Monday, January 26, 2015

(Too) Much Ado About Nothing

I've been doing a lot of recording lately.

I recorded the New Year's Eve show with Shane Tubbs and Robbie Ross and have mixed a little bit down (work in progress). I've shared a couple of the songs over at SoundCloud, so if you haven't heard them yet, go check them out.

I've been working with the "Emfamus" Skip Oliver on his solo debut, which we should be finishing up soon. 

I've been recording and mixing songs in preparation for the next Project album, too. As of today, I have 9 working demos ready, with more to come this weekend.

I've been blessed with an abundance of work lately. Too much is always better than not enough, right?

As you know, I have two children, Elijah and Michael, who live with their mother a little over 100 miles away from Tupelo. I have managed to maintain a fairly healthy relationship with them over the distance and the "busyness" of their "Rock Star" dad (their term, not mine), though we've always had to emphasize quality over quantity.

I've been doing this music thing for a long time, so long, I really don't remember a time when I didn't do it. Oh, there was a time when I "quit" music, roughly 5 years of 10:00 PM bedtimes on Saturday nights (yeah, right!) and being the "family man." And, during this time, I was there, with my boys, watching them grow and learn, teaching them (by example, of course!) what not to do and how not to act.

After their mother and I split, music was the only thing I had, and I had given up on it. I picked up my guitar one night, started writing a song, and it took about 2 months for me to be right back in the bars, playing my songs for anyone who'd listen.

I talked to the boys before I started looking for musicians. We sat down and discussed it like adults (I was 33 and not an adult; Eli and Michael were 9 and 4 respectively, and at least 10 years more mature than I). I talked it over with them, weighing the pros and cons, explaining to them that if I did this, our time together would be limited, that I wouldn't be as available to see as long as I was doing it, and they both nodded their understanding and acceptance of it. We made a promise to each other that night to emphasize quality over quantity and maximize what little time we would have together. And I started playing music again.

That was 9 years ago last November, and we have stuck to our promise to each other. It hasn't been easy going long periods of time without seeing my children (you parents know what I'm saying; the rest of you should be so lucky to find out), but knowing that we would get some quality alone time kept me going. Now, my boys are all but grown: Eli a Freshman in college and Michael a Freshman in high school. Where has the time gone?

I guess I'm getting old, but I've been feeling a little greedy lately. I've been wanting to spend more time with the boys, you know, get to know them, because we haven't been able to spend enough time together for me to really know them as individuals.

I made a conscious decision back in November to let the gigs die down after the New Year, take a little time off, with the intention of spending more time with my boys. Little did I know that in the last 9 years my two "young men" have developed lives of their own and grown too busy to spend time with the "old man." Imagine my shock at finding out January-March is "Indoor Season" for marching bands and that I'll have to make an appointment to see Michael. Eli's attention is also elsewhere (read girlfriend, and I can't really blame him!).

"And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me he'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me."*

Too much work is always better than not enough, right?

*"Cat's In the Cradle" Harry Chapin/Sandra Chapin