I find myself with my lack of newsletters apologizing for the lack of communication. I've been off my game for a while, though I do have some updates on what's been happening with me regarding music and non-music things related below. But again am sorry for not being in touch via this newsletter!
Of course now that we are spending most of our time indoors (I hope you are) given the COVID-19 virus situation, I have had more time on my hands since my music performances are cancelled meaning I have no income coming in.
That said, I am in fairly good spirits and am starting to do online performances on Facebook which I am listing below. Plus I have been teaching yoga as well which I'll also share a bit about below too.
What was Happening Before the Virus for Me?
In a nutshell, life was busy. I have continued to play music for a living and in the past several months added teaching 6 yoga classes a week to my schedule.
2019 was a bit of a crazy year. The house I own with my wife had many surprises and fixes that came out of the blue. Every month there was something new large and small. We still love our house, which is only 14 years old, but some things were at the end of their life that needed attention.
We also dealt with taking care of two sick pets. Our dog Rocky who we adopted over a year ago tested positive for heart worm, which he got treated for last spring and as of October he is heart worm free. Last spring our oldest cat Riley started losing weight and was diagnosed with cancer and we started home chemo treatment along with other medications for 10 months. But his declining health continued over time and just recently on March 9th he was at his worst and we had to let him go.
And there were other things that took up a lot of my time and money. Everything from music equipment breaking down to my car's engine dying and needing replaced. There was literally something every month that had to be taken care of.
So, it was partly a year of expensive things to take care of which I had to focus on. With that said there were many great things such as watching our nephew grow (he just turned one in February), I celebrated being a musician for 10 years in the fall, also celebrated 5 years of marriage, started teaching yoga classes, and of course continued to play lots of shows where I live in Charlottesville as well as DC, Northern Virginia and Richmond. I spend a lot of time in my car these days, but still very much enjoy playing music.
Now that I Cannot Play What's Happening with Music?
As you probably know, I play anywhere from 4-7 music performances a week. And now that is ZERO. I am part of the "gig economy" as it's called as an independent contractor. When I do not play, I do not get paid, so as of now I do not have an income.
I'm not saying that to make you feel bad for me, no one expected what is happening right now and it's out of my control and not my fault. I also feel for anyone else in the same position as me--restaurant workers, fellow musicians, some teachers, gym and fitness instructors--any job that requires someone to be amongst gatherings of people which cannot happen right now.
I took last week to just get a sense of what I needed to do for myself with this new normal and decided I needed to simply continue my routine of playing music (and teaching yoga). If I don't play a part of me is missing and I'm not being who I am. Much of my decision is to not have this disruption cause a disconnection within me.
Online Shows is the New Norm
For my new norm, I am playing on Facebook three times a week, each performance with a theme that I am listing below. One is with my duo FarAway which includes my wife Sara and the two others are solo. I am putting up Virtual Tip Jars with my Venmo and PayPal information (listed below), which helps me to pay my living expenses (mortgage, utilities, internet, food, etc). If you can be of help, I will note who you are and send a personal thank you to you.
Below is the schedule I am going with:
"Tuesday Tributes" with FarAway 7pm
Every Tuesday Sara and I are picking a band or artist and playing some of their music while also raising donations for a charity, non-profit, fund, or someone in need of help due to COVID-19. Our first one was last night and we played songs from The Lumineers and donations went to the Charlottesville Restaurant Community Fund, which is providing financial assistance to restaurant employees who are unable to pay a bill at this time.
Shows are broadcast from our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/FarAwaySongs
Friday Happy Hour with Brian 6-7pm (Starts March 27th)
Every Friday being the end of the work week (if you're working or just need to know what day it is) I'll be playing upbeat songs as we head into the weekend. I'll have a couple drinks I will share on camera from places I enjoy craft beer or wine from and we can talk about what we enjoy to drink and music as well.
Shows are broadcast from my Facebook Page:
Sunday Supper Time with Brian 530-615pm (Starts March 29th)
Every Sunday as you cook or eat dinner I'll play chill, laid back tunes. Each Sunday I'll share a recipe of something I enjoy making (that you can hopefully get ingredients for in stores).
Shows are broadcast from my Facebook Page:
VIRTUAL TIP JARS:
For now that is my update for you and I hope to see you online. Again my apologies for being out of touch and I am hoping you are safe, healthy and being smart at this time. Please drop me a note any time as I'd love to hear from you.
Be well and take care!
- Brian Franke