceful and calm - the sun was high overhead, the air was still, the silence bubbled in an underwater hiss. Slowly my anxiety dissipated as I uncovered a rope, hoisted myself with some effort, and exited the other side to a lush, green landscape.
What am I talking about? I never set out to live on the road. My intention was always to be the best artist I could possibly be. And I haven’t been. So now I have to change course. For years the bulk of my creative mojo has gone towards booking emails, managing tours, organizing and traveling from A to B while trying not to lose my shit, performing, and songwriting only in trickles and stolen scribbles. I’ve mostly loved the journey, but it’s been too long since I’ve sat at a desk with a Thesaurus and worked on a song. And I really, really miss that. While you, dear listener, complete the song, it’s my job to get the bulk of it. And I have some catching up to do.
It’s scary - I derive nearly all of my income from touring, California is hella expensive, and I have no idea what’s going to happen next - but I’m alive, and that’s exciting. The void has always led to a better place. Why then, have I so often resisted leaving space for it?
Is it because growth often looks like death?
Is it really so bad?
Today I took a break from unpacking and repacking my car and I watched a hummingbird perch on a branch. I’ve never seen a hummingbird at rest! I took it as a sign to write this email, put it in writing, have some integrity.
I value our connection more than my jet lagged brain can articulate right now and my hope is to have a deeper, more relaxed conversation, without having to worry about rushing to the next train or playing the next set.
What do you think? Questions/comments/concerns/things you'd like to see/hear/say?
I know I'm not alone in my quest - most of us want more time and resources for our passions. Spread Your Talent is a coaching network I met in Köln that has fantastic tools and guidance for independent artists. I'll share more links, books, albums, and ideas as they cross my path.
Sometimes it's easier to hear our truth in the voice of another, which is what makes music (and other forms of artistic expression) so powerful.
Speaking of which, my phone has been telling me it's time for bed for a couple hours now :)
What can I say - always excited, even when dazed and confused! Here are the final dates of the Let It Breathe tour:
Oct 19 | COTTAGE GROVE, OR | Axe & Fiddle, 8:30pm
Oct 21 | SALEM, OR | Vagabond, 9pm
Oct 22 | EUGENE, OR | Unity of the Valley, 10am
Oct 25 | GILROY, CA | Hecker Pass Winery, 6pm
Oct 27 | MENLO PARK, CA | Cafe Zoë, 7:30pm
Nov 01 | SOUTH PASADENA, CA | Wine & Song, 7pm
Nov 02 | COSTA MESA, CA | The Boathouse Collective
Nov 05 | FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA | OCCSR, 10am
Nov 09 | ALBUQUERQUE, NM | Rio Bravo, 6pm
Nov 10 | DALLAS, TX | Six Springs Tavern, 7pm - with Susan Gibson
Nov 11 | SAN ANTONIO, TX | Sanchos, 7pm
Nov 16 | SAN ANTONIO, TX | Joe Blues, 9:30pm
Nov 17 | HOUSTON, TX | Brasil Cafe, 9pm
Nov 18 | HOUSTON, TX | Anderson Fair, 8pm
Nov 28 | AUSTIN, TX | Driskill Hotel, 6pm
Nov 29 | AUSTIN, TX | Driskill Hotel, 6pm
Nov 30 | AUSTIN, TX | Driskill Hotel, 6pm
Dec 01 | AUSTIN, TX | Driskill Hotel, 6pm
Dec 03 | PLANO, TX | Holistic Festival of Life & Wellbeing
Dec 08 | DALLAS, TX | Six Springs Tavern, 7pm - with Patrick Sweany
Dec 09 | SANTA FE, NM | Oxygen & Healing Bar, 8pm
Dec 10 | SANTA FE, NM | Center for Spiritual Living, 10am
Dec 14 | TAOS, NM | Taos Brewing, 8pm
Dec 15 | MADRID, NM | Mine Shaft, 5pm
At a fairly relaxed pace there will be days off for experimenting with live-streaming, new songs, and the covers project.
And now... sleep. Have a great day and thank you for taking this journey with me!