2020! What a terrible year.
Fortunately, I was still able to make some music here or there.
Before the pandemic I was a full time gigging musician. While doing my taxes for 2019 I came to the conclusion that I had played a whopping total of 270 something gigs that year. Needless to say I didn’t sustain that level of gigging in 2020. You can actually hear about some of my experiences on this killer episode of Working People from earlier this year. Cheers to Maximillian Alvarez for having me and god bless the freelance writers because it sounds like y’all go through hell.
I had already played a cool nu-metal tribute night and a benefit show for people who lost things in the tornado from early March on top of my weekly slate of Broadway gigs back when tourism was a mild nuisance and not a public health issue. Then Covid-19 happened. I collected UI thanks to the AFM – American Federation of Musicians and how hard they fought for the expansion to freelancers. Because we live in hell I’ve been living the day job life since July or so. Gigs have been few and far between and I have to do terrible gig calculus before accepting one. On top of considerations like “will this gig lead to future work” and “does it pay well”, things like “what is my chance of getting Covid?” And “can I wear a mask on stage” come into play. Most of my music making has been spent doing home recording and teaching via FaceTime.
There are good weeks and bad weeks. Weeks where I feel inspired and weeks where I only pick up the instrument to teach. I’ve managed to create through the ups and downs though, here’s a somewhat chronological list of music that was released.
I recorded a cool guitar solo on this track by Matt Daughtry & Friends. I started playing with them last year and played with them at that tornado benefit I mentioned. I’m stoked for the future of this project. https://open.spotify.com/track/3v8vknTimrWWiHmrZmHB5y?si=Qt74fjZTSHumb_ey_McE6Q
Civil unrest broke out over the summer and Sad Baxter graciously allowed me some space on a benefit record they put out. I got to feature my buddy Cavanaugh Mims from The Aquaducks on this tune and it was my first time releasing music under my name. https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/track=3759005226/size=large/linkcol=0084B4/notracklist=true/twittercard=true/
Not terribly long afterwords, a record I played on last fall with some of my local favorites came out. One day we’ll be able to give Skylar Gregg Music’s record “Roses” the proper release it deserves. https://open.spotify.com/album/7ycSog5Qdc7uJU1AMk0ize?si=kRWk0t50R5G3NXM2MdlKrw
My buddy Jim Ivins from The Ivins put out and curated a killer benefit album that I got to play on as well. This track was cool because it featured people that I had only connected with recently like Jim and Tyson Leslie as well as long time friends like Miqui Gutierrez. https://open.spotify.com/track/3c3uo4Nj5NR302ribcupJf?si=PQXiR-KZSz6jov5MldzjFQ
A fun random thing that turned out to be really cool was this song for the Rock n Roll Basement Halloween compilation album I wrote and recorded with Nathan McLeod and Andy Leab. I hadn’t written a song as a lyricist in close to a decade so this was a fun way to stretch my brain. https://open.spotify.com/track/3lohqrW3MFiHMgdM8A5vr4?si=3sT8p9qgR2GElXrwyXiVHA
While some of this was going on, I reached out to Kenzo Shibata about writing music for his show Class Time after seeing him post about punk and hardcore a bunch. You can hear some of my music any time you check into his stream or podcast including the dope house bop I wrote. Kenzo is actually helping me release a batch of tunes I wrote for the show, keep an eye on that early 2021.
Livestreams were another thing that happened this year. Here’s a cool one I did towards the beginning of the pandemic with Cav, Andy, Andrew Fleming, and local sax god Chris West. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buLuff31Rjw&feature=youtu.be
I did a few other low key streams that were fun as well but I can’t find the Facebook links for them at the moment so just take my word for it. Overall it was and remains a bleak year but my usual sideman grind tends to exist in the live gig world so getting some experience recording and teaching from home has been really nice. I really don’t know what the future of music looks like for me. Hopefully the vaccine gets around and gigging is safe again soon. I’m banking on connections I’ve made over the past decade + in town to still be there when this is over as well as some musical specialties I have. Not every guitar player can read music or has put in the time it takes to become versatile in a few different musical styles or various other music related tasks. I’m hoping to get more into composing this next year and maybe even releasing more original tunes under name. Thanks for taking the time to read this, enjoy the music! All of these artists are killer and deserve to be heard. It’s an honor to make music on this city.