It’s a real thing: I’ve recorded an EP (thanks to Nickels Hawkeye!), and it’s almost out there. It’s called GOTTA GO ON, and there are five tracks available. Nickels was great to work with and did really quality engineering on the project, and while it’s not perfect (in terms of my own performance), much of it makes me really happy. There’s a music video coming, too (thanks to Loren O’Laughlin, who also took the picture above), which is completely strange, but in the end, as I told one of the people I shared it with recently, Loren did a beautiful job with it (with Carlo Nakar pitching in on audio), and I’m not horrified by what I’m doing, which I thought I might be.
I’ve been writing music since I was in junior high, but I’ve never really shared much of it with anyone, with the exception of a college band I was a part of, a couple of solo shows with music in the 1990’s, and some Christmas musicals I wrote for church during the early 2000’s. But frankly, I’ve always struggled sharing my music. It feels more intimate than my other creative work…more risky to share than plays or novels. It’s as if the theatrical fourth wall creates a kind of protective barrier that allows for a level of deep sharing that’s risky, but manageable. But music comes from a different place (at least some say so), and when I stand up to sing an original song of mine, just me and my guitar (and my complexes about guitar playing are another story), I feel exposed in a new and terrifying way.
Nothing new here, right? The fear of putting yourself out there can hold us in check for many years. Why choose this moment to come charging out into the street with my music? Hard to say, but in the end it was more “why not?” than anything else. I guess it was just time.
Who’s the record for? Frankly, I made it for my wife, my kids, my friends, and all those people who have been gracious and kind to me over the years as I’ve struggled with carving a life out of my various artistic, educational, and spiritual ventures. It’s a thank you, a “keep going” word of encouragement, and a testament to my own desire to be known in a particular way. It also marks a certain moment in my life, a time of confusion, darkness, and a growing determination to move on through it to a more gracious and productive place. Let’s have coffee sometime, and if you’re curious, I’ll tell you more about it.
In a strange way, this whole thing is an exercise in giving up control and the need for perfection. On one track, there is a pretty glaring gaffe that I decided to leave to stand as a metaphor for refusing to let the lack of perfection stop me from getting my work out there.
Enough said. For now, I’ll let the music stand for itself.
Another note: I’m playing a couple of house concerts in the next month, and I’m hoping to play a bunch of them in 2016. The goal is “to do my own work in front of a live audience”, and if those audiences are small, I’d love it. So if the music resonates with you, and the idea of a house concert intrigues you, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll toss the idea around.
Last thing: I’ve written few songs in the white heat of passion, but GOTTA GO ON sort of started like that. I was banging out chords on my guitar, frustrated, on the verge of giving up in profound ways, and just began singing “I’ve got to go on.” And so, making this little less-than-perfect project was one way of “going on.”
For the gift, it still must travel / Even if givers all unravel / I gotta go on
Thanks for listening. Enjoy…