Last January. . .
My new single released last week, along with a new website and new merch, but before I start balls-out blabbing about the future, I wanted to take a look back at where I was last year at this time.
One year ago, in January of 2018, I was invited to play Light of Day Festival in Asbury Park, NJ. The festival and foundation's mission is to fund research into possible cures, improved treatments, and support for patients who have Parkinson's disease (or its related illnesses PSP and ALS).
It seemed like a great time, but I was skeptical at first for three reasons.
1. I was in school, and I wasn't sure I wanted to divide my attention. In 2017, after about five years of struggling with debilitating nerve damage, I went on hiatus. Fast forward to right after a successful surgery, and I needed to clear my mind. I enrolled in school to pursue psychology, and I was going to take it seriously.
Really, though, I wasn't sure I was over the burn out of the road and the brick wall of disappointment that is the music industry. It's been a hell of a ride.
2. I don't know how I feel about music, celebrity, and charity drives. I believe in music and the power to speak to and for people in ways that are beyond words, but supporting causes seem like a way to gain social status instead of a sincere effort to see change. Social media has connected everyone but also cheapened the meaning of 'doing something.'
I've worked with International Justice Mission, Montana Human Rights Network and the death penalty, habitat for humanity, Haiti benefits, local food banks, written theme songs for non-profits, and even have heard of a couple of homeless outreaches inspired by this video.
I guess I am also hesitant in becoming a non-profit whore. Too late? Probably.
Once, I followed up with an annoying-as-hell telemarketing call asking for donations for whatever-it-was and discovered something like only 5% went to the actual cause. The rest was eaten up by administrative and marketing costs.
Maybe, it was completely legit, though. Maybe, the long Montana winters have a way of turning people into pessimistic, conspiracy theorists.
3. Lastly, I'm not interested in holiday-touring. It's a great way to roll if you're looking to party, like my good friend, Borat.
"Eeet's a verrry niiiceee!," but if I am on the road, I am working. I want to maximize opportunity, not plan sightseeing trips.
I wasn't sure the road fit into the larger picture, back then.
Despite my reservations, I said yes. Something felt right about believing things could work out. Maybe, it was the loud-ass wedding reception down the street blasting Journey's staple song. I don't know, but I rolled with it.
My flights, room, and board were provided, and the semester of school started mid-week, just after the last day of the festival. I wouldn't miss anything.
To the legitimacy issue, the festival is spearheaded by founder Bob Benjamin, who himself has been fighting Parkinson's for years now. Good people were, and still continue, to use music to make headway in the fight.
I said yes, and within a week after coming back to Montana, I had been asked to return for a two week trip of 11 shows between NYC and the Jersey shore. Of course I went again.
The people and the times were badass. (I returned three more times in 2019, including being able to record in NYC at Atlantic Records studios, which was just released on a New Jersey Label (Telegraph Hill Records ). Check "Get The Job Done "out here
I can't wait to get back again and find the magic!
I guess, this whole rambling blog is me choosing to be grateful for 2019's highs, and celebrate the mountain tops. The valleys can wait.
If you read this far, I hope you can celebrate the start of the new decade. I know it's corny to give a shit, but I hope you you believe in yourself in the months to come. Here's to breaking the glass ceiling in 2020.
One last note: the 20-year celebration of the festival is coming up in January 2020. If you are in the area Asbury Park, NJ, you should swing by and check out the thriving music community that is happening there. The festival is just a scratch on the surface.
For more info on the festival and the work they do over there, check out