This is me in the car, driving from Kingston to rehearse with the Toronto-based band I've put together for my third album. It feels weird and exciting to be starting pre-production on Album #3 already... Blossington still feels pretty fresh to me even though it's been out for exactly a year as of tomorrow.
I used to think that a year was a long time, but as I've become more serious and professional as a musician (and also as a product of age) years have gotten shorter. Most of the better venues in Ontario are filling up their Spring 2019 bookings, festivals are already accepting applications for next summer, and most grants applications should be submitted over a year before a project's realization. It's December now, which means my brain is filled with May, June, and beyond. It can make it really hard to live in the present.
When I met with one potential collaborator on this album, they complimented the fact that I was staying on top of my long-term goals and aware that to release a record in 2019 I needed to get started now. It's surprising to hear that from someone who makes a living in music production, since most of the serious musicians I know are as temporally out of sync as me, really only snapping into the present when we get up on a stage.
This is all to say that I haven't had a break since I began laying down tracks for Blossington last June. If I'm not on the road or in the studio, I'm booking the next season's shows, writing applications, disguising my voice and acting as my own publicist and, most importantly, working on material. Now that I've broken ground on Album # 3 (working title), I've ensured that the wheel will keep turning well into 2020 which feels both exciting and exhausting. I hope I don't regret this in hindsight (that's a 2020 joke).
The busy trap is a problem that affects almost everyone, but for musicians it's also a requirement of the job. It's easy to get lost in the need to "stay relevant" and start treating life and music like a checklist. But I'm one of the lucky few that has a career outside of music that is both stable and affords me the flexibility to keep pursuing music seriously.
I'm privileged to be able to make music. I'm grateful that some very talented people are willing to help me take my favourite set of songs yet and turn them into an album. And I hope that there are people out there for whom these songs communicate something meaningful and who see value in my work.
This is just the beginning of the process, but I don't want to just talk about my plans without backing it up with some music... I am, after all, a musician. So here's one of the 16 solo demos I laid down as the initial long-list for the album, and we'll check in later to see how this tune evolves into a full-band production.
Thanks for listening.