The thing about being a folk star …
It doesn’t pay the bills.
Bobby Angel practicing before the campfire
For that I’ll have to rely on hydrology for the time being, if not the indefinitely into the future. But early on I also knew: It’s impossible to be a folk star first and then turn into a hydrologist later in life. And really, to be a nature-folk artist of any acclaim, I knew I needed to spend a solid twenty to thirty years (possibly forty to fifty) immersed in understanding all the ins and out of water before I could ever dare to write a song about about the watery stuff, let alone all the other societal ills that only a well-rendered folk song has any chance of making heal.
Am I serious? Probably not. Or maybe a little. The backstory on this song: I wrote it about 15 years ago, almost as an afterthought, and with barely any time to prepare. The protagonist of the song Krista gave us all of a week’s notice that she’d gotten a new job. One day after the next I put the song off until the hour before I scribbled a bunch of notes on the page with just as many cross outs as there was anything legible to read. To my shock, everyone loved it. The only problem was I couldn’t give Krista the lyrics because even I could barely read them myself. And so I typed them up and gave them to her before she left. As I said that was fifteen years ago, probably more with it not being until the last year that I found the lyrics and finally sang it again. And not just sing it, I recorded it and made a musical video. It wasn’t actually until the video that the song “really popped.”
As much as Krista was surprised by the song at the time (and happy to get a copy of the lyrics to hang on her wall), you can image her response when fifteen years later I sent her the video, plus a 15-minute follow up exclusive Bobby Angel interview about the song. Ballad of a Florida Panther would go on to be featured as the first song on Side B of my first album, New Pangaea, released on my website in 2000.
Morale of the story: Try to not wait 15 years before playing a song for a second time. On the other hand, in this case, it worked pretty good.