As the U.S. rolls out its vaccine program and we see things opening up, I can’t help but be gripped by mixed emotions. My overarching feeling, however, is gratitude as I look back on how challenging things were for me just a couple of months ago. We lost friends and family during the pandemic and I still feel their absence. Adding to my misery was not being able to make music with my band, an outlet that has carried me through many a difficult time. This might sound trivial compared to everything else people faced, but music is not just music. It is a form of connection as old as time. What I missed was not just playing live, but all of the circles of community that had formed through my band. I missed the brotherhood of my bandmates and the collaboration. Live music gave me energy and stress relief, and all at once that was gone. We adapted by putting on six socially distant livestream performances from our driveway with no audience. (You can watch them here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me-q17SL5Ug&list=PL3V6kyhCZzVkAucrVGXfdcfoDfyxqi3Oh) We sweated and froze through 15 months of changing seasons in that garage, but we made fans from all over the world, fans who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to see us. We would see people commenting on Facebook with “Hey from Brazil! Hey from Canada! Hey from New Zealand!” The joy overflowed. And the good news is we get to keep those fans.
On August 6 we are preparing to play live for the first time since the pandemic began. I can hardly process the emotions. I cannot imagine what it will be like to see our incredible community of fans and friends. We will continue to wear masks because let’s face it, the pandemic is not over. With our vaccines we feel incredibly fortunate, as many parts of the world have no access to the shots (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/). I do not take these life-giving injections for granted. The companies that created the vaccines have allowed me to bring joy to people through music. We all need to be uplifted and inspired right now.
We still face many challenges ahead with the virus, social unrest, racial injustice, and more. I have spent my entire career exploring differences and how they play out in varied contexts. Right now, however, we also need to find ways to come together in humanity. When I play music, this is my mission. People from all walks of life come to our shows and through the music community we get exposure to people very different from ourselves. This is a gift. We find a bridge through music and dare to cross it.
If you’d like to come to our first live show, you can find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/events/313889493602048. Reservations highly recommended!
I may not ever find the words for how momentous this upcoming show feels. But hopefully, I won’t need them. I will just play.