Artist Statement

December 1, 2023.
A recent songwriting fellowship application required a statement of artistic principles, which seemed worth keeping handy after putting the work into it!

I have been blessed with a life and a livelihood derived from imagination and creativity, even in these challenging times in the performing and recording world.

I write these songs, and walk them out on stage night after night because I can't NOT do it. The organic cycle of energy of performance and audience; it's different every night - no two ever the same. And that uniqueness is a lot about how you the listener experience those songs and stories - maybe in some way that meant a lot to you. If that happened, then maybe I was in the right place at the right time. Songs have to be heard to have impact.

Songwriting is the art of taking an personal reaction or experience, and crafting words, melody and rhythm to make it universally accessible. We are a people of stories, and I think of my craft as telling those stories through musical cinematography. In those first couple lines, I'm trying to get a movie started in your head. It doesn't need to be the same movie I'm seeing; as long as you're in the movie, you're engaged.

And thus, how we react to that crafting is intensely personal; each listener experiences the world through the context and lens of our own unique lives. Not everyone will agree about even the best-crafted songs! I'm just grateful to know that some of my songs have touched somebody deeply at a time when they found themselves in need.

My creations have brought me to stages across the country, and experiences I could never have dreamed of as a 15-year old shredding his electric guitar in his bedroom for hours. Through many of my songs, people have experienced the lives of marginalized people, people who lived long ago, or people of whom they may have never given a second thought in passing on the street. I've written songs with little people, and I've written songs with our combat veterans using songwriting to help recover from PTSD. I've written songs that people have had performed at their weddings, and others used to say a final farewell. I've been fortunate to have been part of the soundtrack of a lot of important moments in people's lives, and that will always be the thing that means the most to me. 

I am the luckiest guy I know.

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