What was 2018 really all about? It went by in a flash. I look through my calendar and I can see that GB Leighton played a lot, all over the place. Everywhere we went we met wonderful people who made us feel welcome. Scott Wenum departed, but we got Ryan Inselman back and the feeling in the band is really great. We all seem to be on the same page, pulling in the same direction. To be in a band that’s firing on all cylinders feels wonderful.
2018 was certainly the year where we finally finished the new GB Leighton album “2nd Chance”! It’s been a long time coming, but I feel that it’s really special. Brian wrote all the songs on it by himself and it’s his most personal collection of songs to date. I’m very proud of him. Brian and I produced the album together and didn’t let it go until he felt that all the songs were saying all they had to say.
Releasing new music can be a challenge for anyone these days, but thanks to our fans, the new album will see the light of day! My wife Michelle mounted a very ambitious Kickstarter campaign, and we met our target in twenty-four hours! GB Leighton fans are in a league of their own, and I’m blown away by their dedication and love for the band. I’ve never seen anything like it. Thank you!
Some people think that putting new strings on a guitar is a pain in the ass, but I’m not one of them. It gives me time to think about what I do for a living. I’m a lucky guy! Ernie Ball strings has been there for me for the last several years, providing me with the best strings, guitar care products, volume pedals and more. If it’s good enough for Keith Richards, it’s certainly good enough for me!
Sharkfin Sweden AB picks in Sweden are kind enough to send me the best picks in the world. I keep handing them out to other guitar players on the road. Once you’ve tried them, there is no going back. They are three picks in one, and if you switch between picking and finger picking during the same song, they’re invaluable. Thank you, Sharkfin!
Do you know Jeri Hart? She is the amazing artist that makes my guitar straps. Peerless quality and designs that are as intricate as you can imagine. I’ve said it before: If you can dream it, Jeri Hart can make it!
Looking to the future, I have a really good feeling about the New Year. It’s in the air! Politically, 2018 had a darkness to it that weighed heavily on many of us. Who are we as a people? At one point or another, we all came here because where we came from was no longer enough. We came to escape potato famines and oppressive kings and queens. In my case, I just wanted to live in the birthplace of jazz, blues, country, bluegrass and rock & roll. Singing in English in Sweden in the mid eighties was a nonstarter, so I left. It was well worth it to give up financial stability, five weeks of vacation per year and a pension. I don’t think anyone moves to America to bleed the system dry. My first job in America was working the graveyard shift at a gas station Monday through Friday. It was a job that no one wanted, but I did. I have never been between jobs since. I guess the only question that really matters is; Are we, or are we not our brother’s keeper? Do we, or do we not have a collective responsibility toward one another? Should we, or should we not empathize with people who literally have nothing?
I don’t think that the threat to our way of life and standard of living is coming from South America. It’s coming from politicians who take money from enormous corporate entities where the main objective is to maintain a status quo. Real change will not be possible as long as pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, seed and pesticide companies control Washington. Their only objective is to control the poison as well as the cure, and they will spend whatever it takes to do so. This is not a time to squabble amongst ourselves. This is the time to hold our representatives in Washington accountable. The corruption is hiding in plain sight.
In my personal life, I’ve been blessed. When I was younger, there was no sacrifice too big to get me to where I was going in music. I put it all on the altar of rock & roll. I had it in my mind that the only way I was going to achieve any degree of happiness was if I reached the toppermost of the poppermost. It took me many years to get out of my own way. I hurt some people along the way, and I deeply regret it. God didn’t give up on me. I got another chance at having a family; the only thing that really matters. Michelle and I have been together for almost twenty-one years. Ten years ago our son Elliott was born. These have been the best years of my life, and I thank God every night for giving me another chance. I love playing rock & roll in front of people, but the best part is knowing that I get to go home after the show. Home to my family. Thank you, Michelle and Elliott.
If you are reading this, I wish you all the happiness in the year ahead. If we work together, are kind to one another and realize that deep down, we are all the same, everything will work out. That’s why we are here.