It’s been awhile since I’ve updated you all on what’s going on with life in Nashville, and there’s quite a bit to tell since I last posted about it around 7 weeks ago. Here’s what’s been going on:
Touring with The Sneed Family
A few weeks ago I started subbing on keyboard with a southern gospel group called the Sneed Family. They’re a group based out of just north of Nashville across the Kentucky border, and some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Our first gig together was a little country church in the hills north of Nashville on Easter Eve, and we had a wonderful time singing and celebrating the risen Lord in the heart of the Bible belt.
The next day we hopped on their tour bus (a first for me) and traveled up to Kentucky for another show, and I’ve been doing a smattering of shows with them ever since.
While I’ve had to learn from the ground up how to play southern gospel, I got a lot of help initially from Seth Sneed and his girlfriend, Sarah Davison. Sarah’s a top-flight southern gospel player- her group with Kiley Phillips High Road (who originally referred me for the gig) just won AGM’s best female group of the year, and Seth and Sarah were kind enough to spend an evening showing me the basics of southern gospel.
I feel like I learned more about the style in 3 hours than I have in the last 10 years, and while I don’t feel I’ll ever be the best southern gospel pianist, I was able to bust my butt, cram about 25 hours of practicing in three days, and get pretty darn good at the style. It’s been a pleasure to work with such professional, caring people who are passionate about spreading the gospel.
Studio Work With Ben Jackson
Things have been a bit slow when it comes to working my way into doing session work around town, but I have started working with the talented drummer and producer Ben Jackson.
We’ve been working on some projects for TV and commercial placements, and it’s been amazing to work with another person that’s as passionate about music as I am. Not to mention that he’s got a killer home studio. We’ll be releasing some tracks soon that we’ve been collaborating on.
Other Biz Stuff
There’s been quite a bit more brewing, too:
• I’ve continue to teach piano, driving back and forth between St. Louis and Nashville for a day and a half of teaching. It works out great since the down times around town seem to be on Mondays and Tuesdays, and traveling back to St. Louis allows me to see my family, work on music projects around town, and pass along what I’m learning. If you're interested in lessons, here's my piano teaching website.
• I’m finishing up writing a short book about music business with grammy-winning drummer and author, Steve Grossman, which we’ll be releasing sometime in the fall. My dad is drawing cartoons for it, and I’ll be posting more about this soon.
• I’m producing a friend of mine’s album, Zach Lorton. He’s a songwriter with strong punk-rock elements in his music, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’ll be posting more info on a Kickstarter page soon. If you’re looking to make a great album, contact me- I’ve got a little window between now and the summer, and I’d love to help you record your album. Check out my LINK producing page for examples of what I can do.
• I’m still developing Mainstage patches for churches, and the business has continued to grow, selling patches internationally to over 25 countries now. It’s been wonderful to get to talk with so many passionate christ-followers around the world.
Personal life has been going well for the most part. Sarah’s loving her job working at Love at First Sight Pet Adoption, and we’ve been able to spend lots of time together, often heading out for drives around Nashville and the surrounding area. We also got a surprise a few weeks ago when my sister Lisa and her husband stopped by for a visit. They’re fresh off the Pacific Crest Trail, and you can read about it at Lisa’s great blog.
As usual, I’ve been reading voraciously. Here’s what I’ve read since last time I posted (I recommend them all, especially the ones by Seth Godin):
I’ll be honest, I’ve felt more isolated and depressed over the last 8 weeks than I ever have before in my life. For those of you that know me well, you all know that along with the tremendous drive and my creativity, I also fight bouts of melancholy. I’m particularly susceptible when I’m isolated from others, and with working from my home studio most of the time and Sarah working full time, I find myself alone with my thoughts far too often.
I’m hoping this will change as I continue to pursue friendships with other musicians in the area. In the meantime, I’m attempting to get more involved with our new church, Hermitage Hills Baptist, and spending a lot of quality time working out. Maybe I’ll get some decent guns to show for it, if nothing else.
Many apologies for this being so long. As always, thanks for listening, engaging, and supporting me. Stop by if you’re in the area!