It was an August day in Missouri and the heat was a bear. As I stood the sun was beating down on my face. My friends Heather and Andy had opened a distillery they built from the ground up, and were kind enough to have me perform at their venue. It’s a super impressive place. Sweetwater Distillery. A cool vibe just outside of Monroe City, MO. It’s exactly the kind of place that reminds you of how special local businesses are. Special people build these businesses from the ground up. This is exactly the kind of thing I am working for with my music. My own piece.
This was my first show of the year. Covid had previously wiped out all of my shows. It was a drag. It kind of put me in an artistic slump for a while. As a songwriter and a performer, you want to share your songs live with people. It is where the songs really live and change. The songs adapt over time and sort of become their own character. You learn so much playing live, and it is really what makes you better. I was aching to get to play, so when the opportunity to play at Sweetwater Distillery presented itself, I jumped at it!
I sat my equipment up outside where the patrons conversed and enjoyed the Distillery fare. Everyone was super welcoming and I felt right at home in the country environment. Though the nerves are always there… I don’t know, but I think if you ever play a show and you’re not nervous… something may be wrong. There is a fear of performing all alone with a guitar and a mic. It’s just you and your songs…. That’s it. It’s a bare revealing experience. I have to push myself through that fear towards expression. Singing and playing guitar is such an emotional experience for me. It’s very much like therapy. I almost feel like a new person after I play a show. Once I hit that first chord the show is on, and I have to be in the moment. The nerves sort of fade away and I get lost in it.
I opened the show with Don’t Turn the Radio Down. The song seemed fitting. I have a ton of friends from the Sweetwater area who have been there for me in hard times. I have to say it was hotter than hell when the show opened. The sweat was pouring down my face as I tried to sing from my guts, with the same fire that had helped me write the songs. Occasionally, I would glance at the set list to see which rabbit hole I would go down next… The heat started to dissipate as the sun set… From there I played all of the songs on my Banshee Tea and Orphan albums, and around half of In the Tumultuous during the almost three-hour, two-set gig. I played a few covers too! I must say that covers are not my strong suit, but usually if I play a cover, it is because it is a song that I really like! I also played around seven or eight unreleased songs off of my upcoming album. It should be out in the spring of 2021. I really like those songs, and I am moving closer to the country so to speak. Take that for what its worth. I am very excited about this music.
I had a blast, the crowd was chill, I even got to see some dear old friends. Most of all I had the chance to get lost in my songs and play them live in front of a crowd. I can’t say enough how much it means to me that people would spend their hard-earned money to come listen to me and to support my friend’s business. I am truly thankful. I made some mistakes here and there in the songs, but hell we all get rusty. I learned a lot and I’m getting better! I can’t thank Sweetwater Distillery enough, and hopefully they will have me back to play some more songs down the road! Sweetwater is a super cool place, so check it out if you get a chance! Until next time…