Tell us about your tour vehicle.
Let me think back to the before time, pre-covid, to remember what touring was like. Ahh yes, I remember touring fondly. Well, I have a couple different answers on this one. Lately we have been rolling around in my wife’s 2010 Gold Toyota Prius, a luxury ride in my opinion. About 120,000 on the odometer, great gas mileage and surprisingly spacious since it is a hatchback. A huge upgrade to my old 2008 Nissan Sentra that I used to tour in that didn’t have AC. Sometimes we get lucky though and have the budget to rent a van, those are good tours where you can stretch your legs a little bit.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
You Don’t! I mean we always try our best to do so and to be honest most towns now have a Whole Foods or some sort of fancy grocery store. A situation like that will allow you to have a salad now and again but you often aren’t getting out the door for very cheap. Eating healthy while on the road is a difficult task. When a venue offers you dinner you’re often tasked with deciding between their award winning burger or their healthier option which is the celery and carrots that usually go with the wing platter. I have a pretty weak constitution when it comes to this subject. I am more likely to get the burger.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
Out of the desire to not break strings (which I was doing a lot) a few years ago I moved to a heavier string gauge. So these days I don’t break nearly as many but you always have to be prepared, if you do break one the show must go on. A pack of strings is usually about $15 a piece and cheaper to buy by the box.
Where do you rehearse?
Right now during the pandemic my rehearsal space/music room has become the office, gym, guest room, bike storage room and the whatever else room. So because of that I bought a shed! I am working on insulating and drywalling the shed now so that I have a proper music space. I will report back when it is done.
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
Dear Memphis – “Dear my sweet memphis I know It’s overdue but I pray that this letter will reach you soon.”
I was on a cross country bicycle trip and we were somewhere near Payson, Arizona. I had always wanted to write songs and I guess that was the first time I really thought about it or had anything to write about. So while I was alone and pedaling through Northern Arizona I kept singing that line over and over in my head. When we got to the place where we were staying, there was a guitar and I hid out in the kitchen and wrote it all down.
Describe your first gig.
I have played guitar for a bunch of different bands throughout my life so my first gig truly was at the Presbyterian Church near my house with my high school band. My first gig as an artist was at this incredible club in Pittsburgh called Howlers. A truly great venue that has since shut down. Smoke filled the place floor to ceiling, the booker Mama Jo sitting at the end of the bar to buy you dinner and tell people to shut up during your set. I ended up playing countless gigs there after that first one, I will truly miss that place.
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
The pandemic has caused me to shift gears this past year. I currently work at a warehouse for a great denim brand here in Nashville called Imogene & Willie. They have taken great care of me while we have been off the road. I also have been able to do a bunch of carpentry work lately which I will count as my favorite job. There is nothing better than building something from the ground up.
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
Things have gotten better for me the more my name gets out there. Music by no means pays all the bills but it pays some of them and I am grateful for that. As far as expectations, I have none. I have hope that we will get back to touring full time but right now I am grateful for what I have.
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
The songs are the only thing in my control. Everything else in the music business will come and it will go but as long as I focus on the songs then I am in a good place.