EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Live music is returning to the Borderland and for country artist Sam Grow, playing the El Paso Taco Festival is an opportunity for adventure.
“I’ve never played El Paso before, it’s my first time. So I’m pumped to see it, hang out and meet people,” Grow told KTSM 9 News.
The music industry was one of the first to shut down in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is one of the last to return. The isolation, loss of income and containment of quarantine took a particularly hard toll on musicians whose homes are often on four wheels.
“Before COVID, I played 250 days a year, so I was always moving. I was on the road more than I was at home,” said Grow. “When that came to a halt, it’s like my body needed to go and it wasn’t a healthy spot for me.”
Grow said he found catharsis in songwriting after realizing that creating over Zoom wasn’t for him, which was difficult in Nashville, where there is a prominent co-writing scene.
“All of the writer and publishing teams wanted everyone to Zoom,” he said. “They wanted me to create like that and I had a hard time creating like that.”
Instead, he holed up on his own and wrote what he says are some of his most vulnerable songs.
“The beautiful thing about it is when there’s no other co-writer in the room and it’s truly yourself, so I feel like this is the most honest music that I can have because I don’t have another person in the room kind of filtering my thoughts. It’s only mine,” he said.
Grow’s tour did away with the traditional bus model and is instead caravaning, with Grow driving his own truck across the country for every show, which has given him a renewed appreciation for his craft that he thinks others are realizing.
“Life without music — especially when you’re sitting alone in your house — you realize what it’s like if you didn’t have music or something to dive into music to make you feel better,” he said.