Greetings from the other side of the beard! Firstly, the eagle eyed cherries amongst you may have noticed I changed the name of this page from 'blog' to 'news'... mainly because a 'blogger' is committed to keeping their readers updated on an ongoing basis with a commitment to some form of frequency and, often, a greater standard of writing than I had been managing! I'll now just post any major Sam Eason developments here if they really warrant a shout out! To contradict myself a little, some of the news bulletins may be slightly bloggish in their appearance in that they may ramble a bit (come on, it's me!) as I unpack my mind but please don't feel any obligation to read it all, I'll try and bold any important points on the agenda!
Aaaaanyway. Just wanted to fill in a bit of the story behind my forthcoming Undertow EP (Jan 28th) . Those of you who have been on the journey with me on a musical level for a while will know I've never been the most prolific writer (1-2 songs a year?) so the thought of announcing a launch gig in 3 months for a full EP of songs not yet written may have been a little silly. I do have past form with this sort of thing though - remember BathSongs? With BathSongs, I at least had around 400 years of history to fall back on; the material was there, I just had to convert some of it to songs (bypassing the pesky step of actually coming up with ideas!). The reason I wanted to set myself the challenge again (with the added pressure of it being a truly blank page and having to be about, y'know, feelings and stuff) was that it had pretty much got to a do-or-die for me musically and I'd pretty much much decided to pack it all in.
Context - I suffer with depression. I'm generally in a good place now after a job change and some time on anti-depressants but for years where I hadn't recognised or dealt with the illness, I was having long spells where I was barely functioning in my roles as a father, husband, friend or in work. Music through that time was my outlet and escape. There were many times when the old spinning plates were just about to fall off and I'd be able to claw back by playing a gig, writing a song or just picking up the guitar and plucking out some chords. Often when I was at my most engaging or functioning on stage would be the times that things were the darkest. I won't turn this into a big essay on depression but if you do one thing today whether you suffer from a mental illness yourself or just want to understand it more is to buy the incredible book 'Reasons To Stay Alive' by Matt Haig.
Through making a few big changes at home, a stint on medication and through the support of the most incredible family, I have learned to manage my depression and am now on a completely different plain to where I have been for the last 4-5 years. As a result, I haven't felt the need to pick up the guitar, play gigs or write songs. I haven't needed the outlet. I had almost got to the point of putting out there that I wasn't planning on gigging or writing anymore as I didn't want to think of anyone anticipating anything more from me. After playing a rare gig in October supporting the amazing Littlemen in Bath, I somehow felt that the embers had not quite gone out and thought that I might try giving the engine one last kick-start to see if there was anything left worth building back up. Hence the Undertow EP and the 3 month writing challenge!
So... Undertow and the theme of the EP. The thing about depression, as any sufferer will tell you is that it's a life-long illness. You can medicate and develop coping mechanisms to make the effects lesser or almost non-existent but it will always be there. Even now, I'll get a day or part-day where I'll feel the 'black dog' at my side; a wave of hopelessness or a sense of being pulled down, but I know I have come up before and with my family around me, I will carry on coming up again. Despite the Undertow, I'll always be fighting to get back to the shore.
Look after yourself, look out for each other xxxx
L A T E S T N E W S