Your Songs Don’t Exist Unless You Sing Them
When we were still in college, we had a songwriting teacher named Will Gray who described the life of a songwriter/musical artist in this way; “Your songs don’t exist outside of you.” Meaning, if you want your songs to exist in the world, if you want your melodies stuck in someone else’s head, you’ve gotta sing them. And you gotta sing them like you mean it. No one else can do it for you.
Today is our last day in Nashville. Yesterday, Scott worked his last shift at the coffeeshop he’s been at for the last 2 years. He’s not exactly retiring from barista life, just deciding to work from home. Yesterday, Mallory worked her last shift making vegan meals with her friends at My Veggie Chef (along with giving them a forwarding address so they can ship us food on the road!) and today says goodbye to the 2 kids she’s watched for the last 4 years. That’s a lot of time spent in a car playing “What animal am I thinking of?” and lots of miles between golf and baseball and chess team. She’s throwing them a surprise camper dinner today complete with mac ‘n’ cheese and a camper parked in a beautiful spot.
These have been great jobs for us for the time we’ve been in Nashville and we’re really thankful for the time. And for all the time off. Having jobs that have allowed us to take time off and travel was so important for a band just starting to play out, tour and record our music. For 4 years we’ve been able to search the country for an audience for our music and still scrape together enough money to pay rent back in our home base of Nashville. We were able to go out and do the band thing for a few weeks and then jump right back into something steady. And I think we got pretty good at doing that. But going between something steady and something musical is not steady at all (especially with the drummer we’ve got, am I right?) and so tomorrow we’re hitting the road full time. No other jobs. No other home to get back to. Just open space to pursue a musical life.
Since getting the camper, the number one question we’ve been asked has been “How long are you going to do this?” The honest answer is, “we have no idea.” For as long as it seems to be working, I guess. Not every musician feels like they are home when they’re on the road, but we always have. We love sharing our songs with you. In your town. In person.
The wisdom of our songwriter teacher didn’t pass away when he did a couple years ago, after a fight with cancer. Before he was diagnosed, Will had just completed an incredible documentary called, “Broke,” that asks the question, “What does it mean for an artist to break in the music industry?” It’s a different world for musicians now than it was even at the turn of the century, and Will was one of the first to present those questions to us and help us sort through them.
Will believed that “We must care for our artists if we want to live in a world with a high level of art.” Thanks to his wife, Angie, and a team of people who loved Will and his music, his desire to see fellow artists sing their own songs and to be cared for by their fans is being preserved. The Will Gray Blueprint is a website that allows fans to connect with artists they love and to support them by putting money towards very individualized needs, like Butter’s dog food, or recording costs, and in return they get personalized thank you gifts from the artist. We think it’s a great way to connect and we’d encourage you to check out the site and if you can, donate to us and to the other artists out there making their songs exist one performance at a time.
We’re going to be everywhere this year. So please check out our website for tour dates. www.theroughandtumble.com