On "Marking Time"...

We usually measure time less by the clock or the calendar and more by moments marked and milestones reached. Birth and death loom large in the way we measure our days… things begun and things ended… entrances and exits. Much of this is connected to the people we love and the connections with those people but it also applies to the work we do and the things we create. 

Just over a year ago I released a collection of songs and stories and that moment was a marker. It provided the context for other markers that would occur in the following year. It also established retroactive markers for the years preceding. We spent over a year recording the record. I spent the previous 5 years writing the record. And, in many ways, I spent over 40 years collecting the stories. The release of Tarrant County was an incredibly significant moment on its own but when I listen now, a year later, I am surprised by the memories evoked. I listen to the record and I am transported; not back to the studio but, instead… 

to a trailer park overlooking a branch of the Trinity River in Fort Worth… 

to my Grandfather’s living room couch and a cheap acoustic guitar that was almost too big for me to play… 

to two-lane highways between north Louisiana and southeast Arkansas where the pines almost touched above the blacktop… 

to an ’81 Firebird packed to capacity and fueled for escape… 

to a freshman orientation where I first met my best friend. 

Sometimes I see microphones and guitars but mostly I see pictures I carried for decades before the first lyric was written or the first note was played. And I hope like hell you see those pictures too or, better yet, that you se e your own pictures and your own markers. 

Sometimes “marking time” means movement without progress. Sometimes it means standing still long enough to remember the moments that tell our stories… the ones that remind us where we have been but also… 

That we are still here.


 

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