THE CREATIVE PROCESS
I grew up in farm country. Life was simple. Nearly everyone drove a pickup. It makes sense that my earliest influences were Bluegrass and Country music. I literally grew up inside of a cornfield. There wasn’t much to do when you were young. I was lucky. I started playing guitar at seven years old. Except for getting lost in the cornfields, or you and your brother hiding in the corn when they were harvesting it. It sounds dangerous, but we always knew where the machinery was, even though my mother didn’t think we did. (True story: she came running after us with a large stick in her hand to chase us back to safety. I felt safer up against those big tractors than my angry mom wielding a stick) I just spent most of my time playing guitar. Maybe that’s why my bond with the guitar is so strong.
When you’re a kid the creative process is easy. You just have fun playing music. Period.
Joking aside, I did want to talk to you about creating music and being a musician. Not my childhood, although that has a huge part of who I am today.
As an Artist, sometimes songs flow out of you fast and furious. Other times there are dry spells. The muse doesn’t hit you and you have to work at writing songs. That’s the way it is. Most of my songs write themselves. My Out of the Blue CD was like that. Sometimes you have to fight to get a song out. For me, 90% of the time I am seeing a vision playing out in my mind similar to that of a movie scene. And then I write the sound track to that scene.
My song Night Drive is a great example of that. Picture driving down a country road late at night, not too dissimilar to the roads where I grew up, maybe a little too fast. The combination of the headlights and the canopy of the trees whipping past you creating a tunnel effect. Then Night Drive starts playing on the car stereo. Maybe it’s because my music is instrumental with no lyrics why that type of imagery is so vivid in my mind. I hope the listener can listen intently enough to catch a glimpse of my story telling without words.
I have played music all over the world. A tour across Canada. Tours in the US. South America. The Middle East. Some of the time it was playing other peoples music. After a while I wanted to to do my own music. It made me get more serious about writing music and help create my own sound. So I set out to do just that.
I love performing for people. Nothing like feeling the energy of people in the audience who really digs your music and what you do. Songs you wrote. And they identify with them. It’s the coolest thing ever! Small clubs, large clubs, house concerts or huge venues. It’s all great. I think I like the small intimate places the best. I feel I can really connect with the audience, and them with me in a small venue. After all, the creative process isn’t about me.
When it comes to being a musician, playing for people is what it’s all about. Yeah sure, it’s knowing the rest stops along the freeway by memory because you’ve toured that stretch of the country so many times. It’s the familiar mixture of lingering alcohol, cleaning products, and cigarette smoke back in the old days, that hits you when you enter a club in the afternoon before the air conditioners have been turned on because you need to set up your gear. They all smell the same, some not so strong, some very strong. It’s hanging out in the laundromat while you wash your clothes because you run out quickly on the road. You only have room for so many clothes in a suitcase.
It’s the familiar weight of your guitar case over your shoulder. Your baby. The one you’d be heartbroken if anything happened to it. It’s the comradery you feel with your band mates. It’s those magical nights when you seem so on and notes pour from your fingers effortlessly. And it’s a million other little subtle experiences that define what it means to be a musician. At least that’s the way it’s been for me. It’s not the number of albums sold, but rather it’s knowing those things first hand that makes me a musician – it’s the experience. And it’s knowing that you are one of a small percentage of the population to not only have seen, but to have lived behind the curtain that makes this whole crazy thing worth while.
But perhaps even more importantly than all of that, it’s YOU, the listener, that makes all of it matter. I look forward to many more experiences. Sometimes it’ll be hard, yeah, sure. Sometimes downright ugly. But that’s life right? But always worth while experiences along this musical journey. Here’s to hoping that you are part of that journey.
If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey, click here to hear some songs from my most recent album, Out of the Blue.
Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.
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