The initial shock of cancellations brought on by the pandemic was, of course, hard for all musicians. I had already gone through it myself starting in early February, when I was struck with an untested virus that resembled viral pneumonia and stayed in my system for over a month. In that time, I had to cancel a long-planned festival performance as well as gigs, rehearsals, and recordings. Shortly after I finally started to get back to normal, the pandemic hit and I got to relive the experience of clearing my schedule along with everyone else.
Now, as the weeks have gone on, it has become much harder for me to imagine a time when I’ll be on a stage or in an audience. As musicians, we really live to be in the same room as other people and creating, whether on stage, in a rehearsal, in a recording session, or however else it might happen.
I’m lucky to wear a few hats in my own life as a professional guitarist, namely through writing and teaching work that is able to continue for now. But my creative life is a symbiotic one, and performing feels like the center that holds it all together. Of course, it’s in times like this, I’d like music to help get me through, but not being able to work directly with others can really feel like adding insult to injury. There are ways we can continue to create and collaborate, and this project is certainly one of them. Musicians and artists are creative people, so no doubt we’ll get through this.
The song I recorded here, “On the Corner of the Square,” has been patiently waiting for a situation to arise where I’d bring it to life since late 2018. When asked to contribute a track to this compilation, this was the first idea that came to mind. The title and theme are based on the old minor key blues song “St. James Infirmary,” whose lyrics seem unfortunately timely.
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