October 19, 2014 Show
I am a singer-songwriter of American Roots music. I was born in Jacksonville, Florida about 60 miles from the Georgia state line.
My grandmother on my mom's side was from Kentucky, and she grew up in the hills. Even though she moved to the east, she loved that bluegrass sound for the rest of her life, and she encouraged me to appreciate it. She never lost her Kentucky accent, either, and I can hear her voice as clear today as ever. When my Grammy said "far", she meant the word "fire." She gave me a real gift - the appreciation of traditional American music.
As a child I became infatuated with the Beatles, and I taught myself to play the guitar. I was a graphic artist my whole life, however, so after high school I dutifully headed off to art school. But music took hold of me, and I had to pursue it.
Like a lot of teenagers, I was originally drawn to rock music. I made several rock / pop albums, but I always felt like something was missing. Turns out it was my roots.
In 2012 I dove deep into the Americana scene, absorbing the best material of the day, and historically.
It all got synthesized in my heart and mind during those years, and it changed me forever. I will never go back to writing songs like I did before. Don't get me wrong: they were good songs, I hope, but they didn't express everything that I was trying to capture. There is an honesty and immediacy to the kind of songs I am writing now. Sometimes they are painfully honest, but that's what makes them connect with people. Honesty.
American is a celebration of American roots music, a unique blend of Bluegrass, Country, Pop, Rock and Folk music. The reviews are coming in, and they are nothing short of exuberant, and filled with high praise for Yellow Trailer.
This breakthrough album is available for digital downloads from iTunes, CDbaby.com, Amazon, and other places … and in physical CDs (and downloads) from www.cdbbay.com.
In my next album, Dust Bowl, am picking up where Yellow Trailerleft off, and carrying on down that same road, but with new twists and turns. You can't keep writing the same record over and over again; you have to reach beyond where you think you can go, and challenge yourself. So that's what I am doing. The next album uses the great environmental and economic disaster of the mid 1930s as its context. It's not a documentary, but the songs are set against that as the backdrop.
I was drawn to this era because of Woody Guthrie, who captured so much of this time in his music, since he lived that time. For me the most interesting aspect of the Dust Bowl is the great migration of southerners and mid-westerners westward, to places like Bakersfield, California. They brought their traditional instruments and roots songs and sensibility with them, spreading my kind of music nationwide.
The most fun I have had on Dust Bowl so far are all of the collaborations with other artists. So far the list includes finger style acoustic guitar master Peter Janson, and Jody Quine, a Vancouver-based singer/songwriter. Guest appearances by several other Grammy nominated artists are also planned, including flautist and world musician Wouter Kellerman of South Africa, and Tom Peters, a classical bassist and 2013 Grammy nominee.
Dust Bowl is scheduled for release during 2015.
As I write this I am also producing a 20 minute documentary that will explain the album and put each song into context. I will post it here on my website when it's done, which I expect to be around December 2014