April's Fool

The Year of Productivity continues with the release of a single ... er, EP ... well, really an addendum to an existing album ...

Anyway. The Marriage: Epilogue is now available for free download on my site, featuring a pair of tunes originally arranged and recorded for weddings. For those of you who already own The Marriage, this makes a nice companion piece; for those of you who don't ... get on it (there's only one physical copy left).

Couch by Couchwest awarded my little publicity stunt runner-up in the "Least Dressed" category - a dubious honor, at best, but flattering that they even made it all the way through the video. I guess next year I'm just gonna have to go full frontal.

Some killer shows coming up, including a top secret project to celebrate the release of the new Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds album at Linneman's on June 13 - I can't say much right now, but I PROMISE this is going to be one of the best shows going down this year - best of all, it falls on a full moon Friday the 13th ...

Lots more releases in the works, and I can honestly and humbly say that the performance and production quality just keeps improving (probably because I'm finally figuring out how to use this box with wires and keys and such). Check back in for next month's release - it might shock, it might appall, it might appeal, but it will NOT be boring (or folky).

March Madness

I made a promise on New Year's Day that I would be attempting to release one new "thing" - album, EP, single, video, whatever - every month in an attempt to spur my own work ethic and finally clear out the years of backlogged material. This promise was accompanied by the second movement of Symphonia Pro Punctum, an ambient symphony created for Milwaukee Community Acupuncture.

So far, I have slipped a little (typical) - February's travels, combined with the searing cold (and ensuing depression) that gripped the nation meant that I was unable to complete the second installment in time - however, February's loss is March's gain, as I am pleased to announce MULTIPLE releases this month!

First and foremost, I am excited and relieved to finally release The Sublimative Sessions - Vol 1: Live at WMSE - the first in a continuing series of one-off recording sessions, featuring shifting players and soundscapes, Vol. 1 features a live broadcast of Jackson Messner and myself performing on 91.7 WMSE (way back on June 16, 2009). There will be further installments of this series debuting as the year goes on, and they all come together to form an interesting (and hopefully enlightening) view of the creative process - each release will be available for free download until the next chapter rolls along, so snap 'em up now.

Next up, the fine folks at Couch by Couchwest put on an annual online music festival for those of us too broke (or savvy) to make the long trek down to Austin - as someone who lived, worked and played there for many years, trust me when I say you'd rather spend this week on your couch. While helping Ryan Necci put together a Buffalo Gospel video for the festival, I was struck with another idea that I thought might be too ... um, let's say "revealing" for the rest of the band ... so I submitted it myself. Milwaukee is well-covered (or not) at CXCW 2014.

Lastly, I make a promise to you that I will not drop the ball again (at least until Summer): already got the next few months lined up and ready to go, with some very exciting additions to the ever-broadening sprawl that is my catalog, including the long-awaited return of a so-called "friend" ...

Also, keep your eyes peeled for the even-more-anticipated release of the new Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds album (and accompanying films); further Buffalo Gospel projects; and a wide variety of shows with various artists, in varying styles and situations - hopefully, by the end of the year I will have provided something to appease every member of your immediate family (save maybe your uber-conservative father-in-law) ...

Or at least I'll finally empty the cupboard.

Endless Summer

I'm pretty sure there was a Summer. At least, I was told so. Apparently it was cold for a while, then warmed up, then cooled down, then got hot as balls; and global warming is either completely at fault, or has nothing to do with it whatsoever, depending on whom you ask.

I would have no idea, as I had a grand total of three days off from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Major life changes and art-related poverty necessitated a seasonal cash grab, working as a barista and bartender in Door County, WI - 70+ hours and 5-6 doubles per week on my feet serving vices morning, noon and night. Aside from a healthy dose of hatred for suburban Chicago, and more clothes dryer dollar discoveries than an airport stripper, the greatest profit of the Summer was avoiding the Summerfest grounds for the first year since I moved to Milwaukee.

The few days I managed to escape Vacation Hell were spent driving back home to promote, perform and celebrate the release of the long-awaited Buffalo Gospel release, We Can Be Horses - we hit the airwaves on Radio Milwaukee and WMSE, hit the stage at Linneman's on July 27 with Jonathan Burks, and hit every goddamn paper, pamphlet, poster and music blog from here to Norway. We also found time to finish a music video for The Western (well, Heidi did, while Ryan and I played a month-long game of too many cooks in the kitchen); inspire a sandwich; and book some more shows for the Fall.

I am now back in town full-time, for the time being, and falling back into the swing of things. A handful of shows coming up; a handful of songs left to record for the (even more long-awaited) Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds album; the beginnings of a recording project with John Pajot and his band Various Small Fires; and maybe even the end of the psychosocial meltdown that has been my own personal year and a half-long record making process.

To be honest, I don't know what the hell is going on any more. Day by day, dollar by dollar, drunk love song by somebody done me wrong. I'm pretty sure things are happening. At least, I was told so. If I hear anything else, I'll be sure to let you know.

SXSE 2013

About to walk out the door and get in the car - per usual, I wait until the very last second to announce tour dates ...

Excited to get back to the South, see the ocean, feel the sun, and revisit some old friends and family. Hitting a couple of my favorite spots in and around Charleston and Savannah - namely Awendaw Green and the Savannah Songwriters Series - and a few new ones, including the world famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville and an Athens gig with the inimitable Nancy Kaye.

If you or your friends happen to be anywhere near one of my gigs, stop by and I'll buy you a beer - otherwise, wish me (and my liver) luck, and I'll see y'all soon. Take care of each other.

communique from the front

Just pleased as punch (the painful kind, not the tasty kind) to finally announce the long-coming release of a new single and music video that I produced for my friends Oedipus Tex and the ... well, you can read the rest on their site. The video was put together by my good friend Andrew Gralton, and the song was engineered by my friend and former band mate Joe Crockett. They've already got some very nice press from the AV Club and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's websites, and plans are in the works for a follow-up (or three) ...

Daytrotter finally released the Pezzettino session from July 2011 - I kinda thought they'd given up on us. All I really remember about the session is sweating bullets in the hottest day on record that year - had to turn off the A/C to record - and running Margaret's squeezebox through a Leslie cab. Listening back has been a nice little trip down memory lane, though - this was the peak of our weird little power trio chemistry, and I'm genuinely pretty proud of our performance.

In other news, made the short trip down the block to Howl Street Recordings to lay down some parts on the continuing saga that is Chris DeMay's upcoming album - it's been a long time in the works, but there are some phenomenal songs and epic jams, featuring some of the best musicians in Milwaukee - I promise it will be well worth the wait.

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, I'll be heading South for another tour in April, this time stretching a little farther and a little longer. Excited to see the ocean again, and soak up a little sun far from the frozen North - much thanks to Awendaw Green and the Savannah Songwriters Series for providing the impetus - stay posted for upcoming dates and times.

lucky number (20)13

Coming out the other end of the darkest days of Winter - the groundhog may or may not see his shadow soon, but I've certainly seen mine ...

As always, plenty of projects to keep me coasting until warmer weather - a handful of upcoming shows, solo and with various bands; recording sessions in various stages of completion (or disarray); and some exciting potential for TV and film.

My good friend Ryan Necci and I are plowing through final mixing on his new Buffalo Gospel record, with the generous and expert ears of Ryan Elliott at 7711 Studios, and I couldn't be happier with the progress - this is shaping up to be hands-down one of the best albums I've ever been involved with. Be on the lookout for a release show and physical product in the Spring.

Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds are a little over halfway through initial tracking for the sophomore Bella Union release. Heidi has really stepped up her songwriting game (not that she was any slouch before), and I've been doing my best to rise to the occasion - so far we all seem pretty thrilled with the results, crafting what I off-handedly coined "a series of mini psychodramas." Hoping to have it in the label's hands by the Summer, but what happens after that is anyone's guess.

Wisconsin Foodie is wrapping up their third season on Wisconsin Public Television, but reruns will continue throughout the state, as well as Chicago; and we've been picked up in the Twin Cities starting this month. Additionally, The Man from Orlando - a feature film out of Austin for which I contributed some original music - has been continuing to make its way around the festival circuit to some very positive reviews, and just recently had a sold-out hometown premier at the State Theatre. I'm hoping to help them arrange a Milwaukee showing by year's end (maybe as part of the Milwaukee Film Festival).

I'm sure there's plenty more I'm forgetting to mention, but I'll get to it eventually - in the mean time, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the imminent release of a single and music video I produced for a very old (and treacherous) friend ...

(Just Like) Starting Over

Taking a little hiatus - see you in the New Year.