Running Into Gold


This year a relationship ended and another one began. Shortly before that, towards the end of 2015, I decided once again to switch career paths and follow my heart to Atlanta, GA. Initially, I was content to just live and I guess I avoided looking for a job right away. So this year I’ve had a luxurious amount of time on my hands and with that time I took up cycling, went to Alaska to play a festival, booked a summer tour, finally finished a book I’ve been writing for the past 5 years, and spent what amounted to, probably, too much time sitting in my little bedroom studio recording and mixing songs for the album, “Running Into Gold”.

This is my fourth self produced album and, based on the performance of the previous three, I had no great expectations of this one at the outset. I wanted to make an album and I hoped that it would be better than the past efforts. Not that I’m being critical of the previous ones, but I always hope that I am improving rather than stagnating or going backwards creatively.

As I finished up the tracks and sent them off to be mastered I felt a little underwhelmed. I felt that maybe the songs needed more work or something. I felt that I was bound to be disappointed by the finished product. I listened to masters as they came back and didn’t really think much of anything. Then I left the songs alone for about two weeks and listened again and that’s when it occurred to me that whatever else these songs may or may not be, they are very personal in every aspect. The great downfall of self-producing is also it’s greatest benefit. Every strength is just the flip side of a weakness usually. In the end, you haven’t had other voices to tell you when you are making “mistakes” or “poor decisions”. You haven’t had other voices to suggest interesting melodic or instrumental ideas, so what you’re left with is something that is unequivocally your own.

There is something about that, that I like very much! As you listen to, “Running Into Gold” you can picture me at a small desk desk in front of a computer, surrounded by a couple of guitars and a very tiny keyboard, probably with a cup of coffee, sloshing around somewhere, very nearly spilling on the mic pre-amp. Creating these songs has been a kind of journal entry for me. Every note and and even every wrong note, is just me working out the details of the life I’m living.

Now that it’s done, my greatest hope for this album, is that you will listen closely and that you will FEEL. I hope you will feel happy, or sad, or pensive, or gushy, or something! I hope that these words and these melodies will make you remember your past or envision your future. I hope that they make you feel.

 

Here’s are some links so you can find the album on Spotify and iTunes:

Spotify: Running Into Gold by Tim Pepper

iTunes: Running Into Gold by Tim Pepper

Video produced by Anthony Simpkins, resident of Nashville, Tennessee and lover of music, dogs, visual arts, warm fires, and the great outdoors.

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TALES FROM THE TINY TOUR

 

IMG_1302Last week I started the first leg of the first solo tour I’ve done in many years. It’s a modest tour of coffee shops, open mics, and pubs. Some shows pay and others don’t. Sometimes I’m playing to 30 people and sometimes it’s closer to 3. I started the tour uncertain of where I’d be sleeping on a few of the nights. I’d left those nights open as a way to build in adventure. I’m not great with uncertainty or adventure or even with meeting new people, something that happens daily on tour. So touring can be a little uncomfortable for me.

After a few days, while running in the rain, on an island just north of Sarasota, Florida, I suddenly realized that although I’d experienced some discomfort already, I felt strong. Only a few consecutive shows in and I felt completely at ease with the idea of being “on the road”. The low grade anxiety I feel in my day to day life, at the thought of the life I am wasting not playing music or writing songs or recording, was gone. It simply wasn’t there.

There were new worries that had taken it’s place, the main one being “Is this tour going to pay for itself?” I don’t know the answer to that yet. If I’m honest, It’s unlikely. But that worry is accompanied by a resolve that I need to finish what I’ve started. I need to see it through. It’s accompanied by the knowledge that something really good is happening every time I play a show. I can’t describe what that is yet. It’s something I feel. Every time I set up my PA system while the coffee drinkers continue their conversations I feel it. Something valuable is happening here. Each repetition changes me just a little.

I’ve had people ask me, after shows, how they can book their own tour. I tell them what little I know and wonder why they think my intel is valuable. I’m no expert. I’ve been doing this for a half a second. But this thing I feel is real.

It sounds really stupid and I don’t want to type the next thing I’m going to type. But here it is: It feels like I fit here. It feels right. It feels like I’m doing something I’m supposed to be doing. Even though the money is crappy and the couches leave me with a sore neck sometimes. Even though I’m not experienced enough at this yet to say anything concrete. Even though it’s a really tiny tour. In the middle of discomfort and uncertainty, both of which I dislike a great deal, I feel right.

All of that leads me to what I really do want to say, which is a thought I had while driving at some point last week. What we DO matters. For years I’ve been scared to book tours. Tours are scary because of uncertainty and because of discomfort and because of how to pay for them. So for years I’ve talked about making music and I’ve written songs and learned how to record them. I’ve played shows here and there of course but it has always been done “when I had time” or “when the money was right”.

I can’t really afford to be on the road right now. It’s not practical. In the middle of the most uncomfortable day so far, I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t be doing this! But I have to be doing this!” Because if I don’t do this, that thing that I feel happening out here will stop happening. If I don’t do this, I’ll go back to feeling that low grade anxiety that I am wasting my life. If I don’t do this, I’ll go back to feeling like I simply don’t fit that well in the place I’m trying to fit. What we DO matters.

That’s all for now.

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Blue Plate Special

Hey Folks,

Just a quick one to share a radio show I did earlier this year at WDVX’s Blue Plate Special in Knoxville, Tennessee.

 

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SUMMER TOUR

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be hitting the road in just a couple of days to go play a bunch of shows. I’ve been playing music for many years but this is the most ambitious tour I’ve planned in a long while. It’s an experiment really. A way to learn the ropes again. Hopefully I will see you out there!!

VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

Today I got a tripod for my phone so I can take some videos from the road. I’ll share however much of the trip is worthwhile and feasible. Here’s a little taste.

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