your new album is called “Birds” , what it represents for you?
To me “birds” is a bit of an exploration between my spiritual world and my sensual world. It’s me fumbling around looking for some connections to tug on.
what inspired most of its lyrics?
Many of the lyrics were inspired by conversations I would have with the birds outside of my window. I’d pass much of my time by talking with them. I figured they sing songs all the time so maybe they could help me with my own.
can you tell us more about the song “I’m still looking”?
I wrote I’m still looking after my brother passed away.
He was born non verbal with autism & died fairly suddenly at the age of 30.
I kept seeing signs of him everywhere after his death but belief in a higher power (in the tradition sense) isn’t something I hold. I wanted these signs to matter and have meaning but I didn’t know if it was my grief or a spirit at play. Maybe both.
do you remember the day you wrote “people like us”?
I do, it started as a ballad actually one morning in beaver creek Colorado. I wrote the verse melody on guitar and had the line “just yesterday, I had a plan to make things better.” It wasn’t until about a year later that that verse found a chorus and a completely different tempo.
what is the best verse you ever wrote?
I don’t really know if I’m the best person to answer that question. I don’t tend to look at my own writing as better or worse or even in comparison with itself or anything else.
I write everyday and everyday I try to do the best I can with whatever inspiration is in front of me. Sometimes I get something that moves me deeply and other times I’m just cleaning out to make some room for more ideas.
I tend to look at the process less like writing and more like moving words out of the way in order to show some emotional truth. It’s a bit sculpture.
The finished work is always inside the stone. You’re just chipping pieces away
and the one of your favorite song?
On my own record I’m really happy with the title track “birds.” It’s a different perspective of writing for me.
As a fan, I’m always listening and studying the songs of Woody Guthrie.
you are currently on tour, how is it going?
I leave for tour next weekend. I’m currently rehearsing for tour here in western Massachusetts. I can’t wait to get back out in front of my audience. They’re great people and many have become my close friends.
what is the message of your song Hasn’t hit me yet?
This was the first song I wrote after my brother passed away so it’s probably the rawest expression of my pain.
I guess my message is that what happens to you belongs to you. On this song I’m beginning to open my eyes and see my surrounding. I’m beginning to realize I’m alive and have work to do. I beginning to understand that no one walks alone.
how do you usually write the lyrics of your songs?
Yes, lyrics are so important to me and the part I spend hours and hours thinking about, editing, & deconstructing.
I’m typically pretty private about my thoughts in process.
I always have my voice memo filled up on my iPhone with lyrical phrasing or just a collection of words that when strung together interests me. It’s messy.
And then every once in a while i sink in and find a song in a matter of an hour. Meditation help me a lot and like meditation, creativity is a practice. It has its own timeline that is almost always different than yours.