Sometime way back when, in the summers of 1991 and 1992, I pieced together my first solo acoustic record, Oh Yeah. I called it Oh Yeah because it seemed like the only thing to call it. Shit, it was a dream to make a record. Oh Yeah!!
Love on the run. Damn that should be a song. It must be a song already, right?! There's probably a thousand songs about love on the run and a million songs about love. Love makes the world go around right? Yeah it does. And what does love have to do with playing guitar, touring, writing songs and being a musician? Well, just about everything.
I'm on the plane. US Air, service Philly to Boston. I wrapped up my sold out, solo acoustic tour last night in Ocean City, Maryland and it's time I head home. I have to say I get a bit sad at the end of my tours these days. Trust me I'm ready to get some rest and family time but I sure miss my crew and I miss the road the minute I step up off of it. That's the truth. Music is my life and it's what I'm good at. It feels good to be on the road and to be the best you that you can be night in and night out.
Creation is all about new life. Music is all about creation. When we write songs and jam in a progressive way, we are essentially moving forward. We take bold new steps with our guitars, our voices, our pens and papers. As musicians we want to strive for originality and breath fresh life into the sounds and atmospheres we create. Yes we push on through and break down walls and barriers with our music, but as we move forward let us not forget the importance of looking back.
Yo! Last week I was talking about the fleeting moments of being a new artist and about how crucial a time in your career that may be. I was reflecting on those times after I wrote the post. Man, my head was completely up my ass when it came to playing the game. I thought y'all might enjoy a classic music business slip up I made then out of the goodness and purity of my muse.
You only get one chance to be a new artist. How did that old school Head and Shoulders commercial go? You only get one chance to make a first impression. Yeah, that's right. Scratch, scratch, flake, flake. Guy loses chance to meet super fine dream girl, goes home, gets the right shampoo and bam! He's got the girl. Well, that's kind of like being a new artist.
You will succeed or fail based on your ability to write great songs. All of my talk about business hustle, practicing your guitar, life on the road and everything else doesn't matter if you don't have the songs to back it up. Hendrix, Clapton and Page were masters of their instrument, but there are a thousand guitar players who can play that good. The reason we know and idolize these masters of guitar are their songs.
People always ask me, "What is it like? Tell me the story of the road!” Well, in short, it's, “Pack up a bag of shirts and shoes, lace up them sneaks and play the damn blues. You've got to drive, eat, sound check and sleep, get back in the van and play for the peeps ..."
Back in the day you could make a demo and if it was really good you could get a record deal. Yes I just said you could get a deal without even touring, without even playing one gig! As crazy as it sounds it's true. My old manager worked with the Fun Lovin Criminals. They were fucking awesome. Never had a gig and made a sick ass record. They made it big for a couple years too. Those days are gone!
For the final installment on the Delta blues, I've chosen to write about one of my favorites, the legendary John Hurt. First recorded in the '30s and '40s and later rediscovered during the folk revival of the '60s, Hurt's career was long, and his impact on the Delta blues is profound.