Roll On

Walker, Chris, and Tony were already on stage when I walked into the venue last night.

I stood alone on stage throughout last week’s tour. It was just me, my voice, and my guitar. Solo acoustic works for moving hearts, but not so much in moving bodies. I like to movie bodies too. So it was great to be surrounded by the band again. They had my back. And we moved some bodies.

I was in the play “Pippin” when I was a sophomore in high school. I played Pippin, a naive, snotty young prince trying to grow up and find his way in the world. (“I don’t know what I want to do,” he says in his first monologue, “Or where I want to go.”) There a scene towards the middle where he kills his father the king in an effort to seize the thrown (don’t worry, the king comes back to life). Hhe’s singing this song “Morning Glow” alone on stage. But on the second refrain, towards the end of the song, a semi-circlular chorus surrounds him and sings. Not only do they back him up, the repeat everything he says. In four part harmony.

I nearly jumped out of my knitted trousers the first time we performed the scene. Twenty people singing four part harmony in one hundred and eighty degrees is staggering. I got goose bumps. And I felt like, if I fell over, or missed a line, they’d catch me.

At some point last year, I decided that my experiences making music in New York Music lacked community. Sure, there are plenty of guys to hire, but few who performed for the love of the music, and the collaboration, alone. So I set out to build some alliances, swap some gigs, perform with some folks, and get together just to talk about music. The conversations I’ve had, the friends I’ve made, and the music I’ve created with Chris Abad, Amy Hills, Wynn Walent, Casey Shea, Jeff Jacobson — the list goes on and on — have been terrific.

Funny thing happened along the way: the community grew. Miraculously, through a mutual appreciation of sincerity, simplicity, and melody, I fell in with The Nadas. They embraced me as one of their own (even if my status as an Iowan was in dispute). Jerry, Josh, Tony — the list goes on and on — made me feel right at home. And when Jason and Mike came to New York, my worlds collided: Kevin talking to Jon talking to Christofer. Crazy.

But it’s not a community without you. I can’t tell you how many emails have come at just the right time. Maybe I felt like giving up, or maybe I felt like I wasn’t good enough, or maybe I felt lonesome. You were there. You had my back.

Songwriting is a solitary process. I write songs in my bedroom. I record them with a team of fellow travellers, and true believers. And I send them off to you. But no matter how personal, or autobiographical, or confessional — they’re all for, about, and by each one of us.

So thanks for that. And everything.

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