A Big, Kickin' Thank You!

"When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God's business." 

~Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being

There are two kinds of humbling experiences I've had--the kind where you're prideful enough that the universe needs to take you down a couple notches, and the kind where you're prideful enough to not believe in what it is you're supposed to be doing, and then you get faced with the evidence that YES, THIS IS, NOW STOP WHINING AND DO IT. 

A few years ago, when playing at King's Court Tavern in Leesburg, I had the first kind of experience.  I had driven back up after a recent move to North Carolina, and it was my first solo full-length bar gig.  A bunch of college and music friends came out, and I'd been playing about half an hour when I looked around to notice that they were all talking and laughing and joking and catching up.  But what ran through my head in that moment wasn't gladness that everyone was having a good time, but the cutting thought that "They're not paying attention to ME or to these songs that I wrote." 

Yuck, right? I thought long and hard about that for the rest of the show and afterwards and eventually decided that reaction—natural as it may be, because who doesn’t hope to be heard?—missed the point of all that I’m doing.  Writers write because we must, and because, not just the skill, but the words and stories are a gift that, if you don’t use them, will eventually wither.  As a musician, I’m there to make music and to sing a song—I’m there for the song itself, and to sing it clearly.  And the song can be fun background music, or it can also carry a deeper message for those who have ears to hear.   

An example of the latter kind of experience came after I gave a copy of Nelson County Wayside to a fellow soldier as a thank-you for some favor, and he told me later that it had gotten him through a hard time.  Another time, my fiddling housemate and I were packing up after an evening of busking on Greensboro’s Elm Street.   We’d played a while, and a couple people had dropped a dollar in and kept walking.   I was latching my guitar case when a homeless couple walked up and asked us to play one more tune.   “Sure,” we said, and they sat on their bags in rapt attention, then stopped us with tears in their eyes, thanking us for that bit of beauty in their day.  We tried to refuse the dollar they handed us, but we kept it in a Mason jar to remind ourselves of the importance of beauty over money.

Your support on the Kickstarter project was likewise humbling—some friends new to the music; some who have heard these songs once, years before, and then waited for this EP; and some who graciously gave to support both the last album and this one.  Thank you, and again, thanks to Joe and Stacey Rinaldi of the Rinaldi Flying Circus and Christen Mack of the Zinc Kings and Kelley Wills of Brain Flower Designs.  If you like anything about this album, check out their projects, too!

I’m finalizing the tour schedule, too!  So far I’m playing around Loudoun County, Richmond, Lynchburg, and Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Carrboro.  You can check out the tour schedule here. 

Thanks again, and see you on the road!