All of us are very affected by where we end up settling down, and where we have grown up, but one thing is for sure, that many musicians have had to be “nomadic”, to say the least! Sometimes, it’s very important to really pick yourself up and go to where you really should be.
Many players spend a long time being, or attaining to be, a “big fish in a small pond.” This can serve as being very satisfactory for a long time, and can also be a great learning experience, but sooner or later you have to really make the move that will be the one you need to really make it in the “big time.” For many this can mean coming to New York, or maybe Nashville or L.A., but regardless of where you go, sometimes it’s just the right stimulus you need to help “jump start” your career.
I know that when I first moved to Philadelphia to go to school, along with my band, we had an immediate incentive to drive forward with our career. Then I moved to Woodstock on my own, which gave me another strong incentive, although I was much more “alone” feeling, and was still cutting my teeth on the whole aspect of being a performing and session guitarist at a very young age. Finally, after that I came back to NYC to start a really much more “aggressive” career in the studios of New York, while also continuing to build my touring and solo career as well.
In every case, the act of “transplanting” myself always seemed to lead to a new and higher form of creativity within my own playing, as well as “stepping up” my career itself. I think if you do this one day, you’ll be amazed at how “turning over a new leaf” and changing location can really impact your career in a positive way. I have encouraged many old friends as well as students to finally get up and do this for themselves, and it has always paid off.
In my case there have also been some moves that even though they seemed “obvious” were moves I just couldn’t pull the trigger on. There were many places I considered, such as Nashville and Austin, because even though I’m NY born and raised, my Country and Blues roots were much stronger than many NY players had, and I thought my playing would be far more appreciated in these places where so much of my “sound” had originally come from.
So, I certainly do recommend that you bring yourself to a place where your playing and where your music would be most appreciated. But please remember to do this at the right time, and not too early. This was the mistake I made with Woodstock, as the band I went there to form in 1971 at the age of 18 was to break up so soon, I couldn’t really establish myself there. The unusual outcome though, was that after I moved back to NY after the one year in Woodstock, all my work seemed to come via Woodstock after all, and everyone thought of me as coming from that “scene”, even though I no longer lived there! Hope your journeys all prove fruitful!