A Truly Fishy Tale

Once upon a time, a singer-songwriter who was not so young even then made a demo album. He did so with the help of studio wizards in a legendary Atlanta studio nestled below an auto supply store.  
He fancied himself cut from the same cloth as Harry Chapin, Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Croce, and Cat Stevens; he was a solo performer who sang story songs while wielding a steel-string acoustic guitar.  
Some of his songs also showed a jazz influence. He started as a jazz saxophonist and absorbed the harmonic vocabulary of that idiom. 



The songwriter in him took particular pride in penning lyrics. He was no Bob Dylan, but he did strive to create well-crafted lines with emotional depth.   
Like most songwriters, he concentrated on that most universal of themes, love. The object of his affection was different from one song to the next—an enematic lover, his toddler son, the skies in his home state of Arizona, even his beat-up old guitar.  

Around the same time as the sessions for his demo, he started teaching at a college. Students began calling him Doctor Fish, and he liked it.

Damn You, Backstreet Boys!    

The wizards who helped make Doctor Fish's demo album were pleased with the project, and an A&R rep from a record label even showed interest. But there was a problem. 
The golden age of singer-songwriters had already passed by the time Doctor Fish came along. Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync ruled the charts without an acoustic guitar anywhere in the mix. It made Doctor Fish's music sound—let's just come out and say it—dated. 
Consequently, his demo project went nowhere. Licking his wounds, he moved to a beautiful little city near Mount Fuji for a couple of years before returning to America to continue his career as an educator. 


In coming back to the States, Doctor Fish found new meaning. He established a thriving degree program for students of popular music at a college in North Carolina. (Some of them even went on after graduation to find the commercial success that eluded their teacher.)   
Something remarkable happened as Doctor Fish poured himself into his new life. Time passed. That's not so remarkable in itself. After all, that's what time does. It passes. But with its passing, Doctor Fish's music started sounding less dated and more retro. He now stood as something like a last troubadour from that golden age of singer-songwriters. 
An even more remarkable thing happened with one of the songs from his demo, "Another 4th of July." He had initially been written it as a dystopian vision of a future America splintered by political division. Sadly, his vision had come to pass.


Some tales end with a new beginning.    
When the owner of a top indie label heard "Another 4th of July," he asked Doctor Fish if he had any other recordings to release along with "July" as a vinyl EP. The concept grew, and the label decided to release an entire album of original music, The Last Troubadour. Half of the numbers would be re-recorded versions of the songs from Doctor Fish's demo sessions. The other half would be new. His music would finally see the light of day.  
The release of Doctor Fish's songs would have made for a happy enough ending to this fishy tale. But one last thing happened. A venerated figure in the music industry who has worked with many famous artists reached out to Doctor Fish. He heard a test track and was interested in producing The Last Troubadour. Together they are putting the finishing touches on the album to be released later this year.

The Moral 

And the moral of this fishy tale?

He swam and he swam right over that dam. Boop boop dit-em dat-em what-em chu!