In 1996, when I was 25 years old, two important things happened. First, I got sober and second, I bought a guitar.
Getting in to recovery was the catalyst for an adventure that my 25 year old self could have never foreseen. After being sober for three years years, I decided to give college another try. I went back to undergrad at the College of William and Mary in Virginia and completed a pre-med curriculum. In 2004, I entered medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. After receiving my M.D., I completed an internship in psychiatry at the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque. Since 2012, I have worked in California in addiction medicine- a field which is dear to my heart.
My musical journey seems to me to be as improbable as my career path.
Growing up, I did not play an instrument. I purchased my first (and only) guitar in November of 1996. After learning a few chords, I set out to cover the songs I liked most. I was never particularly good at playing other peoples’ songs, however, an inability I credit with forcing me to learn to write my own songs.
In early 2015, after receiving some very kind feedback from friends about a few of my songs, I decided to record my songs professionally.
In April of 2015, I had the good fortune of meeting a man named Michael Greco. Michael is a gentle soul and amazing musician who offers guitar lessons in his home in the Santa Cruz mountains. Being a modest player at best, I figured that I would need to improve my guitar playing chops considerably before I would be ready to head in to the studio.
From our first session together, a potent chemistry emerged between Michael and me. Instead of receiving guitar instruction from Michael, he and I instead quickly morphed into a song writing duo. This came as a surprise to me as I had never played music with anyone before, much less with someone who is several orders of magnitude above of me in both his playing ability and his understanding of music theory. But as it turned out- these things didn’t matter to The Music. The Music apparently just wanted to emerge.
Our song writing process generally works like this: I bring my songs- some old and some new- to our weekly jam sessions in Santa Cruz. These songs come to me first, though when they arrive, they are usually in a fairly simple form. I usually have the melody, the lyrics and most of the chords ready when I arrive at Michael’s house. I play what I have once or twice and then turn the guitar playing duties over to Michael. While I sing along, Michael explores where The Music wants to go next. The songs on SKYDANCER arose from our collaboration.
SKYDANCER was recorded in Santa Cruz, CA at Gadgetbox Studio in the spring and summer of 2016. In addition to Michael and I, the core members of the band were "Mighty" Mark Quinn on drums and Gadgetbox owner Andy "The Zen Master" Zenczak on bass. (Andy also produced SKYDANCER. ) Andy rounded up a host of super talented local instrumentalists to complete the sound.
In some sense, these songs document my life journey, these last 20 years especially. I appreciate you listening while I share my Story. I hope that you will feel some resonance in places where you and I have crossed through similar terrain.
This music is offered from my heart to yours. I hope that it will cause you to laugh, cry, smile, think, rest, dance or at least tap your toes.