After touring steady for 30 years, I have decided to go back to the beginning and explore what made me want to be a traveling musician in the first place: the study and perfection of actually playing and producing music. Over the years, creation of original music and transposition of traditional music into my style has played a huge part in my success as a touring musician. Unfortunately–because of the restraints on time that touring creates–study, research, practice, and absorption of new music and styles has to be done very quickly. Very often a path is followed just long enough to get a usable work for stage. Given the opportunity, that path could be followed much further and produce even greater works. But those works will never see the light of day because so much time is invested in the rigours of being a professional entertainer that these pathways are forgotten after yielding only a fraction of what they could have.
My wish now, in my 43rd year, is to immerse myself completely in the study of my craft. I intend to focus all of the energies that have been elsewhere these past years on finding and stretching the boundaries of what is physically and intellectually possible for the steel string guitar, the fiddle, the banjo, and all of the instruments I play. My musical abilities are at a height in which my fervour for creation is boiling over. I continue to move further and further outside myself and my comfort zone as I self produce the recordings I am making now. My writing skills are sharp, subject matter is fresh, and the more freedom I can experience from the stress of touring, the more I expand and grow inside my own musical sphere.
Songwriting and collaboration is another sacred pair among my catalogue of “things to grow,” all of it harmonious. I have already had the occasion to record and work with some of the world’s finest musicians in recent months, relive and capture musical magic with old friends, and break new ground with up and coming artists who trade their inspiration to me for my advice and guidance to them. So far the journey has been wonderful and I wish it to continue.
I wish to go back and study the old masters and creators of that which I have made my living off all these years. I want to continue to marry the genius of Bach with the Cape Breton fire of Winston Fitzgerald. I want to blend the high lonesome sound of Bill Monroe with the popular contemporary music of today. I want to bring about the evolution of what and who I am as a musician and an artist, and let it be shown to the world. I want to inspire and challenge my peers and the youth coming of age in this business.
I want to spend the prime of my life doing what God made me to do—to create music and play, and for that matter, play the best I possibly can.