As the coronavirus continues to spread, musicians are left to figure out how to adapt to a world in which live concerts are out of the question. While the live music industry as we once knew it remains crippled by the pandemic, we’re checking in with some of our favorite musicians to reflect on years past (both the good times and the bad), see what they’re most looking forward to once the ongoing live event hiatus comes to an end, and find out what they’d like to do differently when that time comes.

For the latest installment of this series, percussionist Nate Werth (Ghost-Note, Snarky Puppy) offers his ‘2020 Reflections’. You can also read the previous installments of the series from percussionist Keita Ogawa (Snarky Puppy), drummer John Kimock (Mike Gordon), singer Shira Elias (Turkuaz), bassist Chris DeAngelis (Kung Fu/The Breakfast), bassist Reed Mathis (Electric Beethoven, Billy & The Kids, Golden Gate Wingmen), and saxophonist James Casey (Trey Anastasio Band).


Summer 2019 in Sofia, Bulgaria with Ghost-Note.

We headlined their Summer music festival with 15,000+ people in attendance on barely any sleep, and rocked the crowd. It was our first time playing in Bulgaria as a band, and in fact everyone’s first time playing there as well. New territory. We arrived in Bulgaria that morning on the earliest possible flight from another country in Europe where the night before we’d also headlined a festival. Yep you guessed it, no sleep essentially. In fact, it had been this type of schedule for a week already, with 2 weeks to go on the tour with little sleep. This is the common theme while touring summer festivals in Europe.

Our “day” felt like this: We played from 10:30pm to 12:30am, encored until 12:45am, packed up the percussion instruments I travel with, walked off stage at 1am, showered and packed my bags until 2:30am, laid down for 45 minutes, left the hotel at 3:30am, arrived at the airport at 4:30am, departed for Bulgaria at 5:45am, layover from 7:30-9am, departed for Bulgaria (again) arriving at 10:30am, transported directly to the stage for sound check from 11:30am until 2pm, although it felt like teleportation, checked into the hotel at 2:30pm, lunch at 3pm, nap from 4:30-6:30pm, lobby call 7pm, arrived at the festival site at 7:30pm, dinner at 8pm, took the stage at 9:30pm, played a 2 hour set to 15,000+ people, and man I have never had so much energy and fun on stage.

We had no idea that this festival was going to be wild and a party. I was completely blindsided by the enthusiasm and fun. Now I’m not saying that Ghost-Note doesn’t bring a party, because everyone knows that there is no shortage of funkin’ and groovin’ when Ghost-Note is in town, but these people were LIT. More importantly, they were lit because of us. We had no clue that we had such a large fan base in Bulgaria. I can’t wait to go back!

Ghost-Note – “Milkshake” – A to Jazz Festival – 7/6/19



Some time in the early Summer of 2006 or 2007 in Birmingham, AL in an open field with Snarky Puppy.

It was a typical van tour for the band. Everyone piled on in through the working doors of our untrustworthy Chevy 15 passenger van, pulling a dangerously overweight trailer as one does down the highway. “Fingers crossed” was the common catch phrase for getting to the next gig. We were always hopeful and positive that we could make it, which we did, we always did, no matter what the obstacle. It was a two-gig day. One in the afternoon in Birmingham, AL forever known as “The Worst Gig of All Time,” and one that night of slightly better quality and circumstance in another city.

We arrived on site with an elevated view of the grounds and the potential fun we may have on that 100 degree blistering hot summer day. The same thought echoed in everyone’s head: “where’s the stage? I only see an empty field!” I remember thinking, “What is that blue dot in the middle of the empty field?” As we walked into the field looking for a secret trap door to the stage the blue dot became clearer and it appeared to be a single guy sitting in a lawn chair in the very middle of the field with an umbrella for shade holding an iPad. Soon we realized that that was our sound guy, with a small platform next to him, no covering, no shade, and 2 small JBL speakers. This was our stage.

Soundcheck was a true test of our patience, due to the compact iPad front of house console, the blistering heat, and our sound man’s shaky finger. Nonetheless we played our asses off to a constantly changing small crowd and a ton of passersby walking as quickly as possible to get to their next class due to the blistering heat. Then, we had to load out in a hurry to make our night gig in the next city. It was like running a few miles, and then sprinting some more. We were dead tired, brutally sunburnt, and most importantly incredibly inspired to “make it” to the next level of the musician impossible game. To never play a gig like that again. And we didn’t… (that’s a lie, we played many more terribly uncomfortable gigs before breaking through).


I’m looking forward to getting back to listening to my bandmates on stage. During this time, I’ve been staying creative at home and it has been wonderful in many ways. I feel like I’m finally rested after 10 years of not much sleep, but I’m missing the musical conversations that happen on stage. From all angles and roles. Supporting a soloist, locking into the drummer’s pocket, adding a textural layer that lifts the band’s groove, and playing like it’s my last performance is what I miss most about touring.

Interacting with the musicians on stage that you have developed a musical relationship with is a powerful form of communication. This connection on stage was likely my first access point to my spiritual self, and that experience heightens when I’m playing with certain musicians. Listening to 6-7-8 instruments at once becomes crystal clear and feels like riding on a magic carpet hovering over the sound waves we are projecting into the atmosphere. Interaction feels effortless, and to all be in sync on stage can truly feel magical.


This time is making all musicians reinvent themselves. I’m looking forward to changing my lifestyle. I’ve been touring for 10-11 months out of the year for the better part of the last decade. I’m ready to pull it back a little bit and spend more time at home. Self quarantine has been a blessing in many ways for me. It’s cleansing. After the “oh no” moment passed of losing all of my gigs, I’ve been able to focus my craft in other ways and strengthen my entire self during this time.

I’ve realized I really enjoy teaching eager, dedicated students. I love recording and being able to paint percussion on songs and having time to write music is such a blessing. I’ve been sprinting through life and I want to slow my pace. I want to keep all of these elements in my life. 2020 will be the year I evolved into a greater self.

Keep an eye out for more ‘2020 Reflections’ from some of our favorite musicians in the coming weeks.