2019-2022: Four Strange Years

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When I look back at the past four years, I’m not exactly sure what happened.

We were in the Czech Republic in January of 2019, looking for jobs. Then I worked for a British electronics retailer while my wife worked 12-hour night shifts at a Czech travel agency. In between work hours, we went to the zoo, visited family in Slovakia, and rode paddle boats. I read a lot of books on the tram to and from work. “Fahrenheit 451” was intriguing.

In March of 2020, we had just quit our jobs with plans to return to the US. In the Czech Republic, you have to give a 2-month notice, so we had given our notice prior to the pandemic. It wasn’t long before the nation’s borders closed, so we were unemployed and stuck there for a few months longer than planned. But, we rented a car and took a long drive within the Czech Republic, going wherever Google told us to go.

Then borders opened and we were in Croatia, walking through empty streets. Then I was handing my driver’s license to a Croatian policeman who said, “Aha, Tennessee, … Country Music?” with a smile and then handed it back to me.

Then we were back in Nashville, Tennessee, listening to Southern accents on the airport loudspeakers, and thereafter riding in a Ford F250 down a six-lane highway in the heat and humidity. Then we slept. We talked.

It wasn’t long before we realized many Americans no longer liked their fellow Americans, and either avoiding Covid-19, or plunging right into it were both political decisions that reveal your true political identity. Now you had to love one of only two major political parties and hate the other, or be deemed weak for not taking a stand. A third option no longer existed. Choose your side, they said. I scratched my head and sipped my Root Beer. To speak or not to speak. Both were political decisions.

Then we were in Louisville, Kentucky. Then we were staring over Lake Michigan while spreading butter on toasts. Then I was stepping on wasps in the backyard, trying to put fresh hummingbird nectar in the feeders.

But, in between all of these goings-on, music.

Why does it matter, or does it matter? I mean, I think it matters.

It matters to me when I hear Peter, Paul & Mary’s version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” and remember sitting on a faux leather sofa at age 6 as the record player hummed and the wind blew.

It matters to me when Kari Jobe sings, “May His favor be upon you, and a thousand generations, and your family and your children”, from a laptop on a dingy coffee table as tears stream down my face.

It surely matters when I’m sitting beside a campfire, listening to a djembe, guitar and lovely vocal harmonies. Not only worshipping God, but also communing together as people.

I’ve been asking myself why it matters. What I do know is that music is powerful and it impacts people. In September I have five new songs coming out. I hope you enjoy them, but I also hope to grow in my understanding of what my role in music should be. Why did God give me the desire to create music? I’m sure there are many reasons, and my next album may be very different than this one as I explore these things.

Now it’s 11:14pm in Eastern Tennessee and my eyes are heavy. Goodnight.