Here's a soundtrack to my small meditation:
She Came and She Touched Me // Townes Van Zandt
The year has passed quickly and with much event. Started off journeying to California to visit my pregnant sister, also stopping by the Rose Bowl National Championship game. I went to the official tail-gate party on an adjacent golf course and never felt more out of place in my life. Waving banners and smiling people can only welcome you so much. It comforts in a strange way to feel completely isolated from what surrounds you; hard to explain.
Shortly after, I journeyed to Park City for the Sundance Film Fest. I'd done some music for a film out there and thought, what the hell? Not sure if that was my exact thought. Safe guess, though.
I stayed in a massive ridiculous mountainside mansion with a large group of folks I didn't much know. This freed us; we stepped outside whatever we were at home. Long wild nights and not much cinema, actually. I didn't have a badge and didn't want to pay the $15 admission for each screening. So I alternated between jumping in the snow and roasting in the hot tub. Not a bad consolation.
Met a lot of good folks out there. Came home and got back to my normal routine: working at Texas School for the Blind, recording at Baby Blue, writing new songs, reading. Read 4 books by Balzac in the past few months. Can't recommend it enough.
Journeyed to San Francisco for the special sneak preview of "Echotone," a film that centers on me, Belaire, and Joe Lewis, and relates our stories back to trends in Austin's music scene and city development. A very thought-provoking film. Definitely nauseating to see myself on a big screen. I am impressed by how far Nathan Christ (director) and Robert Garza (photographer) have taken this project. Anytime somebody completes a project in Austin, I am amazed.
It's strange. Seems that people have to leave Austin for awhile to learn to finish things, to get past their good intentions and start putting objects into the physical world. Believe me, I was there for a long time. Eventually got shaken out of it.
Now I keep putting out albums and it keeps flowing. I just try to stay grateful and creative, cuz I know it will stop someday. Just finished another album, coming out this summer. It doesn't have all my best songs ever, but I think as a release it's a nice blend of the spaced-out pop of "Bright Blue Dream," the epic arrangements of "Glowing City," and the focus and brevity of "Gold Dissolves to Gray." Ideally, the albums build on each other and sooner or later comes a release that stands on the shoulders of all that came before it. That's what I hope this to be.
But of course you never know what something really is until it's gone. If the song or album or whatever is too close, too painful to touch, you can't be objective about it. It takes time and space and distance. Then you can actually see what the hell you were doing. I guess that's why musicians hire producers, for that outsider perspective, some sense of distance from the creative process. I myself found producers just getting in the way. I just try to let the songs flow out as they will, and not worry too much about any other aspect of the process. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing. It allows ideas to flow outwards, but it's sometimes difficult to maintain perspective, and especially difficult to "market" yourself. Since my days on Capital Records, I've developed an especially strong dislike for that stuff. I am coming around to it, slowly, slowly. These things take time. We're talking about a complete rebirth here.
I will soon return to writing more essays here.