Jerry T. Yates / Blog
Engaged in Battle
From the moment I became serious about answering "The Call" of making music my life's work, I haven't had one minute to relax and take it easy. It seems that one hard truth everybody involved in the music business must learn is that, unlike professional boxers, we don't get to let our guards down and rest every three minutes. And this is especially true if you are "Called" to play, sing, write songs, or do anything else in Christian music. I think everyone is extremely naive about a career in music. In the beginning of my Christian music ministry, I must have been the king of naiveti. I thought church doors would just fly open for me as a Christian artist. I thought that Church members would be very loving and accepting of my music. I thought Christians would make large donations to my ministry, and that when a love offering was taken for me my cup would run over. To say that I was very mistaken about all this would be the understatement of the decade. I learned very early on that there is just as much, or more, back-stabbing in the realm of Christian/Gospel music as there is in the secular industry. However, as disappointing as these revelations were to me, they can't be compared to the battle, in which I am now engaged. I had a pretty good year, in 2008, capping off the year in November receiving the 2008 Roots Music Association Gospel Artist of the Year Award. I know that it was only by the grace of God that I won it, because I was up against Ricky Skaggs and the Blind Boys of Alabama, who were nominated for the same award. You know I shouldn't have won! Well, as it turned out, after I got back home, three little newspapers, in three small towns, near and including the town where I live, each ran a nice story about my winning. My mother called to say how happy she was. My brother, two cousins, and a friend, who does some publicity for me, called and congratulated me. That was it! I began working on a new project for Tate Music Group, the record label which had just signed me. It was and is the first and only record label I've ever had sign me. They are great folks, and they let me record my vocals and guitar tracks at home. Of course, I ran into a few problems along the way, which delayed the project's release, but we got it all done and TMG released it on December 15th, 2009. I played a CD Pre-Release party which TMG had booked. But while I was practicing for another promotional gig scheduled on December 26th, my right hand ( which I pick the guitar with), went tee-total-dead numb. I had dropped my pick and I didn't even know it. The very next week, which was the week of my gig to promote the new CD, I was trying to somehow compensate, and my left, fretting hand died, just as my right hand had done. I was diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel syndrome and ended up having to cancel the upcoming gig, along with everything I had booked in 2010. I had surgery on my right hand on February 8th, and on my left hand on March 8th. I firmly believe this is the devil's doing. I am struggling to regain strength and control of my hands and fingers. I can no longer flatpick at all because I can't hold onto the pick. I am trying to convert all the songs I used to flatpick, to songs I can fingerpick. My hands did not hurt at all before surgery, they just went numb about halfway through every song I tried to pick. Now, they no longer go numb, but they hurt like crazy! The good news is TMG told me last week that they will re-release my CD, and stay behind me, supporting me all the way, when I give them the "GO-Ahead"! When I start to get depressed, I think about everything Jesus went through, including physical pain and suffering which we can't even begin to imagine. He didn't only beat the devil, he beat death and the grave! Surely, with Him, I can beat the devil, carpal tunnel, and songs that are hard to play on guitar! Everybody has a struggle, and you can bet: the harder the struggle, the better the rewards!