Prelude to Sojourn
Six months ago, I hopped on a bus to Florida in hopes of bettering my future.
The last three years had been so hectic. One minute you’re a senior celebrating graduation. Basking in the glow of freedom, entering a world of promise and endless possibility. A summer of debauchery shortly followed. Long nights of laughter and libations, hazy-eyed smiles, and flirtatious glances. An almost innocent newfound maturity. There was nothing innocent about it, but you were young, yet to be thoroughly sullied by the less than enchanting realities of a daunting future adulthood. But in an instant, the biggest loss you could imagine strips you bare to the bone. Exposing every insecurity, fear, and inner quarrel you’d kept buried. Some you didn’t even know you had.
Years flew by as quickly as friendships faded and relationships crumbled; soon I found myself stuck. Floating adrift an expanse of misery. But somehow in this darkness, I found purpose. I remembered the long nights of airing my grievances to six steel strings . The solace I found in Hendrix, in Bowie, and in Lennon. The time-honored carols that spoke to me more than anyone in my generation ever could. The emotions they roused in me that I thought were left to perish. I unlocked a newfound vitality that began to manifest itself in songs. Chronicling my experiences, my reflections on my surroundings, and my deepest struggles. Much like how he and many other friends helped bring me back into the light, Nate helped bring this project to life. He pushed me and also made me push back when necessary. Together we created something much greater than the sum of our parts.
The dreams we’ve had since we were 8 years old finally seem to be beginning to manifest. I can only hope this is the beginning of something neither of us can imagine.
In these ten tracks lie the darkest points of my life. They also contain the moments that brought me out, the moments the bring me to where I am today. But most importantly, they harbor the burdens I once carried. I don’t have to take my past with me anymore. I don’t have to carry a chip on my shoulder; it’s all in here. I finally feel like the next phase of my life is truly beginning, like I’m finally up to cruising altitude. But I won’t forget what I’ve had to go through, I won’t forget what I’ve learned. I’ll just put it to the side and draw on it when I need it. Because now I feel invincible, and now I feel like anything is possible.
This is my story, this is my SOJOURN.
released February 11, 2017
Music Written, Performed, and Arranged by: Ryland Wilkins
Music Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by: Nate Graves
Music Produced by: Blacklight Era (Nate Graves and Ryland Wilkins)
Album Cover by: Kaj Mallari
Photography by: Ryland Wilkins and Jalal Reha
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