I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day Weekend. Be careful out there. Have fun. Get wet. I will.
So…”Sideshow Love”, my first album release since “Wings”, is all recorded, mixed and mastered. The cover art is almost done. I’m really happy with it. I wish I had a release date in particular in my mind, but I feel confident saying the record will come out this Summer. I have been in such a whirlwind of touring, writing, recording, travel and family business, that I often don’t know which end is up; I just know where I need to be at what time on a given day and what gear I need to load into the van. Coffee up and go. To be honest, I’ve never been happier. I am a workaholic. I love my work. An old schoolmate asked me over Mardi Gras, “What do you mean when you say ‘work’”
He was putting the word Work in quotes. I admit it annoyed me greatly. But it also told me that there are still folks out there who think a musicians’ life is glamorous. So I won’t spoil it for you folks.
I have reached the stage of a music career—31 years since I first fired up the van and drove out of town to play shows and pay my rent/mortgage/insurance/etc from it—I have reached the stage where I am self managed, self booked, self published, self released, self driven, self tour managed, self roadie, self…probably self centered and sorry about that. The plus side is total total total artistic freedom—whether it’s improvising at the gig, writing about whatever I want whenever I want, recording things the way I please, making my schedule (I’m really hoping to wean myself off touring as guitarist for other artists—unless it’s convenient and with friends—and we’re in a creative relationship—ie, writing and recording, collaborating).
Too much information?
I have spent this year
1) touring the midwest with Emmylou Harris and the Red Dirt Boys (who knows if we’ll play again; but I got to do it and it was wonderful)
2) Playing all over the US, from East to West Coast, and most importantly on the Gulf Coast
3) Which leads to the birth of Willie Sugarcapps. I’ve been in some good bands—Ground Zero, Will and the Bushmen, The Bis-Quits, DADDY—and in some good bands I was technically a sideman in, but often felt like a Real Band: Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks, Rodney Crowell and the Outsiders, Emmylou Harris and the Red Dirt Boys, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band. So yeah, I have been lucky and I realize that’s one of my gifts: I’m a band guy. When I’m up there, it feels like a band. So when I got onstage with Grayson Capps, Corky Hughes, Savana Lee and Anthony Crawford, it felt like a band—but not only because I was there—because everyone had this giving quality—everyone was an individual artist in their own right—but together we just had a collective SMILE together and it felt like home. Maybe a musician feeling like home is always some temporary deal—I’m home now, and feel rested for the first time in at least a month—but I know I’ll in New York next week and then I’ll be on the Gulf Coast—I’m already packing for those trips in my mind, and my van isn’t even fully unloaded from my recording sessions this past week. The good news is this: Willie Sugarcapps made a record one day a few weeks ago. 10 songs in as many hours. Is it raw? Is it real? Is it ragged around the edges? Yes. Is it perfect? Yes. And we have some gigs coming up soon. And the CD will be out at the end of June. See, that’s the difference between self managed me and a team of friends—the team can make something happen quickly. The lone wolf moves a lot slower than the pack. But fear not—”Sideshow Love” is my favorite record I’ve ever made as a solo artist (Tommy Womack says it showcases my guitar playing better than anything I’ve ever done) and it’s coming soon.
4) I’ve gotten to collaborate via writing and recording with these folks: Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, Marshall Chapman, Robby Hecht, Kim Richey, Brigitte Demeyer (with whom I’ve been writing a whole album, and getting to record that album with a band that includes Brady Blade, Chris Donohue and Jimmi Wallace—Lord Have Mercy!), Blair Bodine, Myla Smith, Angel Snow and Blue Mother Tupelo. Wow.
5) I’m busy picking songs for the next DADDY album.
6) I’m picking songs for a collaboration with Sam Baylor (have you heard Sam’s Instant Band’s “Namaste” CD??) of Will and the Bushmen.
I’m going to stop there because it’s all too much. It’s all so good. I am so grateful for this insane first half of 2013—so productive with so many talented friends. Do I sometimes wish I had help loading the van, driving all over creation, and maintaining website and stuff? Yes. Would I trade this life and work for anything? Hell No.