Hill Country Live Presents
410 7th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20004
Album Release: 1/22/13
Produced by Jamie Candiloro (REM, Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson, Courtney Love, Luscious Jackson), my third full-length record, EVERYMAN, is comprised of 13 songs that mean a lot to me.
In literature, an Everyman is an ordinary person placed in extraordinary circumstances. Well, I feel like we all fit that bill. Ordinary in our daily struggles with fear, insecurity, frustration, judgment and loss, we each experience extraordinary moments of conquering these overwhelming obstacles through the engines of courage, confidence, perseverance, empathy and love. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing what we collectively do each and every day. These 13 songs are my humble call to unite under the principle that, no matter our sex, gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or profession, we are all Everyman.
EVERYMAN is born of the idea that the best music connects people. It connects you to yourself, and it connects you to others. It makes you move your body when you’re alone, and it gets you dancing in a crowd. It lets you cry about something in your own life because the emotion of the person singing is made so undeniably real. Basically, it produces tangible results. Social media is an important part of being a musician these days, but tangibility is hard to find on the Internet. So, I decided to conduct an experiment with EVERYMAN. Any time an interaction inspired me to write a song, I recorded it on my phone and sent it to the person that had inspired it. This produced some of those tangible results I was looking for — tears, hugs, nodding heads — and got me back to the most awesome parts about making music. It reconnected me with my craft, and it made me feel… extraordinary.
But I was still a long way from making a great record. Luckily, I got a little help from a friend and fellow songwriter, Justin Jones, who introduced me to Jamie Candiloro. We hit it off over the phone, and our conversations invigorated me. Armed with a clearer vision, I wrote a few more songs and my fans contributed the money necessary to make EVERYMAN a reality. The rest is a history of perfectly sunny days spent in a dark room with one of the industry’s best minds, honoring my songs and eating chocolate. Throw in a day with master pedal steel man Marty Rifkin (Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty), guitar sessions with jack-of-everything Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams, Jewel), and backing vocals from Ryan Adams, and it all sounds like a dream, to me.
My early life in suburban Pittsburgh, PA gave few indications that I would end up being a musician. I didn't start playing guitar until I was 16, and I had serious stage fright that limited me to solo performances in the bathroom. But, I found a way to get over that and recorded my first album (Proof) on my own record label in 2005. Right around this time, my older brother, Jason, was very ill with cancer and did not win the battle. Everything in my life felt foreign, and there were times when the only thing I could depend on was music. Looking back, the songs from Proof really reflected that in a beautiful way. I only wish he could have heard them.
My brother gave me an incredible gift by showing me how precious life is at such a young age, so when Proof got exceedingly positive press, I knew it was time to go for it. I quit my job at a Washington, D.C. law firm and booked a tour around the U.S. For a couple of years, my car was my best friend. I learned a lot about performing, and I was starting to really find my voice. Soon I was adding some different elements to my writing — a little more electric guitar, a little more rock — and I went back to work in the studio with the talented Ian Schreier, my producer from Proof, to make Keep Talking in 2009. It was rewarding to feel like a lot of people got where I was going with the album, including Nancy Dunham from The Washington Post who wrote, "When a singer-songwriter builds an array of songs, often arising from a solid pop foundation with a splash of blues, a touch of rock and a hint of soul, that affirms a genuine musical gift."
I did another long tour to support Keep Talking and had a lot of fun recreating the songs live with my DC band (Tim Lyons, Wes Lanich, Christopher Brown, Chris Keever and Paul Garisto). Things were great musically, but I was left frustrated on the business side of things. Every job has its down sides, yes? Pretty ordinary problem to be in a rut with work. Alas, these are the times when it’s great to be a songwriter. I channeled the full spectrum of my feelings into what I think are the most captivating melodies on EVERYMAN. Just another example of what happens when the ordinary becomes extraordinary. In taking on a life of their own, these songs have re-energized me. I hope they do the same for you.