At some point during the summer of last year, one of my best friends (and also the one who helped me get the album finished, financially) had me over for dinner at his house out in Jonestown. He’s got a thick east coast accent, someone whom I trust a great deal, and also know who is very proud whenever he introduces me to his friends. He’s also got a great sense of humor and knows how to put things in perspective. During that dinner, where it was only he and I, I confessed to him that I was a terrible overthinker.
He immediately came back with the greatest line I’ve heard, and have since used plenty of times, anecdotally. “Look, Brent,” (and again, picture this with a deep, bass/baritone New England Patriots fan dialect) “if there were were an Olympic event for over fuckin’ thinkin, I’d either be on the podium or be the fuckin’ coach” :)
I don’t know why that resonated so well with me, but it’s pretty easy to figure out when I think about it. He’s a great friend, I trust him immensely, wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now without him, and in that second he reminded me that I wasn’t the only one that did it.
It’s been cold here in Texas the last few days. And, as such, I haven’t been able to drive in to work due to the road conditions. Living in Colorado for a while, not a big deal. Living back in Texas, the whole state shuts down, and for good reason - we’re just not as prepared or used to it here as it would be if I were back there. So, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to write new songs the last day and a half, and will have even more of it in the next few days. My job is also not-at-all stressful, but a bit repetitive and I have to use my hands a lot. But when I’m listening to my airpods, I’m getting all kinds of great ideas that it’s not hard to stop for a quick moment, write the idea down on my iPhone, and get a general song down. Basically, no matter where I am these days, it's not hard at all for me to come up with a song idea and try to write it down in some form. Finishing it? Well, yeah, that's where it gets a bit more complicated.
It's during those moments where my inner critic has stopped, I don’t self-edit during the process, and I try to be as genuine as I possibly can so the creative muse can work through me before the automatic over-thinker has a chance to intervene. I’ve been writing down song ideas for so long that my instinct, for a while, was always trying to box my songs into what would be radio-friendly. To stop yourself, creatively and internally, in the middle of writing a song is very much contrary to the whole process of songwriting, and I was doing that for years. And it sucked. Big time. Of course, I didn’t realize I was doing it because I thought everyone else was doing it too, and it was all part of the norm of what you had to do to be a successful artist in country music. So, at the time, it didn’t matter. Except it did.
For all that time, I just wrote and wrote and wrote so many song thoughts, ideas, fragments, titles, and hooks that when I finally started to count them all up last August, I had tallied up 1,253 new original ideas. That was back almost a year ago. Now I’m up to almost 1300. And as I’m finishing this entry, I’m listening to a live recording of Walt and Tina Wilkins playing tonight at Schoepf’s BBQ in a Facebook video providing me even more inspiration.
There’s still plenty of times, my friends, where I’ve had doubts, fears, uncertainty and all of that other shit that comes along of taking a big risk and following your heart not just once or twice, but several times. Vegas would love the odds they’ve had on me over the years. Sounds like a good song idea, but I think the late great Doug Supernaw said it better.
Couldn’t roll me a 7, if you gave me loaded dice.