We are never leaving Nashville. We are stuck here. Forever. We are discussing our options as 9 to 5ers and all the luxuries that go along with it-- like health insurance and normal sleeping patterns and coffee in the break room. Scott began to categorize his socks by days of the week, and Mallory took inventory of her pantsuits (of which she has exactly one).
At least, these were the considerations of The Rough & Tumble as they were stuck in Mallory's sister's backyard south of Nashville.
As I type this, it is the Saturday night before our leaving date, and the past tense in the above paragraph is more wishful thinking than fact. By the time we release this blog, we hope that the mud pit we made of my sister's (and her neighbor's) yard is dried up and we are laughing all the way to our first show of the touring year in Kentucky. Because now sitting in the downstairs of my last babysitting gig (goodnight, Eva Grace!) for this season in Nashville, it feels a lot like we are literally stuck at the starting line. And that has us thinking-- what are we thinking?!
This will be our third year on the road. We started feeling the itch to get going about two weeks ago, as we were midway through recording a new record with Dave Coleman in East Nashville, just past releasing our Cardboard and Christmas Lights EP with Rock Candy Recordings, wrapping up a music video for later this year (spoiler alert: more balloons), and on the cusp of maxing out our credit cards. We just had another 400 copies of Pieces and Pieces to package up by hand, and we were golden!
By Saturday morning, we had only 200 Pieces and Pieces left to package up by hand, completed the last of our tracking with Dave, had boxes of food and clothes waiting at the door to take with us, and needed only to say a few more farewells to our pals before we needed to GO! We woke up excited-- the notification was showing up on our phones: "Get Camper Out of the Yard!"
And then, we spent the rest of the day twirling around in an array of mud and dog poop. Seems like a rough-and-tumble start if we've ever had one.
For all of the excitement we have, with all the know-how we've gained in the last two years, we still haven't quite beat out the small feeling of fear that creeps in at the start of the season. This year, we are taking on the challenge of traveling north during winter months, spending two weeks in Canada (how does international phone service work again?), an extra dog, and, well, the uncertainty of the future-- same as everyone. We are jumping out of our windowless basement room in a gracious family member's house and in to a home on the road, where the road is generally waiting to pop our tires or tear our roof to smithereens. Being stuck in a backyard is literally just the beginning. And maybe, with all these little and big losses in the last couple years, our fear in warranted. We don't think this is a wise decision, or a financially secure one, or even a safe one (emotionally or otherwise).
But for right now, it is this little folk band's only one.
If there's one thing we have worked hard to remember this winter, it is that music matters. Art matters. What we are making and doing to and for our neighbors matters. And until we find a better way to make and do good things, we are going to keep pulling our rain boots high and keep trudging to put those 2x4's under our tires.
The night before we schlepped around the mud, a package arrived from some fans and friends in Higginsville, Missouri. A little to-the-road good luck wish of vegan gluten free cookies with some extra chocolate at the bottom. After a long day in the studio, we were grateful to have a call back from the outside world. And then the next morning, as we tried once, twice, seventeen, thirty two, fifty six more times of reversing and pulling slowly forward, we accented the day with peanut butter then shortbread then meringue bites between chugs of coffee. And somehow, the slow way the cookie crumbled was just enough to keep us determined to get out. Or now as I write this and are still stuck, believing we will.
We have to, because somewhere out there, there are more cookies. And there are hands who are attached to people who care about us who are making them. There might be safety here in a 9-to-5, but there would not be surprise boxes of cookies delivered from Missouri if we didn't keep going to Missouri. Or Minnesota. Or California. Or Maine. All places we are going this year. And if people out there care enough to spend their day baking allergy-appropriate goodies for this little folk band-- if there are people who are still willing to give us a spot in their driveway or use their shower or share a glass of water or wine-- then it is still worth it to share what we have, too.
And what we have right now is a new arsenal of songs and a year of time on the road, rolling into your town to sing them. We hope to see you out there.
Just as soon as we figure out how to get out of our own backyard.