2018 Recap: Part Two (SUMMER!)

26 Dec

May: This month is a blur, honestly. I think it’s because a lot of it was spent head down, working on the onetwothreescream EP. I threw one more song at Mark, 18 Hours, and we proceeded to have a ton of fun with it. This little tiny plastic microphone is responsible for all the speaking parts on this song, and Mark had to go into acting coach mode with me to get me to say my lines correctly!

June: When I even think perhaps I am in a funk, my natural reaction is to GET OUT OF TOWN. So I did. I flew to Denver and into the wonderful open arms of Michael and Denise O’Connor. MOC and I played a super fun Concert Window show, and then commenced the Musical Tourism portion of my trip, which meant meeting up with Heidi and Leanne and seeing Mary Chapin Carpenter play 3 shows (is anybody surprised…no, no one is surprised). We’d go anywhere to see MCC play, but we have learned that sometimes you can pair it up with 1) seeing people you know and love and 2) seeing beautiful parts of the country. We really nailed it with this trip. I took my niece, Heather, to her first MCC show (PROUD AUNT ALERT):

We saw Mary Chapin at the Denver Botanical Gardens, then we managed to see SusanG! play in Manitou Springs, because her tour schedule also takes her to Colorado in the summer which is smart.

Then we went to Aspen for an MCC show, which is where I saw “CAVIAR” on a convenience store sign for the first time and I still feel weird about it. After a stop at DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT (if you know me, you know this was a big deal) we landed in Sun Valley, Idaho, where Heidi’s family has roots and where I had never been before. It’s a glorious part of the country and we sat on a bench on the hill one afternoon a made a toast to Heidi’s Dad, as is tradition.

The shows were all, of course, fantastic. We danced a LOT. I’m not usually a Dancer (TM) because I am one of those musicians with two left feet, but when there’s a mini-folk-mosh pit happening, nothing really matters, and the truth of the matter is that dancing feels good, and if it feels good, do it. Also there are always profound moments in an MCC show that can move even the most cynical person to tears, so I figure the musical therapy alone was good for my weird 2018 feelings. The biggest lesson here is…whatever brings you joy…follow that, focus on it, consume it, embrace it. There’s a lot of negative input around us all the time – comparisons, “Should Haves,” the distortion of reality via social media, the news…so The Good Stuff. Find it.

Then it was home…nope, I WAS NOT DONE. I flew from Denver to Nashville and met my friends Kristin and Carolyn (of Hardened & Tempered) for a little tromping around Music City. We had great chats with some Nashvillians, saw Vince Gill play with the Time Jumpers, and acquired baritone guitars because WHEN IN NASHVILLE.

July: Then it was back to Texas to do a little thing I like to call RELEASING AN ALBUM. onetwothreescream’s Lit entered into the world as a little digital ball of folk pop on July 13th. This whole process, again, created a wad of Complex Emotions (TM) because…well, you write songs from your heart and brain. You record them with love and care and time (Mark’s hours put into mixing alone are…incredible. He’s a master). You then just THROW THEM OUT THERE.

And you…sit. You wait. You hope people like them. You keep mental lists of who you might like to listen. You hope they do. Since you are not Jeff Bezos, you have no idea if they actually listen. You wait. People say lovely things. You make a mental list of lovely things. Your brain, trying to be a jerk because it’s bored? Makes a list of Other People You Would Like to Listen and Say Things. Sometimes you never hear either way. And this is just the brain thinking about all the people in your immediate circle. There are a billion articles on the internet about how artists and creatives SHOULD NOT base their worth on the reactions and reviews of their peers and friends and family, but we do it anyway.

And then, there’s the whole “get it out there” thing. I spent days researching blogs and sending press releases and playlists and links around. I was a keyboard monkey all of July. It was kind of fun – there’s a thrill in the hunt, and a hopeful optimism every time you hit “Send” on an email.  Statistically, success was low, but we did get some great support and write ups from some very lovely people. We got spun on KGSR in Austin, we talked to Rush in KOOP Radio, blogs said kind things, and if anyone hated it, they didn’t write about it (which is nice, too).

And we like what we made, so we’re gonna make some more. Putting out a new Anything is a rollercoaster, and I bet everyone from the guy across the coffee shop from me to Lady Gaga gets these mood shifts when they finish a project. Overall, my review of releasing a folk pop album? 10/10 would do it again.

I also helped out at a great summer camp for teenage girls through Real Life Real Music at The Settlement Home in Austin. These kids have dealt with a lot in their few years on this planet, and we went in armed with nothing but some guitars and the aim of helping them write a song and record it in a week. Anytime you want to rattle loose your own weird creative hangups, help someone else write a song. It works!

So to recap: funk removal efforts Summer 2018 included travel, seeing music that makes you grateful to be alive, hanging out with positive, good people, helping other people make art, and making art.  Checkmate.

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