Seven Years Ago Today, I Recorded My First Album

I was going to make it in the music industry. Another guitar-wielding troubadour --as if the world truly needed another-- with a collection of sub-par original songs in one hand, and a total dislike for marketing in the other, was going to present an act so compelling that the masses would be powerless to resist.

It turns out I was powerless to compel those masses to do anything beyond putting headphones in their ears when I began playing, or getting people to reach previously-unexplored volumes with their conversation. My live music career, while not without its occasional successes, was mostly a steady stream of frustration, disappointment, and harsh realizations: I wanted it, but I just didn't want it enough. That realization brings with it a fact that's more difficult to admit: I wanted it, but I just wasn't good enough.

But far away from any makeshift coffeeshop music corner was a desire to write and record music that transcended the successes and failures of the stage. Seven years ago today, on June 3, 2010, I recorded my original songs for the first time. 

Recording is a trying process. It's repetitive, tiring, and difficult. But there also exists a kinetic energy that appears during recording sessions. It doesn't necessarily make the songs any better (though in the right circumstance it does), but it makes the experience distinct, enduring, and unable to be recreated. Every recording session I've ever been a part of has its own variation, but no two are ever the same.

I remember sitting in my friend Jason's office (my engineer for that album) working out riffs and adornments, brainstorming ideas for the songs, and watching as all the work I had put in to creating those songs came together to create something tangible. I've written much better songs (you can hear some of those here), and recorded in more glamorous settings since, but that weekend made recording something I knew I wanted to do regularly, no matter the hurdles. 

And I have. I've recorded in a formal studio where passing trains disrupted more than one take, friends' kitchens, my bedroom, my brother's living room, basements, and the closet at a strange art gallery in downtown Peoria. The results have usually been similar --limited effect on the general public while leaving me with a set of unforgettable, cherished memories that I cling to as if they are the life preserver of my music life because, well, they kind of are.
In a way, those seven songs that I recorded are, too. They remind me of how far I've come, and how many incredible people music has afforded me to meet along the way. That's what endures, even when the songs don't.