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Confessions Of A Songsmith 

It’s late on a Thursday evening as I type this, I’m getting a little time to myself to write out the agenda for the next weeks creative endeavors, I found this is my best way to get things done anymore… If I don’t write it down then perform the task and check it off my list, it will take a lot longer for me to get to it. So… I look at the number of projects I have stacking up and it feels like a lot!


There’s songs to mix, videos to edit, graphics to create, databases to enter venue information into and a whole lot of writing and corresponding to do.

Funny thing about being a musician is that you maybe get to spend 10% of your time being doing actual music and the rest of it is mostly spent doing a lot of other things. In 2023 that also means digital media creation and lots of administration tasks. I can see why the stars all hire someone as soon as they make enough money to pay for this to be done for them!

Photography is a big part of being an artist no matter what your main medium might be, and that has been both a blessing and a curse sometimes, but the fact remains that social media demands image, and so does a brand. I went for almost a year where I just couldn’t hardly bring myself to post anything to platforms like instagram or even this site, I was just tired of the constant hype, and to some degree I still refuse to generate unnecessary hype, but I am being much more active in the studio these days and so I suppose I probably should at least tell people about it.

My songs Time and Years have been well received, and every time that happens I keep hoping to make another song, only better! For me I have made a bit of a mental flip from being a performer and live act to being a songsmith who once in a while performs a live show, or manages to release a new video to a fledgling YouTube Channel. But the grind is real, even though I might not be very public about it I do feel like it amps up and goes through ebbs and flows of creative periods. Anyway that is about enough for this post so I will sign off now, and try and have something to share again soon.

New single released: Time  

I just want to take a moment here and say a word of thanks to everybody who helped share the new single! streaming platforms are taking their good old sweet time with launching this release for some reason and I may switch to a new distributor if they can't get their act together... 

But the response from you the listeners over on Bandcamp and on Facebook has been humbling, so thank you! This song all started on my humble studio floor one evening when I sat down on the rug with a guitar and a notebook and scribbled out the opening line and the chorus. The words just hit a flow and I went with it, it's a very simple song with a message I hope people relate to…

I wrote this song while reflecting on the fact that 20 years ago a teenager was sitting in his room listening to a lot of Doc Watson albums and plenty of singer-songwriters as well, and one night that teenager got out some paper and a pencil and began writing his first song! At some point the songs became public, and while they were juvenile and not fully formed yet, there was enough encouragement to keep going. I am glad I did! Time reflects on making life as a creative person, running towards a goal with full speed ahead, the ups and downs of life and the knowledge that win or lose I'm not alone. I think my favorite verse is the last one of the song but I'll let others chime in with what they like best also…


Twenty years of a crazy dream

Still, I wouldn’t trade it for anything

The same water that moves the boat

Is the drop that carves the stone



They say time changes everything

Who says "hold the line"

When the rough road

Puts you on the side?


Hot days and starry nights

Old guitars with tarnished strings…

Feelings that money can’t buy 

Doing right on the very first try


I still feel like I always did

I just don’t seem to get ahead

But the plan's the same

Same as it’s ever been…




In the end, we’re all the same

It’s the dreams that build our wings

In the jump, we learn to fly

And it’s love we need 

When we fall. 



Little by little 

It's been a busy spring already! I guess it's to be expected but I have been working a lot, some of my corporate clients really came through for me this year making me their go-to technician in the world of equipment repair, which is what I do when I'm not playing music of course…

December and most of January had me working nights for a while which was an adjustment for me, but it also gave me a bit of free time in the late mornings when I'd wake up and have the house to myself while the wife worked her job, so I found myself in a creative season where I'd wake up, brew a pot of tea and sit at my kitchen table and write for 90 minutes every day with an instrument at my side and my favorite pencils and hard bound writing journal in front of me. No laptop, no internet connection, just me and my thoughts and a melody usually coming rather quickly. Doing that every morning for about 45 days really stimulated a creative process that I'm glad I can return to often.

That line of work ended in January but February also continued with a creative streak and I found myself composing more instrumentals and writing musical movements I'll probably be recording, if anything just to be able to have soundtracks for the videos I am writing scripts for now.

The next phase for me is hitting “record” and I have the bar set pretty high for me these days I guess! I've taken a lot of detours musically in the last ten years, and it has been 7 years since I really put out anything serious, which needs to change this year. 4 years ago I lost a dear friend to suicide and I think for a good bit of time after that I needed to grieve, and somehow recording without my friend and producer just wasn't a good feeling so I sort of avoided that aspect of my own personal creative process. 

But I've had time to heal, and I've had time to write what I really truly want to put out into the world, this collection of songs isn't just my most recent batch of 12, this is a body of work that I am very proud of and can't wait to share! These are songs I'll play for the rest of my life, songs that I'll never grow tired of playing for people wherever my music takes me.


Anyway June wants me to throw her ball around so I better wrap this up and get moving!

Back To My Roots 

It's kind of baffling when I look back on it... I have been making music for most of my life and now I have performed live for all of my "adult life" (whatever that is) and yet the goals rarely change.

In March of last year, I was set to make a very decent income from performing in a handful of venues that month, and the momentum was starting to feel like pre-pandemic times again! But in the span of about 48 hours, everything started to fall apart... One venue lost its license to sell alcohol, another decided to just do Karaoke instead of guitar players... The loss was rather staggering to have all at once, but as I have learned to not count money until the invoices have been paid in full I was going to be alright, however, this loss caused me to sit down and take some time to reflect...

Sitting there in my studio I seriously took a hard look at what 20 years had built up, the finite numbers I saw when it came to my social media following, my payments from streaming services... The numbers from online-only musicianship just didn't line up...

I wanted to quit. 

It crossed my mind that I could turn off all social media accounts and cancel the distribution of my art to platforms and just turn out the lights of the compound. 

After 20 years of working, two failed marriages, and many financial losses underlined by poor decision-making and even worse planning I felt like I could cash in my chips, sell off the excess gear and call it a wrap. The problem was I still LIKE playing music! At least I like playing the music I truly care about... Not the random covers. Not the homogenized generic songs that bar gigs reduce you to playing, to keep the patrons buying beer. No, I could leave that stuff behind and never miss it ever again. 

Also for the last several years, I have also been combating hand issues and chronic pain from various injuries that have never fully healed right...

Now I will jump in here and interject in the storyline that in 2020 I started down the path of trying to manage my pain better and so far I have managed little by little to do that and I can safely say that I am doing a lot better. I have scar tissue in my left wrist that has made it a good idea to switch to short-scale guitars and open tunings which have eased up the need to play as many knuckle-straining chord shapes...

Now back to the main story...

I was longing for the songs that I truly love. The ancient tones of generations that came before me... I love the ring of a truly great acoustic instrument under my command and the feel of wood and wire under tension creating a resonance and energy that compels me to strike the notes again and again. 

It was time to level up or shut up...

So for the rest of the year, I played some dates, moved some instruments around, converted my playing to largely short-scale guitars, and logged more hours on the fiddle. I also revived my use of a camera and started shooting YouTube videos again after hitting a nearly all-time low in creation in 2021. 

I arranged with Chris Ulbricht at Indianapolis Violins to create the monster Frankenstein of a fiddle that I now play almost exclusively, and somehow I found that July was the big push to complete a string of dates through some venues regionally before a self-created deadline... 

On August 1st I was officially done.

I played my last bar gig of the year and loaded my PA and all the instruments back into the van one last time after a hard night of struggling to engage with a crowd of people who were there to watch the game and drink cheap booze.

Sitting at my kitchen table with a typewriter, a notepad, and a comfortable playing guitar, a cup of something warm to sip, and usually my dog June curled up at my feet I spent a lot of happy hours last year building my songwriting muscle back up...

For the last 7 years, I have always found one reason or another to postpone making a new album. Lack of budget, time off from performing, or any number of things popped up to give me what I felt was an ironclad excuse for not releasing anything new. The truth was I felt didn't have a whole lot to say, or much drive to express myself. And I needed to reclaim that element of creativity which I had let slide a bit as I mentally clocked in and out from the bar room stage to play covers at shows. 

But suffice it to say when the dust settled over 2022 there is a notebook with the lyrics to some songs that I feel are more authentically "me" than anything I have written in years and the makings of a whole album. 

The real question now is how to fit it all together and make this album... Gear isn't an issue. (I have better stuff than ever before) My studio is more than capable of getting it done. The challenges are more along the lines of the mental gymnastics involved in self-producing, engineering, and performing an album, all without any real backing. I feel my following even after all this time is still so small that crowdfunding probably isn't viable to cover the expenses I will incur during production, and streaming will not recoup my investment in less than 10 years... Still, there's always a way around the mountain so we move forward even if it's an inch at a time...




2022 A Look Back  

So I must admit I had big plans this year to use this space more than I have... Sometimes the hustle of life just gets in the way I suppose!

This was a big year for my YouTube Channel and as of writing this, I have crossed over 400 subscribers there which considering how long I have been uploading on the platform isn't a very large number... But the momentum is enough to keep me moving ahead at a steady speed. As I sit in a coffee shop drinking a steaming cup of spiced tea and stare out the window at the snow in the courtyard I can't help but feel a restless creativity for what 2023 holds!

This was a big year musically speaking, and there's a lot that never got documented very well but I can try and begin here I suppose... So where to start?

In March I went on a quick road trip to Nashville where I sat ten feet from the stage at The Station Inn and watched as a longtime influence on my music performed. Tim O'Brien was as good as he's ever been, and his band was a stellar lineup to say the least... Mike Bubb on upright Bass (longtime John Hartford band member) Casey Dreissen on the mighty 5-string fiddle (Casey has played with everybody) Justin Moses on Banjo and Dobro (Literally one of the most in-demand roots musicians today) and of course Tim performed with his wife Jan beside him singing harmony. 

The show was magical, the melodic movements, the harmony... The song choices were stellar as I expected. Sitting in a row of chairs beside a group of strangers and just listening and watching was fuel for a lot of hard work I came home to tackle... 

Having a conversation with Casey about fiddles after the show prompted me to come home and finagle as best I could a better instrument for myself... It became clear in Nashville that trip that playing the 5-String fiddle is my life's work moving forward and I should probably do it on something that is up to the task. 

Coming home I went to my luthier Chris Ulbricht and expressed my challenges with my current instrument and we agreed on a fine vintage instrument that would make a good candidate for conversion to a 5-stringed fiddle, in the meantime it was on me to shed as much dead weight from my guitar closet and play as many shows as possible to afford the new addition to the arsenal. I did a lot of research and shared my findings with Chris along the way and sent him parts and strings as they arrived from suppliers. Around mid-July, I got the call to come and pick up my fiddle, and to say Chris made my dream come true is an understatement! In August I made a decision that had been brewing since even before my trip to Nashville and that was to take a break from performing in bars and focus more on playing events and listening rooms for the rest of the year at least, it meant a lot of challenges finding work as a performer but at the same time it scaled back the demands on my time and opened up room to tackle YouTube more. 

In all of this, I managed to ramp up my songwriting efforts and thankfully the rewards creatively have been very satisfying. I've found a writing regimen that works pretty efficiently for my style of songwriting and compositional preferences... I will be making a video with a bit more behind-the-scenes look at my process for writing this album but that's for another post. 

In October of every year, I feel like I make a major life change somehow... Either by choice or by accident, and in what the Jewish faith believes to be the new year I found myself doing that again this year.

This year with family and friends gathered in a park, and with all of the bright October colors burning in the trees I married my best friend, my strongest supporter, my right arm, and a constant source of awe and wonder. 

I met Renee years ago when we were both teenagers going to a youth retreat at a church in Cincinnati, all these years later we linked back up and while the story of our joining is hard to fit in this summary of a year, we found ourselves linked up and supporting each other through some very challenging times the last two years. We have carved out a life together that involves three dogs, music, cooking, and lots of creativity. Her blog has a lot of behinds the scenes domestic lifestyle storytelling and so I will link that Here 

As the year comes to a close I find myself reflecting on a full and eventful year that is as action-packed and challenging as it is beautiful. I am ready to meet 2023 head-on with a creative drive and vision mapped out for it that I just can't wait to share with you all! 




Radio Silence... 

When I was a kid, I lived with the radio on all the time... The local Country station was a valuable asset that gave out solid weather forecasts and broke into the action when big storms loomed to keep the people informed of when it was time to take shelter. They also played a wonderful selection of classic songs and an almost curated playlist of better quality recent Country during the 90s. The local college NPR station played Old Time Radio shows and I got my drama fix from those. TV was a joke for getting any reception, unless you had a dish.

What am I trying to say? Well I guess the thing I'm trying to convey here is that I'm breaking the radio silence over here... You know the radio silence? Like when your favorite song ends and the DJ must have taken a lunch break because nothing else came on? I upload content daily to social media but despite actually paying a fee every month to have this website I rarely actually utilize this space. 

That ends today! From here on out you will be finding more information here about my comings and goings than anyplace else. 

So for right now, I figured I would open up a little bit. 

I'm making a new album, that's right! An ALBUM! Not an EP, and not another single or crude little recording in my kitchen. 

My goal is to record simple, honest songs with upfront vocals, hardly any effects, and minimal editing. The songs will be a distillation of my life's work thus far and some folks will probably recall the sound to some of my most early DIY recordings but with much better sound quality. Also, there will be a heavy amount of video action to see here too! 


Maybe When I'm Older 

Maybe when I'm older it will all make sense

Maybe when I'm grayer my voice will need the rest


"I don't want to be on my deathbed wishing I had played more music and taken more risks in my life"

I wasn't long back in Indianapolis after having lived in Florida for 3 years and I had a rather odd feeling in my soul. I hadn't exactly set the world on fire from Florida as a musician. In fact, the overall struggle down there was quite real, and it showed me a lot about my vulnerability as a musician playing in bars and clubs every night. But the idea of giving up as a musician was the furthest thing from my mind.

It doesn't always make sense to load thousands of dollars worth of gear into a rusted out car and drive hundreds of miles to make dozens of dollars to only dozens of fans (if that many) but the urge to create means something more tangible than a well-funded bank account or a fancy car. a perfect credit score can open doors but the urge to create sometimes makes one want to strive for something much more than all that.

Truth be told, it's the moments when a fan comes forward and says something to me like "that song was what I needed to hear tonight" or maybe it was the fan who bought an album because they wanted their loved one to hear my words. No matter where the music ever takes me I don't want to be on my deathbed wishing I had played more music and taken more risks in my life. 

DIY, why would you want to do that? 

DIY Music? Who would want to do that?! 
Ok so in the past I have been scolded for making fun of “The Voice” and at times I have been rather coy when asked to be part of some sort of arts alliance or music association but I’m going to come clean here and lay out some thinking that I have had rolling around in my head for the last month... 

Radio Shank (RIP) had a rather cool ad that sadly did nothing to help keep them thriving in the business world but it talked about DIY or “DIT” which stood for “Do It Together” and I think the Maker Community in general has had a better grasp of skill sharing than artists in the music industry have... Funny how wood workers and metal workers are artists too and yet they seem to have a better ability to get paid, and make a living from their art than musicians! 

A little history here: I grew up around skilled craftsmen who built things out of iron and wood. Fences, railings... Sculptures and wagons and carriages to name a few things that were built, funny thing was when a guy who mostly did welding got a job that might require a lot of forging he would team up with another artisan close by and the two would share resources like shop space and materials, with a fair split of the money going to each maker.... 

Now musicians seem to have two schools of thought... There’s the “I need to be on The Voice so I can get a record deal” and then there’s the crowd who basically screams from the rooftops “screw The Voice, I’lll build my career myself” and while neither option is what I consider “wrong” I hardly agree that this type of thinking is the best means to go about a task... 

First of all, yes The Voice is a TV show loosely based on reality, though I certainly feel like the reality of the winners contract looks and feels more like financial bondage and a nightmare to me... There’s some perks to being on The Voice... First of all it really does put you in a place where you may get some instantaneous exposure (More on Exposure later, but remember people die from “Exposure” every year) For instance a friend of mine had around 3’400 Likes on Facebook and was on The Voice. She was booted after the first real episode but she walked away with 25k Likes on her page! Now that’s a pretty serious hike... But how many people are now die-hard fans who will come to shows and spend money? Good question... 

Now for the folks who scream out “SCREW THE VOICE!” I say this.... 
Sure, knock it all you want, but it is good television! While you’re probably not going to see me on the show, nor have I even so much as been asked to be a contestant... I will address the idea that doing it all yourself is not going to always guarantee a better career than going for a quick fame grab on TV... 

The idea that you can make an album in your bedroom with free software and a basic computer setup and a few hundred bucks worth of hardware and microphones seems pretty romantic, doesn’t it? Sure an artist with even a ten year old laptop running free software has more sonic options available than The Beatles had when they made Revolver, but... Let me point out that The Beatles, while very hands on and involved in the creative process of their craft, did not make those albums alone... They also did not use home studios until later on when relationships got strained and John and George wanted to cut demos at home. They had guys like George Martin cracking the whip and calling the shots! 

See these days I see so many artists getting a glow in their eye and talking about wanting to take a four track recorder into the woods to some remote cabin and make an album all alone and without distraction... I ask you, have you ever done it? Have you ever made an album alone before? Because I have! In fact I have made several releases tucked away and alone from the world... Frankly it’s lonely and it starts to wear you down, to the point you can’t tell if the first take was really any better than the 5th... Also you have no positive energy to feed off of after you keep screwing up the solo on the bridge. 

I say what we need more of is DIT instead of DIY or worse DIO (Do It Ourselves) but since we like reality so much in entertainment I’m going to get real here. 
Frankly I have no budget for my next release and my fanbase is probably too small to crowd fund off of, and seemingly my best options may well be to head out alone again to forage another albums worth of finished songs... Or else reach for the stars and grab a quick dose of fame on TV and hope it gets me enough people who want to invest at the very least... 

Or what I can do is this: Hey “insert talented artist I know” I will film your EPK for YOUR Music, if you will come play tambourine and hit record in the software while I lay down MY tracks... Or hey I made this video of me singing a new song, will you share it on your page, in turn I’ll share the cool picture promoting you opening for that awesome national act you need to bring in a crowd for... See how that mutually scratched both backs? 

Look, there’s less and less money to be made in music every year it seems... But there’s more and more tools out there to make it. What we as artists need to do is band together while retaining our independence from whatever it is we are afraid of being shackled to... 

If you don’t always like each others music that’s fine but be positive, yet honest. Victor Wooten always gives three compliments for one critique, maybe we could all stand to follow that value... But if I have an awesome video camera and you have an awesome space but no video gear... Invite me over to shoot a video and in turn maybe I can shoot you some footage of your project too! If you’re good at booking gigs but horrible at recording and mixing... Trade me some gig booking (seriously I hate booking gigs) and I’d be happy to track and mix a few songs... If we could all get just as creative with how to help each other achieve our dreams as we get making excuses for why we can’t earn a living making our art, somehow I think we could ALL prosper and grow as artists and creators of things. 

I don’t think we all need a record label, and I don’t think we need “arts alliances” with boards of directors and non profit statuses to help us make art. In fact I am VERY gun-shy of “Non Profit” outfits who are out to help me make art... They seem to be fine with not making a profit, but I’m not! I want to make a freaking living here! 

If you’ve made it through this, I want to thank you, and I hope you’re getting something out of this, maybe some ideas, maybe the courage to finally ask for help instead of just making another excuse for why your new YouTube video or promo photoshoot isn’t out yet, or why your EP sounds like crap, because you somehow think you don’t have any access to gear. 

Tell you what... At the next open mic you find yourself out at, why not ask one of the other artists if there’s something you can help with, maybe they can exchange a skill too. 

Being an artist is a lot like being in a fight... You gotta fight through the noise and you gotta punch through the fog to be seen and heard... A boxer once said “When you want to break a guys nose you aim for the back of his head” I think that graphic statement is a lot like being an artists today... You want to get a million views on YouTube, better shoot a video and produce it like you want 20 million views!

Dear Ryan Adams 

Dear Ryan Adams 

I’m a big fan of yours, and your music has been a great source of inspiration to me over the years! Heartbreaker is one of my all time favorite records and Ashes And Fire has songs that I feel as though were written solely for me. My Wrecking Ball brings back a number of memories of driving my Honda around town late at night in the summer trying hard to avoid going home to my empty house every night... So many of your songs feel like a warm blanket and a cup of tea on an otherwise cold and bleak canvas of day to day life... 

But you recently posted how you feel like because of the monsters in our government that it’s kind of tough to play Buck, your famous red white and blue Harmony guitar that has almost become an icon of your brand... I get it, I see where you’re coming from but please... PLAY that guitar loudly and often! 

Ryan you and your music are just a couple of things that make this country great, you have a creative drive and stamina as an artist that inspires far too many in this country and we as a community of creatives look up to you, we need you now more than ever to represent American artists. Government has never really been what makes a country great, it has always been the people, and Ryan... You are one of those people! We NEED you to be outspoken about being from America and to tell people around the world that Americans are not hateful monsters and that our flag is not as distorted and bigoted as media outlets will tell us. 

Please play the red white and blue, keep the flag held up high, as someone with a platform and a voice people listen to, please be kind in choosing your words, but speak the truth even if your voice shakes while you do it. Be the difference for so many unheard indie voices today who rarely get time in the spotlights as you have managed to do. 

Please speak for American artists and be our loudest voice, even if you have to yell... So be it! Don’t back down due to pressure or political rhetoric that says being proud of America is not cool anymore. Be the change in our country, for Gods sake DO NOT RUN FOR OFFICE! There is far more good that could be done outside the confines of such a place... 
 Just treat people well, in public and private and be kind to animals but most importantly  keep bringing dignity to a flag so many others have burned, mocked and tread upon. 

Your fan. 



So it's been a crazy summer and I haven't updated too much online other than getting in an occasional debate among friends or sharing a few thoughts on Twitter and now it's time to give up a little news, but first... A story!

three years ago in the spring of 2013 I asked the girl of my dreams to marry me. She of course found this singer songwriter from Indiana charming and said yes. What came next was a crazy summer and action packed fall that had me selling off unused gear and re-homing furniture I no longer would be needing, packing everything I owned which was now condensed to a pile of mostly vintage wood and metal working tools and a ready stable of guitars into my Dad's Chevy van and driving south to Naples, Florida...

Once in Florida we were married and began our lives together. My new wife continued working at her job with the county Sheriff office and I lined up every gig as frontman, sideman or session man that I could hook up. With the help of a few new friends we formed a band and managed to play out 6 nights a week in a cover act in bars and clubs in the region. My playing grew and improved every week. I learned to sling a lot of twang heavy guitar solos for the hard partying beer drinking crowd and yet bring it to dead silence with a solo fiddle tune that could bring a tear to a glass eye. It was a great run there until things sort of wore out. First I noticed pain in my left wrist, the kind that made giving my wife a foot rub almost impossible... Then I started to feel the empty heaviness of performing songs that conveyed a message that I may not morally even believe in... Once that happened the fun of lugging in heavy PA gear, setting up a stage and needing to swap guitar strings 20 minutes to show time became a lot less exciting and a lot more soul sucking... The shear dread of attempting to wolf down a late night menu offering from a 24 hour hash house after a late bar gig was also making me feel sick most of the time. Again I am grateful for the chance to truly learn what it is to be a performing musician that many nights a week and to have a set routine Tuesday through Sunday night... But the harsh reality of performing that type of music was robbing me of the joy and even the ability of creating new music of my own.

Around that same time my wife Ashlea had some medical issues that made our lives change forever and my main focus needed to be her recovery. I will admit I had a lot to learn still after only a year of marriage, and our lives became shaken up a good deal... After the dust started to settle... So did I.
I took a job washing dishes part time in an effort to fend off bills, and yet still be home for my wife when she needed me, also our newly adopted Puppy Savannah needed nurturing and potty training. I still managed to move up, working a day job and it ended up one year later that instead of washing dishes I was helping run the place. But living in a tourist driven community it doesn't take long to get dug into some ruts and a few bad financial decisions here and there catch up quickly. I threw myself into my work as much as possible while still trying to balance being a husband and a creative person (I often times see that I failed at both this last year and a half) Let's just say it's been hard. On the one hand I feel like I "washed up" as a performing artist but then the writer in me points out that I wasn't actually performing my own material most of the time and I'm still rather unproven when it comes to original music and performance. I'm proud to have gone from a two night a week dish washer to being management and I couldn't have done it without the stellar crew I had to work with every night on the floor.

None-the-less it is time to make some changes. With both of us working full time the last year our marriage went through some pretty rocky stretches and some pretty lonely ones as well... Living on different schedules, going to bed and leaving at differing times, not to mention the stress it caused for our adoring dog Savannah...

I've missed home.
The realization probably hit me about the second overdraft charge of February in our bank account... The harsh reality that no matter how frugal one lives and how hard you work, that the bills increase or the landlord raises the rent, and in a town like this if you get behind, well... There's a line of people waiting for your spot on the dirt...

I have missed my family and many of the familiar faces of long lost friends, not to mention the various apple orchards and artist grade bakeries I grew up indulging in as a boy in Cincinnati. I've missed the sound of tug boats on the Ohio river and the distant rumble of freight trains hauling their cargo through the night... Missed that smell of a camp fire on a firefly infested night, and I have longed for the togetherness of a local coffee shop where good friends gather to share art and fellowship.

This spring my Dad was diagnosed with Osteoporosis and things he used to do all the time, like climbing ladders are now on the "Do Not Attempt List" so I flew up in June to help with some work around the many houses my Dad maintains... Long story short it's become clear that this Midwestern boy needs to return to his roots, get his hands dirty, and create something meaningful again. Now it's my time to climb some ladders. A house has been renovated and a lot of packing is involved, some risks and some leaps of faith are at play but it's just that season of our lives to make some changes.

In some ways it scares me and it feels a little like backtracking but the pros and cons of leaving one home for another are pretty cut and dried. I look forward to October in the hills of southeast Indiana when the oak leaves turn a crimson hue and the maple goes from green to gold, as the wind whistles a tune through the pine needles, as if to say summer is over, but Christmas will be here soon.

I will miss warm and mild winters, especially since I hate cold weather as a rule... I'll miss the taste of fresh squeezed orange juice when it is so pure and sweet that one sip will remind you that there really has to be a God. And I'll miss the old Hispanic guy who sells tomatoes in the Ace Hardware parking lot. I will miss the crew I worked and served beside at Henning's Chicago Kitchen, and I will miss the many wonderful musicians and friends I have made in the state of Florida.

A piece of my heart will always be in Southwest Florida and we plan to return often, but it's time for our new great adventure to begin. Ashlea hasn't seen snow in years and the dog never has before. There's still paint to spread and fences to repair and wood to haul but a little voice in both our heads seems to say the best is yet to come. We look forward to getting involved in our Indianapolis community and once again rejoining the wonderful people who over the years have become dear to us both.

Where music fits into the future I honestly no longer know, as I struggle through painful tendonitis that is however slowly healing and the restoration of damaged muscles and joints. Ashlea has stood by me through my months of self doubt and worry and encouraged me through the lows, and laughed with me through the good times... Now it's my turn to move up to the plate and take a swing at something a little more fulfilling than washing dishes or rambling through a cover of Wagon Wheel.

The highway is calling and the engine is warming up, we will see you there!

Guy Clark Remembered 

I woke up on May 17th to the news that Guy Clark had passed away. It was truly a sad day, while I had never met Guy, and I wasn't even lucky enough to catch him live I've had a connection to his music for a number of years now...

In 2008 I recall sitting around another such fire in central Florida late in the evening with a belly full of authentic Texas food cooked by an old raw boned cowboy wearing a wide brimmed hat, run down boots with traditional jeans and since it was hot out his Long Johns served as his shirt. I'd wandered in and out of many camp fires that week at the historical encampment, played numerous fires and listened to and told countless stories. The cowboy, who preferred to be called "Buddy" had come over from Texas to share the week with friends, and true to his camps arrangement Buddy was in charge of food and entertainment for the evening... That's somehow where I fit in. I'm not really even sure how I had been flagged to attend the dinner or to join in the inevitable guitar pull that would follow a rib sticking meal of dutch oven made Spanish Payaya but there I was tuning my guitar while the old timers and those who were of age passed around a jar of peach moonshine...

Songs about cowboys and outlaws like Billy The Kid started up and then someone sang a song about Ireland, I sang a song about a train and then the round came to another Cowboy who had wondered up to the fire and he sang "Stuff That Works"

Right there I heard the first song in a genre that I finally fully understood to be "Americana" sure the name had been passed around since "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" had shaken the music world up with it's raw rootsy old time sound but for some reason all the old time music had never been all that personal to me... This was personal though! After that nights fire I walked away with a pretty good introduction to "Texas Songwriters" and I went home and started hunting down Guy Clark albums one at a time and pulling apart the fibers of the music. I didn't write much for the next four years! The shear amount of depth and honesty that I found in Guy's music made me feel as if I should just hang it up as a songwriter until I'd learned to be a more traveled person of the road called life. 

In 2012 while going through a lot of tough breaks and hard knocks the songs of Guy Clark came again to me as I was trying to pinpoint some influences I could share with some artists I was playing sideman to, and by Fall of that year I was in studio wrapping up the final day of a record with a friend when the producer and my friend went out for coffee, I stayed behind and penned my first full song in a long while... The flood gates opened and I began writing like never before, I wrote as I had once heard someone say about Guy's music "Straight from the heart, no filter" It was weeks later that I had the courage to play any of it for friends and the first thing someone randomly said was "you're channeling your inner Guy Clark on that one" It was probably the biggest compliment I had ever received as a songwriter! I had read that Guy was suffering from various health issues and I knew that our window of time was short but he left a lasting mark on me, his music and his wit will remain as one of the major foundation cornerstones of American songwriting and I can honestly say I look forward to sharing his music with my son some day. Guy Clark was an Americana pioneer in the art of song craft and I feel fortunate to be one of many who can say Guy shaped my music.