Dig, Dig, Dig
"Dig dig dig, the whole day through
Got to dig dig dig, it's what we like to do in our mine, in our mine
Where a million diamonds shine
We got to dig dig dig, from the morning till the night
Dig dig dig up everything in sight
We got to dig dig dig, in our mine, in our mine
Dig up diamonds by the score
A thousand rubies, sometimes more
But we don't know what we are diggin' for, yeah"
- Tom Waits' take on "Heigh-Ho" from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
"Mine, boys, mine ev'ry mountain
And dig, boys, dig 'til ya drop
Grab a pick, boys
Shove in a shovel
Uncover those lovely
Pebbles that sparkle and shine
It's gold and it's mine, mine, mine"
- Ratcliffe from "Pocahontas"
The math doesn't lie. On the average, I work an 18 hour day. Granted, that's not on-the-clock-every-second-accounted-for time card punching number crunching, but those 18 hours are spent in a purpose-driven state of mind that says "get 'er done."
As a self-employed musician, I'm blessed to do what I love for a living and though it's a joy to make music, the necessary support for such an endeavor can often feel like a job. Still, somebody's got to do it and, until someone else steps up to hold those particular reins, that somebody is sitting here typing this blog right now after a morning of promotion and recording. After putting the wraps on "Sweet River" last Friday, I began focusing on three tracks sent to me by New Orleans singer/songwriter Gina Forsyth in order to add some mountain dulcimer to her Cajun fiddle-fire. Her tracks are very clear and clean, so I was planning on recording in the wee hours in order to avoid the trappings of my noisy neighborhood. What I didn't plan on was frog mating season and those little suckers kept it up for nine hours straight, bridging the gap between noisy nighttime and noisy daytime with, well, their usually sweet, but now annoying, noise. I switched from condenser microphone to dynamic microphone and waited until the sun had chased most of them away, getting the tracks recorded before 7:30 am. Score.
Then, after a quick breakfast of waffles, I sat down and spent the next three hours doing marketing and promoting on Facebook and Reverbnation. Adding new shows, pitching this week's gigs and sharing links to what I'm working on currently. Lots of you out there are fantastic when it comes to sharing those links and I appreciate it very much. You're acting as a branch of my marketing department when you do that and it helps to get the music and the word out probably even more effectively than what I could ever accomplish. People expect an artist to self-promote; but it's special when that promotion comes from others. It gains extra credibility, not to mention tapping into other networks that I don't have access to, yet.
I joined Facebook for the sheer purpose of promotions and marketing, just as I joined Twitter, Instagram and Reverbnation for the same thing. Of course, it's not all music all the time - there's lots of funny cat posts and rollercoaster videos, the sharing of other people's links; who wants to listen to someone broadcast their show schedule all the time? And I've enjoyed getting to know people on Facebook. It's kept me in touch with family, friends and reunited me with lots of folks from my past as well as providing a way for new friends and fans to stay in touch. Unless someone is an obvious spammer, I accept every friend request and I unfriend those who have turned out to be obvious spammers. As a result, I'm quickly getting to the 5,000 friend ceiling imposed on personal Facebook pages, which is why they created artist pages. The difference between my personal page and my artist pages is that people will expect there to be more casual posts on the personal page where you can pretty well assume that the artist pages will be more focused on the art. Some of you who have been doing this sort of thing for awhile probably waded into the muddy waters of MySpace at some point in time; boy, that got ugly quick, didn't it?
When I'm not "pimping" the music, I'm either writing/producing it or looking for places to perform it and the quest just never stops. People sometimes wonder why I go to Walt Disney World so much and the answer is, besides that it's fun, that I work so hard every day and it's one of my favorite ways to reward myself with eye and ear candy that has nothing to do with me. I can sink in, disappear and let someone else be the entertainer for awhile.
This week has been particularly busy as I prepare to start the All Out Tour 2015 on the day after Earth Day next week. Once I hit the road, it's more difficult to keep the machine running, though it still hums along thanks to all of the tech that I bring with me. Booking shows, updating web sites, shooting video, writing songs, swimming in the administrative lagoon, it all takes place once Rita stops rolling and I set up camp somewhere for the night. Often times, when I'm camped at a state park for a few days, a good portion of that stay is spent on the phone or computer, keeping the wheels of industry spinning. So, no wonder that when I pass a theme park en route to my next destination, it's often, "get out, get in, get on and get gone!" Work hard, play hard.
And dig, dig, dig.