Tell us about you! Where are you from, what was life like growing up?
I’m originally from Geneseo, New York and there was lots of music growing up. My friends and I made a group called Bluegrass Tuesday. Everybody got together with whatever instrument they played and just did it. I loved learning the banjo with my friends while they played everything from guitars to tubas. I played a lot of banjo then too. Nearly drove my mom nuts by playing “Cripple Creek” over and over until I got it and that took months.
Is there anything specifically about the Pacific Northwest lifestyle that inspires you?
The forests for sure. I’ve never been anywhere else where the moss grows so thick on everything. It wisps through branches like hair sometimes too. I like that. The Cascades are pretty magical.
What around you inspires you most when you are writing music?
I absolutely love telling a story with my songs. It’s so much fun taking something cool that I did, read about, heard about, or talked about and making it fit inside of music. Anything from conversations I have on the bus with people to accounts from ancient Mongol history. It’s all good material for songs.
What made you decide to pursue music as your life passion?
I haven’t found anything I like to do better than writing music and performing.
What’s it like when you are preparing for a show?
Maybe I’ll work on a newer song a little bit more leading up to a show but usually I just show up and play after spreading the word about it. But, if someone wants to give me just the brown M&Ms before a show, I’m totally cool with that too.
What’s it like when you are onstage and connecting with the audience?|
I love that part. It’s so much fun. I try to be engaging when I perform and get the people to experience the story with me as I play. In some songs there are moments when I can feel like people in the room feel the same thing as me. And that’s a pretty special moment, whether it’s silly or serious. It sounds funny, but when I play my songs for people I feel most like myself and I like to connect with people in that zone.
What musicians from the past or present inspire you the most?
From the past, Bob Dylan. I was inspired to start writing after I heard “I Want You.” I’m interested in his metaphors, imagery and how he takes old folk songs and blues songs and rewrites them to relate with what’s current. Presently, I’m in love with John Legend. His last album, Darkness & Light, was amazing and he’s a such a genuinely good guy from what I can tell. I’ve seen him live three times. The man has talent! So good.
Since this is What’s Up NW, what are your favorite Northwest places to hang out (eat, drink, chill, have fun, etc)?
I just went to Lunchbox Laboratory for the first time a couple weeks ago and was impressed. Now I’m swooning so I’ll be hitting it up a lot more often now. Nice spicy burger. Purple is nice too and the soms are cool.
Are there any charities that are near and dear to your heart that you work with and why?
Children’s cancer. One of my friends beat cancer when we were growing up. I’m so grateful he did beat it but it’s not something that anyone should go through. Especially kids.
What are you looking forward to in 2018 and into 2019?
Releasing more music and exploring new ways to share my music with people.