Rhyan, Julian, and Toni With Buddy

Rhyan: “My Mom (Toni) and I were in a car accident in November, which led us to take some time off from touring at the end of last year to heal and recuperate. We got to play a few shows at the beginning of the year and then the pandemic started. Before November, we had been constantly touring and we were on the road every weekend for years. I don’t think I’ve gone this long without playing a live show since I started my first band when I was 11. Next to my family, music has been my main life focus ever since then, so it feels extremely strange not to be playing live shows. We’ve been trying to use this time to rest up a bit. I don’t think we realized that we were pretty exhausted until everything slowed down.

I’m also using this time to write songs and create. It’s taken some time to adjust to finding inspiration in new ways. My main sources of inspiration had been travel and the powerful energy that I got from playing live shows. It’s easy to put this huge pressure on yourself to get a ton of stuff done with all of this extra time that we’ve all been dealt. It was important for me to allow myself the time to sit with, feel and process the collective grief of what’s going on in the world.

I’m very thankful to be able to be with my family and my dogs. I’m also grateful for the healing power of music and for the ability to pick up a guitar or listen to a record. Live music may be gone for the moment, but music itself remains very much alive. I think it’s helping to pull a lot of us through right now and I think we need it more than ever. When the world starts spinning again, I’ll be bursting at the seams to share new music and play shows with the band. I think there will be a new wave of energy, for both the crowd and the musicians. Even those of us who actively support/play live music are realizing the ways that we took it for granted.

In the meantime, I hope we can use music to unite . . . from an appropriate distance, of course.

I have to admit, it feels frivolous and self-absorbed to even talk about what I’m doing right now and what I’m thankful for, when there is so much despair in the world around me. I recognize that the world events have had so little impact on my life, compared to many others, but still, they weigh on me every day. I can’t pretend that I’m not distraught. Selfishness and hate are running just as rampantly as this virus. I’m trying to focus on the shining lights in this time of darkness, because I don’t know what else to do.

I would like to take a moment to plead with folks to please, please wear a mask . . . for the musicians and everyone else who needs to get back to work, for the children who need their parents and grandparents, for my family, for your family, for everyone who is suffering or grieving right now and for all of the lives we’ve already lost.

It’s not a political issue, it’s a compassion issue. Please wear a mask.”

You can check our Rhyan’s music at https://www.rhyansinclair.com/.

Toni: Kremena’s parting words of advice were, “Don’t overthink it.” I wish I’d listened. It’s difficult to sum up what this experience has been like. It’s so much of so many different things. My focus has been on keeping my family safe and healthy. I’ve enjoyed exploring different recipes, playing new games, reading, and just having time to be with my family and be peaceful. I’ve loved having my husband work from home and while I’ve missed traveling for music and being in our Reiki studio, the introvert in me has loved this time to rest, recharge and reflect. Yet, just on the periphery of this new normal is complete insanity. The news every single day for nearly 5 months now is like a combination of the book of Revelation and the film Idiocracy. The death toll continues to mount while people fight doing the most simple thing, wearing a mask, because it infringes on their personal rights. People are dying, others don’t care. How does a compassionate human reconcile all this? Seems there are no answers anywhere, just more questions and all we can do is pray that when this is all over, as many people as possible are still standing.

All I know is that I love my family and I have valued every second I’ve had with them, I love cooking and playing pool and playing music with them, and I think dogs are God’s greatest gift.

Now please, just be kind and wear a mask.”

Julian: “I have gotten closer to my family over the lock down. I’ve been working from home since the middle of March, which has worked surprisingly well. The big downside for me has been not getting to travel and see live music from Rhyan’s band and all the other great musicians I’ve been fortunate to hear. Being primarily extroverted, I love being around people. I love booking shows, planning tours, and traveling for performances. I’ve had to find other endeavors to fill the gaps. Cooking has become a passion and I also have great companions to spend the extra time with. While I am troubled by current events and the divisions in society today, I think we stand as an island of peace and love and compassion.

Please, for the sake of my family and yours, wear a mask.”

Lexington in the Time of COVID-19 is an artwork about people practicing social distancing at a time of a deadly virus. And also offering kindness.

Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova capture photographs at the periphery of American culture, where drag queens, discarded couches, and abandoned motel signs exist.