The kid... 

The kid had to be about thirteen or fourteen.  He came sauntering in and took his seat. It was clear he didn't want to be there. Or anywhere, really.  He had the whole pre-teen recalcitrant, anti-social  "this sucks" body language down, a black T-shirt, the droopy jeans with a little wallet chain, and the not-very-long hair that would have been longer if his parents allowed him to have long hair.

I "got" this kid right away. I saw myself at that same age, in that bewildering no-man's land of not yet a grown-up but no longer a happy child; brooding, frustrated, impatient; waging a private little war against ...well, pretty much everything and everyone.  The one thing that would save me was a world of music to retreat into.  "Fuck 'em all!"

Everything about this kid screamed "budding rock musician."  I surmised that he had been dragged there by his older brother, the older brother's girlfriend, and some of their friends.  They were clearly really into the music, and it looked like they were goading him into acknowledging me, but he was having none of it.  It became a personal challenge.  He'd be watching me play and sing and I'd look at him and he'd quickly look away, feigning indifference, but overplaying the hand.

But I wasn't gonna let him off the hook.  I played to that kid the whole night, then went over to his group and said hello.  "Pretty cool stuff, huh?" somebody said to him, and the kid looked up from his well- honed art of shoe-gazing and said "yeah" and took my outstretched hand.  I remembered how self-conscious I was at that age, so I didn't push it with the whole "So, do you play and sing, too?" thing.  I just said, "Thanks."

Then I smiled as I went up to the bar to grab a drink, having just seen a ghost of myself as a punk-ass kid who had more than a lot of kids in this world back then, and wondering what in HELL I had ever been so mad about.

DO THE WORK! 

The ultimate irony - I started the day with Shawn Colvin's "Polaroids" from one of my favorite albums ever, by one of my favorite artists ever.  The ad that played just before was some dweeb advertising his download pack of chords and melodies samples and loops. "Get your songwriting together - download my melodies and chords package today...." 

Right.  Don't bother actually LEARNING chords or how to write melodies or how to write songs yourself.  Don't actually create anything.  Don't do the work.  Just download the work someone else has done for you. 

Forget about "what's wrong with music" - this is everything that's wrong with EVERYTHING.  I'm glad Shawn didn't just download a bunch of samples and loops, but learned how to actually DO something.  Something wonderful, at that.

EVERYTHING! ALL THE TIME! (um, no)... 

I just had a very interesting conversation about social media and thought I'd share it... 

A colleague asked me why I had seemingly "disappeared" from social media recently, and I told him I had decided to largely take the month of August off from online promotions. I had pretty much reached saturation with the whole process during the spring and early summer, and I felt like if I needed a break, you folks on the receiving end could surely use one as well. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I seem to have taken much of September off as well. I highly recommend it. 

I explained that this summer was also an extremely busy time of gigging, traveling, personal life changes, etc. My colleague (who is, not surprisingly, a social media manager) said I was missing the whole point: "Your fans want to share in all of that; you should be constantly engaging them and posting every day" blah blah blah. 

I vehemently disagreed, explaining that while I'm well aware of the whole social media constant-pipeline conventional wisdom, my respect for those "fans" takes precedence. If I bombarded you constantly with every little daily development, why would I expect you to react in any meaningful way when I present something of true substance; a creative endeavor like new music, new videos, tour dates, etc.? 

Our "post-album world" notwithstanding, I still believe the reason the album format itself worked so well for so long is that music is a cyclical thing with an inherent shelf-life, where you make a bunch of it and work your ass off for about a year or so, then take some time away to recharge, recalibrate, allow yourself to grow and be influenced by new things and life itself, then plot your next move and do something NEW. 

And I believe you folks on the receiving end need that cycle, too. The “album” as a finite, periodic thing, was our culture’s working agreement between the producer and the consumer. I just don’t think we humans are hard-wired to be constantly producing or consuming ANYTHING. 

Maybe it’s those marketing courses I had in college, where I learned the concept of “scarcity”, but I think it’s time to draw a line in the sand…instead of letting your life be ruled by FOMO (“fear of missing out”), join me in a new approach with a little less desperation and a little more self-respect: HYMM (“hope ya missed me”). 

It would be unrealistic and disingenuous for me to write a song like “Selfie” decrying what social media is doing to the self-esteem of adolescent girls and then do a similar disservice to those of you who appreciate music by bombarding you with constant empty missives several times a day, just because "ya gotta be on there." 

It may run counter to our whole 24/7 LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEE music business model, but I’ve finally learned that the whole trick to balancing social media is to inform, but only up to the point of the dreaded “eye-roll.” So yeah, I’ll still go on there and harass the hell out of you when there’s new music or something to harass you about. But I refuse to go on there ten times a frigging day posting a picture of the half-eaten sandwich from this afternoon’s studio session or whatever just because “I gotta be on there.” 

Look for something meaningful perhaps once a week or so. As for my colleague’s admonition that “you’ll lose them” – I’d prefer to think there’s a little more to all of you than that, so I’ll take my chances. 

If you love something, don’t post stuff constantly. If people give a shit, they’ll come back…

Coming in 2022 - a "variant" you can feel good about! 

Finally, an antidote to the vertigo I get from writing and recording for TV/Film AND writing and recording for a “new JT album” at the same time.  A new hybrid!

Fall/winter tour dates have been postponed (but for a GOOD reason this year) as we begin work on this project for various ventures on Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon streaming, HBO and AMC, and several others.

We’ll be cutting things at a breakneck pace, but we promise to actually learn all the songs before we see you out there in the spring!

-JT

Rock the blue! 

Lots of dates coming in for 2022. July 4th is booked...yet another date with the NYPD.   I've done half a dozen of these over the past year.  Always very honored to play for these folks. Back the blue? I say ROCK the blue!

Special live video for Father's Day... 

In honor of June being COME ALIVE month, we’ll celebrate with LOOKING FOR COWBOYS from that album. I wrote this song for my dad as a Father’s Day gift.
 

Happy Anniversary! 

My dad was playing a gig and some mutual friends set up a blind date. The deal was, the singer who came up to request a certain song would be the one he was supposed to ask out. So he’s waiting on this song all night.  But the singer (my mom) chickens out and sends her friend up to request the song. On a break, my dad, kind of underwhelmed, says to the guys in the band, “Yeah, she’s all right, but her FRIEND – what’s SHE all about? What’s goin’ on there?”

They finally got it all straightened out and ended up getting married, a whole lot of April 14ths ago.

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