So I went to prison & I'm definitely going back...
A couple weeks ago, my songwriter friend, Sarah Jane Nelson, introduced me to this organization called The Beat of Life. They have a program here in Nashville called "Redemption Songs." They pair up professional songwriters with an inmate from a nearby correctional facility during a day-long songwriting process and concert.
The goal is to use songwriting as a tool to process the feelings and events that have happened and are happening in their lives.
I was pretty nervous, having never been to …
The Song Ryan Adams, R. Kelly, and Dr. Christine Ford Have in Common
A song I wrote during Dr. Ford's Senate Judicial hearings got a new layer of meaning with the news of Ryan Adams and R. Kelly this week...
These Are The People Who Make Me Brave
Every hero of yours has a list of people who empowered them to be brave. This is mostly because our bravery is built one day at a time, so the people who surround us make us brave, with or without our consent. Bravery is contagious after all!
As we grow up, our family and friends teach us to engage with the world by example and by daily attention. I saw this to be true every year I watched my former cello students grow into the humans mirrored after their family and their daily cello practice.…
I Know Now - Lyrics & Leadsheet
under sweet magnolia
with cotton and a cinnamon fern
okra and collard greens
spoonfuls of black-eyed peas
Polly made em for me...
If only I had known it then
sweetness I might comprehend, like how the
pawpaw makes the chalk maple grow
painted buckeye makes my momma so
‘merican holly makes a Christmas fern
butterfly weed makes sourwood burn
I know, now I know
Texas holds my heart near
the Barbary and horses all out back
under corkscrew willows…
4 Lessons From Tom Waits on Finding Your Voice
Good grief. As a songwriter, it’s scary to explore huge concepts like “finding your voice” in public on a stage, especially with the permanence of audio recordings and the internet.
I'm a total scaredy-cat masquerading as an anal…
Seasons of Bravery: When It's the LAST Thing You Want to Do
Here's the email I just sent to my list:
(If you're not on my email list, but want to be, click here.)
Someone from back home (Washington state) asked me the last week, "How's the book tour going?" my response was, "I'm on a book tour?!?!" Even though I've been doing really wonderful things like book readings and debut corporate speaking events while here in Atlanta, I've spent the majority of the last 6 weeks caring for my elderly grandfather -- the same grandfather I lived with for the ma…
On Running a Business: Why I Abandoned a Tuition Payment Plan Forever
I abandoned accepting regular monthly payments from my music students. I had all of them sending me a medium-sized check once each month for my tuition payment plan. Super simple concept, right?
Well, not really. There was a lot of emailing, texting and calling about scheduling and collecting payment. It seemed like I had a part-time job as bill collector. Yuck.
As teachers, we ask our students to practice (hopefully daily) so the notion of external and internal motivators should be a familiar…
6 Reasons Why a Song is The Greatest Gift You'll Ever Give
One of my favorite parts of my job as a musician is writing songs for people. No, not for the greater public to enjoy via Spotify or at a house concert of mine, although I love that too.
My favorite part of being a songwriter is held in the remainder of this post. But for those of you anxious for me to get to the point, it's this: a commissioned song will be the greatest gift you'll ever give (unconditional love not withstanding.)
Anniversaries, birthdays, career milestones, family reunions, …
Masterclass in Minimalism & Songwriting
I Don't Drink Caffeine & Here's Why...
This hipster shot of a previously enjoyed mocha of mine exists to tell you that the other day I broke my caffeination fast with a soy latte.
I cut caffeine out about 4 weeks ago because I started noticing my essential tremor in MY OTHER HAND. 😳 It's not very noticeable. But *I* notice. I notice very much. The degenerative nature of my neurology is breathing down my neck. and officially down both shoulders.
[Swear word redacted.]
I thought it'd be good to help mask the tremor's existence via elimin…