Why I’m Proud Of My Folk Rock Roots

Folk Rock to me isn’t The Lumineers, or even Joni Mitchell.  It’s not a sound, a series of chords, but it’s a lifestyle.  I think of the music from my parent’s generation- the vinyl’s in my basement of CSN, Neil Young, America, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan and my heart flutters. Folk Rock is a religion.  It’s true love.  It’s somebody who believes in you. It’s a book you had to read twice because the author wrote down your precise sentiments.  It’s truth and warmth and a kind of genuine conversation you’ve spent your entire life waiting to have.

I can appreciate pop and hip-hop. I like rock and roll, and I spent a lot of high school sitting on my bedroom floor listening to indie. But folk rock is something entirely different. Like I said, it isn’t just music.

Take for instance, these beautiful words penned in 1968:

 

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can’t remember who to send it to

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Won’t you look down upon me, jesus
You’ve got to help me make a stand
You’ve just got to see me through another day
My body’s aching and my time is at hand
And I won’t make it any other way

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Been walking my mind to an easy time my back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line to talk about things to come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I’d see you one more time again
There’s just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought I’d see you, thought I’d see you fire and rain, now

-James Taylor, Fire & Rain

 

You may recognize these lyrics. I pray that you do.  If you don’t, get familiar with them.  Wrap them around you, close your eyes and swallow this song.  It’s medicine.

Have you ever seen someone speak so candidly? So ego-less? So introspective and broken but strong all at once? There is a purity in Fire & Rain that evades us now. When do you ever hear someone singing a song on the radio these days about times that they simply could not find a friend? To ask jesus for guidance? Those are confessions that we are simply too conceited to make these days.

No genre  has ever penned more beautiful, simple, and honest lines in the history of music. Folk rockers changed minds.  They changed legislation.  They changed the way the world felt about things, and even behaved.  The music from my parents generation made me speak kinder, slow down, and think more deeply about almost everything.

Sometimes I could cry thinking about how I missed the 60’s.  Still, somewhere in my head it feels like they’re just about to happen, and maybe in some ways they are.

 

 

Interesting article

This is a very interesting article about the subjectivity of a musicians worth, and definitely worth a read.  Unfortunately this article seems to point out that it’s far less about talent than it is about marketing and branding.  This is why I wish it was 1967.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

A Diary Entry

I have been so unbelievably busy with music making I almost forgot to eat yesterday… (almost..) I have been trying some new sounds which I really like. It’s cool to see my progress as an artist. I remember the days when I struggled to play an F or a bar chord. Now i’m playing in open tunings, experimenting with air tap, and most of it feels pretty effortless. I suppose that’s where working hard gets you. A task stands before you- daunting, impossible and you face it with every bit of determination and courage you can muster and then slowly, without any noticeable changes one day you’ve succeeded. That was what I realized this week. It took me over ten years to realize this but I finally am the guitarist that when I was eleven years old I dreamt that I would become. It’s an amazing feeling.

This week I’ll be recording with two very different producers both of which I love and respect so much. One in upstate New York one downstate. The production process is such an exciting but a very, very stressful time. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my music and  I stay up at night imagining bass lines and harmonies in these songs that I’ve written so many, many months ago.

That’s perhaps the most frustrating part- having all of these songs that NOBODY has heard. I have 22 of them. That’s like two albums. These new songs detail some of the darkest and most beautiful days of my life. A recent illness, a difficult break up, an epiphany, a change of heart, and a rebirth. They are my blood and sweat and tears in sound and I care about them more than I care about almost anything else.

When you hear them you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. My voice has changed- everything- style, sound, presentation. I assert myself more than I ever have as an artist with a confidence I only recently achieved. I hope these songs are as cathartic for my fans as they were for me.

Wednesday, September 12th I’ll be playing a show in Manhattan at Bar East. If you’re in the city, do come. I’ll be playing all these songs I’m raving about.

If you’ve read this far down the page- I love you, I really do.

A

oh HI!

Hi! It’s been FOREVER! I haven’t written in a while because I just had a new site built. Isn’t it cute? (Thanks, Darren!)

Let me catch you up. I have been so busy traveling, sending emails, talking to other musicians, execs, and booking shows so I have a LOT of good things in store for you!

Me and this Boston-based rapper J.Lye and I have co-written this super catchy folk/ hip-hop song called, “If We Really Try,” that we’ll be shooting a music video for!

I’ll be back in the studio as soon as I get rid of this silly (and by silly I mean an expletive) cold to finish up LOVE AND FURY. I am so excited for you guys to hear it that I literally can’t sleep at night thinking about it all. I have been experimenting with a lot of new sounds, but I don’t want to give too much away ;)

My next show, as of this moment, is September 12th in NYC! If you’re in the area come hang out.

 

furious love,

A sof