The Short Version
It took me a year to figure it out, and I'm sorry that I sort of disappeared while I worked through it, but I'm officially retiring from making music to go be a baseball writer. As a farewell, I'm releasing a 22-track record of unfinished songs and demos, which you can download here, and all my remaining CDs, Vinyl, T-Shirts, etc are Name-Your-Own-Price* here.
The Long Version
When I was 18, I wanted to be a baseball play-by-play announcer.
That year, I went to go see a band called Shaded Red, and based on the impact of that one show, my whole life came into focus: I immediately and desperately knew that I wanted to be a touring musician, and only a touring musician, forever. For the next 8 years, most of my spare time (and a shameful amount of time when I was being paid to do other jobs) was dedicated to that dream. In 2006, I left my last â€œrealâ€ job to go on my first â€œrealâ€ tour, opening for Imogen Heap. For nearly nine years, I feel incredibly lucky to say that I did it. I traveled countless thousands of miles, to 47 of the 50 states, and over a dozen countries, played approximately a thousand shows, released three full-length albums, two EPs, and two live records. Most importantly, I made some very real lifelong friends during my time on the road.
In 2014, I accomplished another one of my grand goals: I bought an RV and brought my family on the road with me. After so many years of bouncing between â€œtouring worldâ€ and â€œreal worldâ€, I finally got to introduce my real family to my adopted â€œroad familiesâ€, and vice versa. My two worlds finally merged, and there was a real sense of completion, though I didnâ€™t know how to call it that at the time.
We thought we were moving to Seattle when our year on the road ended, but at the last minute, Heather was offered a job in Dallas. It was a good job. Plans changed.
Iâ€™ve often talked from stage about my struggles with depression. It was always the worst in the weeks just after returning from tour. If you ever saw me perform â€œDark Clayâ€ live, you heard the explanation about â€œstaying visibleâ€.
I did not take my own advice when we got to Texas.
So if it seems like you havenâ€™t heard from me in awhile, youâ€™re not wrong. I havenâ€™t sent out an email in about a year. I planted a garden, I packed away my guitar, and Iâ€¦ recovered. Recovered from a year on the road, from more than a decade and a half of pouring my entire being into songwriting, recording, tour planning, driving, and performing, often with â€œsuccessâ€ coming in tiny increments, and at the cost of my relationships with my wife and kids.
I didnâ€™t see 2015 as recovery at the time. It felt like drowning.
But one thing I did do while I recovered: I wrote about baseball. I got a part-time job as a freelance baseball blogger for WFAA Channel 8 (the Dallas ABC affiliate). For an entire baseball season, I got to write about the Texas Rangers, the team Iâ€™d followed since I was nine years old.
I havenâ€™t played a show since August, and even that was two songs at a wedding. I've written a total of two songs since we got to Dallas. I told my wife last week, â€œI feel no more capable of writing a song than i do of engineering a bridge. Itâ€™s like a foreign concept to me. I donâ€™t know what happened.â€
I donâ€™t know how or why music and I arenâ€™t speaking to one another, but Iâ€™m not sad about it anymore. I miss traveling, and I miss seeing all of you in person. I will always miss the nightly tightrope act of walking up to a microphone in front of friends and strangers, and trying to win their hearts by telling them my most vulnerable self-doubts.
I am only realizing as I write this, but while I was recovering, I was also mourning the loss of that life, though I didnâ€™t know to call it that at the time.
Iâ€™ll get to it, then.
WFAA offered me a job this week, and I accepted. Starting immediately, I will be their full-time Texas Rangers beat reporter, covering the team on an everyday basis. I get to continue to write, and Iâ€™ll have full artistic license; itâ€™s the sort of job that people get when they donâ€™t take a decade and a half to travel the world and play shows. I feel lucky, again.
Iâ€™m really going to miss seeing you guys, and playing songs for you. Iâ€™m sorry I didnâ€™t talk to you for a year, I just didnâ€™t know what to say or how to answer the "So, how's it going in Texas?" question ("uhh, not great, Bob."). Thank you all so much for every show you booked in your living rooms, or every time you came to see me play guitar and sing my songs. I owe a favor to (literally) about a thousand of you.
Iâ€™m crying now as I write this. Not because Iâ€™m sad, but because no one deserves to get to have all the fun I had, and Iâ€™m not sure how to say â€œTHANK YOUâ€ loudly enough to be accurate.
With all my heart, and half my life - thank you.
1. I went through all my old demos and compiled a few that werenâ€™t too unlistenable. Iâ€™d always intended on finishing some of them, and others were completely abandoned. At any rate, here they are. Iâ€™m calling it Aposiopesis.
2. Quite a few people have asked me about whatâ€™s happening with â€œString Theoryâ€, the documentary that ADDvocate Films raised funds to make. In short, the Grubbs family has been through some horrific things in the last few years, the details of which, for the sake of their privacy, I wonâ€™t delve. But Iâ€™ve been on the phone with Jonathan this week, and the film will be finished, we hope this year. I will send you another e-mail when itâ€™s out. I do apologize for the delay.
3. I have a TON of merch left over. A few dozen t-shirts, a hundred or so vinyl records, and a few hundred CDs. Since I wonâ€™t be selling it at any shows, if youâ€™d like any of it, itâ€™s all for sale here for a price of [Name Your Own Price]* plus postage. If you want it, I want you to have it.
4. Iâ€™ll still be on Twitter, and if you want to keep up with my baseball writing, I have an account for that too: @ThreeTwoEephus
(Bandcamp requires a minimum price of $1 per item, but if you want it for free, just pick $1 and I'll refund your dollar)