Today I had the pleasure of a what turned out to be a 3-hour lunch with my musical brother, James Vincent Carroll. Both of us semi-grew up in Wilkes "By God" County and have been music buds for as long as I can remember. It may have been the water, but neither of us seems to have completely grown up, but from what I hear, growing up is not all it's cracked up to be.
So what do two guys who are making a living playing music at local bars and pubs talk about for 3 hours? Music and family mostly. It's a crazy combination but it appears he wants to be more like me and I want to be more like him. I get to travel all over the country doing this music thing and James wants to do more and more of that. And he is a venue booking wizard and is constantly booked solid for more than a year, which always amazes me and motivates me to be better at the booking side of the business.
There was also a lot of discussion about the consequences of choosing to play music for a living. Every time I say that I'm reminded of one of my favorite movie lines, "Dying ain't much of a living boy". The line has a lot to do with choosing to base your ability to buy groceries and keep the lights lit on continuing to be successful playing music as a working, never-made-it-big musician, something I've been doing for many years now and something James just began doing. Both of us do not regret that decision and I remember many conversations about James wanting to get to where I am and be able to do this thing we love fulltime. In just a few months since making the decision he's worked hard to flat out book out the rest of 2015. I'm both happy for him and proud of him.
What we figured out today is we are both lucky to have someone in our lives that is so supportive. This "job/career" takes a toll on a musician's mate/wife and it's almost impossible to succeed when the person you spend your life with doesn't support your dreams and the work that goes into making those dreams come true. I guess that's true even if you're a doctor or lawyer but I know it's true for a working musician. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for the love, encouragement and support I get from my sweet wife, Lynn. It takes a special person to put up with this craziness and it seems my musical brother has the same support in his life now too. I personally believe it's required to make this struggling musical life work. You need someone to push you, listen to your music, tell you you look stupid and pick you up when your latest dream hits a road block.
Speaking of doctors or lawyers, I am always amazed at how non-competitive and truly supportive my musical friends are. Today two friends who make their living playing music shared lots of business critical information... leads to help with booking gigs, tweaking websites, writing songs, manufacturing CDs and lots more. I just can't believe the lunch conversation between two lawyers in the same working area would be as supportive of each other. Granted, not all musicians are as easy to work with as my buddy James, who by the way will always just be Jamie to me, but you'd be surprised how many of my fellow musicians are just as supportive. Musicians seem to know "To have a friend... you have to Be a friend". In the coming weeks if you're not coming to see me I highly encourage you to try to get out to see James Vincent Carroll. As I pointed out, you won't have a hard time finding a place to hear him since he's booked so much this year.