10/6/13 Time to Take a Sabbatical

Ever put too much wet concrete in a wheelbarrow and tried to push it? I sure have. It’s not easy on smooth ground; on rough ground, you are guaranteed trouble. If you have, too, then you know the result, which is concrete everywhere but the place you want it, having been overwhelmed by the dynamic fluidity of the wet concrete that is far heavier than you thought it was. Oops!!

First, my greatest and most sincere thanks to two-time Grammy winner Mike Compton for coming to play on the show at Meridian Community College on October 1. I am thankful for his peerless talent and our long-time friendship. You can learn more about Mike’s music at http://www.mikecompton.net  We had a good turnout for the show and folks left with smiles on their faces. All performers must entertain their audience. I am confident the folks were entertained. Thanks to all of you who have commented on the show.  I am also thankful that Raymond Huffmaster, Augie Joachim, Gene Bush, and Piper were part of this wonderful show. They are loyal and faithful friends, each and every one.

As some of you have since learned, Gene Bush was ill that night and came straight to the show from the doctor’s office. He was scheduled for tests back home in Nashville last Friday, and we hope the results will be favorable. That made two of us that were ill that night. It is a performer’s job to make sure that the audience gets their money’s worth, no matter how we might feel at the moment. Events are set up months in advance, plans are made, people’s calendars are arranged, all for the moment when the show starts. Sometimes the logistics are difficult, and even tentative until everything is in place, which is usually just about show time itself.

The musicians are there live performing in a linear progression of time, which will wait for no one. As Ed Dye taught me, you can’t phone it in…you have to be there. This is sometimes only accomplished through the greatest effort and by the sheer strength of will-power and adrenalin. When the show is over, the exhaustion sets in on top of your underlying malady. I am still exhausted.

While my leukemia is still in remission, that does not mean that there are no complications from it. I am dealing with some of its complications right now, and have been for about two months. I am what you call immuno-compromised. Being immuno-compromised means that the odd things that turn up in a person with a normal immune system that are promptly dealt with tend to stack up and fester in me. That is the case now.

My underlying leukemia prohibits me from taking medications that are typically very effective for the auto-immune malady that has manifested itself, and about the only one available to me is an older chemotherapy drug called methotrexate. I was supposed to start taking it last week, but I refused to do so amid much fussing from my doctors because they said I needed to get on it right away. I would not start it with Tuesday night’s show on the agenda. I’m glad I waited. I started the methotrexate yesterday and have been completely incapacitated by it. It’s funny how two small tablets in your mouth feel like two large concrete blocks in your stomach. The nausea has made me unfit company, and completely unfit for performing, thus my absence from last Friday’s Sucarnochee Revue. Thanks to all of you who inquired about me in my absence. I was thinking of you, too.

Effective this date, I am on hiatus. I am taking a sabbatical. I simply lack the energy to continue performing at this time. I put a lot of energy into a show, and the recovery periods are getting longer and longer. I am not recovered from Tuesday night, yet. Add the variable of methotrexate, and the equation becomes too complex for this person to solve at the moment.; it is not that it has no solution, I just don’t have one yet.

When I do return to performing, it will be with all new songs and a new recording of them. I have been working on this for some time, but have not had the inclination or drive to finish. I am determined to do so now, and the resulting work will be Piper and me, together, with some guest musician appearances. Performing with my daughter has been one of the greatest joys in my life. The acorn that fell from the tree took root and is growing strong. If she asks me to, I may consider accompanying her at some point, but right now, I am breathing a sigh of relief at my own action. This does not mean that I will cease being a musician, since that is not possible for me, and I am not retiring, since that would be about as effective as Bret Favre’s retirement from the NFL. I am taking some time off for rest, healing, and recovery, though, and certainly some time to let this new medicine settle down, if it will, so that it does not cause me so much trouble.

Many years ago, at a lonesome spot in my life, I asked the Lord for an audience for my music. He found me one in the most remarkable way. I am thankful for each and every one of you who are a part of that audience and would never neglect you, but give you everything I’ve got. Now, He has told me it is time to rest a while, and recover, and work on my new music. What the result will be, I am uncertain; but that it is necessary is not an uncertainty.

In the words of the great Douglas McArthur . . . I Shall Return. Just like the General, though, I’m not too sure when.

Thank you all…my music fans, my blog readers, my friends, my family, and everyone of you who have touched and continue to touch my life along the way.

My blog?? Of course I will keep writing my blog!! This is one of the things I find restorative and restful. In the meantime, all my music will be in my studio (Stump Whipped Studio) which will still be open for recording, live recording off premises, mixdown, and final mastering of your project, and I will still work with my friend Jacky Jack White on The Sucarnochee Revue as the technical producer. Maybe when I am ready, Jack will give me an occasional spot on the show.

I am extremely grateful for the music with which I have been blessed, thankful that it has touched some of you, too, and thankful for the music which is to still to come. I am also thankful for this respite. Many, many blessings upon you all.

Now, I’ve got some spilled concrete to clean up before it sets up and requires a jackhammer. I didn’t overturn the entire wheelbarrow full, but It’s a wonder.

I am thankful for that, too.

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