Back from Austin, Texas...

Back from Austin, Texas...

Over the past year, I’ve been drawn to the music and songwriting culture in Texas, and have been fortunate to be invited there a couple of times this year to play some of my new work. I thought I’d take a minute to share a few of my experiences…  

On the first night, I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to literally stumble into a Nick Lowe show. It just reinforced the reputation Austin has as the best live music town in North America. Over the last couple of years I’ve become a huge Nick Lowe fan. To me, he’s the James Bond of songwriting. So cool, so eloquent and even a bit campy at times. He put on a fantastic set that was a clever, quirky mix of pop, rock ‘n’ roll and crooner.

Next up – I saw James McMurtry. I think might be the best songwriter. Period. He has a weekly gig at the Continental Club in Austin, and when I found that out a couple years ago, I told myself I would get there as soon as I could. His band tore through McMurtry’s catalogue and the whole night was stellar start to finish.

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Miles We Put Behind - a playlist of influences

Miles We Put Behind - a playlist of influences

As I’m gearing up to release Miles We Put Behind in the Fall, I’ve been thinking about how this album is a result of so many musical influences – from local songwriters, to some of the greats from Texas, to some timeless classics. 

So I put a playlist together of all of them. I had a lot of fun with this – reminded me of putting together a mix tape – I totally geeked out, painstakingly picking every artist, then every song, then spending too much time on figuring out the order of it.  I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did making it.

You can listen to this playlist on Spotify and on Apple Music

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Kerville Folk Festival Songwriting Competition

Over the last couple of years I’ve been hiding out, working on material for another record. Playing less and writing more has brought along some amazing experiences - taking part in different residencies, songwriting retreats to Nashville and getting to work with some songwriters who I’ve always looked up to. 

One of those songwriters, John Wort Hannam, told me about this Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriting Contest in Texas. He described it as one of the more formative experiences he’s had in his music career and encouraged me apply. 

A couple of months after applying, I received an email that I’d gotten into the contest…from 700 submissions from around the world, 32 songwriters were picked to showcase their music at the Kerrville Folk Fest on Memorial Day Weekend. 

I arrived at the festival and it felt like a bit of a time warp – long hair, stages and camps that probably hadn’t had much done to them in over 30 years and soooooo many songs about peace and love… was kind of like Woodstock in Texas hill country. The line between performer and patron was fluid -  almost everyone was a songwriter in some capacity.

The Festival was truly focused on songwriting. The audience listens so intensely to every line, it’s just so steeped into the culture there. It was an incredible audience, but an intimidating one.

On the day of my showcase, I had some anxiety to take the stage. I played my songs to the very attentive 600 plus people at the outdoor Amphitheatre and it seemed to be over in a flash. Although I didn’t come out a winner, I made some amazing connections around the continent. I had the opportunity to play in a contest that has seen the likes of Lyle Lovett, James McMurtry, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith. I learned that even Lyle, Steve and Nanci didn’t win either, so I figure I’m in some pretty good company there. 

The songs I performed will be on my soon to be released album, Miles We Put Behind. This album marks a new direction for me, one that I’m feeling really energized by. It’s an exciting (and busy) time for me right now getting ready for the release -  between shooting videos, booking shows and gearing up to release my first single. Thank you all for your continued support, I can’t wait to share my tour dates and these new songs with all of you.