You have traveled many miles to watch me sing. You have stayed out way too late too see the end of the show. You have donated your hard-earned money to help me make an album. You have shared, commented on, and liked countless posts. Some of you have been with me from the beginning, and some have jumped on board somewhere along the way. All of you may have noticed a decline in social media activity and gigs lately. I’m writing now to tell you why.
I write a lot of songs based on my life and my feelings. But you know what inspires me the most to write? Other music. Great music. If I hear a new album or artist that I can’t get enough of, I get this feeling in my core telling me, “I need to write RIGHT NOW!” Of course, this can also happen with songs and records that I’ve known for years. One day, something will just hit me slightly differently than it normally does, and I’m off to the races.
I think I was 14 years old. I had finally decided to expand my musical horizons beyond my beloved Beatles. I asked my dad to go downstairs and pull some albums for me to listen to from his extensive collection of vinyl. He was thrilled. Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, Fear of Music by the Talking Heads, Armed Forces by Elvis Costello, The Idiot by Iggy Pop, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. But the one that he pulled and immediately placed on the record player because I simply HAD to hear it right then, was an album called The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Fifty years ago today, a rock and roll band from Liverpool, England called the Beatles arrived in New York City. Their arrival ushered in a new wave of hope for a country that so recently before that was shattered by the assassination of their charismatic young president, John F. Kennedy.
Last night I read an article. “How country music went crazy. A comprehensive timeline of the genre’s identity crisis.” He said, she said, these are the artists ruining country music, these are the artists that will save country music, these artists don’t respect their elders, these artists are washed up fuddy-duddies, country music consumers are stupid and will buy all sorts of meaningless crap, country music consumers feel like their intelligence is being insulted and are dying for some meaningful music.
As a nocturnal, reflective, creatively driven, wannabe-musical-revolutionary, I’ve never been overcome by the sense that I fully fit in anywhere I’ve been or within any group to which I’ve “belonged.” So throughout my life, and in the past few years especially, I’ve found myself seeking out versions of myself – mostly attributes I hope I possess and some I begrudgingly accept that I do – in the words of the people I most admire. Which I suppose explains why I read so many damned biographies.
New York, 1976 - John Lennon wins his deportation battle against the Nixon Administration. When asked if he harbors a grudge against the president, in true Lennon fashion, he quips, “Time wounds all heels.”
Today, I begin a blog. A blog whose entries will likely be few and far between, and mostly self-serving in content, but regardless… here I am. I think I am probably here in denial. For the first time, I will not be participating in the mass migration of American youths (“youts” if you’re Joe Pesci) traveling from the pool to the classroom this fall. I am officially growed up. And sick as it may be, I have always loved writing assignments. Especially when I got to write about “me” (we singers always want “more me” in the mix). So today I join the masses of unread bloggers who write about themselves in the hopes that their unique combination of candor and wit will draw more than family members to their stories. I have given myself the writing assignment I will so miss this fall. Sick, I know.