#8 Navigating COVID and Rebuilding the Band

by | May 8, 2023

Shortly after the Amos’ debacle, the world shut down due to COVID, which particularly affected live music and other events. Man, what a hit that so many people had to take financially, and even more so mentally. I’ve always felt like true musicians feel compelled to share their craft even during the darkest of times, and so Mike and I tried following suit with some Facebook live videos that were a total SMASH HIT. People LOVED them and were literally tuning in from several states and even other countries.

It was a little weird to start with playing without any kind of in-person live crowd feedback; however, my wife, Julie, did a great job reading all of the online comments to us. One cool aspect of our live videos was that we decided to play outside on my deck in front of the She Shed I’d built for Julie, a setting that people seemed to enjoy. We actually called each show “Songs from the She Shed,”  and we even did a few shows from our pad out at Lake Tillery. Some neighbors stopped by for one of them and asked if they could hang around and listen since it was outside. They had actually heard us a time or two before and walked over to enjoy the show. We started having friends come by and hang out while we were playing too, so we ended up with a small crowd a few times. They were great times and nothing but fond memories, along with a bit of a reminder that we had some damn good music written and a lot of fans who were dying to hear it. 

This was when I decided to really make a push for the album, BUT, I didn’t have a band, per se. So, I chose to take that time and see what I could do with the eight or so songs that I wanted to eventually record. I have never been really great at writing bridges and had roughly four songs that I thought could use a bridge. I called a good friend, Josh Daniels (who is an amazing singer and songwriter), and asked if he would help me out a bit. At the time, Josh was turning into one of the most live-streamed artists in the country, and I was so honored to have him give me a hand. We did some work together, and a couple of the songs ultimately made the album. 

From there it was time for me to begin rebuilding my band. Mike, Chip, and I were all in, but finding a bass player and drummer combination is a tall order for anyone. It’s hard enough to find either a bass player or drummer who plays well enough and fits your style, and it’s almost fucking impossible to find two that fit AND groove well together. 

I put in a call to someone I had been trying to get to jam with me for over 30 fucking years. YEP, you heard that right—more than 30 years! From the first time I saw Trey Walker play drums, I knew he would be a perfect fit for the music I wanted to play; however, he didn’t see it that way back then. He was also pretty sought-after and ultimately played on seven or so albums and inked some record deals along the way. I had heard that he really wasn’t doing much musically then, so I thought it would be the perfect time to give him a call. I explained my vision, and surprisingly enough, he said, “Sure, man, sign me up. I’ll boogie with you guys!” HOLY FUCK I thought, I just landed Trey Walker on drums! Man, what a great day that was. I was, however, in the middle of building our home, and I told Trey and everyone else that I had a jam room/bar drawn on the plans, and as soon as the house was finished we would begin rehearsing, and to be ready to play out live in late 2023 or early 2024. 

The last piece of this puzzle was finding a bass player, and Robert Conrad was the obvious choice. He and I had played together in Satchel Foot for over 12 years. We had also recently performed together for the first time in MANY years, and it was like we had never left the stage. Rob understood my playing, he knew some of the newer songs, and he simply has an ear for music that many musicians don’t have. He was interested and ready to jam, and everyone else was ready to welcome him and Trey. We had the final pieces in place, and I now had my band. I just needed to keep everyone on board until I could get the house built. The NEW Deep Shallow Band was finally intact.