I haven't finished a new song in over a year.
To be fair, there's a natural cycle to these things in this industry. You write a record and then it takes a solid three months (unless you are Zach Bryan) to record and release it. Then, you hustle to as many stages as will have you for five or six months, until at some point -- like an Almanac-loving farmer with his thumb in the air -- the wind changes and you realize it's time to write again. Still, it never ceases to shock me how long it's been when the cycle begins anew.
I'm beginning to recognize that writing is a lot like running: it's an exercise in which success is borne of repeated futility. I think I've finally accepted that Kate and I are writers, which is odd, since it's been the one through-line of all my careers.
I've always been wary of the way artists, in general, wear the title. It's an odd profession. It's recognized as essential -- and consumed by nearly everyone on the planet -- while being denigrated in hushed tones at social engagments. To me, there's more than a bit of magic in there, which is probably why its easier for greater society to let it live in such limbo. I think the essential issue is that art exists upon its creation, but until -- and unless -- it becomes successful, it's viewed as curious hobby.
Writing has always been a battle for me. I've never been in control of it. It bursts out of me when it can no longer be contained. But, I think the next album has to be more than that. We're going to have to write some songs that we wrestle unwillingly into shape. There are a number of musicians, right now, who are testing the limits of this existing cycle. The songwriting is taking precedence over the ensuing profitabilty of album promotion (this approach is actually creating more profitabily, as entire unplanned albums take over the charts in given weeks, but I digress). The songwriting is just not stopping. I find it really inspiring.
So, where are we? Right now, all we have is about 30 song titles collected from moments of emotional clarity or confusion over the past few years which have been collected in our notes app on our phones. Some of them, I'm pretty excited about (like a song about how the entire Irish South Shore is literally just chasing in the footseps of the dream of the Kennedys). Some are so bland that I've forgotten the moment that inspired them (not sure what I meant by "Things We Remember"). On the last album, we took five different song starts and realized they were all a part of the same song, which let to Worry No More. Each one ended up as a distinct verse, or chorus.
But, I guess, my goal is to get back to the daily grind of writing in the hopes that doing so will unlock a few more songs than would have been discovered otherwise.