My career has always been a balancing act between three different areas that would never make me a living by themselves, but together have given me about the coolest lifestyle I could have ever imagined. There’s the artist (Leanin’ Tree artist, book illustrator, commissioned artist, graphic designer), the musician (performing artist) and the recording industry (record producer, engineer, session musician and vocalist).
At Kingman, Alberta, April 2022
At the very top of the list, no contest, is that of live music. I will drop everything when someone asks me to perform at their event, and having been unceremoniously shut down over the last couple years on account of various “regulations” has only heightened that appetite. When they finally opened up the gates to let us out it was like being a kid on Christmas morning all over again. And the audiences seemed to feel the same way. Each time we’ve played this year (2022) the people in the seats have been almost giddy. You can’t imagine how rowdy a housefull of geezers can get!
We are wide open for business again, and each concert we’ve played so far this year has been incredible, in the full sense of the word. Yes, we’re playing a bunch of brand new songs, we’ve added the sound of a full band with what we call TRAX where I’ve recorded all the rest of the instruments here in the studio for that song and play that while I sing and strum the song, we’ve added some video to the artwork that we screen-project during some of the songs - but honestly I think the thing that really tipped the scales so far is the simple fact that we’ve been starved of live music for so long that it really feels and sounds good to finally get it back. It’s like delayed gratification. Or the old saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or finally being able to free up a hand to scratch an itch.
You might be giddy if...
So if we look at this phenomenon the way Jeff Foxworthy looks at being a redneck - when you as a geezer are whistling and catcalling in the middle of a show, you might be giddy. When you pack the house in a new town and the advertising’s only been out for two weeks, you might be giddy. When you show up to a concert least 4 hours away from home, you might be giddy. When you don’t even like country music but you’re there at my show, you might be giddy!
Live music is alive and well. For me as an entertainer it sure beats the hang out of singing to a camera, and for you as the audience, it sure beats the hang out of staring at a computer screen. We all get to experience the full meal deal; the excitement of new music, the satisfaction of being together as a crowd, and the fulfillment of doing something together as community.
Being together is natural. Let’s keep these gates open.
Check out our Open Up The Gates video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce7yZDmrUFk.I wrote this in June 2021 as a response to the loss of freedom for way too long. All I could think of was a bunch of wild horses in a round pen looking for any way out.