The Good Year
I’m currently sitting in the sauna in my friend Neil’s house. Coincidently, the sauna is in the guest room where I have been staying for the last few weeks. Neil is currently in Mexico, and I guess you could say I’m house sitting.
It was in 2013 that I finally put my money where my mouth is and quit my job, pursued music, and followed through with the plans I had been discussing for years.
I made my virgin journey down to Nashville; it was a hell of an adventure. I got drunk and ended up in California, and then got my ass handed to me time and time again by the great players and songwriters of Music City. People were great, I took my lickens like a champ and considered it part of paying my dues. I learnt a great deal from that city.
When I quit my job in April, I also gave up my residence in Calgary. It was a frightening thing to do. I left a really good job that I was lucky to have in the first place. I have been couch surfing, sleeping in my car, spare room snagging, no-star-motel living and band room squatting ever since. The kindness of strangers has blown me away. As John Lennon sort of, kind of, said, “I get by with a copious amount of help from my friends.”
I released the album I had been working on for years. My first solo album, and my first full length album. It didn’t sell great by any commercial standards, but it sold more than anything I have ever done and it allowed me to pay back the small fortune I spent on it.
I got into my car and went on a month long solo tour. I wasn’t ready. I knew it from the start but I figured that is the fastest way to learn. It was. I had some real shitty nights out there on the road. I had one night in Duncan BC that I thought may be the end of me. I had another night like that in Moose Jaw; those nights were you wonder what the hell you are doing and really think about giving up.
Before I quit my job I had a lot of irrational fears. I was afraid that no one would ever love me if I didn’t have a stable job and a normal life. I was afraid that Nashville would eat me alive. I was afraid that the album would be torn apart by sexually-frustrated hipster critics. I was afraid my pop songs were too poppy, that my country songs were too country and that my folk songs weren’t traditional enough. These fears all proved to be 100% inaccurate. They were just fears, they never held any water.
I went and watched the movie Inside Llewyn Davis the other night; I loved it but it hit a little close to home at some moments. I’ve been living that life since April. It’s fucking scary and lonely at times. It’s also fucking exciting and beautiful.
At my old job, I got paid really well. More than I ever really ever expected myself to make. It was easy, people were cool and I didn’t have to work very hard. We had a gym at work and I lived in a decent enough condo with my best friend.
Before I was doing what I loved, life was always just pretty good. It was a straight line, it just sort of happened. I can’t remember much of those days. It just got away from me. Now my life is a roller-coaster. Massive highs and crushing lo’s. The thing is, I really do feel like I’m living now, I can remember it all. The last 8 months are vivid in my memory, They are with me and they happened. It’s the same reason I enjoy spicy food so much; it makes me feel alive.
I just want to take a moment and say thank you. Thanks to all the strangers that became friends, the friends that encouraged me, my folks, and anyone else who made this such a rad year. I tip my hat to you all.
Now I’m starting to sweat all over my keyboard. That is the only foreseeable downsides to having a sauna in my room. On the other hand, I can’t complain about anything.
I have lots of things I want to share for 2014, that’s all for another day though.
This is Tanner signing off,