Here’s why I feel lucky. I get to play exactly the music I want, and make a career of it. I know tons of people who have as much or more talent than I do, and are barely able to make a go of it, if at all. I have small amounts of guilt about this sometimes, because there’s a random factor involved. I’m sort of lucky that my taste in music overlaps with the public’s at any given time. And on the other side of things, I know lots of people, especially in country music, who make a decent living, but are horribly boxed in on the type of songs they get to write. Some of them don’t even get to write it. So yeah, I feel pretty lucky because not once in my career have I had anyone from on high tell me what I could or couldn’t, should or shouldn’t write. Not one iota of interference. Of course, I probably wouldn’t be able to deal with that for long anyway. But, so far, I’ve been able to make a career out of doing whatever I want. It’s kind of awesome that I’ve been able to come up with whatever the hell I like, and people seem to dig it. (knock wood..). One time a country singer came up to me and said, with some bafflement, ‘You sort of, just, like, well, write whatever you want, hey?’ I had to agree. I forgot that not everybody gets to do it that way. We bitch sometimes, and there are a lot of long van rides and red-eye flights, crappy meals and loneliness, but don’t let that fool you. It really is like living in a big playground most of the time. So thanks, everybody. Onward and upward.
Another thing that’s pretty great is the bizarrely wide range of shows we get to play. We play tons of country fests, tons of folk fests, the odd rock fest, honky tonks, listening rooms, coffee houses, theatres, punk rock dives, ranch houses, biker bars, hippie communes. I love the variety. And in lots of countries, too. Canada, the states, the UK, Australia, France, Germany, occasionally Scandinavia. I get to play with guys that I love, who are really virtuosic at what they do. They know exactly how to back me up and interpret my songs creatively and they’ve been loyal for over a decade. And not only are they great players, we all get along really well. Might as well name check them; Kurt Ciesla on the crazy-bass, Brady Valgardson drumming, Grant Siemens on the guitars and the kamikaze mandolin. Kurt’s been with me the longest, since the early nineties. Brady only slightly less, and Grant for over ten years. That’s pretty good when the new guy is in for a decade. We are the Hurtin’ Albertans, ladies and gentleman. (And the Token Manitoban.) Onward and upward.
Only problem with what I do is that only dudes like my tunes. Mostly anyway. Guess that’s what I get for writing about horses, cows, guns, military history, oil rigs, card games, trucks, chewing tobacco and whiskey. Well, look out, because I have one on the new record about goth chicks. Although as I write this, I’m realizing that chicks aren’t into goth chicks, dudes are into goth chicks. Yeesh.