Why do we crave art? What does it give us?

I always think about this when preparing for a show – like my show this Saturday at the Crosby Center in Belfast, Maine [read about the show – buy tix here – see my personal map of Maine so you can tell friends in New England]

I’ll tell you a story about that craving …

In Germany years ago, on tour with my band, I had sunk into a deep depression. It became a long stillness, a sleep-walk,  after three minutes of elation. For three glorious minutes one night I had committed to being married – a surrender that opened the black, starry sky with willingness and possibility beyond anything I’d ever experienced.

Three minutes later the engagement was over.

Followed by days of crowded isolation — feeling alone and unable to experience what was around me, no matter how many people were there.

Oh, I looked like I was there, I almost thought I was — but it was as if I’d turned off the heat on my experience of life, put a lid on it and shifted it to the back burner.

I walked around like that for days, sleep-walking in a dim sense I wasn’t there, like no amount of coffee could wake me up.

Until …

Walking down a crowded market street – one of those cobbled old European pedestrian areas with no cars – I saw a group of street performers on the corner. Maybe five players, so engaged and alive – music flavored with Flamenco and rich harmonies.

I walked up close. I was drawn close – and I simply stood there. I watched, and listened, and experienced – not just the music, but the movement, the sound, the energy, the life – the experience of being there.

And I LOST myself in their performance.

And in that moment, all the darkness lifted. It was as if I’d been blocking the doorway to my own soul – and, with that ‘me’ out of the way –  my soul came strolling back, refreshed and joyful.

I woke up.


I woke up.

To myself, to my life, to the possibility of living.

And THAT is why we crave art, music, dance, poetry: To be lifted from the burden of consciousness for a moment. To unblock the doorway of connection. To open the door to our souls. To wake up – from a sleep we we only half-perceive we’re in.

The experiencing of music – of art – opens the doorway to ourselves.

And THAT is why I play music.

For myself. For other people. To get lost so I can be found.

And that’s why I’ll be playing on the street as well as in the concert hall …

I’ll be playing on THE STREET in Belfast, Maine the day before my show at the Crosby Center this Friday evening during the Belfast Art-Walk  – in celebration of WHY I play music and the musicians who have changed my life with their own joy of music.

If you’re anywhere near, join me on the street and in the theater. If you’ve got friends in New England, send them to the links below!

Join me Saturday, Aug. 24th at the Crosby Center in Belfast, Maine.

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