Cumberland Avenue

from by Johnny Newman

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I don't often talk much about my day job; however, this is the most honest thing I've written concerning life and career post-college.


Cumberland Avenue.

This avenue has seen as many shades of me as I have of it. Long before its construction, congestion, and headache, this road saw my education and consternation post graduate. Out of a recital hall and into a recession fall, and fall, and fall I did. I fell in love with a girl eyes blue. Even after our wedding, we travelled down this avenue. Past the place I brewed so much joe and beyond the bar at which I played my first show. Trevor would ask me for money, my friend, and Allen, God rest his soul, a ride to him I would give.

Day after day and year after year I’d tell my wife, “I’ve gotta get out of here.” Eventually it came true, not for me but some of my friends got big boy and big girl jobs, but they still have to work weekends.

Why dear God did this happen to me? Oh why and what the hell this economy. Fairwell universities, you seem to be faring well. Are we history’s most educated, underpaid, & in debt personnel? Only time will tell

On this avenue I’ve worked with students who have their masters as well as those who just have their bachelors. I’ve brewed coffee next to artists, architects, and interior designers. Graduates of religion, forestry, and some drop-outs and old-timers. And here I am, stuck in all this. I can write a post-tonal string quartet that correlates to the fibonacci series, but what do you care, you just want a white mocha with extra whip creameries.

It’s so embarrassing to see my professors come through drive thru. I graduated magna cum laude, but now I sling coffee on cumberland avenue.

One of those teachers taught me jazz and improvisation - oh how many of those jazz musicians died in poverty, but with names we can recognition.

Now here I stand, microphone in hand - capturing all of the sounds that inhabit Cumberland. With all of these works up on my shelf, All I know is to write, score, and record and write some more, record again. And though none of them pay the bills, I still hope for my name to be remembered at the end.


from Cumberland Avenue, released January 16, 2017
Johnny Newman: composer, piano, voice, snare drums, sampling, mix


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Johnny Newman Knoxville, Tennessee

The Catalog of composer Johnny Newman

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