This past week I played two shows over the last three days with my friend Mark Erelli. I had a few of my own shows scattered in there as well, but we were able to get together in Austin and Fort Worth.
Mark is the kind of songwriter who really thinks about the entire composition when he’s writing. His lyrics are wonderfully descriptive, but he also has a unique ability to consider how they fit into the song alongside his sweeping melodies and fluid guitar playing. He manages to make all three of these things work together without having to sacrifice any aspect of quality or meaning from them– and honestly, I don’t know how he does it.
Mark and I each put out a record called Hillbilly Pilgrim in 2003 without even the slightest clue the other existed. He was in Boston and I was still in Pennsylvania. I emailed him when I found out about the coincidence online and we agreed to exchange records. In my Hillbilly Pilgrim you hear a kid who barely knows how to write or play or sing (but, if I may be so bold, I think you can hear that I was on my way to figuring it out) and on Mark’s Hillbilly Pilgrim you hear someone who already knew how to do all of those things, and how to do them well.
I guess I’ve said all of that just to say this:
Almost unfailingly, the nice people in this business are the most talented ones, hands down. The people in this business that aren’t nice– to fans or fellow musicians– are usually the people with the least talent, musically or lyrically. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part that’s the way it tends to be.
Mark is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. All of my musician friends are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
The most talented are the most kind. Funny how that works, right? I guess it’s probably true within any profession.
Perhaps that’s something to remember the next time you come across a jerk.
time: 10:02 am
date: Sunday, May 18th
place: hotel, Richardson, TX
words: probably more than 300
300//\\365//\\300 is a writing exercise– 300 entries over 365 days, each no longer than 300 words (I’m not so hot at sticking to the last part).