The need to adapt, improvise and overcome continues for me even after coming off the road. It’s odd how often I return from a tour and find myself hammered with some sort of temporary human illness that is – according to my warped thinking – unknown to man and I have to fight to not let it the thing overcome me. In reality I have probably picked up just another random roving germ, one of the perils of global travel. But dramatization can be the norm for my artist side, so to help me recover from my latest cold, I try to actually name someone I can blame.

Because I will be finishing up 2010 with a particular nasty bout of the whatever, I have selected Bernadine Craft as the reason for my sniffles. Coordinating my final 2010 tour with a weeklong residency in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Ms. Craft had already been exposed to Tim May’s increasing discomfort as his own brand of a cold ramped up toward the final days of the tour. As we all dined together at the local Applebee’s and bid farewell, I jokingly said to her, “You’re not supposed to kill off one of the musicians”.

We all laughed at this because the week had been packed with activity from early morning until late evening, plus the weather had been challenging, requiring me to adapt my driving techniques. But on the drive back to Salt Lake City, moving ahead of an incoming snow storm, Gretchen, Tim, and I talked about the absence of paid sick leave for most musicians. It had been fortunate for Tim that Gretchen and I could cover for him during the last date of the tour. I had been able to improvise on a number of tunes where Tim would usually join in and this was a perfect situation for me to experience because as a solo artist there is generally no one to watch my back.

Pushing my guilt aside for picking on Bernadine as my target for blame, I do want to acknowledge her dedication to her community. For the past six years, she and the Sweetwater BOCES organization have hired me, along with several of my fellow musicians in order to bring music to the local and extended outlying community schools during December. She has created musical events for the community and has arranged for our performances with the local Symphony Orchestra and Choir. She has encouraged us to develop our summer show “Speaking of the West” where we are now appearing annually at the Rock Springs Heritage Museum. Bernadine even once coerced us into playing the grand opening of the local Humane Society where, due to my asthma, I engaged in an apparently rather hilarious hacking competition with a seemingly rabid ferret.

As a solo musician, I am grateful for the opportunity to expand my career by performing with other musicians. They’re there to watch my back as I adapt, improvise, and overcome both on and off the road. Happy New Year!

Originally posted 2010-12-31 19:30:11.