Sad? Scared? Hell, no!

This morning I was in the hospital for one of several procedures over the past month and continuing over the next several days. Laying there, I suddenly became very emotional and teary-eyed, and the nurse asked me what was wrong, as they hadn't even started the anesthesia yet. I told her nothing was wrong; quite the contrary. I was overcome with the good fortune I've had and how immeasurably wealthy I feel.

When you get into music at an early age (I was fifteen in this photo and already gigging up a storm), the measure of success is always being rich and famous. In fact, the running joke with the lifelong friend who took this photo is that, to this day, every time he sees me, he asks, "So, are you famous yet?"

It takes a while for you to realize that the true measure of success is the experiences playing music brings you. I've made a lot of money doing this, and there were times when I LOST a lot of money doing this. I've traveled the world and seen a lot of places many folks will never get to see.

Strange that I rarely find myself remembering a particular studio session or gig or musical moment onstage. I'm always thinking about things like:

Cookouts and beers and football at the soundman's condo with the band the day after a hometown gig ...

Or sitting around jamming with my folks in the old house at an impromptu after-party after playing bass for them on one of their gigs…

Or feeling the cold wind on the deck of the ferry from Germany to Denmark looking out at the Baltic Sea on the way to my first time playing Copenhagen…

Or retrieving a round of drinks in a bar for the rest of the band (who were all in their 30s) when I was 17, and having the bartender say he couldn't serve me and I had to leave, and me saying, “Then you ain't got no music tonight, pal.”

Or growing up sitting around with old friends playing guitars and mandolins and pianos and banjos and washtub bass and funky stuff until the wee hours, eating and drinking too much, while unwittingly learning how to actually play and sing.

Or hitting on the hottest chick in the room after a gig in Germany; a "chick" who is now my wife and the most amazing person I've ever encountered…

Or the many great friends who have called and checked up on me the past few weeks to see how I'm doing. My dad used to call these kind of people "foxhole friends." I treasure each one of you more than you can possibly know.

I'm not afraid of anything anymore, and looking forward to making a lot more music - and memories - with all of you.  See y'all out there when all this is over.