I was born in Mckellar General Hospital in Thunder Bay Ontario. My mother was a mother and my father was a musician… who played with some of the greats. I grew up on the road mostly, in tour busses and hotel rooms. I often fell asleep to the gentle glow of MTV as my night light. I started writing songs when I was about thirteen, at that point I was living in a small rural Alberta town called New Sarepta, when the touring had finally ended.
I put my first record out when I was eighteen. It was odd folk music if it was anything. I didn’t know what I was doing. Not much has changed. I made a couple more records over a few years, one of which caught the ear of a couple great producers: Jeff Martin (The Tea Party) and Nick Blagona (The Police, Deep Purple, Cat Stevens). Together we started working on some of my songs at a couple studios in Canada. In this process I met some great musicians from Edmonton and we decided to be a band. We called it Murder City Sparrows.
We put together some songs and then went down to Willie Nelson’s home studio outside Austin Texas to record our first record with Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar, The Trews, Gov’t Mule) at the producer helm. During this recording I learned things from Gordie that would change how I approached my work forever. A pivotal time. We released the record in 2006 and began crisscrossing the country on a variety of tours. We were young men behaving badly for the most part but in the process became good at what we did. We went into the studio to record the follow up record in 2008 with Gordie again and Bill Kennedy (Nine Inch Nails, Motley Crue, Megadeth) at the engineer and mixing console. We released the record Dead Horse Disco in 2009 and then quietly and sadly broke up the band.
I immediately went back in the studio with about fifty songs I had been working on that didn’t have a home within the punk ethos that was Murder City. It was then that I began two things: producing and a long term recording relationship with the talented Mr. Smith (Easy Mo Bee, Soul Diggaz, Kiyamma Griffin) at the engineer & mixing console. We hit the ground running and recorded and released four records over the next year and a half. One of which, titled The Tempest Line, was produced by another super talent and good friend Jimmy Gnecco of the NYC band OURS.
In 2011 I decided to move to South America and disappear for a while. I wanted to come up with something new. Something I hadn’t done yet. While I was there I wrote about twenty-five songs using some new technology that I had never utilized in my writing process before. I chose the ten I felt the most energy from and began recording them with my long time partner in crime Mr. Smith and new collaborator Freddy B. We made the record WHITE which will be released November 2012.
If I had to guess I’d say I’ve wrote in the area of a thousand songs in my life, how many were good or great… well thats another story and one for you to decide. Either way this is what I do.
Thanks for reading, my friends. I’m sure I am missing lots of key or possibly interesting things… maybe I’ll dig into this more at some point…
Oh… A few things I’ve had the opportunity to do:
- I was grateful to win the CBC Song Quest in 2009. The CBC has been a giant supporter of mine and I was humbled by all the votes from Canadians across the country. I recorded the song The Ballad Of Mary White for the ensuing CBC record release alongside other participants Hawksley Workman, Joel Plaskett, Martha Wainwright, Hey Rosetta and many other excellent Canadian songwriters.
- I have had a bunch of my songs covered by different artists over the years including the legendary Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar, Grady, Wide Mouth Mason). One of which made it onto the recent Big Sugar reunion record Revolution Per Minute.
- I have toured all over including a bunch of large music festivals in North America – South By Southwest, North By Northeast, Canadian Music Week, Juno Fest, Western Canadian Music Awards, New Music West, COCA, IndieWeek, EDfest, Burlington Sound Of Music Festival etc.
- I sang a duet with Bedouin Soundclash singer Jay Malinowski for the soundtrack to the major Hollywood release Bang Bang Club. The movie is a drama based on the real-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.
- I wrote the score to the independent short film Steak & Milk which was directed by award winning filmmaker Michael Maxxis. The film opened in over a dozen international film festivals worldwide including the European Independent Film Festival, the Beverly Hills Film Festival, and the Spanish International Film Festival in Barcelona.
- I participated in the War Child Canada benefit “Busking for Change” on the streets of downtown Toronto with other Canadian artists like Our Lady Peace, U.S.S., and Never Ending White Lights.
- I was playing a gig in Banff Alberta in 2007 and the Rolling Stones came in to watch. This sounds like bullshit but it is the truth. Good times.
- Lets see… what other cheesy name drops can I do… Maybe I’ll save that for later.