23 November, 2010

the final inning + last free download

the last download of this project is a live version of “the little cowboy” from our show on 8 OCT in Portland ME. it features the awesome slide playing of “distillation” producer dave chalfant. thanks to everyone who came out to the shows, watched the webcast, and took home some anniversary schwag!

as i wrap up the anniversary project, i’ve been thinking that being a musician is a little like being a professional athelete. if you’re in a band, you’re like a baseball team; if you’re me, you’re like a tennis player. but check this out:

in many of the same ways, the business of sports and the music industry reward youth. travel and performance are physically demanding, especially over a long period of time. you ride an emotional rollercoaster, getting yourself up every night for a game or a gig, and riding your adreneline until you crash- in victory or defeat. only to do it again the next day, in the next town. from the outside, the life appears glamorous, but behind the scenes the work of practice is hard and the down time is often incredibly boring. both demand endless self-promotion and an ego of a certain size and toughness to weather the grueling work and inevitable rejections.

03 November, 2010

go west, young man + free download

as i head to the west coast, this week’s download is “love in 2 parts”, which ends the album “distillation” and opens the anniversary shows. it is most definitely one song and describes a relationship i was in that was… shall we say, manic. it also mentions the incredible burden of rent in the bay area!


looking back on the early years of my career, i’m surprised at the kind of travel craziness i used to sign up for. i routinely hopped planes, cars, and buses in the same day- early in the morning, long after gigs, and often carrying obscene amounts of gear by my lonesome.

from the very beginning of my career, it’s been important to me to play as far and wide as possible. so even before it was financially feasible or responsible, i was trooping off to the west coast or overseas. i have always just wanted to be out there, beyond the friendly confines (and perceptions) of the northeast US.

so, in this dire economic climate, and even more dire music industry epoch, i’m heading out to the west coast to bring the “distillation anniversary tour” to Oregon, Washington, and California. my shoestring budget and creative travel decisions are reminding me of the first tour i ever did on the west coast, in the summer of 1998.

at the time, i had just finished my second year of college, and i was on my way to that rite of passage known as “time off”. but before i settled in for a fall of finding myself, i decided to play on the west coast. i had a few friends in LA who helped me get my first gig- at a place called “fais dodo”. i made calls and sent packages and eventually hooked up enough gigs to get me to seattle.

even though i was 21, i somehow was able to rent a car, which i gigged out of all the way up the coast. i remember stopping for a few days in san luis obispo, where the gig came with a night at the local hostel. then it was on to san francisco (first gigs: a berkelely house concert, then the bearded lady). from san francisco, i ditched my rental and got on a greyhound bus heading north. i stopped for a gig in redding, before hitting eugene and portland. i stuck around for a few days with friends in portland then headed up to olympia, seattle, and bellingham, again by bus.