In a few weeks, Shawn Blomberg will unveil his first solo album, a chronicle of five life-altering years.
The 11-track record titled "Freedom & Surrender" is a product of Blomberg's experiences -- his time spent in Seattle and the subsequent return home, the death of a loved one and the struggles of addiction. The title refers to the latter and how Blomberg has come to terms with where he was in life, eventually setting himself a new path toward independence.
"A lot of the album is geared toward that," said Blomberg, 33. "It's more of a confessional, I think. I wanted to put out a really raw and honest record."
The album begins with the track "I Wish You," a tranquil and lumbering piece intended to inspire hope for people who are in despair. The song opens with Blomberg singing:
Whenever you're feeling lonely, I wish you love.
"Having been through dark times myself," he said, "I hope it sheds some light on their dark place."
Nearly two-and-a-half years have passed since Blomberg decided to fight his addiction to drugs and alcohol, which had left him feeling alone and isolated and angry at the world.
"It was a daily struggle for many years," he said. "I've come to terms with the fact that I needed to change what I was doing. That's a major theme in the album, because what I was doing wasn't working for me or for anybody else."
Since his decision, Blomberg has remained clean and sober. He had hit bottom and climbed his way out. But, even now, recovery is a "daily maintenance" for Blomberg. Some days are difficult. But most of the time, he surrounds himself with friends and family for support.
Making "Freedom & Surrender" certainly took up a lot of his time. Recorded in the basement of a close friend's sequestered ranch, Blomberg spent many late nights on the couch with a guitar on his lap. His music, his passion, came to life.
The music that had once acted as a double-edged sword -- stirring his bad habits that had only fueled his creativity for a short while -- was now at the mercy of Blomberg, instead of the other way around.
"It was almost like another drug in a way. Before, when I was just into myself and on this path of destruction, I wasn't creating anything," he added. "I was just destroying. So now, this new course is building and creating all sorts of things."
Like new musical projects.
Blomberg found himself playing bass for the band Mat D and the Profane Saints and performed alongside local musician Buckley Mills as a house band at Bev's on the River.
He found his joy for live music again, an avenue he was introduced to as a teenager. Blomberg remembered how he and friend Adrian Kolbo -- who mixed various tracks and played trumpet in "Freedom & Surrender" -- used to play jam sessions.
"We started a project on Friday nights playing music at his parents' church," said Blomberg. "We had a couple other buddies who were along for the ride, too."
Blomberg picked up the guitar when he was about 13 years old. He found the old instrument hidden away in a closet. The guitar was cheap and small, but it was in good condition -- and it gave the young musician a different sound to work with other than the jazzy tunes he was accustomed to playing tenor sax in band. The very first song he learned to play was "Plush" by Stone Temple Pilots.
Years after Blomberg graduated high school, he continued to pursue music, even going so far as moving out to Oregon to try out for different bands. ("It was a failed attempt at leaving the nest"). He performed with a band called Thief in the Night, which is also the title of eighth track in "Freedom & Surrender." He and the members still play songs together from time to time.
Blomberg will be able to play live music yet again during his CD release show Nov. 28 at Vangarde Arts. For those unfamilar with his work, it's a chance to discover new music. But for Blomberg, the show is a chance to showcase his passion and share his struggles and recovery with those experiencing their own dark times.
But most of all, Blomberg is satisfied and grateful for the help and the space he was given while creating his album.
"It took two-and-a-half years, but I'm OK with that," he said. "I didn't feel like I was going against the grain with anything. Everything fell into place the way it should. It's been a cathartic process for sure."