Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Finally Have the Right Guitar

Instruments are funny things. We bond with some, not so with others, and the reasons aren't always clear. Maybe you have a guitar that sounds amazing but just won't stay in tune. Maybe another is reliable and sounds good, but you just don't enjoy playing it as much. Maybe you have the right guitar for a certain setting or style, but you need something more versatile or you need a guitar that's suited to a different style. I have never been one to change instruments often, and I have always been fairly happy with the instruments I have, but I haven't ever truly felt like I had the one instrument that just fit me, though. I have the right one now. When I started working on new music as a solo artist I studied others who have been successful performing alone, and I became a huge fan of Scott H. Biram. Biram plays a vintage Gibson Es-125, and I love the sounds he gets out of it. Then, when I became a fan of Larry and His Flask, I took note of the Godin Kingpin, essentially a modern ES-125 clone, that Ian Cook plays. I have been looking for a few years now for an affordable ES-125 style guitar. I had come close to buying one several times before, but last week I finally found the right one and brought it home. It is an Alvarez AD65E, a pretty rare ES-125 clone that Alvarez only produced for a few years in the late 90s/early 2000s. I am very excited at just how nice the guitar is, and I really am enjoying it a lot. It's not a vintage, American-made Gibson, but it feels right and sounds sweet. I can't wait to get out to some shows with my new songs (keep an eye out, I'll post another new video within the next week) and my new guitar.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Six Hours for Twenty Bucks

Being an independent musician is difficult for myriad reasons. High on that list is the fact that money is scarce. The title of this blog entry refers to a show I did years ago as a solo artist. I drove six hours, set up, played, and made twenty bucks, which didn't come close to covering my gas expenses. That sounds bad, right? Unfortunately, that wasn't really a bad gig. That particular show was close to where my folks live, so I at least was able to crash at home and see them. A bad gig is more like the one where a band I was in drove almost 8 hours and made less than $5 per person. After that gig, we had the choice to sleep in our van or drive on home. We drove, which was a terrible idea that we often had, and looking back I am just glad we managed to not kill ourselves on I-95 somewhere. Some of the blame for that one falls on us for booking the show. Sometimes, though, that's just how it goes in the music business. There's an interesting dichotomy that happens wherein most actively touring musicians are either wealthy or pretty much broke. There aren't very many of us who manage to simply make a decent living. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but that's what I've been exposed to. You're either doing really well or you're broke. Actually, I have seen the third category, which is really where I'd like to be. Some bands and individual artists have toured so much and put out so many good records that they are able to make a living doing so. These folks tend to tour A LOT, but that's their job, that's what they do, and, for the vast majority of those folks whom I've had the chance to talk to, that's what they love. Oh yeah, they also tend to put out their own records or work with very small indie labels. Without fail, though, those folks, a lot of whom I have written about or will write about in the music you should be listening to series, started out by being willing to tour their asses off whether or not they were able to eat and pay their bills by doing so. It turns out that the truly gifted and talented among us have to go through immense struggle sometimes in order to reach the point where they can live somewhat comfortably. It takes a big set of balls (or ovaries I guess?) to just hit the road and do your thing with the belief that it will work out even when you can't be sure that it will. Struggle might last a long time, you might fail repeatedly, but the people that make it through that ignore the fact that most everyone else thinks they are insane or irresponsible because they believe in their purpose and they believe in their destiny. Thinking about this reminds me of a somewhat unfortunate, but most often true statement that I have kept in my mind over the years. Well adjusted people don't make great art. You have to be a little bit crazy. So me, I know I am little crazy, and I know I am not all that well adjusted. It's ok. If you are the same, just realize that we are what and who we are for reasons far beyond what we can comprehend. I don't care if I go six hours for twenty bucks if I get to play and someone else enjoys it. If someone enjoys it, a lot more then twenty bucks will end up coming my way. I hope this makes sense, but if it doesn't I will simply blame the fact that I am sleep deprived. New songs will be out soon, and I can't wait for you guys to hear them. In the interim, I've got some philosophical thoughts I want to share, and I have a new guitar to show off. Keep checking back for updates as I should have at least a couple more over this long weekend. Love you guys, take it easy.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to Work

It's been quiet around here because I am back to work since school is back in session. I am teaching a new subject in a new school, so I have been somewhat overwhelmed. I have good news, though. I should have a new guitar within the next week barring any unforeseen craziness. If everything goes according to plan, I will have an instrument that I have wanted for some time. I will definitely be posting as soon as I get it, or, if for some reason I don't, I'll probably have a good rant to post. I hope everyone is well. Stay tuned for new music coming very soon.