For anyone who is unaware, I played a Facebook live set today as a part of "Stay at Home Fest". The event was put together by Kevin of Appalachian Artists and Kim of Witzend (formerly Perfectly Unhinged) in Kingsport, TN. This marked the first time I've played for an audience of any kind since November. To be honest, it felt like much longer. I completely separated myself from my music. My brain rebooted and I thought the part of myself that I've always referred to as "songwriter brain" was gone, or atleast dormant.
"Songwriter brain" is the natural instincts that cause me to see something or experience something in my day-to-day life and immediately come up with a song in my head about it. Sometimes it's a one-liner. Other times it's an entire verse or chorus. Some instances it's simply a concept that I know I need to explore further. There was a period of years where my songwriter brain was always on, always churning out ideas. Over the last couple years, that changed.
I was so excited to release "The Way we Spend Our Nights", my sophomore slump, in November 2018. I felt it was a more concentrated, more professional effort than my debut record, "Autumn Southbound". Unfortunately, it didn't take long for that excitement to turn into thoughts and feelings I can only refer to as "burnout". Every car ride, every show felt like a chore. The joy was gone. Hell, I started to question if playing music had ever truly given me joy in the first place. I needed to step away. It was time for me to focus on other aspects of my life. I packed away my guitars. My trusty notebooks collected dust. My brain rebooted.
Over the last month or so, I've blown the dust off of my guitars and notebooks. I have starts on a couple new songs. I have a newfound appreciation for keeping notes in my iPhone as opposed to pen and paper. Most importantly, I have a new outlook on my place in this world as a storyteller and musician. I'm refocused. It feels invigorating.
When Kevin Edwards posted about putting together a Facebook live concert with multiple local acts here in the Tri-Cities, I had mixed feelings. Part of me wanted to jump at the opportunity right away. Another part of me felt guilty. Part of the spirit of such an event is to aid artists who have lost income from cancelled gigs. I do not fall into that category. Thus, I waited. After a couple days, I reached out to Kevin and was thrilled to find out he still had available slots.
No part of the preparation and buildup to Stay at Home Fest felt like a chore. I was excited to be a part of such a cool concept, but I honestly didn't know what to expect. The entire day was therapeutic on multiple levels. Kim's space is charming and has beautiful acoustics. My set felt good. It's one thing to sound good, but it's another entirely to FEEL good. That was there for me today, and it was much needed. Now there is just one question: what's next?
Although I don't fully know the answer to that question, I plan on utilizing the free time our situation is offering to get back on the saddle. I want to write a handful of new songs. When this all blows over and normalcy returns, I want to get back on stage and back in the studio. My vision for Dallas Danger is different than it has ever been, but I truly feel like it's also clearer to me than it has ever been. I'm ready to get to work and make the new vision a reality.
In closing, I must thank Kevin and Kim for putting Stay at Home Fest together. I also need to thank my friends Oreon and Beth for throwing me a bone and donating some of their hard-earned money via virtual tipping. I'm truly grateful for all the support I've received over the last decade through the highs and lows of Dallas Danger. The last chapter is yet to be written. Stay tuned, folks. The best is yet to come. Let's ride this wave together!
I'm a punk rock storyteller from Johnson City, TN. As I get back in the saddle and begin to write songs for my next album, I'd like to keep anyone and everyone interested in the process up to date. I will attempt to do that in this space. Thanks for your support!