It was spring of 2007 when I bought my first little banjo and I found I was finally able to shape chords with a freedom I could never quite acquire on guitar. I was working in Montana that summer and was also reading poetry daily. I was surrounded by natural beauty and awestruck by the subtlety of a well written verse, how so much could be captured in so few phrases. I also realized that this beautiful art seemed capable of countering the ugliness that can so easily flood the world. Pablo Neruda & Mary Oliver were my favorites and I felt they were creating beauty where there was nothing before and sharing it bravely. I wanted, in my own small way, to do the same. To try to create beauty from what I gathered in my life in a gentle way. I logged many hours with that banjo and wrote much of what would become my first album that summer under a white-barked tree outside our sleeping quarters. At the end of the season I had a treble clef tattooed on my back as a promise to myself to make music my true north and follow it as far as it might lead me...
Honey and sugarcane... I always wanted to sing. Always. I'd sing country songs to imagined crowds in the hay barn, three stacked bales were my stage and I owned it but outwardly I was incredibly shy. Even when I finally realized I could write my own songs to sing, it took so much agony and adrenaline to sing them outside of my room. Through nauseating nerves and the conviction that eventually someone would gently let me down and tell me I really couldn't sing, I forced myself to seek out opportunities to get up on stage. This compulsion eventually led me to the banjo, where I learned to write, and when I wrote my first song I felt what I can only describe as relief. In lyrics and music I could find a way to transcend everything I wished to free myself from and yet also a way to capture everything that seemed so fleeting and elusive. I felt I could somehow claim all the things I found beautiful by writing them into lyrics and singing those lyrics like an anthem.
birdsong and dew... I began listening to music with new ears and found myself deeply inspired. I learned to play as I went. As I wrote each song I learned more about music which opened up the next song and the next. It was a quiet unfolding, like flower petals, as I started to develop a small body of work. I began to understand that it might be worthwhile, and that I had a responsibility to give it a life. It was in the process of recording what I thought would be my finished product that I met the people that would change my musical and personal life forever. It's hard to to describe the feeling of hearing your songs come to life for the first time in a band. I was floored. With them I finally recorded my first full album. I named it In the Morning. A title pulled from a memory of something my mom said to me when I was little and afraid of the dark "just wait til you hear the birds singing, then you know it will be morning soon." And honestly I think those nascent morning hours are where my music truly began.
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