I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for some time. Ideas popped into my head while I was traveling Europe, the moment I returned to the States, and kept flowing in over the past couple months as I’ve been adjusting back to “normal” life. Yet, the lazy mind took over and I wrote nothing.
Walking with my guitar, a backpack and a friend through the mountains and rivers.
As I drink a coffee at Dominican Joe in Austin, I finally have the mental composure to write this blog.
If you’ve been following me on facebook over the past year, you probably saw excerpts from my adventure around the Mediterranean – I had a one-way ticket to Florence that led to 2 months in Italy (working on vineyards and farms), 3 weeks crossing the Balkans (Croatia, Serbia, and Bulgaria), a 2-month stint around Turkey including working on farms, playing music in a bungalow by Roman ruins on the ocean, working in a paradise forest lodge in a valley of mountains and ocean, hitchhiking across the entire country to Georgia for 2 weeks, back across the Black Sea coast of Turkey, a hop over to Athens, a quick jaunt in London and then a final flight back to NYC (….well, then a back-and-forth trip between Austin and NY, a family trip to Belize, and a solid road trip from the 15-degree blizzarding North to the 70-degree, welcoming South).
Needless to say, once I returned, my brain was in a state of mush.
It’s always tough to re-aclimate after any type of trip. Sometimes you go on a vacation for 6-10 days and those first few days back are hard to switch to reality. 8 months on the road made that re-acclimation period last a bit longer…
So now I wanted to write about the reason I went on this trip.
Jamming in Olympos, Turkey in front of the Ganesh tapestry.
For my first 3 years in Austin, I hustled hardcore. Every second of my thought and every instant of my action was composed of how I could market my music, survive off my craft, and build my career successfully. It was working well, but I was burning my brain out and I lost focus on the craft of music.
One day I had an epiphany.
I was moving forward in the “business” sense, but I wasn’t moving forward in the “creative” sense. My songs were turning out well, but my technique wasn’t really improving and I hadn’t written much new material. I wasn’t really giving energy to the actual thing with which I was trying to live my life by. All the people I envy, the greatest musicians, the greatest writers, absolutely mastered their crafts and had crazy life experiences, which turned into their art.
So, I wanted to get in touch with that omniscient, omnipowerful muse that permeates through everything.
I wanted to go on an adventure that would inspire my next CD.
The goal for the journey was to not “book” any gigs like my previous European or US tours, nor, did I want to “plan” a crazy vacation trip across Europe. I wanted to have my backpack and a guitar and see what would happen… I wouldn’t accept any paying shows or even plan for a gig in a city or country (which were offered to me), just so I could keep it purely open and “go with the flow.”
Hiking through the Saklikent Canyon in SW Turkey.
The goal was to get in touch with the basic roots of reality. I wanted to get in touch with the land by working on farms, I wanted to get in touch with real people by couchsurfing and hitchhiking with no planned destination, and I wanted to get in touch with the soul of music, by having my backpack and a guitar to see where the wind would take me.
I really wanted to see how music could lead to adventures and friendships and amazing experiences, especially in places where English is not the native language… where the vibrations and feelings of the music would do the talking.
With this intent, my idea came true and I ended up on unbelievable life and musical adventures. They were the type of adventures that would alter my songwriting and musical content for all future work.
Svanetti region of Georgia. Eating some good food by a lake in the mountains.
From international rooftop jams in Istanbul to late night Croatian freestyle hip-hop sessions in Zagreb, from busking in the cobbled streets of Serbia to the ancient Roman streets of Split or the intense bustle of Taxim Square, from working on new songs in small houses of Tuscan vineyards to performing on international radio stations in Athens, jamming on houseboats and open mics in London, to small mountain villages in Svanetti Georgia, I ended up with my guitar, the songs, and the attentive ears of so many different cultures.
Music was the engine which drove me across the wild road of the earth and brought me closer to people from all types of cultures and backgrounds.
So now, I’m back. Back to the US… Back to reality… And what to do now?
Now that my brain is finally solidifying after its post-travel state of mush, I am ready to start tackling the next goals.
I will be making a new CD. All the music/voice/life lessons I’ve had over the past 3 years and all the crazy adventures have resulted in new songs that I’m excited to develop. I’ve been fine tuning these songs for my next EP, as they flowed, formed, and traveled across the world, performed to all types of audiences.
Traveling around Italy with my good ol’ backpack and guitar…
I will be hitting the road again this summer to present the songs to more people around the US (possibly North and West this time), as I continue editing them, and hopefully start recording late summer/early Fall. Who knows where though?
The adventure continues.