WISDOM: A PORTRAIT SERIES
L A N C E D A R Y
GUITARIST + SONGWRITER
Photograph by Andrew Urban
I. Years ago in the mid 1970’s when it was obvious music was going to be my career path, my father told me when whatever you do for a living becomes a job then it is time to get out of it and look for something else. In other words do it for the love of it. Make a living, but do it for the love of it.
II. My family inspires me most. My future wife and I moved 1200 miles from home. My family back home in Massachusetts and my wife and daughter in Tennessee have always supported me and loved me no matter how long my “job” has kept us apart. We have kept our family relationships strong and that has been very important. Knowing I have this love behind me has always kept me strong and inspired me to be confident that everything will be OK at home.
III. Creativity must come from within one’s self. It cannot be contrived. I have had the great pleasure of working with some of the most creative people in Nashville for thirty years. Some of these you have heard of such as Randy Travis, Patty Loveless, Mark Collie, Sara Evans, Jason Sellers, Tony Brown, Emory Gordy Jr, Kyle Lehnning and humbly, thankfully many more wonderfully creative songwriters and musicians that I am honored to call friends.
IV. I am just a guy from a small town in Massachusetts who grew up with a lot of music in my family. Listened and played all types of music, mostly country, bluegrass in my youth. Then 70’s rock in high school, then everything from Elvis to Disco to Night Ranger in the early 80’s. Moved to Nashville in 1986 after a visit out to the Academy of Country Music Award Show. While attending an after show party, I ended up being invited to play at a jam session and found myself among performers from the ACM show. This jam changed my life forever. I met Patty Loveless that night, it grew into an audition several months later and before I knew it I was on my way to Nashville to start touring in Patty’s new band. That was thirty something years ago and I haven’t stopped enjoying this town and its music community since.
V. I think one of the hardest issues for an artist today is not to chase radio. Know who you are as an artist and have the guts and belief in your music not to give it away. Too many new acts just give their music away just to get heard. Get out and pound the pavement and play everywhere you can, whenever you can. Let other people worry about your social media and promotion stuff, and concentrate on your singing, writing and performing. Don’t let all that other stuff get in the way. The music always comes first! Nashville in an awesome place for music, it is a real music community. Writers, musicians, recording artists, studios, record labels, management companies, publishers, cartage companies, sound, lighting, etc. all providing a living and employment for creative people in this business. All of these people together take great pride in the creative product that comes out of this town. There is a great responsibility to put out the very best product. Because of today’s technology there are many ways to get product to the consumer. This makes it easier for more creative people to try to get heard. However, the market is saturated and it is hard for the consumers to find the very best because they have to search for what they enjoy between everything that is promoted to them. Personally I believe it is up to the producers, record labels, and radio that the best product gets to the consumer. Artists are competing for the same airtime, the same concert venues. As an artist you have to offer something that is your best, because your audience deserves it.
VI. We need to talk more about the music, music that means something. Music today has been watered down. You don’t have to sing a whole line correctly, you do not have to play a part all the way through. It all can be fixed by a good engineer and producer. There are times that technology is handy but a lot of artists and musicians rely on it too much.
VII. I am for knowing your craft. Always striving to learn something new and get better at your craft. Respecting the people that paved the way for you. Playing music for the love of it. Someday that is all you will have is the love of it, so why not start that way. Fame & fortune is hard to achieve and not everyone will achieve it. If you do, it is only for a certain amount of time. It does not last forever, and can end at a moment’s notice.