I am a musician. I play a few instruments, like guitar, keyboards, bass, mandolin, dobro and harmonica. I am also a singer and a songwriter. I have a recording studio in my house, which was responsible for 6 various CD’s and a ton of commercial and industrial projects over the years.
I have been at my craft for a very long time. I started learning guitar at 11 and have been drawn to the power of song since I was old enough to walk. I still find great new songs every week and I continue to play and write new material after so many years. Sometimes I come up with good stuff and sometimes I miss the mark, but that is all part of searching for those great songs that God wants us to manifest into the world. I don’t know why, but that passion has motivated me for at least 50 years and it has not let up.
At some point, the real thrill becomes being able to share your work with the world. I have done that as a performer and as a songwriter. I had a hit song once. I had some cuts when I was striving for recognition in Nashville. Toward the end of that run, the business changed. Now, 80% of Nashville’s career songwriters have pulled up stakes and quit. I did the same in 1996, when the whole paradigm shifted. I took it as a liberating thing: not having to write for a demographic, predetermined by publishers and record labels. But the sad truth is that writing for yourself probably isn’t going to pay the bills.
I have had a running joke with myself since the release of my last CD, “Roswell Road”. Though I sold out two pressings of that record, it was a very small drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. So I joke now and call my next CD “The Final Record Album”, mainly out of frustration. And, its funny, but I am dragging out the release of said album because I am still working on the music, the focus and the artistic whole that I wish the songs to support.
On bad days, I ask myself why. If you aren’t a label-made star these days, you might as well be nothing. You play local gigs and maybe you sell a few CD’s to your core of loyal supporters, but that is the top of the food chain for a local musical artist.
You confront these sad truths and it makes you want to never write another song in your life, and never play another cover gig. But, then- you stare down the barrel of that idea and, outside of music related tasks, I’m either not qualified or physically able enough to execute anything else. Then, I face it-I am a writer, a singer, a musician, a producer and engineer. Within those skills are where my options now lie. If I don’t pursue these core interests, then I have to retire and watch afternoon television and drink myself into oblivion until its over.
And so I choose to write new music, pursue new paths, make recordings and find goals that align with low hanging fruit. I may have some success out of left field-or not. At this point, I have to simply live and be what I am-a musical artist by default. God instilled whatever my abilities might be when I was born. Maybe a small part of me feels impelled to follow that road to the end, as if there will still be some reward at the end. The rest of me knows no other choice.
To make matters worse, my newest record is not in the realm of rock, country or pop; which automatically lowers sales by 98%, lol. I am trying to write and find songs that seem like the’ve been around forever, but are actually new. I put it all under the umbrella of Americana.
There may be other opportunities I have missed, and that is on me. One day, I just decided that I had to imbue my songs with a sense of truthfulness, regardless of the story. Hopefully, there is an ear for that out there somewhere.
Thanks for reading…and wish me luck!