March 25, 2021 - Waterloo School, TX (From My Home)

No that's not a typo: my last Odyssey performance of 2020 was in November for Waterloo School in Texas and my first performance of 2021 is in March for... the very same Waterloo School in Texas (though a different set of students).

The four month gap between Odyssey shows is the longest such stretch for me in almost ten years. Which is crazy. There were several years that even a month break between shows was long so four months is really something. 

In the interim, I've been able to focus on a couple of other things: performing the Blues of Achilles (virtually) more regularly, researching some connections between Homeric epic and American blues music, and also doing some writing (both musical and otherwise) around another project related to my Odyssey meant for a different medium.

Coming back to these songs after time off was refreshing. Of course I felt a bit rusty but my muscles (both mental and physical) cooperated and everything was still there for my 320th performance of this show: the students were wonderful and asked great questions and it was nice to see Odysseus again... I have some good virtual shows coming up in April and May and I'm hopeful that limited in-person shows might even resume in June and then into the fall with some really cool rescheduled opportunities (literally) all around the world.

In the evening, after my Odyssey performance, I played The Blues of Achilles for the College of Charleston. This was the first time I've performed both pieces in the same day and that was a moving and enlightening experience for me.  I brought so much knowledge from my Odyssey piece into how I composed and structured the Blues of Achilles and I really could feel and see all that work in playing the songs from both cycles so close together: two works separated by over 17 years of my life, so related yet so different... I guess a lot like the texts of the Iliad and Odyssey.

Looking back at the writing I did about my first shows of 2020, just pre-pandemic, I'm excited to resume all the things I had planned around my Odyssey travels. It may take a little while to fully reassemble these various pursuits but I know from studying Odysseus that this is how life works - fall of 2021 will be 20 years since I composed the very songs I played for the first time four months, from my home, on a gray spring morning, as we try to outlast the pandemic and get back to our journeys.

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