Who I Am 

   (If you need the accolades, scroll to the end)

   I was raised with a love of small towns and big cities. It's those stories sitting still within in a scene that get me, the quiet ones.   I see idle tractors on a Saturday night dreaming of a city night past the distant hills. Two fishing poles with "nowhere to be" reel in the thought of a steel mill 45 miles up the railroad tracks which cross the bridge above the river.  Railroad tracks tie us together.  Roads cut us apart, but roads also bring us back together.  Words about the sunset don't burn like the colors in the sky.  The craft of songwriting is a journey to learn the balance between a story in the scene and a story outside the scene.  

   My years have traversed from ocean town Virginia to small college town North Carolina, rural Virginia to urban Ohio, suburban Ohio to rural Ohio back to urban with a year in coastal Alabama tucked in there.  I once lived in my car for 3 years traveling the country to play whatever coffee shop or rock club would take me.  My years were filled with working in leather tanneries, group homes, house framing, fast food, printing companies, carpentry, lumberjacking (in Nova Scotia) teaching trumpet lessons and teaching in public schools.  Before the pandemic, while working a full time music teaching position in an urban district, I averaged 80 performances per year, often logging 100+ hour weeks.  I've spent my life trying not to be a public school teacher, but the path keeps sending me back there. 

  I write to give you real stories, even if they aren't all mine.  And even if they aren't all true. They're all real.  I never set down to write a hit.  I set down to write the best story I am capable of, even on the funny songs.    Although I spent a weekend with Lost State of Franklin playing my own songs to crowds of 10,000 in Belfort, France, I am just as happy playing to 25 people who will listen to every word.  

  Notable accomplishments are:  Winning the Frank Brown International Songwriter Festival Songwriter Contest, being nominated as Best Songwriter in Scene Magazine and Best Band in the Free Times, being one of five trumpet players on the Ohio Intercollegiate All Star Jazz Band, being allowed to play in 4 Mississippi Songwriter Festivals (even though I'm not from Mississippi), performing with Keith Sykes (of Jimmy Buffet band) and Buzz Cason (writer of Everlasting Love), opening for George Jones and having him mention our band's name into the microphone, opening for Ralph Stanley.  

   Browse the songs.  Find me on FB. Please leave comments on the youTube videos. 

   Hope to see you around :)


Voice in the Corner

  In college, all I knew of performing were the smoky jazz clubs where I played trumpet and sang the American Songbook with "Chet Bakeresque" stylings.  I didn't yet know what all of the unadvertiseable paragraphs on my scrap papers at home were.  What were these phrases and odd descriptions that came to me unwarranted? I just knew that noone else would likely be interested and so my personal treasures were hidden away in drawers and boxes.  

  I didn't yet know…I was a poet.

  At some point during these years, I had to write a brief essay on what I wanted to be in life.  That was easy.  From the perspective of a jazz musician and the romance of late night music for the down and out, I wanted to be “a voice in the corner”.  I wanted to be a voice that asked nothing, but spoke stories and depth into people's lives.  I wanted anonymity as the words and phrases and trumpet poured out my soul to touch hearts.  

  When I became a songwriter and performer of my own material I was often asked where I wanted it to go.  I was told things like, “Imagine your dreams into existence”.  Yes, I dreamed of theatres and ferstivals (and yes, I have been lucky enough sometimes to do these), but in the end, the true core of me always imagined playing to a small crowd of people who would listen to every word.  And as the years go by, what always gives me the most fulfilment is myself, my guitar and a handful of people listening as they live out the story of a song I've written.  No matter if my future is playing for 1,000's of listeners or just a few at a time, I still want to be: A voice in the corner.

Live Shots