If there's one lesson singer/songwriter Lee Bains III has taken away from his experience this year, it's that he doesn't have to hold his music to an impossible standard.
"This is helping me focus more on making a song as good as should be for the song that is," he says. "A lot of it has to do with accepting ... that I don't have to make each song be my manifesto statement.
"That's been a relief, in a sense. It takes the pressure off, and it's exciting, too, because I can really sit here and explore what's going on right now and enjoy what's happening."
That statement of zen-like satisfaction is a decided about-face for Bains. He founded his new band, The Glory Fires, in 2010 during a haze of confusion following the dissolution of Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based Southern rock outfit The Dexateens a year after he joined its ranks.
The year has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. Glory Fires members Justin Colburn and Matt Patton left the band and were replaced by Eric Wallace and Adam Williamson.
With this radically changed lineup, the band made its first appearance in Europe and on the West Coast and finished recording the band's second album.
"I don't have to make each song be my manifesto statement. It can just be what I'm working on today. I can write songs for as long as I want to. I can write a million songs in my lifetime, if I want to." -- Lee Bains III, on his new-found songwriting philosophy
Thankfully, Bains says, the new member's longtime association with him and drummer Blake Williamson -- Adam's brother -- made the transition a smooth one.
"We get along exceptionally well, which is pretty great, both in the van and onstage when we're playing," he says. "After just a month of playing together with this lineup, we had a more confident, singular, solid sound than we had before. That's pretty cool."
Saturday, Nov. 16, Bains and Glory Fires will return to Chattanooga to perform at Sluggo's North.
After surviving the crucible of drastic change this year, Bains says, the members of Glory Fires have learned to make each show count and not to sweat things they can't control.
"You're going to have people quit and you're going to play shows to three people and you're not going to make gas money," Bains says. "But as long as my mission is to create art whose object is to be truthful and beautiful and potentially -- maybe ... hopefully -- inspiring, I can have a great show, [even] in front of two people."
Contact Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
* What: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires with Pujol.
* When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.
* Where: Sluggo's North, 501 Cherokee Blvd.
* Phone: 423-752-5224.
* Website: www.thegloryfires.com.