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Zen and the Art of Life on the Road: An Interview with Fred Eaglesmith

I recently caught up with multi-talented musician and artist Fred Eaglesmith as he traveled through Northeast USA for a string of solo gigs-

JP: So, you paint. You write songs. You play guitar. You arrange songs. You entertain people with your wry wit. You play music live for audiences all over. You constantly travel and tour North America, Europe, and Australia. You have two vintage music stores and a cafe. You're a father and a "band leader." You play hockey and bowl. Which of these comes most naturally? Which seems the most effortless?

FJE: There's nothing that's effortless. It's all a big effort for me. But I will say songwriting now...because I've put the most time of all things in my life I've done, I've put the most time in songwriting. Songwriting is easier for me. But I don't really come naturally to a lot of things; I have to work. So I have to work.

JP: How would you prefer to spend your time?

FJE: How I live is how I choose to live. I make this choice. And though I don't always know what my preference is, I think I always end up doing what my preference is, although I don't necessarily plan my preference. I look out most days and it's a pretty good day, right? If you do that, you're probably doing what you should be doing.

JP: When you think about the creating part versus the sharing or performing part, which of those activities is more effortless?

FJE: Whenever I'm learning something, and I'm really interested in it, time flies. Whenever I know something, and my interest has waned in it, I don't think I'm as excited about it. I think learning makes time fly for me.

JP: Give me an example of something that took you by surprise that you wanted to learn.

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