This music was born out of struggle. By the end of 2015, I was feeling burned out and exhausted from years of constant gigging and teaching. In May of that year, I lost a close friend, bassist and long-time bandmate, Carl Lindberg. Carl and I co-founded the band Squat in college, and Carl’s encouragement was one of the main reasons I left my graduate studies in Sociology to pursue life as a musician. I couldn’t imagine music without him …
In October of 2015, I fell apart. I had dealt with mild depression in the past, but nothing prepared me for the depressive episode I experienced that Fall. I lost the ability to function and felt stuck in a spiral that I couldn’t get out of. I began therapy and after several failed attempts to find a medicine that worked for me, I found myself in an intensive outpatient program at Ridgeview Institute in Atlanta. I took a break from performing music that I feared would become permanent and struggled to get through my classes at Kennesaw State University.
Over time, I began to get on my feet again with the support of friends and family, and I started to pursue a new interest in yoga and meditation. After reading Jon Kabat Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living, I took a life changing 8-week course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Atlanta Mindfulness Institute. I knew I needed to find a new path forward if I was going to continue working as a musician. For too long I had let music define me, and I let the pressures of life as a musician overwhelm me.
A 2016 house concert of original music with my quartet was a turning point. Even though I had debated canceling it many times, it was healing to make music with close friends in front of a supportive audience. By the end of that year, I began talking with vocalist Laura Coyle about starting a new duo project together. We each welcomed the idea of having a partner to share the business side of music with, freeing up more time for creative collaboration.
In 2018, drummer and producer Marlon Patton approached me about documenting the songs that I had written during this tumultuous period. Begin Again features many of the groups and musicians that I have worked with over my career including the Trey Wright Trio, the Hibbard/Wright Project, Squat, and Laura Coyle. It was particularly meaningful to pay tribute to Carl Lindberg by recording his song “Looking at Each Other” with Squat members Darren Stanley, Kevin Hyde, and Tommy Somerville.
This music is not meant to be sad. In many ways, it is quite the opposite. For me, it is life affirming. The songs “Begin Again” and “May You Be Free” were inspired by my readings and exploration of mindfulness and the song “Me and Einstein” is dedicated to my many adventures with my nine year old son Timothy. I am forever thankful for the friends and family that stuck by my side during this period (you know who you are!). I hope you enjoy the music on this record. For me, it is cathartic and a reminder that you can always begin again.
Trey Wright, January 2019