So what makes a tour or other gig a success? People ask if I break even on this long-distance gigs? I don't feel it necessary to share that with people but suffice to say I couldn't be doing what I do if I didn't break even or make some profit. I have bills, insurance etc. like anyone else. Difference is I am doing it alone with no help, health care, sick leave like other's benefit from being employed. When I'm driving I am all too hyper aware that at any moment another car could change lanes, stop suddenly, be distracted or a huge Deer could jump into my path and that's all she wrote. That thought alone can make for a stressful drive that leaves no wonder why I am so exhausted most times after driving 3000 miles round trip for a tour. I drive alone and sleep at state parks, campgrounds or crash on people's extra beds or couches. THIS, my friends, is how me and many many many an independent musician does it. It is scary at times but also full of freedom and often really beautiful, unexpected joys.
As I travel the back roads of this country and meet so many people living their own lives I feel so privileged and fortunate to do what I do. I try as much as I can to focus on what is good about it. Unless you've lived it though you simply can't be truly aware of the challenges and sacrifice it takes to do it year after year. It takes a special passion and a sense of being compelled which is something other musicians tell me they also feel. These tours were a success for me because I did the best job I could possibly do on that day. I brought my music to many strangers who I hope are now fans. I connected with other musicians as peers and we sat in on each other's sets and traded CD's. I connected with people who were fans and are now my dearest friends. I got to see how beautiful our country is from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma where Bison, Elk and other creatures roam the park to the mountains outside of Asheville, NC and camp in the Ozarks where I played a private concert under the milky way lit by battery operated christmas lights and a roaring hard-wood fire. It was magical! All of it. That, for me is a success. I made people happy, dance and smile. The heartfelt comments I get from people who take the time to tell me about their experience is priceless like this comment from a woman who, although recovering from surgery, made it a point to bring her family to come here me at the Fairy Festival, "Randy, so good to see you at the Fairy Fest this year...I always love your soothing and beautiful music. It made me smile that [my family] enjoyed your music and just relaxed and took in your amazing spirit. I hope you know how many souls you touch through your loving, heartfelt songs and your beautiful kind soul. Look forward to seeing you next year and much love and peace to you."
Comments like that I may not be able to cash at the bank but I bank them in my spirit to give me strength and inspiration. I led a workshop at this year's INAFA convention and offered private lessons as well as an afternoon performance and played in the Performer's Jam closing concert Saturday night with musician's like R. Carlos Nakai, Peter Phippen, Xavier Quijas Yxayotl's, Amir Abbas Etemadzadeh and my friend's Cornell Kinderknecht and Rick Dunlap, Joe Young and others. What a pure delight. To me that is success. But all that aside. A woman who had been in my workshop and heard my concert came by my table. She said she knew she was destined to learn a major life lesson regarding a decision she had coming up. She said, "Watching and hearing you I figured out what that lesson is. It is embodied through you the way you are so authentic, giving, open and free with yourself and your music. From you I realized that I 'can' be myself so fully and true to myself and I will be exactly who I am supposed to be. So thank you Randy, for being yourself so completely that you inspire so many others to do the same." I was humbled and a little stunned. It did remind though why I do all of it that I do, because I am compelled to shine my light so fully that even shadows can't be seen.
At this year's World of Faeries fest I played with some of the other acts there including Three Pints Gone, Patchouli and Magic Mama. We got rained out hard Saturday afternoon with vendor's tents and merch flying across the park but Sunday's weather was absolutely beautiful and no one wanted to leave.
September 1 & 2, Labor Day weekend I perform both days at the Franciscan Festival of Fine arts in Mesilla Park, NM a lovely festival. And also a Full Moon Concert at White Sands National Monument Sept 1st at 7:30PM. September 13th I'll be performing at the New Mexico State fair on the Indian Village stage 7PM I think. Later in Sept. I'm returning to perform at the Yosemite Flute and Art Festival in Oakhurst, CA.
I hope to see you out there on the trails. Please say hello. More info on the new CD soon.
Peace and Love
A video I recorded a the Weeping Grotto deep in the Ozarks before my evening concert.