Author

Jared A. Godar

Monday, February 11:

John Egan | Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club | Feb 11th 2019

I saw John open for Samantha Fish last weekend at the Heights Theater. Bluesman who plays his National Resonator guitar seated over a stomp box. He blends traditional, blues slide guitar with a lot of percussive taps and harmonics. Puts on a solid show and definitely worth checking out

Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club | 5731 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77005


Tuesday, February 12th

★ Kym Warner | McGonigel’s Mucky Duck | Feb 12th 2019 | 7:30 PM ★

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kym Warner moved to the U.S in 2001. A founding member of the progressive acoustic band The Greencards, Kym toured the US, Europe and Australia extensively for thirteen years, recorded six studio albums that garnered three grammy nominations, a #1 Billboard Bluegrass Album, and an Americana Award for ‘Best New Artist’ and a national tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.

In 2015 Kym was asked to play mandolin on Robert Earl Keen’s ‘Happy Prisoner” album and the following ‘Live Dinner Reunion’ album and has been a part of Robert’s touring band since 2015.

Kym released his debut solo album ‘Everything That Brought Me Here’ in 2015 and has been performing as a solo artist playing a variety of instruments (mandolin, bouzouki, ukulele, electric mandolin) playing both original and cover songs and telling the stories of the songs and his travels that have lead him to become an American Citizen and Texas resident.

TICKETS

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck | 2425 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098-4113


Wednesday, February 13th

★ J Roddy Walston and The Business / Murder by Death / Johnny Fritz | White Oak Music Hall | Feb 13th 2019 ★

Any one of these acts would be worth making the trip for. Putting them all together is a no-brainer.

White Oak Music Hall | 2915 N Main St, Houston, TX 77009


Thursday, February 14th

★ Marc Broussard | The Heights Theater | Feb 14th 2019 | 7:00 PM ★

Genres: Soul, Blues
Hometown: Carencro, LA

Marc’s been making some very good music for a very long time. Soulful, swamp rock. In his baby-faced twenties, he sounded like a 60 year old African-american man in the best possible way. I haven’t seen him live in a little while and am excited about the opportunity to do so.

TICKETS

The Heights Theater | 339 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008


Kelly Willis | McGonigel’s Mucky Duck | Feb 14th 2019 | 7:00pm

Genres: Country, Americana
Hometown: Austin, TX

Valentine’s day dinner show.

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck | 2425 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098


Friday, February 15th

Asleep at the Wheel | The Heights Theater | Feb 15th 2019 | 8:00pm

Genres: Folk, Western Swing, Americana, Country
Hometown: Austin, TX

Western-swing staples with a classic act.

TICKETS

The Heights Theater | 339 W 19th St., Houston, TX 77008


G. Love & Special Sauce | White Oak Music Hall | Feb 15th 2019

Genres: Blues, Jazz, Jazz Blues, Rock, Country Blues
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

TICKETS

White Oak Music Hall | 2915 N Main St, Houston, TX 77009


Dwight Yoakam | Arena Theatre | Feb 15th 2019

Genres: Rock, Country Rock, Country
Hometown: Pikeville, KY

Arena Theater | 7326 Southwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77074


Asleep at the Wheel | The Heights Theater | Feb 15th 2019 | 8:00 PM

Genres: Folk, Country, Americana, Western Swing
Hometown: Austin, TX
Another chance to see these legends live.
TICKETS

The Heights Theater | 339 W 19th St., Houston, TX 77008


Saturday, February 16th

American Aquarium(ish solo BJ Barham show) | The Heights Theater | Feb 16th 2019

Genres: Rock And Roll

TICKETS

The Heights Theater | 339 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008


Sunday, February 17

★ Bruce Robison | Karbach Brewing Co. – Rodeo Clown Roundup | February 17 | 1:30 ★

Genres: Country, Folk

One of my favorite songwriters and performers. Part of a great lineup. Did I mention it is at a brewery? Should be a good time.

Karbach Brewing Co. – Rodeo Clown Roundup | 2032 Karbach St, Houston, TX

Band Members: Bruce Robison – Vocals Guitar, Geoff Queen- Steel Guitar Guitar, Will Dupuy – Bass, Joey Shuffield – Drums
Hometown: Austin, TX
Tickets:

James McMurtry | McGonigel’s Mucky Duck | February 17 | 4:00 PM

Genres: Folk, Singer/songwriter, Alternative Country, Country

Mucky Duck | 2425 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098-4113

HAYES CARLL is touring Houston Hard in support of his new album.

FEB 15 Houston, TX Continental Club | 7:00 PM | 3700 Main St, Houston, TX 77002 | TICKETS
FEB 16 Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall | 7:00 PM | 2915 N Main St, Houston, TX 77009 | SOLD OUT
FEB 17 Houston, TX McGonigel’s Mucky Duck | 7:00 PM | 2425 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098 | TICKETS
FEB 18 Spring, TX Dosey Doe – The Big Barn | 7:00 PM | TICKETS

[HOUSTON][SHOW ANNOUNCEMENTS]

FTNB Houston Week Ahead #50: December 10-16

posted by Jared A. Godar December 10, 2018 0 comments

Monday, December 10th


★ Matt Nathanson | House of Blues | 7:00 PM | $45+ ★

Genres: Folk, Acoustic, Horror, Singer/songwriter
You may recongnize the name from one of Matt’s Movember posts

Buy Tickets!

1204 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77002


Tuesday, December 11th


★ JD McPherson (with JP Harris) | Continental Club | 7:00 PM | $20 

Genres: Rhythm, Blues, Rock N Roll
Band Members: JD McPherson – Vocals Guitar, Jimmy Sutton – Upright Bass, Jason Smay- Drums, Ray Jacildo – Keys, Doug Corcoran – Saxophone Guitar Keys
Hometown: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
As a visual artist, Broken Arrow, Okla., native JD McPherson is well versed in the process of working within clearly defined formal parameters, and he employs a similarly rigorous discipline with his music. On Signs & Signifiers , McPherson’s debut album, he meshes the old and the new, the primal and the sophisticated, on a work that will satisfy traditional American rock ’n’ roll and R&B purists while also exhibiting McPherson’s rarefied gift for mixing and matching disparate stylistic shapes and textures.

3700 S Main St, Houston, TX 77002

Get Tickets!


★ J.P. Harris (with JD McPherson)| The Continental Club | $20

Genres: Country
Hometown: Nashville, TN
J.P. Harris plays Country Music. Not “Americana,” not “Roots,” “Folk,” or any other number of monikers used to describe a slew of spin-off genres; he plays from the foundation of these styles, the music that has influenced four generations of songwriters. In a world where prefixes have been added to the term “Country,” JP simply sticks to the old-fashioned sounds that have called to him.

3700 S Main St, Houston, TX 77002

Get Tickets!


Andrew Combs | White Oak Music Hall | 8:00 PM | All Ages | $12 Advance $14 Day Of

Genres: Alternative Country, Americana, Folk, Country Soul, Country

2915 N Main St, Houston, TX 77009

Get Tickets! 


Wednesday, December 12th, 2018


RaeLynn | House of Blues Houston | 7:00 PM | All Ages | $20

Genres: Country
Hometown: Baytown, TX
Singer/songwriter RaeLynn released her Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville debut single “Love Triangle” to radio on August 1 to rave reviews. Nice voice. Little Nashville pop country for my taste, but there are plenty of people out there that eat that up.

1204 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77002

Get Tickets!


The Brian Setzer Orchestra | Jones Hall | 7:00 PM | $35-$75

Genres: Rockabilly, Big Band
Iconic guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and 3-time Grammy-award-winner BRIAN SETZER is a “Musician’s Musician” credited with continually taking chances with innovative and daring musical styles, while single-handedly resurrecting two forgotten genres of music (rockabilly in the ‘80’s and swing in the ’90’s). You can’t tell me you’ve never rocked out to “Jump Jive an’ Wail!”

3910 Yoakum Blvd, Houston, TX 77006

Get Tickets! 


Thursday, December 13th, 2018


Hayes Carll | The Heights Theater | 7:00 PM | $26


Genres: Songwriter, Country, Singer, Alternative Country
A Texas native, his style of roots-oriented songwriting has been noted for its plain-spoken poetry and sarcastic humor. He was nominated for a 2016 Grammy award for Best Country Song, and American Songwriter awarded him with Song of the Year for “Another Like You” in 2011, the same year he was nominated for Artist of the Year at the Americana Awards.
*This show is selling out fast.

339 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008

Get Tickets!


Randy Rogers Band | A Very Merry Randy & Brady Christmas | Big Texas Dance Hall | Spring, TX |9:00 PM | $20

Genres: Country, Americana, Alt Country, Texas Country
When the Randy Rogers Band’s last project debuted as the most-downloaded country album on iTunes, plenty of the industry “insiders” on Music Row were left scratching their heads: Who are these guys? The Nashville elite may not have known about the five-piece band, but much of America already did. Rolling Stone magazine ranked them alongside such artists as U2 and the Stones in its list of Top 10 Must-See Artists in the summer of 2007. Willie Nelson, the Eagles, Gary Allan and Dierks Bentley all picked them as opening acts for their concerts.

19959 Holzwarth Rd, Spring, TX 77388

Get Tickets!


Friday, December 14th, 2018


Jason Mraz | Smart Financial Centre | Sugar Land | 8:00 PM | $34+

Genres: Healing, Easylistening, Surf, Gospel, Pop, Singer, Songwriter, Acousic
Jason Mraz has quietly amassed a youthful, diverse, and vibrant fan-base throughout all parts of the globe. Since getting his start in coffeehouses in his adopted city of San Diego, Mraz has brought his positive message and soulful, folk-pop sound to rapt audiences around the world through his recordings, vibrant live performances, and philanthropic efforts. Along the way, he has earned numerous diamond, multi-platinum or platinum certifications in numerous territories for his various releases, made pop history with his record-breaking classic single, “I’m Yours” and “I Won’t Give Up”, racked up 2 Grammy Awards among 6 nominations, won a prestigious Hal David Songwriter Hall of Fame Award, won Teen Choice and People’s Choice awards, sold out amphitheaters and arenas across the globe, including sell-outs at such iconic venues as The Hollywood Bowl, Madison Square Garden, and London’s O2 Arena.

18111 Lexington Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Get Tickets!


Honey Island Swamp Band | Last Concert Cafe | 9:00 PM | $20-25

Genres: Rock, Bayou Americana, Roots Rock
Great music begins with great songs, and great songs are what the Honey Island Swamp Band is all about. The band came together when Aaron Wilkinson (acoustic guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Chris Mulé (electric guitar, vocals) were marooned in San Francisco after the levee breaches following Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. After a chance encounter with fellow New Orleans evacuees Sam Price (bass, vocals) and Garland Paul (drums, vocals), and with no prospects of getting home any time soon, they figured they’d better cook up something new, and quick! A few days later they had put together a song list, landed a weekly gig at San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room, and settled in to share a little taste of Southern culture with their new West coast neighbors.

1403 Nance St, Houston, TX 77002

Get Tickets! 


Saturday, December 15th, 2018


Guy Forsyth| Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe | Galveston, TX | 7:00 PM | $20

Genres: Singer/songwriter, Blues, Folk

413 20th St, Galveston, TX 77550

Get Tickets!


★ James McMurtry | McGonigel’s Mucky Duck | 7:00 PM

Genres: Folk, Singer/songwriter, Alternative Country, Country
Hoping to make this show as he’s pretty high on my list of artists I enjoy listening to, but have yet to see perform live.

2425 Norfolk St, Houston, TX 77098-4113


 The Texas Gentlemen | The Heights Theater | 7:00 PM | $22-$44

Genres: Rock, Rock N Roll, Country
Sometimes, authenticity can sneak up on you. Habbie Doobie, the first track on The Texas Gentlemen’s debut studio album, TX Jelly,, is a low-slung piece of vintage country-funk that slams out of the speakers and announces the Texas Gentlemen as a force to be reckoned with.

339 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008

Get Tickets!


Sunday, December 16th, 2018


Stabbing Westward | Scout Bar | 8:00 PM | $10-$25

Rising from the industrial mecca of Chicago in the early 90s, Stabbing Westward has become one of the most successful industrial-rock bands of all time. Stabbing Westward is no stranger to Alternative and Rock radio. Since their first album Ungod was released in 1994, Stabbing Westward has produced several hit singles including “Save Yourself,” “What Do I Have To Do,” “Shame,” and “So Far Away.”

18307 Egret Bay Blvd, Houston, TX 77058

Get Tickets!

Okay, FTNB Houston, here are some recommendations for the week.

 ★ Indicates shows I plan to attend. ★

Comment below if you are going to one of the shows I am or if you know of any great upcoming gigs I missed.


Wednesday, December 5th


Chris Isaak | House of Blues Houston | 7:00 PM | $35-$79

Genres: Rock, Rockabilly, Acoustic
He has released nine extraordinary albums, twelve singles, been nominated for two Grammy awards, and acted in several motion pictures

1204 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77002


Todd Snider | Main Street Crossing | Tomball, TX | 8:00 pm | $40

Genres: Alternative Country, Rock, Folk
East Nashville bulldog playing agnostic hymns & stoner fables.

1111 W Main St, Tomball, TX 77375


Thursday, December 6th


Anderson East | The Rustic | 7:00 PM | Love Street Live – Free with RSVP

Genres: Southern Soul, Americana, Roots Rock, R&b/soul, Rnb-soul, Rock, Folk
Anderson East is now a Nashville guy by way of Athens, Alabama. Pre-order the new album “Encore” now. Out 1.12.18.
Side note: this is a gorgeous, relatively new venue that is definitely worth checking out.

1836 Polk St, Houston, TX 77010


Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis’ Annual Holiday Shindig | McGonigel’s Mucky Duck | Thursday and Friday | 7:00 pm (Dinner Show)

Genres: Country, Folk
One of the Lone Star State’s finest tunesmiths you’ve heard the Dixie Chicks play his songs. If you haven’t heard him, you’re doing it wrong!

2425 Norfolk, Houston, TX 77098


Friday, December 7th


★ Maggie Rose | The Greenroom at Warehouse Live | 7:00 PM  | $10 Advance, $12 Door★

Genres: Rock, Americana, Soul, R&b, Country
Exceptionally versatile singer-songwriter Maggie Rose will release her highly anticipated album, Change The Whole Thing, September 21, 2018. Read the preview here.

813 St. Emanuel Street, Houston, TX 77003

Buy Tickets!


Saturday, December 8th


Ryan Bingham | The Heights Theater | 7:00 PM | SOLD OUT

Genres: Rock, Americana
Hope you already have your tickets. Grammy and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham was born in New Mexico and raised all
across Texas and the southwestern United States.

339 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008


★ Nick Nace | Old Quarter | Galveston, TX | $10 Door ★

Genres: Folk, Country, Americana
Canadian contributing to everyone having a Nace day in Nashville, Tennessee. Playing in the round with Gabe Wootton and Michael Martin.

413 20th St, Galveston, Texas 77550


John Butler Trio | House of Blues | 7:00 PM

Genres: Rock
Hometown: Fremantle, Australia
New album “HOME” OUT NOW! smarturl.it/JBTHome

1204 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77002


Sunday, December 9th


★ Joy Williams | The Heights Theater | 7:00 PM | $26 ★

Genres: Folk
Joy Williams is a singer-songwriter from Santa Cruz, CA who now lovingly calls Nashville, TN home. Formerly of four-time Grammy Award-winning Folk, Country and Americana duo The Civil Wars, Joy has toured with Adele and The Lumineers and collaborated with Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Paramore, St. Vincent, Matt Berninger of The National, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Rick Rubin, Emmylou Harris, T Bone Burnett, Cameron Crowe, The Chieftainsand Birdtalker. Joy recently recorded her forthcoming solo album, Front Porch, produced by Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids. 

339 W 19th St, Houston, TX 77008

Buy Tickets


The Weeks | Continental Club | 7:00 PM | $12

Genres: Rock And Roll, Indie Alternative, Indie Rock, Southern Rock
Hometown: Jackson, MS
The sound of wind through the pines, bare feet brushing through leaves, snapping sticks like the spines of the weak.

3700 S Main Street, Houston, TX 77002

[HOUSTON][ORIGINAL FTNB CONTENT][REVIEW]

Kevin Gordon at the Mucky Duck, Houston

posted by Jared A. Godar December 5, 2018 1 Comment
Kevin Gordon

For me, it is always a bitter-sweet thing to discover a musician I love who has been at it for decades with more records than I can count on one hand. On the one hand, I am happy to have more enriching music in my life and look forward to delving into their catalog. On the other, I can’t help feeling some sense of loss for having not been listening for the last ten plus years. Some examples:

  • A work colleague turned me onto Chris Smither driving to a department retreat.
  • Darrin Bradbury is responsible for exposing me to both Steve Poltz, who randomly got snowed-in in Nashville and ended up opening for Darrin, and David Dondero, who played an intensely intimate set at the OG Basement.
  • Just three months ago I was soliciting suggestions for entire albums to listen to on my drive back to Houston from the Americana Festival and Anna Joy Harris turned me on to Dar Williams.

I most recently experienced this phenomenon when Nick Loss-Eaton strongly suggested I go to the Mucky Duck to see Kevin Gordon. It is no exaggeration to say that I was blown away. Kevin is a road-weathered troubadour in the truest sense of the word. His songs have a very literary quality with vivid imagery. It’s no surprise that he holds a Master’s in poetry from the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Hell, he recited a poem from memory mid-set!

He’s from West Monroe, Louisiana and his songs are definitely infused with the soul and mystery of the deep south. He doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable truths of racism and segregation and captures the essence of these and other major social issues with specific, relatable examples that most of us have encountered in some capacity. He started writing songs and playing guitar at seventeen and had a garage punk band. His first album was released in 1993 (on cassette). He just released his seventh full-length album, Tilt & Shine, in July.

I’m a big fan of storytelling in music. This often ends up with a bit of rambling over three chords, which I am fine with; but Kevin’s songs were simultaneously tight short stories while still being very much songs as well.

Kevin was accompanied by a rhythm section consisting of Ron Eoff on bass and Joshua Hunt on drums. To say this trio was tight would be an understatement. You know how there’s usually one member of most bands that is disproportionately into what they are doing? The keyboard player who is only playing sustained chords for a measure at a time, but lunges forward with his entire frame every time the chord changes. That tambourine player that looks like she belong under a gospel revival tent.

Ron was extremely animated. Bouncing around the stage, dancing and putting his entire body into it. The difference between his performance and what I mentioned above is his frenetic motions were in utter harmony with the tasty grooves he was laying down. He has performed vocals and/or bass for Levon Helm, Cate Bros., Patrick Sweany, and The Band. I got a chance to chat with him after the show, and he’s everything you hope for in a gun-slinging, highly technically-competent musician: incredibly humble and grateful that he has been able to make his living doing what he loves for the last forty plus years.

Joshua, on the other hand, was a study in restraint. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion Performance from Western Kentucky University and a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a Nashville Jazz Workshop faculty member. He is one of the most in-demand jazz drummers in Nashville touring with Alison Krauss and Union Station and he is a member of the Jerry Douglas band. I don’t think his head moved once, or that his neutral, serene expression ever changed. But he was laying down a great groove, equally comfortable and competent with a diverse array of patterns and beats.

The performance was intimate and—I don’t say this often—magical. The show was well-attended and save the appropriate-timed chuckle to a quip either in song or the banter between them, the room was completely silent with everyone on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what was coming next.

For me, the highlight of the evening was an autobiographical tune called “Colfax.” Not many performers can hold the attention of a crowd for a song lasting over ten minutes, but I could have listened to an expanded, twenty-minute version of this one.

I have since delved deeper into Kevin’s work and eagerly await my next opportunity to see him perform live. If you ever have the chance to do so, I highly recommend seizing it.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Pandora 
YouTube | Band Camp |Artist’s Website

Maggie Rose

You may recall when I invited Nashville to the album release for Change the Whole Thing. Well Houston, It is your turn. Please join Maggie and the whole damn band at Warehouse Live this Friday. I assure you, you won’t regret it.

Forget “little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.” Maggie is an incredibly talented vocalist with no boundaries, blending the best of of American music including rock, soul, country, rhythm and blues and gospel. As we learned in the last article, Larry and Alex from Them Vibes co-wrote about half of the new record with her. Even better, both of their bands joined forces to create the thirteen-piece ensemble that appears on the album. It’s not often you get to see a group of that size so in synch on stage.

This will be my first time to the venue. Share your thoughts on the place in the comments below. In the meantime, here is a preview of what you can expect Friday night. 

If you’d like to buy the new record before the show, you can get it on CD or vinyl here. Find out more about Maggie and the band on her website. And, of course, all the socials:

Facebook |  Instagram Twitter YouTube

[MOVEMBER]

Last Day of Movember—Please Donate

posted by Jared A. Godar November 30, 2018 0 comments
Movember

I need your support this Movember. This is the part I hate—asking friends and family for money. I like this bit of Movember less than actually shaving off my beard (and I really don’t like shaving off all my beard). But, if I just grow a ‘mo and don’t do this bit, it kind of defeats the purpose.

First of all, thanks to you who have already donated. I will be pestering folks via a variety of channels the next couple days, I’ll try to spare you as much as possible.

Here’s why I ‘mo:

43 men die from prostate cancer every hour. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men.

Globally, a man dies from suicide every minute of every day. In the United States, On average, there are 123 suicides per day and 22 of those are veterans. Men die by suicide 3.53 times more often than women. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide. For every suicide, 25 attempt.

This Movember, I’m doing something about it – raising funds and awareness for all the dads, brothers, sons and friends in our lives.

These funds will help the Movember Foundation fund groundbreaking research in prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health awareness and suicide prevention—changing the way men’s health is treated and talked about. And most importantly, stop men dying too young.

Will you help me by making a donation today? https://mobro.co/jaredgodar

[FTNB EXCLUSIVE][MOVEMBER]

Happy Thanksgiving from Fighting the Nashville Blues

posted by Jared A. Godar November 22, 2018 0 comments
Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving with wonderful food and the company of those you love, whether that be your biological family or the family you have acquired along life’s journey.

I am fortunate this year to be doing both. Lunch with dear friends then dinner with my folks and nieces. Thanks to all of those who have adopted me in years past.

Last Thanksgiving was my last day in Nashville before heading back to Texas. I had the pleasure of yet another Thanksgiving dinner with the Rees family, who always took me in on holidays I couldn’t travel to wherever my family was.

When things aren’t going the best, the holidays can be especially tough. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t suffer alone. Reach out. Call that friend or family member you have been avoiding because you haven’t felt like talking and now it’s been so long that you don’t want to have to explain your absence. I’ve been there. It’s tough. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, follow the contact links on this site and get in touch with me.

I long to be a happy man
In this life that I am given
In this life that I am given
I long to be a happy man

And when the noise turns to stillness
I see I have the makings
I see I have the makings
To be one happy man

Darrell Scott “A Crooked Road”

Here is one song I would often return to when things were not going the way I thought they should. When you can’t see any path, clear or murky, from your current state to where you want to be or feel like you should be.

Darrell Scott “A Crooked Road”

Darrell Scott reminds us that life takes us down many a crooked road. In time, we look back and learn how the dots get connected. So, just because you don’t see the way, doesn’t mean the path from where you are to where you want to be doesn’t exist. Just get up, face this day then the next and keep moving. Enjoy.

Movember

I have mentioned each year I do Movember that I have personal experience dealing with depression. Each year I plan to elaborate on that, but to date, I haven’t. It still isn’t an easy thing to talk about. I have suffered from four major depressive episodes in my life over the last twenty years. Not stretches of time feeling sad, but months at I time where I don’t get out bed, shower, put on pants, answer my phone, or really talk to anyone. This cost me an academic scholarship to Southwestern University, my Ph.D. from Vanderbilt, and has put a strain on both romantic and family relationships .

The first time I was diagnosed with depression was the summer between high school and college. I had been manifesting some strange neurological symptoms after being under general anesthesia for the extraction of my wisdom teeth. There was a bit of aphasia, where I spoke in short, choppy sentences and sometimes forgot words I should know. After a series of escalating doctors visits, I ended up at a neurologist’s office. At some point in our personal history interview he discovered my girlfriend broke up with me a few months prior, so he jumped to a diagnosis of depression, wrote a couple scrips, then decided it was a done deal. Mystery solved.

I was still far from 100% when my Freshman year at Southwestern University began. The admissions counselor I interviewed with observed and noted the differences between the bright, energetic young man he talked with and my current condition. He looked at all of my existing college credits through AP and Dual Credit courses and told me I’ve already done my first semester and then some. He advised me to take some time to get better and to come back in the spring and hit the ground running. I followed this advice.

Eventually, things returned to more or less the way they were before. I don’t recall how long I took the drugs for depression. I suppose it is hard to determine when something like that is “working.” I didn’t notice it “working,” but I did notice some unpleasant side effects and, eventually, I stopped taking them. My return to University was uneventful, and I started my time at Southwestern doing quite well academically.

Things were humming along until Spring 2001. Looking back, I wonder if my first diagnosed episode of depression was indeed that or something related to the anesthesia from my surgery. With this second bout, there is no doubt that I was suffering from a classic, major depressive episode; though I did not realize or acknowledge this at the time. This was the first time that I was bed-ridden, don’t put on pants, or even leave my room for days at a time.

My GPA plummeted from a respectable cumulative 3.6 to a 1.2 on the semester. (Damn Southwestern lowers your GPA for an A-. Side note, when looking at colleges, check out their holiday calendar and the +/- policy on the ole’ GPA). I was able to withdraw from a couple classes, somehow managed a C+ in Spanish, got an A in wind ensemble—I was able to put pants on by noon three days a week to go play my horn for an hour. Failed both neurobiology and an elective called “Parenting: Theories & Realities.” (I can’t wait for when I have kids, and they are teenagers and think I’m an asshole to remind them that I did fail Parenting in college, so deal with it.)

When I say this was a classic, major depressive episode, what do I mean? The DSM-V has eight criteria for such incidents. If you experiencing five or more symptoms during the same 2-week period and at least one of the signs is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, guess what? You’re clinically depressed. Here are the criteria:


1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.

Yep.


2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.

Ah. Anhedonia. From the Greek an-, “without” and hēdonē, “pleasure.” A diverse array of deficits in hedonic function, including reduced motivation or ability to experience pleasure. This is my personal number one indicator of depression. From this publication, you can rightly assume I enjoy music and going to live shows. When I am depressed, I can’t get it together to go to shows I would otherwise never miss. And it isn’t that I want to go, but just can’t do it. The desire to go is absent. And if I do get drug out to
I would usually love by friends, I don’t really enjoy it. It isn’t bad, it’s just whatever. No emotional response whatsoever and I’m the type of guy that generally can’t stop grinning at a concert and gets goosebumps from music on a regular basis.


3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.

I think my most substantial weight fluctuations in college were my freshman year (got the freshman 50 instead of the 15, going from 175 to 225) then when I was getting ready to enlist in the Army. When I am depressed, my weight tends to remain relatively stable, but my eating habits go to shit. I won’t be hungry or interested in food for days, but when that changes, I’ll house an entire pizza with half a bottle of ranch in one sitting. So, no real net gain or loss; but not a healthy, ideal nutrition plan.


4. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).

I am definitely sloth-like when depressed. This manifests mostly through my remaining in bed until motivated by hunger to forage for food around four in the afternoon, but even when I am ambulatory, it is at a snail’s pace.


5. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.

Yep.


6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.

Oh yeah. This wasn’t particularly the case during this particular episode, but my most recent two incidents in graduate school, this was definitely a daily thing. The tape on repeat in my head was how I have made all the wrong choices and irreparably screwed up my future and damned myself to continued poverty and worthlessness.


7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.

Oh yeah.


8. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

This one is tricky, and also difficult to talk about even though I am trying to be completely open and transparent. I never contemplated suicide in any concrete manner, though it would be inaccurate to say it never crossed my mind. When it did, it was always a transient, fleeting thought. Nothing that I got fixated on or planned out in any specific way.


If you are contemplating taking your life, call someone. Call me. Call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.


To receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must cause the individual clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The signs must also not be a result of substance abuse or another medical condition. I would say straightish As to straightish Fs counts as a significant impairment to functioning.

Looking back, this was so obviously a major depressive episode. I had no idea what was happening at the time. I knew something was up. I knew it wasn’t good or healthy. We had free counseling services available at the university, but it never crossed my mind to take advantage of them. Shrinks are for crazy people. I don’t know what’s up, but I’m not crazy; so I don’t need a shrink.

I didn’t seek treatment. Eventually, things returned to normal. I had enlisted in the Army National Guard the Fall before and left in May after my atrocious semester for Basic Training. Not entirely sure where I was on the depression spectrum when I left for basic, but wallowing in bed until four in the afternoon was not an option there.

I returned to Southwestern in Spring 2002. Three As and one B was a significant improvement from my last semester, but a C in Molecular Genetics (docked an entire letter grade for missing one lab), and a D in Frank Guziec’s Organic Chemistry II course meant my GPA was just under the threshold that I needed to maintain my academic scholarship and my days at Southwestern were over.

Since this tell-all account is growing longer than even interested parties would care to read, I am going to wrap this up for the day. We will have the next installment soon.

If you have ever felt this way, please comment with your story if you feel comfortable. If you are feeling this way right now, please know you are not alone. Even though people don’t talk about it, this is more common than you think. There are resources out there and you do not have to suffer in silence alone!

If you are still reading, please consider making a donation to my Movember fundraiser. Thanks!

Jim is a multiple Grammy and Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award-winning musician. He’s had his songs cut by Patty Loveless, George Jones, Shelby Lynne, Solomon Burke, The Dixie Chicks, Blake Shelton, and George Strait; and played with Lucinda Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rhonda Vincent, Hot Tuna & Charlie Musselwhite, and Elvis Costello.

To say he is prolific is an understatement. Since 1986, he has released 27 studio albums.

Jim Lauderdale NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Jim has pave the way of the current Americana Movement recording records and writing songs that cross genres from country, pop, roots, rock, folk, and bluegrass.

He co-hosts a weekly SiriusXM radio show on with Buddy Miller called “The Buddy & Jim Show,” and hosts Music City Roots each week in Nashville.

Highly entertaining and a genuinely nice man. He played my American Legion post regularly and was always generous with his time and stories. Music City Roots had a show featuring Austrailian artists after the Americana Festival a couple years ago. Jim met the musicians after the show for drinks and gave them his personal number telling them to call him directly if there was ever anything he could do for them. That really struck me.

5308 Buffalo Speedway 77005 Houston, TX, US
Free show. Donations accepted.

I was fortunate enough to capture the first acoustic performance of this new tune. One of two potential title tracks for the upcoming album due next year.

Drivin’ N Cryin’ – Lift the Love Beautiful

The guys performed this at Cactus Records this afternoon in Houston in anticipation of their show at Under the Volcano tonight. Come on down.

Some great other shows in the coming days as well.