Irving Berlin once wrote those lyrics to The Song Is Ended, a classic love and longing song.
Such is the case for touring musicians like myself who spend months at a time on the road.
My wife, daughter and i just returned home from over 3 months of touring FL, TX, NM,
AZ, CA, OR and WA.. I have been making that jaunt for the better part of 8 years now
and time sure does fly.
While its hard to say what i love most about being on the road, here are few
things that come to mind:
1) I love the people who take us in and care for us, cooking, showing
us around, and helping to lighten our way. They have become so dear
to us. I could not do it without them.
2) I love the fans who enthusiastically turn up once a year, as i pass thru
their town to teach and or perform.
3) I love the grandeur that is the American West. While we start our
tour in the south and southwest, i cannot tell a lie, there is something mythical,
magical and haunting to me about the wide open spaces of the "deep west." Parts of
Arizona and even New Mexico hold true, but for me it's Northern California
(Redwood Country), parts of OR and WA...and finally onto Montana and The Dakotas.
This is where my heart really sings, rich in history, big sky, wide open, flowing rivers,
free spirits thrive in this part of the world. Then finally we pass thru the Black Hill of
South Dakota where time often stands still. Where the ghosts of Deadwood and Custer
still elicit and eerie song on the breeze.
4) I love being my own boss, being self-employed and doing what i love teaching
and performing. I made my living as a full time musician from 1993-2000, then i
taught grade school and College for about 5 years before it was time to hit the road.
I never did look back. My heart sure does thrive on the road. The positive juju that
fans bestow upon us is very healing for the soul when one simply does what he or
she was meant to do.
5) I love to see the sunshine. I love when my body makes its own Vitamin D.
Being from WI, the winters are cold, dark and hard on the body, mind and spirit.
Touring the sunbelt is no mistake brother!
Are there things i don't love about being on the road? Heck Yeah!
1) Sleeping in a different bed every night is hard on the body
2) Driving and sitting, performing and sitting, eating and sitting...get the idea...
too much sitting and not enough exercise is no damn good for anybody. I try to jog,
walk, do yoga, meditate when i can, but it is never enough when i am on the road.
3) Poor Eating Habits. That's right, i am gluten free and i have a few other food issues,
so making sure that i am eating well is an understatement. Ultimately, by the end
of 3 months, i am a bit shell shocked diet-wise and in dire need of clean eating and
lots of exercise.
4) Dangerous Weather, Car Problems and Crazy People, mean that i always
have to be vigilant. Mostly cause its my duty to care for a little 4 year girl (my daughter)
as well as my wife. America is a beautiful place to live and see, but beware my good man,
the road can also chew you up and spit you out and it's no place for sissies. To be quite
frank, it takes a ton of courage to set out on the great highway for 3 months. One never
knows what awaits him or her and that's part of the great unfolding, the mystery,
magic and poison.
So here i sit, tucked into bed on a cold WI April night, remembering days
gone by, friends i left behind, gigs, classes, comforting meals, long drives,
inspiring vistas and sweet tunes.
Some choose to make music, others are simply chosen.
So long as i shall breath, the road will call like a dream in the night.
Lastly, i am grateful to my friends, family, wife, daughter and Milwaukee
for giving me a sense of place and purpose. It was here, where it all began.