The Infamous Stringdusters’ Jeremy Garrett really is something of a rolling stone. Living as he does in a mobile recreational vehicle, he’s not always able to be pinned down. But we caught up with him by phone a few weeks back while he and his wife, Connie, were parked in Colorado waiting for the impending birth of their daughter, Shiloh.
We talked about living on the road full time, and the second set of recordings from his moveable home place, The RV Sessions 2: Instrumentals. These are tunes that were written and recorded, living and rolling in the RV, and also mixed, mastered, and shipped from the road.
He explained how the transition to RVing came about…
“You know, we were in Nashville for like 13 years total, and I was still there even after all the other ‘Dusters left. We knew we wanted to live somewhere in the west, but didn’t know exactly where. We thought, ‘hey… let’s by an RV.’ We went around the United States one year, spent last winter in Arizona, and spent the summer in Colorado since we’re going to have a baby in a few weeks.
Mostly we find parks where we can stay. There are a bunch of really nice national parks, plus campgrounds and private RV parks. The amenities of home are available at these parks – electricity, cable TV,etc. The limited space does force you to think carefully about what you bring home, though.
It’s not for everyone, because two people have to live in a small space, but we wanted to spend more time together. My wife was a professional in Nashville, and worked long hours, and I was out on the road so much. It’s been pretty awesome for me as a musician. I plan to have my family around me as much as I can.
It also gives a young person the unique opportunity to see so much more of the world.”
The industry has even developed a phrase for this sort of lifestyle… glamping, for glamorous camping. And some folks take it to an extreme, seeing how many outrageous luxury items they can add to their motor homes.
But for Jeremy and Connie, it’s been more practicality that’s been at the fore, with the ability to pick up and move on a whim.
Every place and every region has it’s unique things, from food, scenery, fishing, hiking… Arizona has been one of our favorite spots. Being from the northwest, and being used to seeing snow over Christmas, it was kind of fun to see the desert over the holidays.
My wife really loved seeing Niagara Falls. We stayed up there for a couple of months.
But not having a permanent address has its downsides. Things like voting and vehicle registration can be really challenging. My Jeep, which we pull behind, has to be in Nashville once a year to pass emissions tests.
I’m a lucky guy to be able to do what I do, and really blessed with a great fan base that allows us to do it.”
So what about the new CD? Jeremy says it’s all tunes he’s put together while driving, and thinks the car is the prime place to hear it.
I have this ability to hear these tunes in my head. Often I try to put lyrics to a tune, and if I don’t feel them, I’ll just hold it back as an instrumental. This last year of traveling has really inspired these tunes to come out of my heart.
Composing is something that I always loved, but hadn’t had the chance to showcase that yet. I always wanted to do a fiddle album, but didn’t see myself doing a project of traditional fiddle tunes.
I have pretty good recording gear in the RV. It’s not the best, but it’s the best I can afford.”
So he set to work again, recording at home, wherever home might be at the time, multitracking fiddle with himself also playing accompaniment parts on guitar and mandolin. The result is The RV Sessions 2: Instrumentals, available now wherever acoustic and bluegrass music are sold, including Jeremy’s web site.
But Connie didn’t necessarily sign up for living in a recording studio. I asked Garrett how she took to him recording in the limited space of an RV.
You’d be amazed how much you can get done in an RV!”
The new album is offered to radio programmers on Airplay Direct.
Jeremy says that he has enjoyed the process of roving the country and making new music in his mobile home, something that may be coming to a close as they get used to parenthood.
“Pursuing these solo ventures has been really rewarding for me. Finding a way to make them lucrative is the other.”
He also teased that there will be new music from The Infamous Stringdusters soon.
“We just finished a record. It needs a few final touches and then off to mastering. We have some really big things coming up – with a record in the spring. All original – all ‘Dusters.”
Great news for ‘Dusters fans.