Ten years ago today, on my 30th birthday, I walked into my bosses office and told him I was quitting. I had been thinking about it for a long time. I had been saving, planning, and thinking it to death for what had become too long. And I didn’t really want to do it that day, but felt like something was forcing me.
The week before I’d started recording what would become my debut studio album; LAST CALL with Producer/Engineer Eric Fritsch over at his studio in East Nashville. I knew the first day we started working together It was going to be perfect to make the album I’d always wanted to make. I had spent years writing and pitching songs and playing gigs, often till 3am and then being back at work at 7:30am every day, sending off demos, making meetings, and generally spending almost every hour away from my day job either writing/recording/gigging or trying to figure out how to “safely” transition from a day job to making a living playing and writing music. I had hoped for a record deal, a publishing deal, any deal that give me the proper excuse to jump off that ledge. What I ultimately learned was that we don’t need an excuse or anyone’s permission to pursue our passion. “Leap and the net will appear” as the old saying goes. Or as Guy Clark put it, “Spread your arms, hold your breath and always trust your cape”.
By the time my 30th birthday rolled around that morning I already had made up my mind it was time to leave my job. All morning at my desk as people wished me happy birthday and kidded me about getting older and hitting the “big 30”, I had a fluttering in my belly that was unsettling. The notion kept popping in my head, as clear as a cartoon character with a “thought bubble” hovering over him; “I need to tell my boss I’m quitting today”. I tried to suppress it, but it was a pesky and stubborn little thought that would not leave.
I told that little voice in my head that once I finished the task I was working on, if my boss was still in the office I’d sit down and talk to him. Then the power went off in the entire building. I rolled my eyes at God. This went on for several minutes and considering we were an Electric Power Cooperative it was quite odd. I relented, “Ok, I’ll go talk to him”. The lights came back on. “Phyche!” I thought. I had been given a reprieve. Silly notion really, like some higher power would use the actual “power” to move my ass to action. I once again told the little voice “maybe later when I finish this task IF he’s still in his office” BAM! Out go the lights again. Rolling my eyes once again towards the Heavens, “Okaaaaaaayyyyy…I’ll do it already”. Once the lights came back on I grabbed my Boss and told him I needed a word and we grabbed an empty conference room. We sat down and he already knew what I was going to tell him. We were very good friends and he’d trained me and had my back the entire time I’d been there. I kept my music career aspirations mostly secret from everyone, but he sensed what had been coming.
That was ten years ago today, and I’ve hit another milestone; becoming a Quadragenarian, and It makes my little head spin to try to recall where my life’s taken me since then. Pursuing my passion has taken me literally all over the World. I have been able to perform those songs I was writing every night years ago (not to mention all the ones I’ve written since then) from stages in amazing cities like Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, London, Paris and Oslo to tiny villages in Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Norway and hundreds of little towns across the USA. I have met so many amazing and interesting people along the way and have had experiences that I value more than any sum of money in the world. I would be lying to say it’s been easy at all. Writing songs and singing them on stage remains the only “easy” thing about my life. Everything else is work. Work like I’ve never known in my life. But work that’s been so rewarding that it’s been life reaffirming. And those moments when that fleeting thought comes around that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, I am at peace.
Today, July 28th 2013, I just released my new album, Hearsay, it’s my 7th studio album since that day ten years ago. It’s available everywhere, Good Lord willing and the lights stay on. In a way I’m amazed I’m still here doing this and in another way, I knew I would be. Anyway, thanks to all of you who’ve been with me on this ride the past ten years. I’ll see you when I see you, as long as this cape still fits.