Tuesday, April 9, 2024


If you were to look at my creative CV, it might seem as though I have not been very active over the past couple of years. It may also seem like it's taking me a really long time to finish album number seven, as this has been a work-in-progress for over a year now. 
The reality is that most of my daily music-making time is dedicated to rehearsing my existing songs. Of my seventy or so tunes, there are about twenty that I practice multiple times per week, some of which have mutated a bit over the years since I initially recorded them. Basically, I have been working out a pretty solid setlist of original material, while also trying to put a band together to play these songs live.  
As a result, I have not been developing new material at the same rate as in the past, even though I've probably been playing more music over the past two years than ever before. I have also had some technical issues with my computer that I use for recording, and I have made a conscious choice to take my time with this album. These factors have all slowed down the process.
Furthermore, some major life changes have impacted my creative output as well. First, I got divorced rather unexpectedly, and then I accepted a full-time teaching gig about a thousand miles from where my two kids and the rest of my family live. It's all been an adjustment, to say the least. Music is what gets me through it.

That said, I feel like my singing and guitar/piano playing have never been better. Although I don't perform publicly all that often right now, as I indicated earlier, I do practice my songs a lot, to the point where I know my setlist inside and out. My neighbors probably know it pretty well by now, too. Once we've got these songs worked out as a full band, then the next step is to take them live.

In the meantime, I keep slowly piecing away at the new album. Once this current semester is over, I hope to have more time and energy to dedicate toward its completion.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

In western music, we have twelve notes. If we play in a major or minor key, as most of our popular music is, that leaves us with seven. A key change may offer one or two more. Among those specifically defined patterns of vibrating air, most songs will favor four or five notes in various shapes and combinations, limiting the others to accented moments of dissonance. Those are the "blue" notes.
If so many songs are built from so few basic notes, haven't most, if not all of those patterns been used already? 
Playing at different rhythms and tempos helps mix it up a little. Even so, much like how different painters can create countless variations within the same rectangular dimensions and bound to the same basic colors of paint, I think that paradoxically, limitations can offer artists more creative freedom. 
It's not the notes, really; it's what you do with them that matters. 
Lots of songs use the same underlying chord structures. My aim when creating art of any kind is to offer a balance between the familiar and the unexpected. I also think that music, as with any other form of art, is part of a much larger conversation -- grounded by what came before it, but always changing in a perpetual act of synthesis. Art feeds upon itself to create something new. 

In my music, I play a lot of "cowboy chords," often with a capo. I have no shame in that. In fact, I tend to think that unless you're playing for a room full of trained musicians, it makes sense to keep it simple. Most people don't care how difficult something is to play if it doesn't sound good. Virtuosity does not necessarily amount to listenability.
My approach to songwriting is to always start with the music, usually with a riff or a chord progression that sounds cool to me, something that I land on in the midst of practicing. After some time on the daily rehearsal playlist rotation, it coalesces into something with a definite shape, at which point I begin to sing vowels over it with an ear for any words that may emerge from the melody. That's when I get out the paper and pencil and write down whatever phrases that come to mind as I play. Eventually, patterns in the words hint at the meaning and feeling of the song, which informs how I proceed with it.
It is a process that every once in a while delivers a product, but I have also put something of myself into it. It is inspired by the eclectic music I love, fashioned out of those same familiar notes, while hopefully contributing something new, both musically and lyrically. My intent is to write songs that are relatable but informed by my own unique perspective.
Balance is key.

Thank you for listening to my music and for supporting independent art.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Wishing Well

I will be playing some of my songs at The Well Hotel and Taproom in Trinidad, CO on Friday, March 1. If you're in the area or feel like taking a road trip, come check it out.

I'm excited to be a part of this lineup and look forward to visiting a part of Colorado that I have not yet seen. Thanks to everyone involved in putting this show together, as well as all who support live music.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Keep on Rockin' in the New Year

I just played a set at the Buzzard's Roost. If you were there, cool. Thank you. I hope you got something out of my music, even if it was just tapping your toes. I hope that you shared in the fun that I had. 

My setlist was something like this:

Still Life
Gravel Roads
Dandelion Wine (If Only...)
The Fool
Go It Alone
Life Preserver
Baby Blue
Something to Break
Screen Memories

This marks the one-year anniversary of the first time that I played live music (also at the Buzzard's Roost) in Lamar, Colorado, which was the first that I had performed for an audience of more than three people since early 2020. Thanks to Jay and Karen and the rest of the crew for hosting me and the other musicians who performed. Every town needs at least one venue for stuff like this. I am glad to have found this one.  

Happy new year.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Piano Songs

Here are a couple of songs that I recorded the other day in my living room.
The first one, Holiday, comes from my 2021 album Petrichor:


And the other is a new song called Time Machine, to be included on my forthcoming album, a work-in-progress:

Thanks for listening.