State Of The Union

What an amazing week celebrating our sixteenth anniversary! Almost no technology. We sent the kids to Texas to spend time with grandparents (thanks, grandparents). And all by ourselves Becky and I painted the living room, bought some furniture, didn’t cook a single meal, never touched laundry or dishes, and mostly just enjoyed uninterrupted conversation and silence and not having a to-do list. Spectacular.

And now…back to work. Here’s what’s on my to-do list this week.

  • Uganda in November: Plan A for the Compassion Bloggers trip to Uganda in November has unraveled. Working on plan B this week and a whole new round of invitations to bloggers.
  • An Advent Album: I’m in talks with a producer about recording an Advent album in August, which is different from a Christmas album. It might contain some of the same standard Christmas carols but there would be a greater emphasis on waiting and preparing for Christ’s birth. Trying to write a little every day in hopes of finding the right songs for this album. The producer is working out a budget this week. And if all goes well – budget and songs – I’ll launch a Kickstarter project next week to raise the funds for recording and manufacturing.
  • Help Wanted: Micah is my lone employee. He handles booking, advancing, road managing, plays a plethora of instruments on-stage and sings background vocals. Micah’s taking a break from the road for a while – probably a long while – to spend time with his family. He’s a good man, impossible to replace, but that’s what I have to do. He’ll still handle booking and advancing of concerts but I’ll need a road manager who can also play and sing. The search is on this week. It’s like hunting for a unicorn – odds aren’t good.
  • Painting: I don’t paint much these days – not enough time – but now that we’ve repainted the walls of our living room, we’re in need of some new art. Furniture arrives Wednesday and new paintings go up shortly after. Maybe a post of a work in progress next week?
  • New site: I’m meeting with Ben from Louder Media this afternoon to nail down the details of the new shaungroves.com design. Site launches by October 1.
  • New branding: I’ve hired Chaz Russo to create a new logo for this site. Ben will build the rest of the site around Chaz’s work. The logo makes use of custom type, hand-drawn by Chaz. I weed through versions this week and hopefully we whittle our way to the final design by Friday. Then I’ll turn the logo into new business cards and stationary soon after.
  • Guitar repair and replace: I play a Yamaha CPX15, a road dog that cannot be broken by the most ill-tempered baggage handler. And I also play a 1968 Gibson J45 deluxe – a fragile beautiful vintage instrument that has been broken again and again. I’ve repaired the neck three times. This week I’ll get it repaired again and then retire it from the road and buy a guitar that will travel better in its place. I’m leaning toward a Martin but it sure is pricey. Anybody got a used amazing guitar for sale?
  • Advent Tour: Last year’s Acoustic Advent tour went so well that Micah and I decided to do it again this year. And with the possibility of an Advent album it makes even more sense. But with Micah now unable to play with me on that tour I have to decide if I want to go it alone or hire a couple guys to play in his place (yes, it takes two men to do the work of one Micah). I don’t think this Advent album will work all that well solo but it’s impossible to hire players (and transport them and their gear) if I’m doing shows for free. So I’m wondering if anyone would book me and two players for a price. Or if people are so used to getting me for free that they’ll balk at paying anything to host me. The decision has to be made this week.

Those are the big items on my list today. Is there anything on yours we could pray you through or help out with?

My biggest prayer request is finding the right person to replace Micah on the road. That person has be a great musician and a great hang, self-starting, problme-solving, diplomatic, representing me and Compassion and Christ well no matter what, and keeping me positive and sane on the road day after day. God, help me.

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