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I hate bios. I’m told that they are important, but I hate them. It’s always some horrible piece of fluff written by the very person it is about, but written in third person to try to fool the reader into thinking that anyone other than the subject themselves thinks they are “taking the scene by storm” or some such nonsense. But my main problem with a bio, on a personal level, is that it doesn’t talk about what you’re doing; it talks about what you’ve done. And what I’ve done is never as interesting to me as what I’m doing or what I’m getting ready to do.
What I’m typically getting ready to do is play a show or make a record. And that sounds way more exciting to me than the fact that I’ve put out a bunch of other records and played a bunch of other shows. A lot of the things that I’ve done were exciting at the time, and they are memories that I cherish, but they’re not things that I hope define me. If I’m anything beyond a husband and a father, I’d like to think that I’m a songwriter. And I write a lot of them. I once heard somebody say that you can’t call yourself something unless you do it regularly and often, so I’m a songwriter.
These last few years I’ve been averaging a record about every 9 months. The last time somebody told me that was really something, I reminded them that my lovely wife made our beautiful boy in 9 months, so 10 songs shouldn’t really be all that impressive. But I hope people like them.
That said, if you must know a little history, I was born in Owensboro, Kentucky. I moved a lot as a kid, but spent a big chunk of time in Wyoming before settling in Wisconsin. It’s cold here in a way that I’ve never gotten used to, but I live in a town with good schools, great friends, and an excellent record store. I played in garage bands and punk bands and metal bands and I love all of those things still, but folk/country/bluegrass has always dominated the largest part of my musical heart. It's one of many things that I'm happy to share with my dad. I recorded my first solo record in my basement. In the spirit of progress I recorded the second one in my bedroom. The third one was done in the back room of a recording studio, and by the fourth I had moved to an actual studio. I do my stuff live over the course of a day or two the way Dylan and Petty did. Everybody did it that way. And I like it. I think we get something special when we all play together. And by “we” I mean whichever group of people is playing with me under the name The New Old Things.
I play a lot of shows and I feel very fortunate to have played some of those shows with some truly wonderful musicians and people. I’ve gotten to share stages with Rodney Crowell, Justin Townes Earle, Chuck Ragan, William Elliott Whitmore, Austin Lucas, Charlie Parr, Mandolin Orange, Jamestown Revival, and a whole bunch of others. I got to travel back home to Owensboro to play ROMP Fest with people like John Prine, Punch Brothers, Del McCoury, Sam Bush, and a long list of talented folks. I even won the Wisconsin Area Music Industry award for singer/songwriter of the year. Awards for art are weird, and sometimes even calling what I do “art” is weird, but it was flattering and nice.
But still, for me it is always going to be about songs. There are old ones, there are these ones, and there will be new ones. And I would love to come play them for you sometime.
"Winter Wind" the first single from the new album "Whichever Way Home" out on May 13.
"Roll On" the second single from the new album "Whichever Way Home" out on May 13.
A new song set to appear on a record this fall.