Process, Progress, and Defining Your Sound

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So why even write music? Why do I care about it? For me, creating is beautiful whether it’s a song, a piece of furniture, a painting, a story, a home, a recipe, or any number of things. It’s what drives progress and keeps us moving forward just like the ever-expanding universe we live in.

Other peoples work inspires us to create things on our own that we may have never tried otherwise. My musical inspiration started with listening to my parent’s records on an old turntable. I was mesmerized by the sounds of Parliament Funkadelic, The Eagles, James Taylor, John Prine, Michael Jackson, The Temptations, and Tommy James.

At the same time, I was learning how to play the piano and learning how to sing in the church choir. I would continue playing and writing instrumental piano pieces through my teens until I couldn’t resist the allure of the guitar for any longer. I was fascinated with guitar players and songwriters specifically Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, David Gilmour, The Edge, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Townes Van Zandt.

My juvenile efforts at songwriting mimicked these artists heavily as I was trying to create in a similar way that initially inspired me so much. I would go on to make an album of original songs in my early twenties with songs driven by solo acoustic performances with some piano and vocal accompaniment. Looking back now I realize how juvenile the songs on that album were- but to create songs, record them in a studio, and complete a project like this was such a rewarding and memorable experience in my musical journey. You have to start somewhere!

It wouldn’t be until seven years later that I would work with some amazing musicians and collaborate on an album which was more in the Prog/Alt Rock vein. At the time I was also heavily involved with music at a church, and you can hear the Christian influence in my lyrics. These experiences taught me the value of deconstructing a song and taking other suggestions in order to collaborate on a project. I also produced this album and learned a lot about the recording process in general.

Five years later I had enough material written for another album and I collaborated with my wife and good friend Steve on the “Bricks and Boards” project which was the early stages of my currently defined sound.

It wasn’t until I started working for myself and having the weight of providing for my family solely on my shoulders that I tapped into a deeper, more personal style of songwriting. The songs began to flow out of me and I fused some of my older influences (Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen) and newer influences in Americana and Rock (Jason Isbell, Justin Jones, Horsehead, Band of Horses).

With the Bricks & Boards project, I was fortunate enough to meet and work with Matt Singleton and would continue working with Matt on the latest project “All These Years”. With the majority of the material written on acoustic guitar and piano we collaborated on song structure, arrangement, instrumentation, and overall tone of the album. This never would have come to fruition without everything that has preceded it. I know it’s been a long road to get to this point but you have to start by creating something.

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