In my mind, I’ve begun this blog post more times than I care to count. I used to do “year-end” summaries all the time, but then became overly conscious of who may or may not care to read them. I mean, what do I include? Why would anyone care to read about my year? Am I being too guarded by not sharing my thoughts and feelings about the year with people that would like some insight? Those questions and more lead to a whole bunch of starts and stops.
Here’s the thing… well, one of several things… For 2018, I just want to thank people for helping me do what I do. I think this year - especially - has afforded me opportunities and friendships that I simply didn’t see coming. That’s a cool thing. I would also like to thank everyone and anyone who has helped me get my music out, who bought a CD or a download, who bought a t-shirt, who shared my music with friends, who played my music on the radio (terrestrial and internet), who streamed it, who wrote about my music, who came to a show. Lastly, I want to thank Jenna and the rest of my family for being in my corner. There are so many things to be grateful for.
Like many new years of past, I was optimistic about 2018, thinking once again, “This is going to be MY year!” It started off great, releasing ‘Anytown’ and making the video for it (with the help of many amazing people), and a fantastic article by my hometown publication, giving the song a great launch. I started the process of writing and recording more songs to follow up, with the intent of releasing one new song a month, but that abruptly ended. Having a brand new baby in the house left me limited time to make noise. It bummed me out a bit, but I picked myself up and started constructing some creative space in the basement, still keeping that one-song-a-month plan in mind.
While toiling away in the basement at odd hours - any hours I could - working toward finishing the creative space I set out to build in order to help me achieve my goals, i was getting depressed that I was spending more time building than actually creating music. Still, I kept my chin up, keeping in mind that I am lucky to have a house to begin with, and that sacrifice is sometimes the path to appreciation, as well as ultimately achievement. There were many conversations with myself in my basement. To be a fly on the wall here…
Throughout the winter months and into the spring, I continued to work on my creative space. I also got my creative kicks in the form of playing drums for my friend Jeff Burnham (who also plays bass and/or guitar with me at times). I played some shows here and there, including opening up for Kyle Cook from Matchbox Twenty, a great pass-the-guitar benefit in Meriden CT, my monthly shows with Todd Baker in NYC at the great 11th St. Bar, as well as performing at my buddy Jared McCloud’s annual Three Sheets To The Wind Festival in Portland ME. Performing was keeping my musical appetite satiated, but I still had that creative space in the back of mind, daydreaming of writing and recording as soon as it was finished.
Now, I’m going to let you in on something kind of personal here… Throughout the years, I’ve struggled with keeping my identity as an original, touring singer-songwriter and balancing that with doing some 3-4 hour gigs, which typically include a heavy amount of covers. Without getting into too much detail, I’ve found a happy balance of performing gigs like these with roughly 50% originals, and 50% choice covers, all the while promoting “Seth Adam” - original songwriter. Shows like these help me pay the bills - as in - I am a working musician. I am grateful for all the opportunities that come my way. However, on one particular day over the summer, I was playing one of these shows to about 6 people who appeared as if they couldn’t care if I was there or not. That old demon of depression came knocking, and I found myself battling myself inside while playing ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ for the 837th time. I was outside. It was cloudy, slow, and I wasn’t exactly in a choice location, but I was getting paid. By the time I left the gig and after beating myself up, I realized how stupid I was being to be down about the day. I realized that many people would trade spots with me, that some would jump at the opportunity I had been given. I’m glad that day happened because it changed me. I am far more appreciative, far more grateful, far more passionate than I have ever been. I do what I do with pride and I try to make each performance better than the last. I want people to leave with a smile on their face because of what I do. Lesson learned and not forgotten.
With this new realization and renewed sense of appreciation, the summer of 2018 continued to roll along. but with a caveat - I wasn’t playing all that much. That too was bringing me down a bit, as I wanted to be out promoting myself by performing, and a new father needs to help provide for his family. As if the universe was listening, a friend contacted me about playing a brewery. Another friend contacted me to tell me he was booking artists and would like to include me. Yet another friend, David Keith, contacted me about filling in for his sister since she moved to San Francisco and he was in need of a singer. For the rest of the summer and into the fall, all of these opportunities flourished into something greater than I could’ve imagined. Thus my level of appreciation was reaching exponential levels. My new musical and personal friendship with David is something I’ve grown very fond of. I am very lucky and feel blessed.
For the remainder of 2018, from September until the end of December, I stayed busy playing music. With my creative space finished, I started a remixing/remastering project of my East Rock EP, started mixing the acoustic Where You Come From 10 year anniversary project, and recorded some demos for songs I’ve been writing. Lastly, the proverbial stars lined up again with a packed show at Cafe Nine on Dec. 30th when I shared the night with my friends Still Rivers and played the show as a full band with Steve Tobey, Gerry Giaimo, and Jeff Burnham. It was a perfect night and the absolute best way to end the year. Six months earlier, I couldn’t have imagined the year ending on such a high note.
The above are just a few snippets of my experiences this past year. If 2018 taught me anything, it has taught me to be appreciative no matter what, to be patient, and to keep moving forward. I questioned myself a lot this past year. I doubted myself a lot this past year. But I also stopped, looked around, and thought (and learned) about what is truly important in life. 2018 was a year of growth for me, and with so much on the horizon for the new year, I cannot wait to reach new goals in 2019.
Thanks for reading.