2015, a look ahead

I'm holed up doing a lot of writing this month and next, finishing up the songs for my next release, which is going to be recorded late April/early May -- and with luck, out late this year, if not, early next. While at work I had occasion to remember a striking comment of Martin Short's in his recent memoir. After a Glick taping, he had to look up John Hodiak, a rather obscure actor to whom his character, Glick, had referred comically but with whom Martin, the actor, was unfamiliar on a conscious level. "Artist" must be about the only profession where such semi-demented brain detritus is of positive value. When I'm in Holedupville reaching for ideas and phrases and melodies, the oddest things swim forth, snatches of songs I haven't heard for decades, styles I'm barely aware of. After a few hours of fruitless fumbling two evenings ago, I got pulled into, for reasons unknown to myself, a French ballad concerning a shipboard romance. Alarming! Because there is little sign that anyone who likes my music is interested in hearing an Aznavour-inflected tale of romance on the high seas, and more fundamentally because I don't really speak French. Probably one of the reasons I get pulled in marginal directions is that so much of what I reject -- ideas firmly shown the door the moment they appear at my lips or fingertips -- is solidly, centrally in my wheelhouse. Rejecting them is in itself a sound move, I think. I notice that when I bring candidates back to Mrs. F., she sometimes shakes her head and remarks, "You've done that already." A harsh editor! But a wise one. Enough drunken weepers and twangy lamentations of love gone south. Let's evolve.

Other projects I'm working on this year: a follow-up to 50-vc. Doberman, a reversioning of Bob Dylan's Street Legal, plans to produce records on two artists, live performances here and there of Jenny Scheinman's score to the moving-portraiture documentary Kannapolis, a play, some duo touring with Redd Volkaert, and the usual touring with the usual shifting cast. That's kind of a lot for 12 months, mostly because of the writing, which eats up a ton of time. I don't think this array of projects would be doable without dialing my travel back a bit, which should naturally happen since my last release is now a year-and-a-half old. I realize that simply to rattle off the foregoing list raises immediate and pertinent questions, among those of you kind enough to care what I'm up to, but please be patient and I'll get more detailed on them as they progress. Half of these things tend to fall off the plate anyway -- I guess I'm only indicating how delightfully industrious I am.

One last note: I changed agencies last week. I'm now with Paul Lohr's company, New Frontier. I've yanked Paul's chain periodically for the last 10 years and I'm pleased that I'm at last in a position nominally worthy of his extremely worthy roster -- it includes Riders In The Sky, the Avett Brothers, Angeleena Presley, John Cowan, Jim Lauderdale, Chris Hillman, Carlene Carter, the Gibson Brothers, Sean Watkins, Darrell Scott, Marshall Crenshaw, John Oates, John McEuen, Shawn Camp -- I mean, just stop it. Starting the year with this prestigious company behind me is a great psychic boost. Now back to the trenches.