Money Troubles

Money Troubles

1Money has been tight for a while now.  I’ve been focusing all my time and energy on my craft.  Julie is a nurse so she works at the hospital during the day.  With me not working it has been putting a strain on our financial situation and our relationship.

When I travel to my shows, I do so using our money. The money I get from the shows doesn’t really cover the travel expenses, but I need to get exposure.

I’ve managed to find a few ways to save cash on the way. I’ve learnt to cook – which is awesome! It means I don’t have to spend all our cash on takeaways unnecessarily.

I’ve also managed to get off my over-priced phone contract. Telstra wouldn’t let me out so I just unlocked my iPhone 6 and switched over to Optus. That’s saving me about $50 a month (even though the reception isn’t as good).

The time we’ve put in has paid off, I signed a deal with a recording studio today!

This news means so much to us.  Things are finally starting to look up.  We are going to make it.  You should have seen Julie’s face when I told her, she was jumping up and down, she’s adorable.

I’m going to dedicate my first album to Ann and Sarah.  I draw so much material from my horrible past.  I write all songs in remembrance of them. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of them.

Julie is completely understanding about my dedication.  She knows that they will always be a part of me and my life.  She talks about them fondly with me, and doesn’t get frustrated or jealous.

We’re going out this weekend for a great dinner to celebrate, and I’m even buying Mr. Scruffles special dog treats so he can celebrate with us.

This is going to be absolutely brilliant.  I cannot contain my excitement, as you can probably tell.  We start recording in two weeks.  Even though I’m really excited, I’m also very nervous.  I have a fair amount of self-doubt.

Will I be any good?

Will my album sell?

Will people like it?

There are just so many questions. For now, I’m going to ride the wave of the present.  I’m going to go into that studio and sing beautiful songs about my life and share the tragedy and joy that I have gone through.

I’ll get to share my message, and hopefully touch people’s lives.  I want others to know that their not alone and that there is life after loss and addiction. “The Goanna” is going to be a household name.  My dreams are finally going to come true.

My Life

My Life

guitarsWhen I was 19 I got married to a beautiful girl named Ann.  Were we too young? Yes, probably, but that didn’t stop us from loving each other.  I took a job as a ranch hand and she became pregnant.  We worked out a deal with my boss and we lived on the ranch in a little shack.

She gave birth to our daughter, Sarah. We had such a beautiful and simple life.  Ann would take care of Sarah during the day while I was working. At night we would all gather around a fire with the rest of the ranch hands and their families, and I would play my guitar and we’d all sing along until we were all too exhausted to stay awake any longer.

It was a great community.  We couldn’t have asked for anything more.  When Sarah was about 4 she and Ann took a car to the nearest town to pick up some food.  On the way there they were ran off the road and they both died.  It was the hardest time in my life.  My beautiful wife and daughter were just gone.

I became a shell of a man.  I had lost everything in an instant.  I didn’t even get a chance to tell them that I loved them. [Read more…]

Music, Art, Love, and Business

Music, Art, Love, and Business

Ever since we met, my wife Julie and I have been struggling to make ends meet. I even told her earlier this year that I’d take a break from making music so I could get a job and help us stay afloat. She flat out refused. She knows how much my music means to me, and I love her so much for that.

I imagine that the long hours she works at her grind of a job are horrible and soul crushing. She is such a creative and brilliantly crafty person though, and I’ve told her ever since we met that she should use her natural talents to make money instead of killing herself at an hourly wage-grubbing place.

Well, she’s thinking of taking that leap. Ever since she was little, she’s wanted to set up her own little arts and crafts and gift shop, maybe sell delicious little baked goods from under the counter. When she talks about it, even though she acts like she’s only talking about a faraway dream, her face just lights up. I can tell she has always been absolutely enchanted with the idea.

Finally, I said to her that she should go for it. Together, the two of us can probably scrape up enough money and heart to open a little corner store right off the main thoroughfare of our small town. She can sell cookies and cupcakes and coffee, small jewelry, work by local painters, hand-sewn hats and knits and crochets, yarn and thread, small wood crafts and all the quaint little things her heart has desired to surround itself with.

I told her that I’m no great shakes at business but for her, I can learn to do paperwork and file taxes just as well as any man. We’ll look at a space, get the business name legal, and figure out property valuation, expansion, possible extra hiring, and whatever else might be needed for our future strategies. If it goes well, maybe we can even open an online storefront and reach out to customers all over the world.

As for me, I can play music and tune a guitar. Maybe in the afternoon I can come in and strum a few original songs, a few covers for the customers. She can put my albums up for sale and I’ll write a country jingle about her amazing sugar cookies. We’ll be a husband and wife team, living the creative dream. I’m confident we can do this together. We struggle sometimes, but for the last two years we’ve been each other’s greatest support and I am so grateful to have her in my life.

I Found New Inspiration in Netflix Documentaries

I Found New Inspiration in Netflix Documentaries

How to watch Netflix overseas

The road to making it big in country music is a tough haul. These days, I feel like I’ve run into more setbacks than I’ve seen steps forward. Sometimes it’s all I can manage just not to hang up my hat and call it a day.

Hearing the stories of other musicians’ successes and struggles has always been a salve for my doubt, though. Using this link I figured which VPN is best for watching Netflix on my computer at home, and I found myself browsing some documentaries and concert footage in the Music category. The tales of my fellow artists touched my heart and gave me a stronger resolve to keep going.

The first film that caught my eye was a documentary on the famous Muscle Shoals, a sound studio in Sheffield, Alabama, USA. Some of the most successful folk and country musicians in the whole world have recorded there. I mean, Willie Nelson, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan… It’s music history, and I’d give my good left hand to record there. Well, maybe not. That’s my fretboard hand!

And I watched the tale of Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, a famous folk guitarist and contemporary of Woody Guthrie – that guy’s had one hell of a life. I could even relate to the stories about musicians I don’t really listen to, and draw inspiration from their climb up the ladder in this tough industry.

I even sat through that one about Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Even though I’ve never been a huge fan of Neil’s work, I have to admire the fact that he’s still up and around, making music.

So I got to thinking… what am I so down and depressed about? I’ve got my hands, my heart, and my gat. I’ve got a whole country music career in front of me, as long as I’m willing to put my axe to the grindstone, dig in and get the work done. And I’m going to get it done; you can put your money on that.

Late the other night, I wrote three new songs about all the thought I’ve been working through lately. I haven’t written much in awhile, but new art comes when it comes and you just got to roll with it. They’re still rough, but I’m planning to put ’em out there soon and see what people think. It can’t hurt.

Maybe I’ll try my latest hand an open mic night at a saloon the next town over. If all goes well, maybe the guitar and I will hit the road for a little local counties tour and test the waters. Maybe this will be that big step forward I’ve been waiting for.