I suppose picking the anniversary date for this music blog is a bit arbitrary. The first show I photographed and wrote about was the Indulgers, and that post wasn't published till early July, but the first post on this site which reestablished in my mind that I had a blog called Ravenmount that I wanted to develop was posted June 8th. Ryan Kelly was still in a coma, none of us Thunderheads knew what was going on with him, and I had started posting a daily 'candle' post on tumblr as my contribution to the international online vigil that was going on for Ryan. But, while all that was going on, a former Celtic Thunder singer Paul Byrom was working hard to promote his solo career here in the US, and needed his fans to spread the word. I had no idea if anyone would see it, though I knew hardly anyone read my blog, ever, but it was worth a shot. I liked the notion that I might be able to help talented musicians from Celtic Thunder, as well as local and indie musicians, by way of my blog and social media skills.
A year ago I was a hermit-like student, and had never been in the habit of going out in the evenings, alone or with friends. I had seen the inside of one bar, Road 34, once, in the entirety of my years in Fort Collins, for a friend's rock concert (from which I did come away with a few photos, actually). I had also been to New West Fest once, but almost by accident, while wandering around town looking for a comfy place to read my book. I did put my book away and make it to the front of the stage for Earl Scruggs (and got a few photos). But in over 3 years that was the extent of my exploration of local or live music in Fort Collins. Music has always been a big part of my life, but always in private, on the radio or CDs, and I had settled into a groove with the same few bands and artists keeping me company for years. I knew no local music whatsoever, aside from a vague notion that Danielle Ate The Sandwich and Elephant Revival (who I knew of via youtube) were from someplace in Colorado.
Now, in huge contrast to my former life, I am out on foot somewhere in Fort Collins 4-6 nights a week, taking hundreds of photos each night, and while there are still far too many bands here I have not yet seen or met, I am familiar with a considerable chunk of the local music scene. My Ravenmount facebook page boasts thousands of show photos from a wide range of bands, and I have actually met people randomly at shows who say they are fans of my blog (very crazy thought, and thanks!). Every day that I am out taking in the music scene I am reminded that my success as a music blogger, local music promoter, scenester, or whatever my role should be called, derives from the continued support of the amazing musicians, venue staff and owners, and other music scene folks who make this 'job' worthwhile and who help in various ways to keep my costs down to a minimum so I can keep on taking photos and exploring the music scene while I am figuring out how to keep my rent and utilities paid.
I still have a long, long way to go, but already at one year in I could not have imagined years ago that I would be doing what I am doing or having such a great time doing it. After years of trying to stuff myself into academia, all of a sudden I am surrounded by so many supportive friends and colleagues and immersed in a whole world of creative, interesting, lovely people. I may be insane to think I could support myself financially as a career music blogger, but it would be even more insane to leave behind the world of local live music I live in now, even for the safety and security of a steady paycheck. You only get one life, so why waste your days away in a life you don't love?
Here's a HUGE thank you to all the musicians, event and venue people, and everyone else who has been a part of my first year as a music blogger. It's been great, and I look forward to seeing what year #2 has in store.