The Anxiety of the “Big Project”

J Blaze here… Anxiety…  It comes at different people in different ways.  The way people cope with that anxiety differs across the spectrum from getting up and being active, to burying your face in your hands and planting themselves in bed, enduring a spiral of doubt and dispair.

I tend to fall in the middle of the spectrum.  When that anxiety creeps up I’ll roll up in a ball from time to time, but for the most part I’ll get up and be active in something, whether it be music, video games, or working out…

The anxiety of the big project however can have very weird effects on me.  I’ve been either lead writer or contributed, by my count, 9 publicly released albums or ep’s over my 16 years actively playing in bands. Each and every time right before it’s time to record, I relentlessly go over everything in my head, meticulously tearing apart and building up every measure and note.  One minute I’ll hate everything, and the next it’s the best shit I’ve ever written.  One second back to the drawing board, the next lighting the drawing board on fire.  I’ve just recently realized that I am an over-analyzer, an over-thinker, and can be a bit of a worrier.

And while this over-analyzing of the music from top to bottom can create moments of crazy anxiety, I always try my best to harness that crazy energy and put it into rehearsing my parts relentlessly, songwriting, or in this case, blogging. I equate anxiety to adrenaline, a physiological reaction to your situation that can make or break you.

The Big Project right now is our album “1865”.  We go into Goldsmith Studios on February 20th for 6 days (hopefully we can finish it in 5), to record what I consider the biggest project of my musical career up to this point, and I’m fucking ready.  We’re all fucking ready.  We started this journey with Eastwood Records in the Summer of 2015, endured a line up change in the middle of rehearsals for this record, wrote, re-wrote, added songs, then dropped those songs, and generally put a lot of sweat & time equity into 1865.

And I’m fucking ready.  I’m tired of rehearsing and over-analyzing, I’m ready for what we do best, action.  Action in the studio, action in promotions, and dammit I’m ready to get back to playing shows on the regular.  I’m ready to get back to Nashville, Chicago, and I’m ready to see places that I haven’t seen before.   I’ve made A LOT of music spanning across a lot of genres, and I can 100% for certain, this is the best music I’ve ever been a part of, and I am ready to bring it into the consciousness of the world.  The anxiety I’ve felt over the half year building up to this moment motivated me to sing better, play the banjo and piano better, and has left me as a much better musician because of it.

So when that black cloud of “I can’t even” starts to creep in your head, what will your reaction be?  Will you shut out the world or will you embrace the energy that the anxiety gives you, and make yourself a better you?