After moving into my apartment, the amusement of settling into a new life commenced.  The uncertainty of each new day became a thrill rather than a burden, and Austin’s warm and vivacious nature began to reveal itself.

The prospects in this town are liberating and plentiful.  Austin’s clamoring appetite enlivens the hopes of thousands of gifted musicians, and pays homage to a musician’s true badge of honor: his musicianship.

And despite the climate of a fiercely competitive industry, these thousands of musicians look out for one another, and encourage each other to follow a dream that only a select few will fulfill.  They toil away with stubborn optimism and relentless vigor at the most up-hill of pursuits, and the most uncertain of endeavors.

Amidst this surplus of talent and ambition, one is forced to reflect, and inevitably ask: how do I distinguish myself?

In one week I have seen a dozen guitar players that know the Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn catalogues top to bottom.  I have seen them walk into crowds as they play, wowing audiences with tricks Buddy Guy used 50 years ago, and posing for iPhone pictures in the middle of a solo.  And it is awesome.

So how can an out-of-town, upstart solo musician compete with such awe-inspiring performances?

The answer, I believe, lies in craftsmanship.  Craftsmanship, and the artist’s pursuit of authenticity and perfection by original means, is where there is room to move.

I will not overlook the gimmicks and showmanship of live performance, as they are near and dear to my heart.  But if I focus on my identity as a craftsman, and hold my artisanship slightly above my musicianship, perhaps I will find my niche.

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