Hey, it's Greg with A-SC blog post #2. :) So Rachael and I recently had the honor of appearing as guests on the Voices of Optimism podcast. This excellent show is hosted by my dear long-time friend Shane and cool new friend Michelle. Based in Lewistown, PA, the podcast is focused on promoting and celebrating their local area, which like many small town communities has gone through hard times in recent decades. One of the things that makes the show great, in my opinion, is its steady effort to shine a light on the darkness and encourage positive action. Through the simple and powerful message of "Choose Optimism" and by featuring guests who are working every day to improve their community, the show is helping to spark a local renaissance.

So if that's the case, then what were WE doing there?

Well, a few reasons (which you'll hear in greater depth on the podcast -- available here on Soundcloud and Spotify).

 From L to R: Greg, Rachael, Michelle, and Shane after a fun and engaging podcast interview.

First, Shane and I go way back -- we met and started playing music together in college (in fact my first-ever live music performances were with him) -- and as I started listening to his show I really enjoyed it. Even though I live hours from central Pennsylvania, it's interesting and inspiring to hear about the positive things happening in a town like his, including around business development, volunteerism, art, music, and more. It also gets me thinking about my local community in the Washington DC area, and about how we might improve things in our own neck of the woods.

Second, several months ago -- especially around the release of Dark Before the Light (DBTL) -- Shane and I started talking about the power of music and art as a creative outlet in response to negative experiences like the loss of a loved one or the decline of a community, and to painful emotions like grief, sadness, anger, and frustration. We all have no choice but to experience these things from time to time. But we do have a choice in how we respond to and/or overcome them, both individually and collectively. The Voices of Optimism podcast touches on this theme regularly, and through the #chooseoptimism campaign highlights positive, constructive, hopeful actions and individuals making a difference in the community. Meanwhile, A-SC's music is in large part a creative outlet in response to the darkness we all sometimes face -- in fact DBTL was created largely as a response to the passing of my brother-in-law Pat. So, while coming from different angles, we both have some things to say about this.

Third, while we may be based in different local communities, we recognize that we are still united as part of a broader collective. Over time I've met some great folks up in the Lewistown area beyond Shane, including a musician who goes by the name Sam Pryze. Sam and I are fans of each others' music and were recently talking about how we should do a show together some time. Sam is also a friend of Shane's, and this summer the three of us began kicking around the idea of putting together a show up in Lewistown. I'm happy to announce (as also noted at the end of the podcast episode) that this fall we'll be doing just that -- a joint show featuring Anti-Social Club and Sam Pryze. Yeah baby!

 Rachael and Greg recording live acoustic-style versions of A-SC songs at West Market Studio in Lewistown.

So, that's what Rachael and I were doing in Lewistown, PA representing A-SC (unfortunately Peter and Mike couldn't be there) and talking with Shane and Michelle. We also brought our instruments and played acoustic-style versions of a few of our songs (More No More, Spacewalker, and Here and Now) for the podcast, which we recorded live across the street at the awesome West Market Studio just before the interview. The full episode went a bit longer than planned (just under 90 minutes including conversation and music), but hey we were rolling, so there ya go! You may need to carve out a little extra time for it or split it up over a couple of shorter listens, but I think you'll find the conversation interesting and the music pretty good too. :)

Anyway I'm looking forward to getting back up there for the fall show. We're still ironing out details, so stay tuned for more info! And in the meantime, do check out the Voices of Optimism podcast. Even if you don't live in central Pennsylvania, it's well worth a listen!

- Greg

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