Tell us a bit about your musical childhood.
When I was growing up I played piano and I was pretty good. But I hated practicing and was a real brat about it. I quit in the fifth grade and later totally regretted it cause I LOVE piano as an instrument.
I always sang in choirs and at church as well as musicals through high school and college.
I started playing guitar when I was in the 9th grade. My best friend started taking lessons and would come home and teach me what he was learning. Since we hung out most days after school, music became our new hobby. We wrote and played together, had bands through high school and college, recorded a few albums and played a good number of shows.
When I went into the Seminary I gave up secular music for awhile. learned Gregorian chant and Sacred music. after a few years I got into contemporary praise and worship, and did that for along time.
I always kept playing guitar and writing over the years. But in the past five years i really embraced my roots again, Blending the secular and the sacred into my own bluesy pop style.
Who is your biggest inspiration musically?
there are many, too many really, but i’ll focus on two.
1. John Mayer. I remember the first time I really opened up to his music. I had already known about him for years but didn’t pay any attention. But I had his first EP and heard the acoustic version of NEON. I listened to it over and over and was blown away by the guitar work and the groove, That opened me up to checking out his other stuff. When i heard his cover of Voodoo child, by Jimi Hendrix, I thought, “um …what…?!” He killed it. As a guitar player there are certain things you don’t do: one of them is cover Jimi Hendrix, unless you are going to completely change the sound or you can kill it. JM killed it.
So I started listening to his writing. this guy knows the ache of the human heart. He is brutally honest in his songs in a way that makes you feel like he is singing your song. Like he has your heart. So JM is one of those players that has had a huge influence on me in the past 5 years especially.
2. BOB MARLEY. Marley has also had an influence on my understanding of what music can do. in reality I can’t say his influence is “musical” in that my music doesn’t sound anything like his, but his vision of music and his role in it is one that I wish to emulate. He saw himself as a prophet bringing good news to the secular world through his music. He also sought to build bridges and bring unity.
His story is too much to get into here, but building bridges between people and bringing unity are ideals that I wish to encourage as well. I aim to do that by blending the secular and the Sacred seeking to speak to the culture in a language it can understand
What instruments do you play/for how long and which is your favorite?
When I was a kid I played piano, but there are only remnants of that left, and while I dabbled in bass in high school and college the only instruments I play now are acoustic and electric guitar.
I make the distinction because in reality they are two different instruments. I’ve only come to appreciate that since taking up electric again the past few years.
I’ve been playing guitar for over 25 years: yikes i can’t believe that 🙂
If you weren’t a musician what would you be?
so actually I am a priest. thats my day job 🙂
What is your most embarrassing musical moment?
unfortunately a number to choose from, but one here’s one of them…
the first gig I remember was the invitation for our band to play Earth day at a park in 1990 (sophomore year high school) when i heard it was an outdoor gig in a park of course what I envisioned was Woodstock. We were gonna play something like Woodstock. sweet. our first gig is gonna blow them away.
we got there and there was no stage no nothing. we had an extension chord that we plugged our little guitar amp into on the grass. and the crowd of 15 people there to celebrate earth day was not blown away but our rendition of Janis Joplin.
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