I recently decided to share some of my cherished guitar insights on the ol' Youtube. Rather than sharing what I think people want to hear, I'm just sharing my techniques and guitar hacks that have been life-giving to me and have kept me inspired. It's been super fun so far. Here's my second video, if you want to follow along:
13 years /
"we should expect a couple twists and turns, there and here, and you know they sometimes last for years, but it's so much easier to make it through when you're not trying to see the end."
On my best days I believe these words. I’m not entirely sure it’s possible to pursue a career in music with totally altruistic motives, but I do think it’s possible to pursue success while still being authentic and remaining aware of the needs of the people around you. And for me, striking that balance hinges on my ability to say “but I’m getting to the point where I can live without you…” It’s a frightening notion, but to remember that I’m not entitled to a career doing what I love, it’s an important one.
I think it’s also important to grapple with the idea that I may not actually be that good…. or if I am, there’s still loads of room to grow. But even if I’m not that good, it shouldn’t ever stop me from locking myself away in a room to play guitar and sing for hours on end. And then after I’ve written a song I’m proud of, I’ll share it with the closest person to me because I love sharing my heart. It’s only ever been about that. But having to pay my bills, that’s the part that blurs my vision… maybe yours too.
But back to “being able to live without”… It’s been those words that have actually freed me up to chase my dream/s with clearer vision. It’s helped me remove the ticking-time-bomb syndrome. It’s freed me up to set goals with open hands. When I was afraid that someone or something might take away “my dream” I held on so tight that I couldn’t see two steps in front of me. But when I realized that I’m not entitled to this dream, I started to enjoy the journey again. They can’t take away something I don’t own, or something I’m willing to give up if it’s the best thing for me and my family.
The rat race is overrated. You can have all the money and success in the world and still be poor. God, give me strength to remember that.
It was a rainy Saturday in San Francisco, but I was thinking about snowy Ohio, remembering friends and digging up old recordings to pass the time. When I first started Embleton I tracked a few singles before I decided on a direction for the album. One of those singles was Mr. Williams, a B-side tracked live to a cassette tape machine at the Alta House in Canton (where we later recorded It Did Me Well).
The wonderful Anya Rose lended her vocals for this track, and I sang harmonies. The song hasn't been available anywhere for a while, as I thought I'd eventually put it on some kind of B-Sides album. Who knows, maybe I still will. At any rate, there's no use keeping it tucked away on a rainy day like this one.
It's about how the news is always so terrible, and we even end up blaming the news for our messed up world, all the while forgetting that we're the ones who write the story... The tape machine creates a wavy and even sometimes distorted sound; I think it's the perfect aesthetic for the song.
Stream and download for free here: https://soundcloud.com/embletonmusic/mr-williams-b-side-tape-session
My old band, A Minor Bird, just sent out our first email in over four years. We re-released a Deluxe Edition of an ep we put out over six years ago. It's packed with six new songs. I have a feeling you might recognize one of them. Check out the email below!