Playing for Kids is Not Unlike Playing for Drunk People

I’ve always seen myself as this heady, angsty, funny, important powerhouse of a performer, who writes for super-smart audiences of adults who go on to change the world—I’m nothing if not accurate in self-reflection—but here I was taking gigs at elementary schools, singing songs in which the point was to count. Or tip toe. Or share a toy.

My ego would’ve taken a bigger hit if we hadn’t needed the money so badly. We’d been touring for ten years (200+ shows a year) when our twins were born, and those tiny individuals were powerful enough to halt the entire tour bus. We released the humans in January, and then released an album in April.

They tell you that nursing is a lovely, lifegiving experience. The truth is it’s the messiest ridiculousness on Earth. I’d show up to TV appearances with spit-up on my clothes, and, yeah, sometimes in my hair. Ew. Honestly, I was doing well to make it through a day without weeping—culture shock, life-altering crazy.

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Encouragement for Gig Losers

For years now, Jennifer Daniels has been performing her Southern-gothic brand of roots rock, captivating audiences and plumbing the depths of the genre, taking on faith, doubt, marriage, heartache, motherhood, and everything life can throw at a girl from the southern highlands. Her albums and work can be found at

Although performing songwriters have been hit hard with this whole social distancing thing, we’re no strangers to uncertainty. We’re used to praying for work. We’re scrappy. We’re innovative. And we receive help gratefully. We’re no longer horrified when a payment has to be made late, nor shocked when money to make that payment comes out of the woodwork.

As of today, Jeff and I have lost ten gigs. That pretty much means that our income has been suspended. But yesterday, after an online show, we received a $200 tip from a single contributor. We hear of our church giving generously, and the community of artists banding together (no pun intended).

Today I gather the gift of dauntless daffodils from the irrepressible spring. I watch the birds out there finding their meals. Jesus said, “If the Father clothes the fields like that, will he not clothe you? And if he feeds the birds like that, will he not feed you? Are you not worth more than many birds?” I always giggle at the question. Just how many birds are we worth?

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