Reflections from the Road
By Molly ConnollyTwo weeks ago, the rising indie rock band, The Lighthouse and the Whaler, left Cleveland, OH to embark on a nation wide tour of their new album. Mont Royale, which released August 28th of this year, has been gaining traction both domestically and abroad with highlights being a music video featured on MTV and a warm Australian welcome covered in that country’s Rolling Stone.It’s a normal rhythm for the four members of the band. They are used to it by now after 7+ years of being together: driving all day to a new city, loading into the venue around 4pm, running sound check, grabbing some quick local fare, playing a show, packing up gear, finding a hotel, repeat.This is a far cry from my typical routine though. As an Associate at Clapham I keep a pretty strict 9-5 schedule and covet my 8 hours of sleep each night, but for these four weeks, I’ve surrendered all hope of rest in order to join them on the road as a touring member. I still stay “LinkedIn” (as my band mates like to call it) during the day, checking email and being on phone calls, but come night, I moonlight as the violinist/keyboardist for the band.Despite what social media would have us believe about our favorite artists, it’s not a glamorous lifestyle. The road is grueling, but for decades bands have slugged it out in order to bring their music to their fans in person and hopefully, in the process, gain a few new listeners.At a time when the music landscape is more saturated than ever, success for an upcoming band truly relies on the ticket buyer and this means that touring is really the only tangible way for an artist to gauge his success and see the effects of his art with his own eyes. I’ve seen people truly moved by this music. One couple in San Francisco shared that they walked down the aisle to a TLATW song and another family travelled over 700 miles to come see us play.We started in St. Louis, made our way across the Midwest and down the West Coast. It’s been back-to-back shows in new cities each night, with the changing of time zones making tour feel somewhat like a parallel universe. Yesterday was a day off; dedicated to driving the 14-hour stretch from Phoenix to Austin. Around 11pm we broke down in west Texas with little of anything in sight, save for a few abandoned buildings and roaming dogs. Though we tried to make it to the nearest town, the terrible grinding underneath the front tires quickly made us realize it was a bad idea. Eventually, with a ride from the local Sheriff and a tow back to El Paso, we were able to formulate a plan and get back on the road early this morning. We’ll be cutting it close, but I think we are going to make it in time and won’t have to cancel the show tonight. It’s times like this when the grit and tenacity that band life inevitably builds comes in handy; turning what could have been a stressful experience into a story we’ll all be retelling for while.The view from inside the tour van may not always be the most comfortable, but I feel privileged to be able to observe a group of artists doing what they believe God has called them to do at this point in their life no matter the cost. They’ve left jobs, their families and a sense of stability in hopes that people resonate with the truths they are sharing through their music on the road. I see their hard work and admire their efforts. Ultimately, I am grateful for this unique opportunity that is shaping my own artistic voice and the chance to create a meaningful musical experience for people across the country.Next stop: Austin, TX.