LISTEN ON SOUNDCLOUD
How it felt
listening to the radio from the backseat of the car when you were a kid.
WATCH ON YOUTUBE
How it felt to discover your favorite new artist watching Midnight Special way past bedtime.
I am an Ohio-born, piano-playing singer-songwriter. I learned to write from listening to old records and my songs sound like they've always been there, just waiting to be captured out of thin air.
As a kid from a small town full of factory laborers and farming families, with a football coach for a dad, I ended up in church every Sunday and football games every Friday. Sometimes it was euphoric: the cheering and the chill and the glockenspiels and bonfires and bands, the choirs, the redemption stories, the visceral sorrow for the wreckage of the world and the heaven-starved longing in the hymns.
But it was often boring, with long gray winters and clods of mud acre after acre and a lack of any real heroism or history. It was also as lonely as the feeling of making mix tapes you know you'll be too shy to deliver -- listening to them by yourself in an empty baseball field on a summer night in the dark, the sound of the turnpike far in the distance. Farms, factories, football and faith: that was the life offered to me. But I didn't grow into it.
I left my little town, full of dreams that I've never been able to chase down. Some lurking self-sabotage is always in the way. There haven't been any do-overs, but there sure have been a lot of start-overs. Lots of town-leaving, being the new kid, getting stuck, getting unstuck, children-raising, a marriage, a mortgage, a divorce, aftermaths, breaches, deep breaths, deep dives....
It's taken me well into my fifth decade to figure out how to give music back to the world. It's not the normal timing, but it's my timing and I just may have finally learned how to give up giving up.
So, here is my music. To the extent that it's gorgeous, such is the depth of the gratitude I owe but have been too spiteful to freely offer to the places and people I come from -- the angry Vietnam veterans, the end-times-obsessed born-again baptizers, the part-it-on-the-right buttoned-down dads who over-managed their sons and then lost their jobs as industry in the Ohio valley gave up its last gasp, the women onto whom those men projected their dreams and whom they struggled to please, or ultimately failed, but never understood -- and the hope I still have for the people I'll find in the future.