Small Victories and a Solid Night

Making music is vulnerable. Here’s my heart and soul in a song, do you like it? That’s what we’re asking (through misty eyes) when we, as artists, show you our work.

Years ago, I was admitted to a mental hospital for the first time. Got out and was depressed for a solid year. I was suicidal. My stomach was in knots. I wrote a song about the experience a year later. Played it at open mics for 3 years until my fingers bled each time. Got access to a recording studio. Paid two-hundred dollars that I didn’t have to get a decent recording. Put the song on Soundcloud. 10 people heard it. Played it more at open mics over the course of four more years. A total of a hundred people have listened to it.

It’s hard work … but tonight, I felt a little victory.

I haven’t recorded many songs to date, really. I’ve been trying to piece things together and pay for studio time when I have the money or find friends who will work with me for free. Something switched in me, and now I’m trying to get some solid recordings down almost hurriedly. I released a song to Spotify last week and have been showing people and sending it to them.

Tonight, my friend, Caleb and I went to a bar called ‘Three Spirits Tavern’ in Bellevue, Kentucky and grabbed a few drinks. We shot the shit with the bartender and he made us some whiskey mixed drinks. He asked us what we did for work.

I feel nervous when I hear this question because what I’m doing right now isn’t exactly bringing in the cash. Sometimes, I feel like I should lie. And when I do tell the truth, I question if I should call myself a musician – he who doesn’t know all his scales.

“I’m a musician,” I said nervously. He asked what instrument I played and the kind of songs I wrote. “He’s got a song on Spotify,” Caleb said nudging me to speak up.

After some clarification on spelling, my song was playing in this bar over the speakers. We had been listening to solid music from the moment we walked in. Blackstreet, Alanis Morriset, The Verve Pipe all had been playing and when my song came on … it didn’t kill the mood. It kept pace with these great tracks I had grown up with. It was almost as if it belonged.

I was trying to hide my smile when the bartender said, “Play it again,” the moment it ended. I was one Vieux Carre and a beer deep at this point so, I was feeling pretty toasty.

I want to celebrate the victories right along with all the work I’ve put in. I must admit though, it doesn’t feel like work when it’s something I love this much.

One creative expression a day

One creative expression a day. That’s what I’m hoping for. Some folks put deadlines and disciplines between them and creating. If that’s what helps you, do you. I haven’t put deadlines on myself to create ever, but I’m not saying it won’t happen in the future. I’m pretty good at being consistent and I like to alleviate stress there.

I’ve been painting and drawing and writing songs and performing and recording music and writing poems and submitting articles. It’s been a good, hearty season for expression. I’m teetering on the edge; do I plummet, submerge myself and go ‘all in’ or do I find other work and keep creating as a hobby?

I’m gunna go all in.

Secret Sound

There is a deep intimacy
to the music made with you in mind.
There’s a secret sound
buried beneath all the chords.

I’ll be honest, if I didn’t have that,
I wouldn’t believe at all.
But when I close my eyes and sing to you,
I believe.

There was a time tonight,
when I sang to a group of friends,
the words they say you spoke and speak,
and I cried while I sang them.

I tired to hold it back – like always
and I wondered if that gentle push
was you saying:
“Let go, Ty. Please, just let go.” 

Marty

old_martin

I’m gunna string up this old Martin box
Play some slow, steel blues
Wind her up and pick it down
Maybe grab a friend or two

Many a man and mighty gal
Has called ole’ Marty their friend
Made of wood, nice and loud
I’m with her ‘till the end

A boomin’ voice, thick with mud
Though sharp as crystal too
I like to hear her once a night
Tell me, now how bout you?

A pretty shape, a slender neck
She was crafted here in PA
The bluest grass or thundrin’ folk
Is what Marty loves to play

Battered, bruised though plenty tough
She keeps singing through it all
Takes on a man twice her size
Boy that lady’s got some gall!

The sound of hope came tumblin’ down
The mountains to the plains
Ole’ Marty listened to every word
Whispered to the golden grain

Word traveled fast, soon the city heard
A new sweet country sound
They threw their caps, saluted her
Everyone jumpin’ up and down

She’s not much for praise, she’d rather sing
Those freedom songs she heard
Equal pay! And down with hate!
Marty loved every word

Behind every good man, a Martin guitar
Behind every woman too
I play my baby every night
Singin’ bout red, white and blue!