I’m lounging in the back bedroom of our tour bus, snow-capped Mt. Shasta passing slowly atop trees and rocks on fast-forward in its foreground. Lots of musicians say it’s impossible writing music on the road, but for me it’s essential creative mediation. So, here I am, picking away on Allen’s Gibson Hummingbird, a chorus melody taking shape while the flurried patter of Bear’s laptop keys underscores an episode of The Price Is Right.
I usually sing improvised, place holder lyrics over new melodies, to give the idea shape and hopefully stumble upon a glimmer of truth:
How long inside this daylight?
How long before it’s gone?
How long beneath these patient stars?
How long before we’re upside down?
Leonard Cohen might not be green with envy, but it’s germane to the pre-tour vibe. How long does a good thing last? And it has been good - am I wasting it? Should I’ve been nicer to that industry guy with uneven hair plugs? Equal parts earnest concern, hoping the universe runs with what’s on offer, and emo nonsense from a bespectacled gimp in the back of a luxury coach. Either way, I’m grateful for music’s helping me hash out this kinda thing.
First show’s tomorrow night in Portland. It’s sold out, along with the next four gigs, and sharing smiles with old friends will go a long way toward comforting benign jitters. And I’ve heard rumor a certain former organ player might make an appearance…