We finished our show in Asheville the other night and drove straight home from the gig. 16 hours of final finality in the van and then we pulled up to our driveway for the first time since September.
Chilly, rainy day in Lawrence, MA today. Head is groggy from the road. It’s hard to know what to do with yourself when you get home. You know you should rest but six straight weeks at 80 miles per hour tells you other wise. So you want to move, but your body just can’t. You want to maybe think, read, create, but your brain won’t budge. Everything’s fuzzy. The lights seem dim.
Not knowing anything else, I played more of the little word game (Scramble 2) on my phone that got me through all those van hours. I checked Twitter and Facebook a bunch, just like I did during all those van hours. I watched YouTube. Skate videos mostly, but eventually music. Django Reinhardt, Stochelo Rosenberg, Brian Setzer. And dug out this classic that perfectly suits my mood at the moment (thanks to Andrea for pointing me to the original version):
Also I put on The Barr Brothers CD earlier and was amazed by it.
In the last 45 days we did 35 cities in 25 states. A few shows were lightly attended but most were not. Mostly, we had some very good nights full of hardcores from all over the country singing back the words I wrote. People drove from hours away to get to the shows or used the shows as an excuse to make trips to see old friends. There was strength out there, there were stories of people being truly affected by the music. Amazing.
One man in Seattle wandered backstage after the show and told me my music saved his life. Later, his wife would email me saying that this was, in fact true. He had gone through a period where he had grown more and more dark, more detached from his loved ones, eventually contemplating suicide. Something about hearing “75 and Sunny” for the first time at one of the Martin shows this past spring just lit some kind of light back up in him. Right then and there he started turning things around.
It’s still amazing to me as I type this out. I think about the woman who named her baby “Patience Friday” or the stories about all kinds of children singing the words to “Eggs.” Ever see this one?
I’m not sure why I bring all this up now. I’m just thinking about it all as I sit here in my room for the first time in a while.
Guitar case sits by the door. The van and trailer are parked in the drizzle outside. Mail still sits in an enormous stack on the floor that I will put off for as long as possible. My banjo sits on the unmade bed along with my camera case and a dirty shirt that I will surely continue to wear.
What did we just do out there? Bringing up these stories is an extreme way of reminding me.
It’s sort of a weird platform for me to write this, but I’ll say it again: I just want to get the art better.
(This is a weird platform because if you’re reading this, you’re likely a fan of the music I’ve already made. You’re the only people in the world who might not want or expect better. You’re the only people in the world who are ok with what I’ve already done. But I digress…)
There are many more shows to play to close out this year, including a run with JJ Grey and Mofro starting next week, a bunch of our own dates through December, and New Year’s in Foxboro, MA. These should all be a blast. On our best nights now, I feel like the band has reached a nice place of looseness and tightness all at once.
And in January, when the real decompression starts to take place, much more than will this week, then I hope to buckle down and start creating in earnest. I just want to get the art better. I want to get it better and I believe that I can. And it seems that a fair amount of people are listening now.
So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.