It is a cold autumn evening somewhere in Canada. While others lounge in their apartment in front of the fireplace, Keith sits on the step of his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, his guitar on his lap. The Irishman does not mind the cold: Packed in a warm wool sweater, he hardly notices the icy wind. The day was long for him, but there is no trace of exhaustion in his face. Instead, a contented smile flashes repeatedly as his fingers slowly glide over the strings of his guitar, creating comforting sounds. “The time when I make music is the only time of the day when I don’t have to think,” the musician explains with satisfaction. “I can just sit there and enjoy the moment and the music.”
Look after your van and it will look after you.
Keith is 32 years young and comes from Ireland. Since he was a little boy, music has determined his path – because he is not the only one with musical talent. His father and sister have also devoted themselves to music. Therefore, Keith’s career started early on: at the age of eleven he wrote his first songs, and in 2011 he landed his first solo record contract. Keith has been touring the USA and Canada with his music for twelve years now – in his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which always gives him a feeling of home on the road.
With my wife I did a two and a half month tour: From Los Angeles we drove to Halifax in Nova Scotia. Then we went across Canada to Vancouver Island and finally along the west coast of the USA. On the way we gave numerous concerts – my music was the accompaniment of our road trip.
However, making music is a tough business: “Nobody realizes how much cost and work there is behind making music,” Keith says. In order to be successful with music, you always have to be lucky: “You always have to be in the right place at the right time.” Therefore, Keith embarks in his Sprinter on a constant journey in search of the right place – a life in the van. Mostly he tours alone and does a considerable number of concerts. His record is 34 concerts in 37 days and almost 12,000 miles covered in his Sprinter. “I don’t like days off,” smiles Keith. But why does a musician tour in a Sprinter of all places – and not in tour buses like other musicians or fly from place to place? “I have also tried other possibilities, but the Sprinter gives me the best feeling. It feels like I’ve been leading this van life all my life.”
Keith also gained a bit of van life experience in his childhood: “When you grow up in Ireland and want to go surfing, you always need a van to warm you up,” Keith remembers. Even today, the musician uses every opportunity to return regularly to the country where he grew up. But after a few stormy waves in the icy sea off the coast of Ireland, Keith is always grateful when he can retreat to his sheltered home afterwards. Because then he can devote himself fully to music again – and continue his journey.
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