By Joey Viola
I had to leave...
I knew it was time - the end of an era. The Seattle house was getting demolished, my marriage had decayed, she had left. All that remained was a broken heart, a Toyota 4Runner, a couple cans of Albacore Tuna, and the piece of wood and strings I've been making sounds with since I was 17. That, really, was it.
The road has always been home for me. Not too sure how or why, but the road gives me comfort. Zips me into the moment like nothing else. There's something palpable about it. So, after spending the holidays packing up the place in Seattle, I hit the road January 1st 2021 with no plans, no schedule, no expectations. What the next 4 months gave me is gonna be hard to put that into words, but here's my attempt.
It gave me quiet. I cleared my mind of baggage, clutter, thoughts about myself, about society. There's a certain peace one can find by simply standing in the breeze and being present to the feeling it gives, a certain peace when you grab the wheel and don't know where you will end up, a certain peace when you sleep in your car and open the sunroof to gaze up at millions of stars in the dark of northern Nevada. It gave me quiet.
It gave me space. After a lot of pain - I did not understand how crucial this was for my own healing. I needed space. From Utah through the Rockies, New Mexico and Texas (during the great freeze). Those places gave me the space I needed to evolve as a human being. It gave me space
It gave me perspective. Nature does this for me inherently, but when you realize the world is so much bigger than you and we are but a spec in the universe, it makes all your struggles and suffering so infantile that you slowly begin to realize it didn't matter at all. People give that to me as well - the painter in New Mexico taught me how to be a better artist despite the medium, the Zuni Native American showed me kindness is the only way, the fly fishing guide had been through more grief than I could have possibly imagined and taught me strength. The lost girl in Texas taught me that I'm never alone. It gave me perspective.
It gave me FREE. My next album is a collection of stories and songs from the road. The trip allowed me to process through some of my healing in a focused way. Grief comes in waves, but I can say that overtime the waves dissipate, the seas calm and when you look out on the ocean outside of New Orleans and see that sunrise - there's a certain freedom one experiences there as well.
My hope for this album is that when people listen to it. They feel me. All of me behind these songs and that they may, somehow relate to them. My hope is that this album helps people on their journey to heal.
I'm blessed and excited to have all of you on the journey with me. I'm thankful for what the trip gave me, and lastly, I'm excited to be back - a better version of myself.