Wow. It’s 2011.
I spent a lot of the last week of 2010 thinking of all the things I accomplished this past year. Sometimes it’s good to do that. Time has a way of slipping past us and it can seem like we’re standing still, even though a lot has happened.
2010 began with me still sick with whatever kind of evil sinus problem I had. This was so bad that for a few days in August of 2009 I couldn’t even breathe through either side of my nose. I didn’t sleep for 4 days. I kept freaking out that I’d push my head into my pillow and suffocate. Over reaction? Maybe, but lack of sleep and trouble breathing properly puts you in a funky mind space. I was extra bummed out about that whole situation because I had just released ‘Ria’ and was unable to speak for more than 3 minutes without my voice going hoarse, let alone sing. All I wanted to do was play some shows behind a record I was extremely proud of and I couldn’t even sleep properly.
After nearly 6 months on various different antibiotics, I decided I couldn’t take the way my body felt anymore and frantically searched for another solution. I changed my diet. I cut out ALL dairy, sugar, wheat and carbs for 3 months. By the end of the first month, my nose was clearing for the first time in almost a year. Plus as an added bonus I lost about 15 pounds of body fat! Yea for me!
Around this time I found out about the RPM challenge. This is a contest where you write and record 10 songs in the month of February. It’s a daunting thing to do. I thought it would be easy, since for ‘Ria’ I had about 70 unfinished songs left over. I figured I would just finish up the 10 most ‘done’ one’s of these and it would be smooth sailing. I was just happy to be able to sing again. Instead, I ended up writing 9 entirely NEW songs. This was a nice surprise. I finished the basic mixes and thought I’d move on.
After a couple months, I took out the ‘finished’ disc of music to see if I still liked it. I did. The work was all up to par with what was on ‘Ria’ I thought and a new album was in the works. The final piece of the puzzle came when I went in to the WEXT studios in May to record an interview. I had a new song called ‘Lullabye’ which I really liked. I played it for the interview and that is the version you hear on the record. I tweaked a few mixes and got the artwork started with the amazing Todd Moreland at sapitot who has done all of my artwork since ‘Reach’.
Touring was the next step and I wanted to see how much I could do. I started booking solo dates on the east coast. The tour ended up taking me from Saratoga all the way to Jensen Beach Florida. I played in small bars, coffeehouses, and music rooms and ended up an a stage that was about 100 feet wide at the Jensen Beach Pineapple Festival where I got to open for .38 Special on the second day of the three day festival. I did a band show at Putnam Den in Saratoga with some amazing musicians backing me up. I got to play a song on top of the highest mountain on the east coast. I slept in a tent. I got a black bear warning put on my campsite. I drove over 3500 miles in just under 2 weeks. It was an absolute blast!
Meanwhile I was getting some of the best reviews ever for ‘February Sessions’ as the RPM record came to be known. I built a brand new website. I got played on a lot of internet radio stations and podcasts. I did some interviews. But best of all, I rekindled my love of performing. After not having been able to do it for over a year it was SO MUCH FUN to be in front of people and playing my songs. I fell in love with my guitar again. Plus, I got addicted to being on the road.
There’s a weird line between tiredness and excitement that happens when you’re traveling so much with a show to do. The driving is exhausting and can be tedious, especially if you’re out there alone. This is alleviated by the anticipation of the new venue, new fans, new towns you get to see. The nerves right before a set begins. Feeling how songs evolve as you really ‘learn’ them. Telling stories. Meeting other musicians. It’s what keeps you going. That and trying to avoid Nickleback on the radio. NOT EASY.
I fell in love with Asheville, NC. I spent a day that lasted three years in Ashland, VA. I got used to getting up early to drive 350 miles to the next town. Everywhere I went I met people who were from the capital district of NY that I call home including a table of 5 people at a sold out show in Florida who all had lived within 20 minutes of my town. I got to drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway which has to be one of the prettiest stretches of road I’ve ever been on. I got to sit by the ocean in November. Best of all, I got to meet some of you. We shared stories and laughs. We shared a night of music. Some I got to talk to longer than others. But making new friends in far away places is a great thing. It’s why I do this. To share it with as many of you as possible in whatever way I can. I hope to be back near all of you sometime soon. Thanks to all of you!
As the New Year starts, I can’t believe so much happened last year. It went too quickly! BOO! There’s always more ahead though, and I’m looking forward to this year. It feels like something is going to happen. I’m not sure what, but something. I like to judge every year by what I did. Is it better? Is it bigger? 2010 was definitely that for me. I did some things I’ve never done before and I can only hope that I’ll even top that in 2011.
And as an extra treat, at the end of the year I got on some end of the year lists. Pretty nice way to end one year and begin another.
Finally there’s always too many people to thank, but here are some people I want to make sure to remember for all their support, advice and guidance:
Eric and Paula
Ron and Devon
Crystal Ann Lea
All my friends and family