The Power of a Stage


In 2015 I built a stage in my detached garage. You read correctly. A stage. At the time I only had a small vision of what having a stage in my garage would mean. I thought maybe someday someone can use it to share a song with me and some friends. I thought maybe it would feel more comfortable for an emerging artist to perform intimately than at a traditional venue.  There is no way I could have foreseen how something as simple as a stage could have brought so many people together in my community. Within the first year of building the stage and small recording studio, Heidi and I hosted so many house shows and events that we had to be careful not to double book. Touring bands, local artists, songwriters,  friends, and pets would gather around and on this stage in full frontal creative nudity (pardon my analogy. Nobody was naked. That I know of).  It gets even better, even the couple that bought or house in SLC were inspired to buy the house in part because of that stage. Ill cover more of that surreal story in a later chapter.

Throughout my time as a musician I have been involved with production or performing in various recording studios.  Too often the engineer or producer would immediately pick up his phone and check facebook as soon as someone started recording. That doesn’t feel very good to have the person who’s responsible for the end listener experience care more about some stupid meme with cats in it than listening and contributing to the culmination of your audible and emotional passion.  Think about that the next time someone is talking to you and you are staring at your phone. I’m guilty of it. I suppose that is one good thing about not having internet out here is that no story or conversation is as long as it takes to load one picture of a stupid cat. All of this to iterate that being involved can have a huge impact. Even if it’s getting involved in a small way.  Invite someone to hear about your dreams or what you’re working on next and then only take up half the time talking about what you want to accomplish and start asking about what they want to accomplish. Being interested and listening to the passions of my peers while remaining passionate is as challenging and important as incorporating grace and compassion in my daily life.  Though it may not seem that creativity is as valuable a human pursuit as the other endeavors, I would beg to differ. Without a person’s desire to build something there is little to restore. 

I know I went a little “Johnny’s Guide to Being Decent” and for that I’m sorry. It may or may not happen again.

Looking back on everything that I’ve faced while putting the dream of Anchor and Earth together; I can link nearly all positive outcomes to the Compassion I’ve given or received, the Grace I’ve given or received, and the Creativity I’ve witnessed or contributed.

Johnny Cowan