Matthew Epperson

Hardest Lesson Learned by Matthew Epperson

Stevie Ray Vaughn once said, “You don’t know the blues until you’ve seen your guitar in a pawn shop.” Such an ambiguous statement. There is so much to be said there and unless you’ve experienced it, you have no clue the devestation.

When I was 18, I was homeless. Not in the ‘sleeping on a friends couch’ homeless; or the ‘sleeping in my car’ homeless. No, I was flat out on my back sleeping wherever I fell homeless. About 8 years ago, I got released from Carroll County Detention Center and I had no where to go and no direction. Except my guitar down in Nicholasville (South of Lexington Ky and a 2 hour drive.) So, I started walking. No phone, no money, and wet clothes that had been stored in a plastic bag the night I was arrested. I stunk!

I went to liquor store and stole a bottle of Red Stagg to help me along the way. When I got released from jail, it was 2 p.m. After walking, hitch hiking, and dodging oncoming traffic in the back roads of Kentucky, I made it to Nicholasville by 4 a.m. (Impressive. I know)

Upon arriving at my “friends” house, who had to get up for work in 3 hours, he said to me, “Here’s your guitar, but you can’t sleep here.” I asked if I could just sleep on the porch. At least then I wouldn’t be subject to another incarceration. “Nope,” was his response.

So I walked down the street and literally collapsed. I was woken up by a cop who identified the wrist band from the previous jail, had sympathy on me, and told me to kick rocks. I walked a few more feet until he was gone, and collapsed again in a drainage ditch.

The next day, after a futile night of sleep, I started towards Lexington. I had another “friend” who might let me stay with him, but carrying a guitar is not light. And Lex is a good 30 min drive from where I was. Not to mention I just covered over 100 miles on foot the day before. I went to a pawn shop and let my baby go for 50 dollars.

As I grew older, I realized that I could make money playing music on the street corners. I wish I had the nerve, or even idea to do that back then. I could’ve made 50 dollars in a night. I didn’t get another get for over a year after that.

If you are out there, and you are on the verge of selling something you love to make ends meet, I implore you… DO NOT! Hold out for a bit longer and see what happens. Sacrifice something else. It will be the biggest mistake of your life if you let that thing go.

Go see something live!


Matthew Epperson
DOC #284812


Categories: Matthew Epperson

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