My songwriting and singing are better in some ways because I am not messed up anymore

October 27, 2016
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My songwriting and singing are better in some ways because I am not messed up anymore

My songwriting and singing are better in some ways because I am not messed up anymore

I started playing the piano when I was four. My dad put extensions on the pedals so I could play. I was always drawn to music, but I never thought I would be a professional musician. I played with Greg Allman on his first two tours. I was playing solo too. I am grateful and surprised that I am still doing this and my identity and that I am a singer/songwriter. I have played with some great people and still get to do my own records. I have made 8 or 9 records. I have had a lot of support from everyone from my wife to New West Records. It has been a long road and those of us still playing music are supportive of each other. We realize there is an end to this and it is coming. I don’t have the same range I used to have, but my songwriting and singing are better in some ways because I am not messed up anymore. After you learn how to do it sober, it gets better, but you can never get as crazy and write with as much abandon as when you are loaded. Sober, you are more aware and controlled and you have to break through that and get free without using chemicals. Now I am more aware of what I want to say and I don’t want to be too self-conscious. I have had to learn how to be uninhibited. I got sober in ’83 and didn’t write for three years after that. I thought writing was over because I had never done it sober. Finally, it became okay. It is more real and I learned how to be vulnerable without chemical aids. I am not naturally wide open. I did drugs and alcohol from high school. I stopped when the woman who became my wife told me it was time to stop or make a decision. I didn’t want to lose my best friend. It turned out fine. I am not a prolific writer. I don’t write every day but writing and recording are my favorite thing to do. Seeing the song come from my basement to the band playing it is exciting. Playing live is a joy. I played with Steve Winwood after I had gotten sober and that was scary for me. He was big and that was my first real tour after I was clean. It was stressful, but it was good for me. I played with him for 16 years until I needed a change. I love Steve opened a lot of doors for me and helped me get confidence. I play with Widespread Panic too.”

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