There was a time in most peoples’ lives when we were dreamers and wonderers. Staring at flowers, picking out the moon in daylight, laughing at the silliest things, and – in general – we were carefree and careless. There is the argument of course; “we all have to ‘grow up’, we all have to become responsible”. Sure, I get it, but at what cost? And what is it that we lose through the so called maturing process that we don’t really need to lose. The subtle influence of society is – from my way of thinking – the main offender in killing off our childlikeness, and sadly, it’s way too subtle for most of us to realise – even me, as I sit here trying to work out what went wrong, and how I let it go so far; my ability to dream, to hear my heart’s voice, and to pursue – often through battling a demon no-hoper voice that I somehow ended up with – the most important things in life; the things that make me happy, the things that make me laugh and the things that make me smile. There’s a line in a song called Crazy Heart, written by Wes Carr in his understandable reincarnation as Buffalo Tales that says “dreamers still get old”. It seriously chokes me up every time I hear it because it reminds me of what I’ve missed. Fortunately, it also reminds me that time can still be friendly and that all hope is not lost. I’m getting older, but nothing can ever stop me from dreaming.
Why am I writing all this? Because just like Robert Johnson – even though I’ll never be as legendary as him – I have reached a crossroad, except it’s more like a curve because I know there is only one path I can take. Make the most of what I can, put energy into my art and the things I love and hope that no one around me will miss the person I used to be. I think that ultimately they’ll probably appreciate me more.
Today and for the last few weeks I’ve been compiling a list of possibilities and opportunities that will allow me to become a touring musician. I’ve kind of done it before so I know what I’m up for. It’s not tinsel town that’s for sure, but it does have its amazing moments. Strangers coming up and telling you how much they enjoyed your playing. Years ago a woman approached me around sunrise towards the end of a festival after party to tell me that one of my harmonica solos had brought her to tears because it somehow reminded her of a son that she’d lost. She thanked me. I was flattered and amazed. But that’s not actually the reason why I play music although it does help to keep me going. The main reason is because I have to. Another reason is that when everything is going right; when your voice is in the right gear and your rhythms are in sync, there seriously isn’t a better feeling in the world, and that’s regardless of whether it happens in my kitchen or whether it happens in front of a thousand people – which it did once. So if I supress it any longer I guess I’ll just be killing myself, and I don’t think that the no-hoper voice is strong enough to make that happen.
Wish me luck, although I think I’ll be okay.