I grew up in a small college town named Johnson City in northeast Tennessee. The mountains there are beautiful, soothing and rounded with age. I miss them down deep but I picked up my bags and headed west to Texas to find my fortune some 20 years ago. Davy Crockett and Augustus McCrae did it - so could I. I found my way to Austin and am here still. Through the years I've been there awash in youthful drug induced fleeting bouts of artistic epiphany. I've been there in the slow rot of alcohol abuse. I've been there in the thick of adult responsibility raising a child and struggling and failing to figure out what marriage really is independent of what it is supposed to be... you know, straight up living.
Austin has turned into a big city while I've been here. I love it just as much as ever I suppose but it's not as comfortable as it used to be and its not quite as friendly. I make my living computer programming and I'm also in a band which, frankly, makes me just like every other person in this town. At least I'm a drummer and not a guitarist which separates me at least a little.
Every summer for the last 15 years, I've gathered together with friends from my childhood in a tradition we call music camp. Over the course of 4 or 5 days, we write, arrange, rehearse, perform and record as may songs as we can. When we were younger, it was a very boozy time and the songs, while sometimes inspired, were usually sloppy and goofy. We're a little more serious about it now and its a wonderful challenge. There are few things in life more rewarding then creating and playing a song with old friends. Each of us is so different now than we were back in Tennessee all those years ago but the core of who we are remains and our musical expression ties us directly back to our roots.
I'm overwhelmed sometimes by the sheer magnitude of all of life. Every minute of every day humans are being born and others are dying. Some are crying with pain they don't think they can endure while others are busting at the seams with joy too brilliant to believe. All the while, the vast majority occupy emotional space somewhere in between. I visualize it all as a never ending swirl spinning out impossibly complex patterns and fragments growing and collapsing and growing... and here come these words now mingling with all the others. and you've made it to the end of this little message if you haven't wandered off already. well then hello. and goodbye.
... and if you're ever in Austin, Texas check out the band Runaway Horse if we're playing out. I'll be sitting behind the drums.