The older I get, the more I’ve begun to realize as a songwriter how difficult it is to be vulnerable and honest in my work. I’ve typically disguised my life experiences and emotions as fictional stories, with elements of truth thrown in there for good measure. I think that’s great, and many of my songwriting heroes write using that style, but I grew too comfortable and complacent. Songwriting began to lose its lure and adventure, and it became boring. Anyone who knows me well knows how competitive I am, and when my wife began to see my complacency and boredom, she challenged me to push my boundaries and to pull the curtain back a little. Not one to back down from a challenge, I obliged her. The result was the beginning stages of my new love affair with songwriting.
I’ve experienced some head trauma in my life, which has resulted in some strange medical issues that have taken me years to get a grip on. Throughout the years I’ve kept that stuff mostly to myself, but due to the challenge my wife presented me, I felt like I needed to one-up her and win. The idea of actually writing songs from a first-person perspective terrified me. I wanted nothing more than for my peers to think I had it all figured out. I wanted them to think that I was somehow immune to day-to-day life, or even above it. The truth is, I have to work a 40-hour week job just to be able to afford to travel and play music. Sometimes I show up to a show and the only folks who are there are the staff, and that extra money I made during my 40-hour workweek is gone with the wind. Try playing a few of those shows and see how great you feel. It’s not easy, but that one good show sandwiched between the other bad ones somehow makes it all worth it.
The past 6 months have been a whirlwind in my camp. I’ve finished writing a record (more to be announced soon regarding that), got out of a publishing contract, continued remodeling a house, taken a huge back seat to social media, and started writing another record. I have my wife, my health, my family, and little to complain about. I don’t want it to sound like I don’t love what I do. I love it to a fault. I love it to the point where it doesn’t always make sense, and I’ll continue to grind my way through it until I feel like I shouldn’t. Music and me are an open marriage. There’s no ring, no tattooed knuckle, and no license from the state. I’m one amputated hand away from never playing my guitar again, and I can walk away at any time. 29 years old is ancient in punk rock, but I’m a green horn in the country scene. Can’t stop, won’t stop!