With the release of my 2010 solo offering, Find Your Shine, it became imperative to learn how to navigate the landscape of the touring songwriter, which Barbara did with great conviction; taking Find Your Shine to #53 on the Americana chart, #16 on the FAR (international) chart, and booking national tours. Little did we know how much growing we would do on this journey, not only as performers, but as human beings. Over the course of the last four years, we have traveled the country extensively in little more than our trusty Toy Box, (with 450,000 miles on it), some camping gear, a really good CD, our instruments and a lot of praying, (more in the way of thanks than in hopeful deliverance).
What we learned about ourselves and one another was our deep devotion to our music; giving everything we could of ourselves with every performance and deriving more and more joy through shared experiences with audiences, connecting on a deeply human level we found astonishing. Conversations started with songs carried over after every show, and we found ourselves engaged in amazing interactions with strangers who were quick to become friends. What we took away from these dialogues was the real “sense of community” taking root at house concerts across the U.S. Folks felt comfortable talking about issues they were facing locally; how they were “taking their country back”, not with harsh words or rhetoric, but on a grassroots level. Over and over, we engaged in discussions about fostering local economies as they move towards self-sufficiency, (bartering is becoming fashionable); and small, local farmers going back to traditional methods, introducing more organic means of producing healthy food for their neighbors. It is quite inspiring to be in the company of such good citizens and stewards of the land.
So, we dedicate our new music to these distant brothers and sisters and forged friendships that make this country, (and world), seem smaller and a whole lot less volatile. They have left imprints on our souls, and in turn, we did the same with them. Hence, we left a part of ourselves behind…a ghost as it were…a spirit enduring long after we are gone. As we drift from place to place, we see these ghosts and remember their stories as we roll past family farms and small towns on America’s back roads.
Barbara and I share a philosophical belief that a greater understanding can be better achieved on “the road less traveled,” (as the long, drab slab offers little, if anything, these days in terms of discovery). We catch glimpses of other ghosts, too, from a “disappearing America” remembered from our youth; “Mom and Pop” motels, diners and roadside stores; and kindred spirits searching for the “soul of America”… musicians, travelers, writers. So, when we use the phrase ”Ghosts of the American Road” it elicits a variety of meanings, any one of which defines not only us, but our journey; and the people and places encountered along the way. -Kevin Higgins