Well, I’m flying home from the NAMM convention in Anahiem California. Haven’t had much sleep, but otherwise I’m feeling great. If you don’t know what NAMM is like, imagine you are walking down the sidewalk and notice a cool music store that you just have to check out, and after you have explored it, you step back out on the sidewalk and right next door, there’s another cool music shop with something right in the window you have never seen before that you just have to learn about. And then there’s another store and another, and it goes on for miles. So much new stuff to learn about.
I was there to talk to folks about the new David Wilcox signature edition Rainsong guitar, and to show people how to use cut capos at the Kyser booth, and to play in Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar night. Wow. It was wonderful to hear so many whoop-ass guitar players all on one stage. She was very kind to invite me. I relied on my storytelling as you might imagine, and I sang songs about the love we have in common for our instrument, the guitar. I wasn’t too nervous, mostly because I was very happy to bring such a beautiful accoustic tone to the event.
This is only my third gig with my new sound rig. I’m now carrying a tiny digital mixer that dials in very accurate parametric EQ on all my different guitar pickups (5 of them) and then gives the sound guy just one XLR line so his job is easy. When I did my sound check, My guitar sounded fantastic right away and the sound man never tweaked it at all. It’s the next step in my evolving mission to get my homework done and do as much of my soundcheck as I can before I even get to the gig. Soon digital mixers will be so light that I will mount one inside the guitar.
When I was flying out West for this run of gigs, I had my guitar with me in the airport instead of checking it, since the flights were hectic due to the snow. When someone asked what kind of guitar I was playing, I was tempted to say:
“Well, as a matter of fact, this is the new David Wilcox signature edition.” But I thought about a possible funny conversation that might result, and so instead I said: “It’s a Rainsong”
The conversation I had imagined went something like this:
I would say: “This is the David Wilcox signature edition”
And he would have said: “So who’s david wilcox?”
And I would say: “Why, thanks for asking, I’m David Wilcox”
And he would reply: “Oh, I get it, you just signed your name on your own guitar and called it the signature edition! Hey that’s funny, I’m gonna do that too.”
And I would have said: “No, no, this is the OFFICIAL David Wilcox edition!”
And he would say, “Of course it is; you signed it yourself, right? And you probably did the same on your car too. It’s not the Eddie Bower Excursion anymore is it? Now it’s the David Wilcox Excursion! OK, OK, I get it!”
And by then, it would be over. His punch line would trump my boast because it’s way more interesting. So, in that instant, when he asked what kind of guitar I was playing, I just said, “It’s a Rainsong,” and kept it simple.
I am flying back to winter now from my short little summer vacation, and I look forward to being home and recording the new songs I have been writing lately. I got a new one yesterday morning that is such a unique idea. I’ve never heard a song with a similar angle. I would love to tell you more about it, but the thing with songs is, you can’t release the pressure, or else saying it will deflate the need for singing it. I’ll let you know how it comes out.
I love these little adventures to get my music out. It is great seeing many of you again and again over all this time. I am grateful that my music serves and that it is still big fun. I feel like it is getting more satisfying to play for you after all these years. We have so much to build on. I love my job. It is very kind of you to give me a lift down this long road, so to speak.
Hope all is well with you, and thanks for the ride,
Last night I went to a performance of a bunch of new songs by a couple of Nate’s friends. It was a small concert. There were a few of us parents present, but everyone else was 18 years old. Pull up a chair in the living room. There’s twenty five people listening who get very quiet for each song. I drove home slowly. I was thinking how the world is changing for the better. When I was Nate’s age, I never had a gathering like that. Not with such brave kindness. Those people last night were not so terrified of being authentic. I feel like my work is done. I feel like a veteran of a war where we were victorious. I am going down to Malaprops bookstore today and browse for something inspiring and have a hot chai to celebrate. I feel like it’s a victory parade and I’m riding up on the back of the big convertible. Hooray!, the world has changed! What a relief. I can’t stop smiling.
What’s the big deal? Well, it’s something about the slow progression of humankind toward a life filled with beauty and wisdom and compassion. Oh, I know there’s still lots of people who get slammed with lives of senseless cruelty. There’s lots of work to do helping humanity become more humane. But it’s clear to me that the possibility has taken root. I know this because the kind vibe last night was not surprising at all to the rest of the audience. It was no big deal to them that they were comfortable being themselves and their hearts felt safe with their friends. That’s just their normal world. But if I had gotten to feel that way for an hour or two at their age, it would have been a miraculous exception to the rule. This is what’s different for Nate’s generation. This time around, the progress of humankind is awakening to the realm of the heart, becoming more authentic and connected with each other. Back when I was a kid, the ambient mindset about the progress of humanity only had one thing to brag about: that life was made easier with the help of machinery. We were supposed to place our future hope in time-saving inventions. The thinking was mechanistic: Just make the flow of commodities more efficient and life will be better for each of us. We will expend less energy - and then we’ll be happy, right? Humanity can be fulfilled with more stuff and less work, right? High efficiency is a great goal for machinery, and it might also make humans more human. Oh well, it was worth a try. I am glad to see the world progressing toward a more humane notion of what makes us human.