I awoke in the dark in my hotel room in Connecticut and immediately checked the weather. When I went to sleep there was snow forecast and I was worried that the backroads on the drive to my morning shows would be a problem. But all that manifested was some negligible rain and I was easily off on the 20 minute drive to The Woodstock Academy to play the last two shows of my ten in ten days in six states run.
Years ago the 7:30 am start time for the first show would have bothered me but over 350 plus Odyssey shows in every imaginable setting at every possible time, I’ve learned how to manage challenges like early starts. It helped that I was set up in a beautiful small lecture hall with amazing acoustics and wonderfully attentive students.
The first show was great and I knew I was just one more from having two weeks off, then one more Blues of Achilles show, then several months off after that until my 2023 shows begin. I leaned into the second performance, emptying the tank: the room was full with Myth, Latin, and music students, and the energy was outstanding.
Hit the last chord, exhale. Applause.
Relief and satisfaction.
After a great discussion, my contact and I went to lunch. His outlook on Classics and how to get students (and the general public) excited about it is very similar to mine and our conversation was the icing on the cake of my successful tour. My flight out of Bradley International wasn’t until the early evening so I took a longer more scenic route back and had some time to catch up on email and have a drink at the airport.
The perfect time to take stock of 2022 and think about 2023.
In 2022, I...
-performed my Classics pieces a total of 40 times (2 fewer than in 2021)
-performed the Blues of Achilles 24 times (2 times virtually, 22 in-person vs 14 virtual 6 in-person in 2021)
-performed the Odyssey 16 times (1 time virtually, 15 in-person, vs. 15 times virtual, 7 in-person in 2021)
-added two new US states (New Mexico and West Virginia) to bring my total for the Odyssey to 45
-presented a paper related to The Blues of Achilles for the American Comparative Literature Association annual conference
-released both digital and vinyl versions of the recording of The Blues of Achilles
-despite playing 2 fewer shows, grossed something like 75% more on my live performances and music sales
-developed several expanded projects closely related to my Classics pieces
I started this two week run of shows writing about how sometimes we have to wait for things we want until we’re ready for them. And this waiting doesn’t make sense until we can look back at it with a fuller perspective.
I don’t know what 2023 will bring but I’m planning and ready for a number of outcomes including: reaching (or almost reaching) 50 states for my Odyssey, more Blues of Achilles shows and intensive hybrid touring, progress on the development of my expanded Classics-related projects, releasing new non-Classics music (which I recorded earlier this year in Nashville), some very small seeds planted for an entirely new Classics performance…
Of course I know fully well from experience and from the example of my epic protagonists that these plans can change instantaneously for the better or worse… or maybe, to put it less judgmentally, for the different.
On balance, my 2022 met or exceeded my plans and expectations in almost every way. I continue to be humbled by the life in music that I’ve been given, the opportunities to share my work with audiences and discover more about the stories I love and myself through my travels out on the road.
Here’s to 2023 and beyond, whatever the road may bring.