Can you believe it? This Friday marks ONE YEAR spent in Texas, one year spent as a full-time musician, and one year where I haven't yet starved to death!
Some stats: in the first 365 days, I played 151 shows at 65 different venues: bars, breweries, farmers markets, old folks homes, and more (almost 400 hours of stage time), driven 13,600+ miles for work (NOT counting the 1850 miles it took to get to Texas), and sweated through and/or broken nearly 120 sets of guitar strings. Had $1000 worth of gear stolen out of my car and replaced it all. Dolly (my ever-intrepid bulldog) and I have moved through four different apartments in two different cities, and even found ourselves a regular trivia team on Monday nights! This summer was the hottest in 15 years, and I never broke down and wore shorts on stage (nor passed out). I've eaten an awful lot of queso and drank (more than) my share of Lone Star.
I've joined and gigged with a band (Pop It! ATX, a multi-genre party/wedding band) as a lead guitarist and vocalist, and founded another one (Kathleen Turner Overdrive, "Songs in the Key of Cusack") which will make its stage debut this weekend. Starting next month, I'm beginning a six-month weekly residency at the venerable Cheatham Street Warehouse, an infamous singer-songwriter stronghold in San Marcos (this is a HUGE honor for a writer, to say nothing of a Yankee).
More importantly, I finally feel like I'm doing what I'm here to do. I come home from playing 6 hours of gigs, fingers aching, and grab a guitar to noodle on while I watch tv anyway. I've increased my songbook for solo shows to over 700 songs, and have a constant running list of 20-30 more to learn as I go. While I haven't been writing anywhere near as much as I would like, what I have written feels (to me) like it's as good as or better than my past work. I struggle with anxiety and depression and poor time management as much as ever, but I wake up every day feeling more purposeful and in my element than I maybe ever have.
I was well into my 30s before I had a day job that paid as much as I grossed in my first year here. Now, that probably says a lot more about the kind of jobs I had than it does about my work here, but. While I wouldn't say I'm stable, or comfortable, or, y'know, prepared for emergencies, I'm doing much, much better than I ever expected my first year as a musician could be.
That said, of course, the world is an expensive place, so I certainly wouldn't mind telling y'all about my Patreon, where you could (if you were so inclined) pledge me $1 a month (or $3, or $5, or whatever), and get access to things that the regular plebes don't have (live videos, exclusive covers, whatever else I can think of). If 10% of the people on this email pledge me $3 a month, that'd be half my monthly food budget (for example). I'm sure no one, anywhere, has any money to spare, but if it happened you had a couple bucks, I'd certainly appreciate the support!
All in all, I miss everyone back home terribly, but also for the first time, maybe ever, I feel like I'm doing what my life has been preparing me for. I may never be famous, I may never be wealthy, but I come home at night feeling like I'm using the gifts I've been given to make people happy, and more often than not, it's working. In this modern hellscape, what more can one hope to do?
I promise to try and write (shorter missives) more often...
Loves, Smooches, and Breakfast Tacos,