a ghost town, a ruin, a monument; hello.

I remember who I was here, though if you had asked me at the time, there’s no chance I would have claimed to have a grasp on that. I still wrestle with who I’ve been since. I haven’t touched my guitar since last August. I took a job as a full-time baseball writer. I haven’t cut my hair in two years. I am a time-traveler here in this place, giving a slightly-more-wrinkled smile, a knowing hug, a deep breath, a warning of the world to come, a reassurance that it both gets better and gets worse, and yet, you’re still here, at least as far as we’ve been able to know so far.

I haven’t logged in to Facebook (except to post baseball articles to that page) in quite some time. I used to host lengthy discussions about the finer points of touchy topics there, attempt to reach across the chasm and help infuse understanding and strip away some acrimony across either side of the divide. But I grew weary and so every day for the last seven months, I have written about the grass and the chalk and the ephemeral mystery of an impossibly big cathedral, and the men who fly around it like seraphs, capturing little round white prayers before they land on God’s grassy green ears.

Outside, the world has burned. A movie super-villain has captured our worst imaginations. He will lose the election, but he has given legitimacy, a voice and a boldness to the loudest and worst opponents of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And because he has done so while wearing the red uniform instead of the blue uniform, he has been endorsed by many in the religion of love, joy, peace, patience, and so on, and so forth; the same religion that balked at our current president and refused to believe that he was a Christian has now spun on their heel and lectured about how we are not electing a savior, but a leader.

After all, what good is a team without the indefatigable support of its fans?

I despair.

And yet, there is still much good to be found. My children are seven and three years old now. We have talks now about what it means to to stand up for what is good while not starting unnecessary fights. Acknowledge that others believe differently. Protect the weak. Respect the rights of others. Be courageous, even when you are afraid.

I hope.

I doubt. I believe. I feel ill-at-ease in this body. I get passing glimpses of what it means to belong, so I must belong somewhere. I hope. I despair. I hope. I despair.

And so, while so much has changed, much has not.

I am still here. I miss seeing all of you on the road. My heart still swells with gratitude when I think of my time in your living rooms, your coffee shops, your churches, your bars. I hope you are well.

In despair, in hope,

A Year, Reviewed (The Macro)

It would be a book, really. If I tried to write it all down, every meaningful, discouraging, and/or hilarious story.

There have been years of my life that could be summed up in a chapter or paragraph (or, in the case of “9th grade sucked.”, a sentence) but this was not one of those years. When we were in Nashville recently, a friend at church attempted to pin me down on an answer: “Okay, so level with me: scale of 1-10. Be honest.”

I almost didn’t have time to think before I responded: “One and Ten, and not much in between.”

Heather said it best, a few months ago. “When you look at this year on the Macro Level, it’s been amazing; a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The things we’ve seen, the people we’ve met; getting to know people whose names I’ve heard from your previous tours… this is how I’ll remember it. But if you stopped and looked at it on the Micro Level, there are days when I’m stuck in an RV and I wonder how I’ll make it through even one more day.”

*points to nose*

So here’s the entry where I tell you about some of the Tens.

The Ones make for better stories, and I’ll get to that sometime this week. But for now, I just want to cover some of the highlights:

- Toured with our good friends Jenny & Tyler, and made new friend Vanita Joines
- Visited 45 States (only states missed: Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii).
- Went to an Alligator Farm in East Texas

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- Went to the Beach in Pensacola, FL. It was freezing and wonderful.

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- Saw the Grand Canyon

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- Went to Disneyland

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- Bend, Oregon is nice.

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- A day in Pike Place Market, Seattle

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- Mount Rushmore

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- The 2014 MLB All-Star Game, during which we ended up on the big screen.

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- A mini-vacation in Maine.

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- Spent time in Ferguson, MO

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- Met, and made friends with a few of my heroes, including Jesse Lacey of Brand New, members of Manchester Orchestra, and this guy: Hall of Fame Radio Broadcaster Eric Nadel:

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-In one day, saw the Imperial Sand Dunes, Slab City, Salvation Mountain, and the Salton Sea

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- The Redwood Forest in Northern California

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- We got to pet and feed a Giraffe in Colorado Springs, CO:

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- Niagara Falls

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- We took the kids to the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 4.48.05 PM- Fell more in love with my wife, as I saw the spectrum of her emotions; from the awe at the size of the sky in Arizona to the teetering edge of madness in Kansas City, but mostly how much time she spends balancing gracefully between those lines; how great a mother she is, and how desperately I need her when I am vacillating wildly between wanting to change the world and wanting to disengage from it forever.

- Learned that I was allowed to have a bad day, even when I was living my life dream (more on that in the “Micro” post).

- Introduced many of you to my family, and them to you. All of you who have been my family away from home; it meant everything to me to be able to have my family with me this time, to merge what had felt like two separate lives I was living into one, for which I am genuinely in grateful and humble awe.

- Kept a list, subtly at first, but more out in the open as the year went on, as to where we would end up when this year of traveling was over. A list of ~10 cities narrowed to 5-6, then three, then two… And late last month, before the last two shows of the year, we made our decision: When I come back from Europe, we will drive to Nashville to play one final full-band show, get our belongings from storage, and trek once again across the country that we criss-crossed for nearly 300 days, en route to our new home in…


A Year Unreviewed

It’s December 21st. The shortest night of the year, as if this whole thing wasn’t going to be over soon enough.

I’ve just finished playing the last show of this Life Dream / Year On Tour / Year In An RV With My Family, and I’m backstage, staring into a mirror in the dressing room. I haven’t broken eye contact with myself in almost fifteen seconds, and it’s getting awkward.

My family and friends are out in the main room. Some of them I haven’t seen in years, but I have an abyss to stare down first.

People are probably giving up on the merch table, which is costing me money, but I can’t bring myself to go pretend this is just the end of a show. It’s the end of something much bigger than that. So I’m using my best glare to try to intimidate the aging man inside the mirror into giving me some words of encouragement.

But he’s as stoic (or hollow?) as I, and he’s old enough to know that I can’t outlast him. He’s seen this game before. He knows he can wait me out.

Thirty seconds.

Family and friends.

“I’ll be back for you” I whisper, and I make my way out.


It’s technically December 22nd, and I want to write about this year while I’m still raw; while it’s still fresh. I want to sum it all up in poetic phrases and emotional outpourings of gratitude and We-Did-Its, but I’ve been fighting a cold for a week now, and the kids are asleep.

I am also almost asleep. I will stare me down for more answers later.


It’s December 25th and this week, I have taken to seeing how long I can stay in the bathroom without my family noticing. For 297 days this year, I stood on stage almost as many nights as not, and told people how I battle depression, and that I was introducing my song “Dark Clay” by telling them this because I was staying visible, because I was making sure the light bouncing off was stronger than the darkness trying to swirl me into a Black Hole vortex, but now I’m hiding in bathrooms, disappearing in 5, 6, 7-minute increments.

Eight minutes.

But despite my choice in hideouts, there are no mirror rematches this week. No one accuses me of failure quite so effectively as he does, and I am weak enough today to believe it.

It seems like I should have cried by now. It feels like an occasion to cry. Maybe when I look in the mirror again, maybe I will cry, which will make him cry. Maybe he will be weak enough then to answer my questions. But I am too tired for that. And it’s still Christmas.


It is December 31st. We are at a party full of family and friends. The party is made up 100% of parents and small children, so we count down at 8pm instead of midnight, as if this whole thing wasn’t going to be over soon enough.

In the bathroom again, I scroll through my Instagram feed. I will always be grateful for this year. This hard, trying, exhausting, beautiful, fulfilling, frustrating, heartbreaking, amazing adventure of a year. 2014 was really good to me; to us. I lived in an RV, and we went to 45 states, probably 35 of them more than once. It was a good year, wasn’t it?

I start to look into the mirror, but we both divert our eyes at the same time. Not yet.

Family and friends.

“I’ll be…”

I stop, and I sigh.

I leave without a word.

It is January 3rd. I still have not cried. It still seems like the appropriate response, but…

I should cry, you know? I should really let this year out.

I open the computer and keep working on plans and details for my time in Europe. There is a lot of planning that goes into international travel, so I don’t have time for any more staring contests this week either. I am a man, and I am busy. I have business to attend to.

This doesn’t mean I am not allowed to cry, but it does mean that I have the capacity to pretend that putting it off is okay.

2014 was good.

I’ll tell you about it soon.