I love that I'm waking up on a linoleum floor in Albuquerque, my legs tangled up in microphone cords. I love feeling the warmth off a parking lot in L.A. late at night, the air cooling, I'm catching up with my friend Ed, listening to some mixes. I love that I'm playing a show in a sweaty basement in Bushwick hoping the humidity and body heat don't start to unglue my banjo.
A couple days later I'm recording some vocals at Nigel and Emma's place in San Francisco. Little Raven's so big now and she's talking in full sentences! Nathan and Eva come by and play some music in the kitchen. Eva sounds so sweet singing and playing that giant baritone uke. We talk about birdcalls. I know some birds, but can't put the sounds to the images. But Nathan's good at it and teaches me a couple.
Now I'm in Kentucky where I grew up. I'm walking through the places in my songs. Here's the stable I where Poco slept at night. She's long gone now and I miss her. Her stall houses a walk-in cooler my mom uses for her flower arranging business. Way out Delong there's this field where Meg and I lay in the grass and you could feel hoof beats jump up against your chest.
Back in New York, Leaps is coming through town and she'd be perfect to sing this one little part on this one song. We feed the stray cats in the lot around the corner. We talk in funny voices and crack up. We look out over the water from the crumbling cement pier at the end of the street. We head back, we make coffee, we find a harmony, we get it down.
It feels like time travel. This is what I wanted for a long time.
Before, I was pretty lost. Really unhappy. For years. A lot of times I didn't want to leave my apartment because I felt too self-conscious. I'd do things like take two buses across town to go see a band or go to the ophthalmologist or buy socks only to end up being too nervous to go through the door. Then I'd take the same buses all the way back home. Beat myself up. Wonder why I was like this.
At my lowest, I had almost stopped playing music and it felt horrible. Then I started teaching myself the banjo. It was something I could do everyday that made me feel alive. It led me to all these friends I feel so lucky to have and to a life I could imagine living.
I don't mean to sound confessional. This isn't a sad story. I'm telling you this because I thought my story was over, and it hadn't even started yet. I'm telling you this because they asked me to say something about my music and I guess what's worth saying is this:
Music saved my life, and so now I go where it takes me.