16 Sep Jack of All Trades
“No, none of that shit.”
I’m pretty sure this all started over Korean food. My friend and now producer Noel said, “Hey, let’s cut a song!” and I had a wealth of feelings I didn’t understand. My band Absinthe Junk had been working on its EP for nearly three years at this point and it seemed like nothing I did could get it finished. One of my song children, Catching Fire, had been sitting in a folder getting stale for some time while waited for the stars to align for us to get together and work on it as a band. Oddly enough, on the record that would get born, Catching Fire would be possibly my least favorite.
“That would be rad as shit! I’ll bounce my stuff. We can load it into your stuff, right?”
None of that shit. No clicks. No MIDI. No fancy drum beats.
“I want just your voice and a Rhodes. I want to figure out who you are.”
Who I am is an easy answer. I’m a musician in their 30s who plays too many instruments, draws and writes comic books on an infrequent basis, who is generally unfocused and crippled by anxiety. Stages with 3000 people in front of them? No problem. Grocery store where I might need to talk to the butcher? Not a chance. And while I could do 100 things, some would argue well, I didn’t play and sing my own songs. I couldn’t. I always had a band. And I love my band. But I realized in this process that they had become a musical safety blanket. As adorable as it was to picture them as blankets wrapped around me, it was perhaps time to try something on my own. With the just the slightest spark, Master of None blew up into being.
I wrote 6 new songs and re-recorded an old favorite. While Absinthe Junk’s music was always about pushing the status quo or exploring a concept, the songs I wrote for Luxury Eviction were direct commentaries on my own struggles.
Master of None is a very obvious jab at the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.” What people often fail to realize when they use this in a derogatory fashion, is the saying finishes out with, “Still oftentimes better than a master of one.” Master of None was the last song written on the record and became a love song to myself, going back through the adversity I had faced as a musician in Nashville with my terrifyingly awful record label, and the struggle I had overcome to get where I was today. While that may not be relevant to other folks, the chorus I think is something we all need to hear and believe in. “I promise someday you’ll feel ok, you’ll recognize the soul you’ve made. Even the best of them can’t love you like you do. Even the best of them will try to break you.” The recording process of many of these songs was spent in tears, coming to grip with my own vulnerability as a human. They’re up close and raw. Many of them I sang with the mic only two inches from my face. If you’re hip to my previous work, you know I yell a lot. I yell a couple times on this record, but mostly I whisper and sing my little sad songs with just a few inches between you and me. That’s pretty neat.
“Master of None.” is available for preorder on nearly all platforms. I know it’s just me by myself for the most part, but I hope you’ll give it a chance. There is no middle man. There is no label. There are no other writers. There is one other musician who’s awesome and he played drums. It is a naked collection of songs on the human condition. All proceeds go towards feeding me and fixing my house. Check it out. Have some emotions with me!