It’s been almost 2 years since the band I was in for several years, Left on Vermont, decided to part ways for new opportunities in our personal and professional lives. Playing with that band was one of the most fun experiences of my life, and of my experience living in the Washington, DC area. We played at bars. We played at festivals. We played at fundraisers and non-profit events. Having that experience opened me up as a musician and as a performer. The people I played with were so unassuming and so talented. I love them with all of my heart and owe so much to each of them.
I’ve taken a break for awhile, playing here and there. Every creative person needs a break, but mine lasted a little longer than expected. My last show in April left me feeling dried up musically. Even with new songs and great support, I wasn’t connecting as much with music. I wasn’t excited about my setlist. I was burned out and reaching for straws. Writing and performing music is as much a communal experience as a personal challenge. I wasn’t sure how being a solo act was going to pan out.
Thanks to my beloved husband, I watched the Netflix documentary Muscle Shoals. It was inspiring and it reminded me that song writing isn’t about perfecting recording tools or solos. It’s about what sticks in your gut and makes you want to sing it over and over and over again with new audiences, experiencing it in new ways. It’s sitting in an intimate live setting, without the mask of huge sound and light shows.
Left on Vermont was a rock band. The energy we poured into our shows was from the heart and we loved entertaining. I keep wondering what that looks like now with my soft voice and sweet love songs. Where do I fit in? But watching Muscle Shoals and a few other great music docs like Fading West and 20 Feet from Stardom made me start to get excited about the possibilities. And they also reminded me that “making it” or “not making it” doesn’t change my need to write and perform.