So this year has been a lot.
With some upheavals in my personal life ever in the background, my music career has become both primed for launch and seemingly on the rocks.
I signed with Raised Eden records in April, just a couple of weeks before the already-scheduled release of Optimist Breakfast. After some much needed conversation with that new team, and some reappraisal of my ability to keep touring the way I was and the two other albums I was planning to make with the same songs as OB, I decided it would be best to step back a bit to regroup.
I ran a few more motorcycle tours through the Southeast during the summer, with some very fun adventures ensuing. The three-album extravaganza idea has been indefinitely back-burnered while I record some powerful new material.
On the run I did in July, I slept outdoors 15 of the 21 nights. Didn't pay for lodging once, crashing with friends or family as possible and camping the rest of the time in National or State Parks/Forests for free.
While playing some shows in Chapel Hill, I stayed across the border in southern Virginia. Those few nights were spent with my tent about six feet away from the largest field of sunflowers I've ever seen. It was tremendous.
A little later down that stretch of road I stayed at the Meriwether Lewis National Monument, a little ways south of Nashville. I was up communing with Nature in the middle of the night, slightly stoned, writing feverishly about “Nature as the Goddess” and so on when the urge to urinate interrupted my line of thinking.
I put the marker in my notebook and went to go do my business at the edge of the campsite. I found a bush and began to shed liquid. Suddenly, I heard a short but distinct “zzkkkk” rattling sound. Initially, I crossed my proverbial fingers and hoped it was just one of the many strange insects you find in the woods around there. Then the sound happened again, slightly louder and longer. Finally, it registered to my mind. I began backing up while the sound hit its loudest volume and continued unbroken.
In an instant I'd put about eight feet between the bush and I, and in the beam from my headlamp I saw a skinny 18" rattlesnake popping out from the bush. I could see in the light that he was not only disgruntled, but somewhat… moist.
I'd pissed on a rattlesnake.
I'd pissed on a rattlesnake and lived to tell the tale.
I've told that story on the road and at home several times now. It feels like it means something but I'm still working on sorting out exactly what.
The new songs I've got brewing will start seeing release fairly shortly after the recordings are finished, so keep your eyes peeled. If there's anywhere I should tour in the summer, let me know in the comments.