In the Spring of 2009, I was in my third year of living in Seattle, and had never felt more trapped. Caught in a vortex of heartache and frustration after another failed relationship, dealing with a band on the rocks, and coping with the crushing corporate monotony of my day job, I was ready to hang it all up and drive back home over the Rockies – Chicago, specifically – to live with my parents and get a fresh start. I stumbled through the summer largely alone, clumsily attempting to tie up loose ends with my remaining obligations and living like there was no tomorrow, as I knew I’d never be coming back.
It took that period of self-indulgence and confronting the three years prior head-on to bring me to the realization that moving back home wasn’t what I really wanted (I didn’t know what it was exactly, but moving back into the basement wasn’t it), and that as soon as I got back to Chicago, I’d start fantasizing about escaping again, taking the first ticket out of town and making the same mistakes all over again.
The song I wrote in this period, Empty Road, alludes to many things – wanderlust, self-loathing, nostalgia for times that have hardly even passed by – but what I mostly wanted to get across was that while escaping to the open road is an incredibly freeing, and often is a very necessary step towards finding clarity and getting closer to achieving true happiness, it’s really just that – a means to an end. For me, that end was moving somewhere new without baggage, (only three hours south to Portland, OR), eventually ditching the corporate job in pursuit of a music career, and getting a lot more sleep, but I like to think the message of the song is universal.