My heart goes out to the wonderful people of Tennessee. I’ve never shared these pictures from my trip to visit your beautiful home a couple of years ago, but I wanted you to have back a little bit of the beauty that I enjoyed so immensely during my stay with you. These were from a few of the nature trails and historic sites from around the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area. Rebuild,brothers and sisters. I can’t wait to see you again.
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Writing songs for “The Optimist’s Club” has really brought me face-to-face with my own limitations, whether actual (I’m fairly certain that I’m writing beyond my own musical abilities) or self-imposed. You see, until now, I’ve always approached songwriting with one thing in mind; can I perform it live with just an acoustic? And that’s worked well. As self-deprecating as I am, I can admit that I’ve written some pretty decent tunes. But how much better could they have been, if I’d simply written the song from the song’s standpoint, and worried about the acoustic version later? This time, I’m just letting the songs grow themselves (I really don’t know any other way of putting that…), and I’m going to worry about whether I can play them later. How many songs could I have written without limiting myself in this way? What kind of music would I be playing now? It really makes me wonder how many artists have done this to themselves. How many songs were never born because the writer was too busy keeping to the (self-imposed) status-quo? It’s time to write the music I’ve always wanted to write, instead of the music I’ve always thought everyone wants to hear. And so far, that music sounds pretty darn good…
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It’s a peculiar thing, writing an album… There are so many ways to go about it, really. In the past, I’ve just written whenever I was inspired to write, and about whatever love or heartbreak or experience that was striking most in that moment. This time is a little different, though.
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The true craft of the artist is not to make sound, but to shape silence. The silences are the form, the bone structure of music, of language. We find the pulse of the moment, and simply make it audible.
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As a musician, it is occasionally necessary to stand up for something, to speak out against injustice. While mine may not, perhaps, be a popular stance, it is, nevertheless, my stance.
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I’ve done many, many jobs in my short lifetime. I’ve been an airman in the US Airforce, a linguist for the NSA, a door-to-door salesman, a painter, a chef, a barista… The list goes on. Always, throughout, have I been a musician. But I’ve discovered the hardest job yet. Being a stay-at-home-dad.
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As you all know, I love to play. It is one of the things that keeps me waking up in the morning, working every day, and practicing, practicing, practicing. Performing is my passion. And to get to do it to make a difference? Even better. So a good friend of mine, Andy Thomas who owns one of the greatest art galleries I’ve seen, and I got to thinking: What if we got to drink beer, perform and make a difference in our community?
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I’ve been asked a few times what my views on music “piracy” are, and frankly, I’m ambivalent. On the one hand, piracy can be a great thing for a new artist. On the other, piracy can be a horrible thing for a new artist. Why? A new artist REALLY counts on the little income that tracks sold can bring them. The transition from working stiff to rockstar is incredibly scary, not to mention difficult. There’s nothing more frustrating than investing one’s hard-earned money into studio time, production, equipment, etc, only to have someone essentially steal all your time and effort. Sure, 99 cents isn’t much by itself, but multiply that by a hundred and the artist has just lost a tank of gas that would have gotten him to a gig, or cables he desperately needed to keep playing, or…
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I got to spend part of the morning having coffee with a couple who asked me a rather startling question. Why? Why do you do music? Why do you want to succeed? And it stopped me in my tracks for a bit. I had to think about this question. Why, indeed? Why do I want all this frustration, all these empty shows, all this hard work? What’s the point? As I sipped my coffee and reflected for a moment, the answer formed. “I want to help people. I want more so I can give more.” My friend’s eyes lit up and he said, “Now you’re thinking.” And the more I do, the more I think about what I could give, what I could do with great success. There’s an amazing school in Tuscaloosa, Alabama that I would just love to give an absurd amount of money to. There’s my mother, who instilled this love of music and art in my heart in the first place that I would love to set up for the rest of her life. There’s my own family, that I would just love to make sure is provided for in every way I can think of. There are so many, many things that I want to give to. I realized that I want more so I can give more. And my God, how fun will that be? I can’t wait to give more than I can now. And I am so thankful for all of you Continue Reading →
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