A New Year And a Farewell
I hope that by the time you read this, you are nestled tight in a warm blanket with a steaming cup of coffee in your hands (or whatever your morning vice may be) and enough grease in your system to quell any nausea from last night’s debaucheries and meet the new year’s challenges with bright vision…even if it is through bleary eyes.
2018 is ended and before I get to the meat and potatoes of 2019, I’d like to share an ending with you.
The Standing ‘O’ Project is shutting down.
….The Standing ‘O’ Project is shutting down.
For those of you who have no idea what that is, it is the fair trading music streaming community that I have worked for the past six years. It essentially got me started in music, and the path to creative expression, and all of those wonderful things.
I’ve spent the better part of the past two month in an anxiety spiral, not knowing the fate of Standing ‘O’ and, now that I know, I am flooded with a mix of emotions --- fear, sadness, disappointment, wistfulness, hopefulness, guilt, relief and gratitude. My life as I know it is crumbling around me.
I know this might seem like a dramatic reaction to losing a job, but it wasn’t just a job for me. It was a cause. It was a community. It was something I rallied around and for. It was something that gave me a place, that held part of my soul. Standing ‘O’ has been a defining part of my identity for almost six years…longer than most identities I’ve had---longer than any romantic relationship, than college, than grad school, and longer than I’ve been a musician or a storyteller. It is outlasted only by my family, a few defining friendships, and my dog. Even though I wasn’t owner, it’s a small company and one that I had a substantial impact on and that had a substantial impact on me. It wasn’t just work, it was my world. A world that will now exist in fractured pieces: in the small festivals and conferences I’ll go to and late night conversations on life and love in a hotel hallway or motel parking lot, the familiar faces I’ll occasionally cross at a listening room or bar, the snippets of songs I’ll catch on passing radio waves….but it won’t ever be the whole living, breathing thing it once was.
I am so sad that it has to end this way, but I am so grateful for what this community that has brought to me. Not only did this community bring me music, make me into a musician and a true music lover, it brought me origins and deaths and hundreds of lives lived and loved and the blood, sweat, piss, and tears all into one place…..into these songs and the artists who sacrificed their defenses to release them wild into the world, into the people who loved them fiercely and made them even more through their love, their stories. And for it, I love them all, creator and fan, madly.
I don’t know what I’ll do now. I have an idea. A sapling. I don’t know if it’ll stand on its little hairy leg as a piece on stage, or let the words loll off of its fat leafy tongue and into the air as songs, or stretch it’s spindly viny fingers round over my computer keys to tap out a story. Maybe all of those and maybe more. Hopefully all and more.
And since I can’t quite define what I’ll be doing now, I’ll, alternatively, pose this question instead…..
What can you do now?
If you’re a fan, there are some artists that depended on those few dollars each month to make rent, pay their electric bill, buy gas to get to their next gig….and so on and so forth.
This New Year's (and hell, all year around), buy albums from your favorite artists, go to their concerts, tell them the impact they’ve had on you and show them that what they’re doing is meaningful by supporting them. If you stream, buy a T-shirt. If you can host a house concert, do that. If you can get your friends interested, do that. Artists are still struggling. Your favorite artists are still struggling.
If you’re an artist, keep going. It is worth it and it makes a difference for people. People like me.
For all of you, remember our little project. Remember what it stood for. Remember why we were created it. Listen to Art of the Song, to their music and stories, and be sure to subscribe to their mailing list and support them on Patreon if you have a couple dollars to spare each month.
If you’d like to keep in contact with me, I invite all of you to keep following my blog and projects and share with your friends. Or come on out to one of my shows. Or invite me to one of your shows. Or tell me about a great show or project I should see. I’d love to show up for you like you’ve shown up for me.
To John and Viv, to the Art of the Song and Standing ‘O’ community, you’ve meant that whole big damn world to me and I’m so grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
With so much love,
A SPECIAL ADDENDUM. Viv Nesbitt wrote this to me after reading this post and the website was not letting her post this comment, but I wanted to share with you all because it was far too beautiful and touching not to:
Oh Katie, thank you. This helped me touch the emotional tide inside. I have been holding on to the edges to stay brave and practical, ever facing forward looking to the horizon. A horizon that has dipped below the waves so frequently during few months that it has become a fluid line of up and down. Thank you for helping me let go of pent up tears, ones of frustration, ones of grief, tears of love for the people like you who put their faith in John's wild ass speculation that there is a better way for musicians to make a living. He has been ahead of his time before, bringing one of the first on-board tuners to market, bringing singer/songwriters on air for interviews about their creative process in a small PA town late last century. His vision translated to a collective desire which can only continue to grow.
Your passion is what the Standing O was and will continue to be. Your process of releasing into the artist you are is what Art of the Song is about. Your work has changed lives and will continue to uplift as we saunter (Sainte Terre) this next section of road together. So much love to you today, and tomorrow, ad infinitum.
P.S. Putting the announcements at the end this time. There is, I think, a gig I have on Sunday, January 27, 2-5 pm, with Brett Perkins at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena. More details to come in future mailer.
P.P.S. I recorded a couple new tunes (in a barn!) and am working on a music video so stay tuned for that too.
P.P.P.S. If you'd like to access the Standing 'O' and hear the music and interviews and discover new artists before it closes, it'll be open to all until January 31.
P.P.P.P.S. Although I've got creative things in the works, I actually still need a job that pays money, preferably something not too corporate that ties in some of my creative pursuits....so, you know, if you hear of anything....
P.P.P.P.P.S. Also, I love you. Just in case you needed to hear it today. There it is waiting for you. Chin up, new year.