The Start of My Life in Music
Child in the backseat, ’bout four or five years
Hank’s voice on the radio
– Lucinda Williams, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”
From the beginning, I wanted to make music. The first moment of transcendence I recall in this lifetime happened in the back seat of a 1972 Chevy Vega. We were driving from somewhere far away back to the trailer where we lived in southern Indiana.
I was four or five years old, curled up beneath a blanket in the back seat.
As the black sky rolled by outside the window, I was falling into slumber, lulled by the sound of the wind outside the car and the hum of the tires beneath me. And then.
My stepdad tuned the radio to a Christian gospel radio station. The Chuck Wagon Gang was the group. I heard those ladies singing their hearts out and I could see their harmonies like intertwining filaments of light. Dancing in my mind’s eye like angels. Or like how stars would sound if I could hear them.
I was electrified. I was enthralled. I was enraptured. I knew right then that this was what I needed.
A couple years later, we moved to a bigger town in Indiana. My parents got more and more fundamentalist in their Christianity. And more and more distant in their relationship. And before long, the music had drained from our lives.
As a middle schooler I learned that secular music was “of the devil”. I couldn’t stop loving music, but my parents actively discouraged me from playing the nine-dollar guitar they’d grudgingly bought me at an estate sale. (Thinking, I’m certain, that I would give up my musical dreams once I realized how hard it was to learn to play the guitar without any encouragement or instruction.)
Since I started my Patreon page in 2016, I’ve posted 36 songs to my patrons. I’ve written a lot more music than I’ve posted, but these are the songs I felt were ‘finished enough’ to share with the people who care enough about what I do to contribute a few bucks every month.
I’m grateful to be able to count on a little extra cash each month for groceries and guitar strings. But the encouragement and accountability built into this neo-patronage system have been the biggest blessings.
I have a wild, prolific, and wide-ranging imagination. I love making music. I love playing the guitar and singing. I love writing songs. I love recording songs. I love the music production side of things, learning how to capture the sounds I’m hearing in my head and translate them into audible frequencies.
What has traditionally been a challenge for me is finishing songs and setting them free into the world.
Just knowing that a dozen or so people dig me and what I’m doing enough to show up with $5 or $10 every month has motivated me to finish work at a rate that is semi-astounding to me.
A Dirty Dozen – DK Tracks
Some singer-songwriter acoustic stuff, a handful of ambient live-looping tracks, a few devotional numbers, a crazy kid song I produced during a visit to my daughter’s fourth grade class, and a recent Grateful Dead cover…#thankyoupatrons