October Favorites

It’s been a minute. Sorry I’ve been MIA, things have been busy around here. I’ve had a month long bout of Bronchitis and have been spending most of my energy trying to get healthy. Currently, I’m still unable to sing but am making progress. Meanwhile, I’ve got some gigs coming up where I’m just playing guitar so keep an eye out for me around town. Hope everyone is well! Thought I would just post a few of my current favorite things so here we go:

 Jason Isbell and his mighty band just released a live album from a performance at the Ryman in Nashville. Incredible energy on this record - what you’d expect from such a talented artist in this sacred space. Love all the live versions but hard not to be moved by this take of “Cover Me Up.” When Isbell sings his lyric “…but I sobered up and swore off that stuff,” the audience erupts in roar of cheers. As a recovering alcoholic, this must be a deeply moving moment for him. Go listen to it on  ITUNES  or  SPOTIFY .

Jason Isbell and his mighty band just released a live album from a performance at the Ryman in Nashville. Incredible energy on this record - what you’d expect from such a talented artist in this sacred space. Love all the live versions but hard not to be moved by this take of “Cover Me Up.” When Isbell sings his lyric “…but I sobered up and swore off that stuff,” the audience erupts in roar of cheers. As a recovering alcoholic, this must be a deeply moving moment for him. Go listen to it on ITUNES or SPOTIFY.

 My sister Rosemary came to visit me in NYC last week. It was the first time I’ve seen her in almost a year. She studied abroad in China last semester so we haven’t had the chance to see each other outside of Skype. Enjoyed showing her the city and catching up. Definitely a favorite.

My sister Rosemary came to visit me in NYC last week. It was the first time I’ve seen her in almost a year. She studied abroad in China last semester so we haven’t had the chance to see each other outside of Skype. Enjoyed showing her the city and catching up. Definitely a favorite.

 We lost our beloved Aretha Franklin recently. This is a subway platform on my way home in Brooklyn. Love this tribute.

We lost our beloved Aretha Franklin recently. This is a subway platform on my way home in Brooklyn. Love this tribute.

This song has been on repeat for a week at my house. Jamie and Allen are forces of nature. Obsessed with this groove.

 Current favorite book. Been getting inspired about the world again (easy to get blue with current affairs). Looking forward to checking some of these places off on tour. Get it  here .

Current favorite book. Been getting inspired about the world again (easy to get blue with current affairs). Looking forward to checking some of these places off on tour. Get it here.

 Dream House is hard to find even if you are looking for it. Located at  275 Church Street  in Manhattan, the entrance to Dream House is just another nondescript doorway on a busy city street. Ring the buzzer to get in and follow a long flight of stairs. There you will be greeted by an attendant who will kindly request that you remove your shoes and pay the $10 donation/entry fee. Upon entering the space a fairly jarring tone fills the air. It’s a little off putting at first, but as time passes it becomes almost pleasant. The tone is drone of lower and mid frequencies. I noticed that depending on the tilt of the head, the tone changes ever so slightly. Lit by only purple and blue ambient lighting, the space does really feel dream-like. The entire area is completely empty other than a few art pieces on the walls. In the main room a large tapestry covers the largest wall. Behind the tapestry is a projector that seems to bring certain patterns to life as you look at it. The floor is carpeted and I found myself sitting staring at the wall. Other folks wander in and out of the space, sometimes laying down or using one of the provided cushions to sit. This experience is hard to describe and probably sounds pretty trippy - which I guess it is. I thought I had been in Dream House for maybe a 30 mins but when I left it had been over an hour.Afterwards, I felt extremely calm and relaxed.. Later on I did a little research and found that Dream House has been an installation since the 90s and the likes of Brian Eno and David Byrne have made visits. If you’re in the NYC area or are visiting soon try to make time to check this out. More information can be found  here . Also check out this write up in Rolling Stone magazine  here .

Dream House is hard to find even if you are looking for it. Located at 275 Church Street in Manhattan, the entrance to Dream House is just another nondescript doorway on a busy city street. Ring the buzzer to get in and follow a long flight of stairs. There you will be greeted by an attendant who will kindly request that you remove your shoes and pay the $10 donation/entry fee. Upon entering the space a fairly jarring tone fills the air. It’s a little off putting at first, but as time passes it becomes almost pleasant. The tone is drone of lower and mid frequencies. I noticed that depending on the tilt of the head, the tone changes ever so slightly. Lit by only purple and blue ambient lighting, the space does really feel dream-like. The entire area is completely empty other than a few art pieces on the walls. In the main room a large tapestry covers the largest wall. Behind the tapestry is a projector that seems to bring certain patterns to life as you look at it. The floor is carpeted and I found myself sitting staring at the wall. Other folks wander in and out of the space, sometimes laying down or using one of the provided cushions to sit. This experience is hard to describe and probably sounds pretty trippy - which I guess it is. I thought I had been in Dream House for maybe a 30 mins but when I left it had been over an hour.Afterwards, I felt extremely calm and relaxed.. Later on I did a little research and found that Dream House has been an installation since the 90s and the likes of Brian Eno and David Byrne have made visits. If you’re in the NYC area or are visiting soon try to make time to check this out. More information can be found here. Also check out this write up in Rolling Stone magazine here.


That’s all I got for now.

Be well! xo




Me & Mr. Clapton

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The people we idolize when we are young can have such a lasting impact on our lives. Sometime in junior high school I discovered the music of Eric Clapton. This was a pivotal moment in my journey. Clapton was one of the first players I came across that used his guitar as an extension of his voice. I was obsessed with my new found guitar hero, and spent most of my teenage years studying every nuance of his playing and legacy. I've even owned two of his signature Stratocasters.

I quickly identified with Clapton’s persona. He seems a bit introverted and shy, and really lets his music do the talking. His stage shows typically have a pretty simple set up - not a lot of flash, and he is always diplomatic when it comes to sharing the stage. This is something I’ve always tried to embody as a performer. Surrounding yourself with excellent musicians and allowing them space to shine is one the greatest thrills of being on stage.

One of the first Clapton records I got my hands on was a live CD/DVD recording called One More Car, One More Rider. I probably watched that thing hundreds of times. Many members of his live band are some of my favorite players today - Nathan East, Steve Gadd, and Billy Preston - just to name a few. The first time I saw Clapton in concert I remember being overwhelmed to the point of tears.

Whether Clapton is your guitar hero or not, it’s hard to deny his impact on blues and rock music. I think his larger legacy is keeping blues music alive. Clapton has put the spotlight on so many blues artists that may have fallen by the wayside in their later years - B.B. King, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy , JJ Cale - the list goes on and on. He also paved the way for so many younger players from Richie Sambora to John Mayer. Clapton is largely responsible for introducing Bob Marley's music to American audiences as well. 

I imagine our childhood heroes are much like our first boyfriends or girlfriends. Even though we go on to experience other things, they always hold a special place in our hearts. I still find inspiration in Eric’s records today. I saw recently he will be playing two dates this fall at Madison Square Garden. I’ll probably grab a ticket -  it will most likely be my last chance to see my hero. 

Happy New Year!

I wanted to take a minute and wish everyone a Happy New Year! 2017 was a memorable one. Thank you for your continued support. This past year, shipments of my album were sent to Japan, Austria, France and Brasil - not to mention across the United States.  2017 brought some great moments - playing at Buddy Guy's club in Chicago, spending time with friends in Nashville, and of course hanging out at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals. This was also the year I relocated to New York. It's all been a lot to process but I'm loving every minute of it.

I just got back to New York after spending some time with family back home in North Carolina. Over the visit I was able to meet with my producer and go over some new songs for my next project. Looking forward to getting that music recorded in 2018. Everyone stay safe and I hope to see you all in the new year! Cheers!

Pedals

 During my summer in Nashvile I decided to build a pedalboard. Warning: this is going to be a guitar nerd post. For those that aren’t guitar players but are still curious - a guitar pedal is a device that manipulates the sound of your guitar. Pedals can do anything from make your guitar tone distorted, add some reverb, or make it sound like a spaceship. A pedalboard is simply a board with the pedals mounted on it. I'm going to go through the pedals I decided on and provide links to more in depth descriptions.

 My rig

My rig

I’ve never been much of a pedal user, but had increasingly felt the need to have a few basic pedals so I could cover a wide range of material. After picking out my pedals I reached out to a custom builder in Kansas called Pedal Pad. They are fully custom down to the tolex (I opted for "black comet.") I chose to have the input, output, and power input all on the same side for easy set up. They make high quality boards in some unique designs so check them out here

The first pedal on my board is my Polytune tuner. This should be a requirement on everyone's board. Find it here.

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Next we have the Fulltone OCD. I fell in love with this pedal immediately. I’ve always been looking for a way to fatten up the tone of my Telecaster and this pedal does the trick. You can add some subtle dirt to your tone or crank up the drive for some thick overdriven leads. Find more information here.

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After the OCD we have the Boss CE-2W Waza Craft Chorus. This is really a few pedals in one. Most importantly (for me) you can get some of those classic chorus tones (think Prince’s Purple Rain.) It also works quite well with it dialed in at a low level, just to give your clean tones a little something extra. More information here.

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Last but not least - and perhaps my favorite pedal on the board - is a pedal by Hungry Robot called “The Wash.” In it’s most basic application - it’s a tap tempo delay. What makes this pedal special is the reverb circuit. You can adjust the levels to create some beautiful ambient and washed out tones. I use this pedal for a lot of swells. Dig it here.

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One last pedal that is not mounted on the board that I use is a Morely Mini Optical Volume pedal. I usually run this pedal between the board and my amp. I don’t keep it on the board due to space and it’s not a pedal I always use. I found it’s much easier to use a pedal for some of those ambient swells than the volume knob on my guitar. Link here

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As you can see, my rig is pretty simple. My goal was to put the necessities in an easy grab and go format. I highly recommend getting lightly used pedals. I bought every one of these pedals on Reverb.com.  Have fun!