Hmmm. What do you say about yourself to the world? Let me hit the basics quickly for the newcomers. I’m a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, left-handed Taurus born and raised in Rocky Mount, Virginia. Gasp! That’s right I’m not from Texas. And chances are you’re not from Virginia. So what. I hate labels. I’m from Earth and I live in Austin. I live to make music and I love almost all styles. I’ve let every kind I listen to influence my sound at some point or another over the 18 years I’ve been playing. I play alone. I play with my bands. I play with other peoples' bands. The tough Austin music scene has helped me to shine in many different situations. I pride myself on that, but right now…I’m working on my own situation.
I could bore you with a long bio about my life but this is really about the music, isn’t it? So let me give you a rundown of my catalog. Let’s start with:
“The Money and the Grass”
When I first moved to Austin I was heavy into blues. I’m a guitar player firstly and I’ve always loved Hendrix, Clapton, Stevie, and players of that genre. Living in Austin really opened my ears to the stuff THEY learned from (or really, where everything good comes from), the pure and natural blues. This was a blossoming period for me as well as far as songwriting was concerned. So I wrote some tunes combining both aspects and, yep, “The Money and the Grass” was born. I had a real good band back then (Matt Powell, Chris Gilson, Nate Rowe) and we made that record ourselves. It was later picked up, and dropped, by a little label out of Houston. It received no critical acclaim but is still my favorite of my old stuff. Lots of guitars and nice tones around young, but interesting songs. That was ‘98ish.
My next two records I actually did at the same time:
“Dragonfly” and “Ten Gallon Heart”
While I was waiting out the aforementioned record deal I wrote a ton of songs; more than enough for one album. So I decided to make two: one that I knew I would like, and one that I thought everyone would like. I always wanted to do something that I played all the instruments on so I made “Dragonfly”. This was the one I thought only I would like, but as it turns out it seems to be everyone’s favorite. I like to call it “porch music”. I don’t think I played all the instruments on it that well back then but I guess I got my point across. I do love most of those songs though. I did it in my bedroom on an Otari MX20-20 with a couple of AKG-414s (for you gearheads) for about $800 bucks. It’s a great “sit by the water” record.
“Ten Gallon Heart” consists mostly of songs that my band was playing at the time. Texas had rubbed off on me so there’s definitely some country on it. It’s still me though so it’s more like twangy rock. I made this record with some airplay in mind so it’s got its hooks and big choruses. The first track is my version of the song that just won’t die, “$50 and a Flask of Crown” (yes, I wrote it). Chris Gilson played drums, Ricky Davis played pedal steel, and I did the rest on TGH.
“Fluke Luck and Jesus”
Being from Virginia I grew up around bluegrass music. I never played it a lot back home but I guess it kind of imbedded itself in my subconscious. The whole “Down From the Mountain” trend a few years back made it okay to be a hillbilly so I let my true colors shine for a while. I wasn’t traveling and the Austin scene had taken a nose dive. Honestly, I had been taking a much needed rest from bars and crappy gigs. I was bored with playing until bluegrass flatpicking became my new hobby. It made me fall in love with guitar again. Then I saw Alison Krauss and Union Station for the first time and it literally changed my life. I’ve only had a handful of religious experiences in my day and that was definitely one of them. Pretty soon I had written the songs that would become “Fluke Luck and Jesus”. This record sounds like “Dragonfly” after a LOT of practice. My friend Nate Rowe played upright bass and I played everything else on this one.
“New Kind of Something”
This brings us up to date. I have just finished my fifth independent studio project. It’s called “New Kind of Something”. If you’ve heard my previous work, this record draws a little bit from all the styles I’ve touched on in the past. If you haven’t, then this cd is a perfect place for us to become acquainted. It is the best record I’ve ever made across the board; writing, playing, singing and producing. I played nearly everything (even some drums and piano) on this one. Of this effort I am proudest of all. I produced NKS with a dear friend of mine, Britton Beisenherz, at his studio called Ramble Creek in Austin, Texas. I feel this record aptly represents me as an artist and definitely reflects my growth on the crazy journey that is this life. I hope you will buy a copy for yourself, and if you enjoy it tell everybody you know. I hope you'll go back and pick up my other cds as well.
On behalf of myself and artists like me, thank you for taking the time to find the music you want to listen to instead of listening to what you think you’re supposed to. Don’t be fooled by mainstream radio and, as always, thanks for supporting the little guys.