Leaving Facebook

I’m getting rid of my Facebook, and probably some other social media outlets too. This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to some specific event, instead it’s a long-time-coming thing that I’ve finally decided to pursue after much consideration. 

I don’t think social media is inherently bad, but over the last few years I’ve just lost the drive to participate in it in the same kinds of ways. Recently I heard the actor David Tennant (Ten fans where you at?!) speaking about how he has no social media, how nice it was to not feel like he had to weigh in on every single thing, and so on. I found myself feeling jealous. Why not me? Then I realized it could be me.

I just did a trial separation from social media for about two weeks while camping with my family. It was some of the best time I’ve had in years. I read four books, did lots of writing, and even played trumpet every single day (which is annoying and hard!). I found I had the emotional energy and wherewithal to hang out with my ultra-conservative uncles and remain calm. I had frank discussions with people I had to look in the eye about politics, faith and s’mores. That last one ended up being the most intense, but that’s a private family matter…

This isn’t because I want to remove myself from “the conversation” or because I don’t care about “issues” or “the discourse” or any of that. Anyone who has interacted with me over the last decade knows I have opinions and feelings and a personal story and all the other things that make people worth hearing from, but the web is not my platform for that. My songs are. My writing is. Every hour I’m using facebook or twitter or instagram or reddit, is an hour I’m not making songs or writing books. I could never make this particular case as eloquently or as throughly as Neil Stephenson does in his little essay “Social Media” To summarize: I am good at something, and I want to spend my time pursuing that.

For years, I kept up a Facebook for a long time because there was a perception that it would help me promote my shows and my art. Looking back at the last two years, that has hardly been the case. Invariably it just leads to me being sad that people who say they're going on a Facebook event never show up. I'd rather take each show as it comes. I’ve always maintained that you should do the show for whoever is there and not worry about whoever is not. So I’m trying to cut out the things that seem tailor-made to make me focus on the “not.”

I’m still going to have a Patreon, a Blog and a personal Website, as well as the 2-3 podcasts I’m involved in producing. (Wow, just listing those makes me tired!) 

If you're a fan of my music and live performances you can follow and support much of that stuff over here: Patreon.Com/Strangely 

If you want to listen to the audiobook I've been recording of my first novel, you can find it here: Patreon.com/Strangelywritesbooks 

You can also find my official youtube channel here: Youtube Channel

I’m not going away, or “checking out.” I’m still here, I just want to be more intentional, thoughtful and present. This is how I’m trying to do that. Thanks for reading!

So I know a lot of people are posting today, about... stuff... but I figured I'd say something happy, if that's all right with y'all?

About a year ago I had a negative experience during a visit to Patreon, a company I work closely with. I didn't contact them at the time because I felt too hurt and confused and prone to lash out. I sat for a while, thought carefully about what to say and when the time felt right what had been hundreds of words on the subject boiled down to a single sentence. I felt sad, now I'd gotten over it.

Imagine my surprise when an employee at Patreon took the time to ask me to detail my experience. I did, going into my exact concerns. Suffice to say that I felt some things I had noticed felt contrary to the aims of Patreon as a company which seeks to put artists first, ahead of bottom line and stock price.

I love Patreon so much, not just because I did a show there two years ago which resulted in perhaps the second finest crowd surf of my career. (The one ending with a kiss on the cheek from an also crowd-surfing Tomás Ford is the finest. He is my crowd-surfing teacher and to tandem surf with him was a dream come true!) I love them because of what they represent. I've always felt that we are in a new golden age for artists, that more people can make a (albeit meager sometimes) sustainable living through art. Patreon does so much to make this possible.

After receiving my email I got a followup phone call. This is what tightening the net looks like folks, this is how we reach across the gaps in geography and lifestyle and all the rest. I felt forgotten in the cogs of a giant machine, and then someone reached out and proved me wrong. For a company that manages bakers dozens of thousands of artists, that someone there took the time to notice my concerns, address them, and just say hello, means the world to me.

So that's why I'm celebrating today folks. Because the people we love are still out there, we're gearing up, and good things are going to happen. I know they can.

Thanks all of you out there who have supported my art. And thanks to Patreon for making that even more possible than ever!

Cheers!

-

 Crowd surfing at Patreon, the other time I felt like this!

Crowd surfing at Patreon, the other time I felt like this!

Hello Everyone!

  It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new blog update, but I’m back and hoping to make this a more regular thing. If you’re an old salt at this, I’m glad you’re still around, for those of you just joining this madcap adventure of a life, welcome! 2016, what a ride! I had some ups and downs like we all did, but I’m really trying to focus on the ups. I’ve got two big pieces of news so let’s dig right in.

   I finally released my second, full-length, studio album, and it sounds amazing! You can click on this sentance to listen/stream it to your heart’s content over on bandcamp. Also worth checking out over there are all of the liner notes and lyrics which will be included in the physical copies of the album. 

   This project keeps going through changes most of them exciting and positive, most noticeably the name of the album. I had intended to call this record “Joy Compactor” using the nickname I use in my mind whenever thinking of accordions, but then a few things dawned on me. First, all of the songs on this record were either used in my previous show “Roaring Accordion” or written while touring the show. It is, in a sense, the soundtrack of that two year chunk of my life. I’ve also decided to hold onto the title “Joy Compactor,” using it as the title of my touring show, so if you really want an album from me with that title, I’m sure there is one forthcoming!

 Back in December I put the album up for digital download. It’s 12 tracks that I am immensely proud of, full to bursting with excellent work from a cavalcade of incredible friends. That done, I began to dig into the process of producing finalized album artwork and liner notes. I’ve never had liner notes before but seeing as I usually spend more time in my shows explaining the stories behind the tunes than actually playing them, I really should! Mere hours before the album went to press Aaron J. Shay, (bless ‘im!) sent me the little track now included with the album as the “prelude.” I had been hoping something would com along that would just tie the whole thing together and Aaron provided it.

  The phenomenal Paulina Barry (Check out her Patreon!) was such a wonderful collaborator to work with on the artwork for the finished album, and The Carnelian Agency (Find them on Facebook here!) turned it into the disc I now hold in my hands. I can’t wait to get this out to all the Kickstarter Backers, and various folks who have been so supportive of my music over the years, this is the album I’ve always known I could produce. I’m so excited to share it with you!

  Even as one chapter of musical creation passes so too another begins. I spent the better part of last Friday holding my glorious beard much too close to a fire, as I played a piano as it burned almost entirely down to the ground. Eventually I did have to step back because it got too hot, but my uncompromising director >> Micah Knapp << pushed me to my limits and I'm really happy with the results! I'm not sure of the exact release date as we're still in the final stages of mixing and mastering a new recording of the song, but it will be soon.

  I hope this finds you all well and in good health! Let's all make 2017 one for the books, shall we?

  Cheers!

  - Strangely