As I look back on all of the wacky and awesome things that made up 2012, my heart is full of gratitude for this life that is mine to live. I have had as much of a blast as I could fit into one year, and for that I need to thank all of you.
If a tree writes a song in the forest but can’t go on tour because it is rooted to the ground, and can’t use Twitter or Tumblr because there is no wi-fi in the woods, then that song will never be heard. Thankfully, I am not a tree. I have the tools to help my music reach you, but in order for us to connect you must meet me halfway.
That is exactly what you have done this year and every year. Each time you come see me on tour, order a shirt from my web-store, include a song of mine on a mix for someone you like-like, post a review of my music on iTunes, tune into an online StageIt show, share a video of mine on Facebook, or do any number of other supportive things which would take all day to list… you help make it possible for me to go on. I know that might sound a bit sweeping, but it also happens to be true. Making a living from music, and making a LIFE out of music: these are two deceptively difficult tasks and frankly, I’ve sometimes been given to wonder if I’m up to them. You are the thing that quells my fear and silences my questions.
So now that that’s out of the way, here is a summation of my totally bananas year… for which, again, I thank you:
I self-released AN UNWAVERING BAND OF LIGHT on February 7th. I embarked on a two month album release tour of the US with bassist Mike Tuccillo & drummer Elliot Jacobson, tethered to Earth and sanity only by our faithful tour manager Madi. We rocked, we lilted, we watched UP and cried in a hotel room in Austin. We played a lot of catch. While I was driving on a Kansas highway, a hawk flew into the van windshield and I cried some more. We visited a lot of cities I’d been missing for a while. We ate Voodoo donuts and drank Stumptown coffee in Portland OR. We came back east to sold-out shows in Boston and NYC. We had a blast.
The AUBOL release tour ended on March 30th with a homecoming show at Mercury Lounge. We loaded out by 10pm, and an hour later I was on stage at Bowery Ballroom with the incredible Chuck Ragan and his beautiful Revival Tour. RT is a collaborative acoustic hootenanny featuring a rotating cast of touring songwriters, a house fiddler & bassist, local drop-in guests (of which I was one that night), and that handsomest and most bearded of anchors, Chuck himself. If you see one of these shows, you’ll never forget it.
In May I spent some time playing shows with the one and only Tim Barry. For those of you familiar with Tim, I know I need not say more. For those among you who remain uninitiated, I can only urge you to see him play. There’s no one on the planet like this post-everything badass who is probably, as Jim Ward has asserted many times, this modern age’s answer to Bob Dylan. May also saw the release of AN UNWAVERING BAND OF LIGHT on vinyl – 2XLP white vinyl, to boot. That’s right: at long last, my first-ever full length release on the format favored by audiophiles, hipsters, and (probably) Zooey Deschanel.
In September I headed back out on the road, this time supporting Frank Turner, a handsome English gentleman who happens to be one hell of a songwriter. Also on the tour was punk/bluegrass whirlwind Larry and His Flask, who quickly became one of my favorite must-see-live bands. I learned a lot on this tour… the best way to stretch guitar strings, the depth of Casey Cress‘s Taylor Swift infatuation, what it would be like if Malibu Ken came to life. I also got hip to Whiskeytown, Gram Parsons, and mewithoutyou all in one fell swoop (thank you Waterloo Records.)
In mid-September, Engine Room Recordings released a tribute to Weezer’s Pinkerton, for which I contributed a cover of “Getchoo.” You can hear Mike, Elliot, and me thrashing it out over on the album’s iTunes page.
My last proper show of the year was as part of a punk deal at the Knitting Factory curated by none other than my favorite Twitter personality, Jaded Punk Hulk. I got to throw down with Brendan Kelly, Dave Hause, Kyle Kinane, and special guest Brian Fallon, who I tried very hard to bounce from the venue…
…but alas, to no avail.
The beginning of December saw the dawn of EXHIBIT, a museum-based serial song project that will continue through February and yield 8 new songs.
And now I’m WAY stoked looking ahead to 2013, with some tour dates coming up in January, more to be announced for April, SXSW in March, various recording projects on various burners in my brain… More music! More fun! As Tim Riggins would say, let’s make some memories.