I’ve spent a good part of my life in the library, a good part of my life in music venues and a good part of my life next to the record player. I grew up like most American suburban kids in the 1980’s, watching MTV and listening to top 40 radio. I also raided my friends’ parents’ record collections for all of the cool old stuff they had. “The Harder They Come” was one of the first albums I loved and it’s still one of my favorites. My songwriting heroes have always been the really smart ones who write great poetry over great tunes: Randy Newman, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Bob Marley. My favorite singers were always the real churchy ones: Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack, Ralph Stanley, Dolly Parton, Toots Hibbert, The Staples. I also love raspy, intimate rock singers like Rod Stewart and Paul Westerberg. More than just about anything in life, I love a tune that you can’t wait to hear again, a story that takes you somewhere and a singer that you can feel in your heart.
I started hanging out in Greenwich Village when I was 12 or 13, looking for old records, checking out poetry readings and watching punk rock matinees at CBGB. My brothers had a band and I was often their roadie. I went to college and studied English and Spanish literature in New York City. I still live there today. I love the city very dearly. I love the country too, but I feel most at home in downtown Manhattan.
I started filling up notebooks with little rhymes and verses from a very young age. In high school and college, I’d write songs in class while the teachers lectured. I started playing my first gigs in coffee houses and bars, wherever I could. I only knew a few chords and I knew nothing about singing. I was lousy but I got better. I learned a lot on the job. I sent my first demos to a club called the The Living Room and soon I was a regular performer there. I put together a band to back me and we played all over the place. I was playing a solo set at a music conference in Florida when I got approached to make my first album. I sent it to my local radio station WFUV and my song “In the City” got a lot of airplay. Since then I’ve played a lot of gigs in a lot places and put out two other albums. I’ve written and recorded a lot of songs, I’ve played on TV and on radio stations around the country and I wrote the score for an HBO movie.
Just like when I was a kid, I’m still filling notebooks with rhymes every day and freaking out about great writing and great songs. You can hear echoes of a lot of my old records in my stuff, whether it’s blues or country or Randy Newman or Jimmy Cliff or any number of things. I love keeping the roots alive in my music and I love the intimate experience of a song. I’d like to write a thousand more songs and play a thousand more gigs. You might see me on stage singing by myself, with a trio or with a six piece band. In whatever format I play, I’ll be going for something intimate and honest, trying to catch a good groove and tell you the story with all I’ve got.