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Singer-songwriter Adam Marsland finds balance on the road

COURTESY PHOTO
Five years after the release of his double album “Go West,” Adam Marsland said he’s finally found the courage to play the songs live.

Getting older is difficult for everyone, but it’s especially bad for rock and rollers.

Even if you manage to avoid the many vices of the road, the life of a touring musician is still filled with late nights, long drives and bad food. It takes a toll.

Adam Marsland knows that well. He toured for years with his 1990s power pop band Cockeyed Ghost and later as a solo artist.

“It’s great for a while. You have this adventure where you’re floating around in a spaceship and visit a new planet every week. It’s like ‘Star Trek,’” he said. “After a while you wish you were in a sitcom with everybody sitting around a couch.”

So Marsland pulled back on his touring schedule. He recorded new music and played a few live shows, but mostly stayed close to home playing studio sessions for other artists.

But he eventually got tired of that, too.

Marsland, now in his 40s, has been back on the road for the last year and a half. He’ll play the Boulevard Tavern this Sunday at 7 p.m.

But instead of the hard-and-fast pace of the early days, he is trying to find a better balance between the spaceship and the couch.

He’s an admitted workaholic, which sometimes wreaked havoc on his body.

“I would just go, go, go, go, crash. Or when I would try to relax, I wouldn’t relax productively,” he said.

Now he has learned to appreciate the value of rest.

In his younger days, Marsland often passed time before a gig hanging out at the bar and drinking.

“That’s fun, but real relaxation is letting your mind and body float away for about 20 minutes.”

Now, if he arrives early at a venue, Marsland tries to find a park, do some yoga and meditate.

He finds he enjoys being onstage more now.

“What I like about it now is the actual playing. I really like playing the gigs,” he said. “I’m less concerned with people showing up. I get more into whether I enjoy it.”

For his current tour, Marsland is revisiting songs he recorded for his 2009 double album “Go West.”

He said he did not give the album its due when it was released five years ago.

The 23-track album features some of Marsland’s most introspective songs, and he didn’t have the courage to put those songs in front of noisy nightclubs.

“I wasn’t going to be able to let it roll off my back if everybody was talking over it.”

For his next two records — 2010’s “Hello Cleveland” and 2013’s “The Owl and the Full Moon” — he tried to write music that would fare better with bar crowds.

But then he went back and listened to “Go West.”

“I’m not dissing the other stuff, but there’s stuff you do that’s pretty good and then there’s the best work you’ve ever done,” he said. “It was my baby and I dropped it on its head. That album meant so much to me. It’s just the best thing I’ve ever done and it’s the best thing I ever will do.”

To mark the fifth anniversary of “Go West’s” release, Marsland decided to give the songs another change.

He’s a little older and a little wiser, and figures people will listen if he takes his own songs seriously.

So far, the crowds haven’t let him down. Marsland said people are connecting with his songs and record sales have picked up.

“I was looking at the CDs the other night and thought . . . I might run out.”

Marsland performs at the Boulevard Tavern on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.adammarsland.com or www.theboulevardtavernwv.com.

Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-4830 or zack.harold@dailymailwv.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ZackHarold.

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