Updated: Feb 26, 2021
Yes, yes, I know 2020 was weird in many ways. And horrible. Which is why I experienced a strange mix of emotions upon receiving this award.
As many musicians know, in the pre-COVID times it was difficult to get people to come to shows. I had been gigging regularly at only one or two places in Sonoma County that paid me well but I had been struggling with feeling unappreciated. It seemed like after the show so many people would ask me, "How was your show?" I'd think, "If you want to know, why didn't you show up?"
Then COVID came and everything shut down. I had booked regular nights at the Fern Bar, and had a good calendar full of farmer's markets to fill my weekends. So, like many musicians, I started live streaming. And people watched -- possibly more people than I've ever got to come to a real live gig watched my livestreams on Facebook.
Now about the North Bay Bohemian Award: since at least 2018 I had encouraged fans and friends on social media to vote me in for the "Best Blues" category. In 2019, I think I even spent money on Facebook ads to do promote myself. I got myself pretty worked up and was disappointed when I didn't win. So in 2020 I said, "Fuck it, I don't care if I don't win." I proceeded to promote myself with posts full of self-deprecations.
And BAM! I made it. I know that several popular local musicians of various genres had advocated for me, and encouraged their fans to vote for me. They have my eternal gratitude.
But I also felt very weird: I had just won an award for music during a year which I had done the least amount of gigs since, I dunno, 2009! Was it COVID and social media that brought me here? I'm a practical person who tries to make the best of things, but making the best of things during a year in which far too many people I knew died is somewhat off-putting. I'm also more fortunate than many local musicians as losing my gigs did not impact me too much financially due to my other career.
So what do I do about it? Accept it? Live with it. I'm here and I'm going to do my best moving forward to help my fellow musicians who were hit hard by all the losses.
Keep masking up and washing your hands, friends, and thanks for reading.