Pictures and thoughts from a Memphis Musician's Wife

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On a stormy day in Memphis, B.B. King was honored with one of the most moving memorial ceremonies I have been witness too on Beale Street. The King of the Blues, as he was so affectionately called, was honored with a musical celebration fit for a king. I was blessed to be able to be backstage for the entire show because Ghost Town Blues Band opened the ceremony with a selection. That day was amazingly special for so many reasons, but the biggest for me was that Ty was able to be a part of the entire celebration. It was an amazing atmosphere, filled with emotion, love, and music.

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Being a part of a touring band is a unique experience. Your life revolves around being on the road. It’s almost as if time stops while you are on tour. I toured for the past 5 years in one capacity or another. As of a few weeks ago, I am no longer doing so. Now, it’s back to the real world. 

This is definitely not an easy transition. Life on the road is so different. It’s something new every day. A different city, venue, people, and food selection are just a few of the things you get used too. 

For me, I was touring with my husband. He is still on tour, and now I am home. I shouldn’t complain. I can be here for my kids and family. I have a job I am blessed to work. But it is hard adjusting back into society after having been a part of the music world for so long. It’s hard not seeing my spouse for weeks at a time, especially since we have not spent more than a few days apart in the 7 years we have been together. It’s hard feeling like a single parent because I’m the only one here. It’s hard not being able to talk about how I feel because not many people get it. It’s hard seeing 5 years of work and honing my skills as a merch person basically flushed down the drain. It’s hard talking to him on the phone and imagining all that I am missing. Once again… Tears. 

I find myself crying uncontrollably after I speak to my husband on the phone. It’s hard to sleep and eat. I just don’t know how to cope. I don’t know how to express why I feel the way I feel. 

I hate change, and this one is big. So…I will do what I do daily. I will get up, follow my routine. Stay strong because that’s what my kids need. I will go to work and smile through the pain. I will keep going. There is nothing else to do. Giving up is not an option here!

Do they know?

Do they really know what we do when they are gone? We cook. We clean. We do laundry. We help with homework. We get kids to school and choir rehearsal, and then we get those kids to our other kid’s activities. We make sure they are all entertained, fed, bathed, and dressed ever morning and night. 

Road life is hard, but home life is no piece of cake. The routine at home is monotonous many days, while road life is hectic and always changing. Making the change has confused my body. My mind still thinks like I’m on the road. It’s hard not to ask questions when I am not there. Life. Death.  Changes. They are inevitable. I wonder if he understands how I feel. I wonder if anyone does. 

It’s not often that you see wives on the road with bands. Most bands ban significant others from touring because it can cause major problems. It can be hard to separate personal from business when you are working together, let alone being on the road for days or weeks at a time. I’m still working at making sure I am more help than harm to the guys when I am on the road. I know that all these female hormones can sometimes be crazy, but I’d like to think I’ve done a decent job of keeping them in check…

I started this post a little over two years ago. Jeremy was in a different band, and it seems like a lifetime ago, even though it hasn’t even been a year since the switch. Other things have happened, too. We got primary custody of my stepdaughter. We became full time parents overnight. That really threw a wrench in things. I am also no longer a touring wife. I am now just normal Mary…Musician’s wife, mother, daughter, sister, waitress, aunt, and a few other things. 

My life has been through so many changes in the past few years. The emotional rollercoaster gets overwhelming at times. I balance my kids’ schedules, work at the restaurant, Jeremy’s schedule, and whatever others need into one tightly connected schedule. Now, I am home pretty much full time. I have a driving teenager, an eight year old with activities, and a 28 year old musician husband with gigs and driving Lyft in his spare time, what little he has just to make ends meet. I’m not the only one who has this predicament, and I most certainly won’t be the last. 

The band change was huge for us. We left a family we helped develop and mold for another family starting from the ground floor. Jeremy had the opportunity to be signed with the legendary Stax Records, and it was almost like a sign from God. I knew this could be a good step for us. We jumped in with both feet. We have been through many trials during this journey. Due to many circumstances, none bad, I now stay at home. My kids need stable parenting at home, and we needed the money since I am working at a better location of my restaurant. It is a new opportunity, and I have been grateful to feel a little normal the last few weeks. 

But still… This change… It bothers me. My life for the past almost 7 years has been spent with Jeremy at gigs. Being his right hand became my career. Now, that road life is over. I am home most nights on the phone with him imagining what we would be doing if I was there while we trade sighs on the phone. I knew it was coming. It’s just such a big change. I didn’t know I would miss it this much. 

My Two Jobs

Balancing two totally different lifestyles can be tedious. Most people have no clue of what it is like to travel with a band full time. Most people think it is all fun and music, lots of beer and liquor, and great hotels. This is not always the case. Some days, we spend more time on the band van going to and from the gig than they actually play. Sometimes you arrive at a venue that is so small you would never expect to be able to have a good turnout or good sales, but it turns out to be one of the best gigs you play. There are long days and not a lot of sleep. You spend many of your hours sleeping on a van. You eat good sometimes, and other times you don’t eat anything but gas station food for days. My official job title with Ghost Town Blues Band is “merch lady.” However, at times, I help drive the van, move equipment, play ambassador when the guys are on stage, take photo and video to document the band’s exploits, and whatever else is needed of me. You see, I am normally the only band wife/girlfriend to ride along. I have tried to be an asset to the band, and it has taken me so many places I never thought I would see. Today, I was able to go see Niagara Falls with Jeremy and see one of the most beautiful sights in the United States. I always look forward to seeing what new places we will go and all the beautiful things we get to see.

Then, there is my other job. I am a waitress at one of the best sushi/ Japanese restaurants in Memphis. I love my job because I get to meet so many awesome people. It has always been so amazing to me seeing all the differences in people. I love bringing a smile to people’s faces. This was originally a job I took so Jeremy wouldn’t have to work so much in the summer and we would have income in the winter time, when things got slow on Beale Street. It has now turned into a full time job for me whenever I am not touring with the band.

Balancing these two jobs can be difficult. I usually have to find time to manage Jeremy’s band in between all the other things going on: working at the restaurant, being mom (part-time) to Tytianna and my 14 year old son, keeping my house taken care of (although Jeremy has been doing most of that lately because I am rarely home), taking care of 7 dogs (yes 7), and doing things for my mom. There is not much time for personal time, getting haircuts or nails done, or even going on a date. I have yet to learn how to balance all my activities. If i had about three more of me, maybe I would get everything done in a timely manner. That, however is impossible.

So, it has been a long while since my last post. I didn’t have a computer, and it is such a pain to post from my phone, so I just didn’t post for a while. SO much has changed since then. Ghost Town Blues Band has now taken off, making a big splash everywhere they go. Our little drummer is now a full fledged trumpeter and in school. Jeremy is touring full time and not really playing in Memphis much these days. Suavo J. featuring Mr. 88 and the Bones is now Suavo J and 88Bones and actually playing at better venues, getting paid much better than before. I have literally traveled through every time zone in the country as Ghost Town’s official merch lady. I have tons of adventures to talk about. This has been one crazy ride in the past two years. Hopefully you will keep up with me once again.

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