Evening Tales, Away With You, and current projects
This project contains music that I am currently working on, and music that was released this past year.
In April of 2016, Mystra Records released Evening Tales, a vinyl record of solo music, my most personal album, I think, a record of pieces that I've recorded over the past few years, many of them written for people and places important to me. "The Healer" was written for my friend, the acupuncturist Diana Keener. "Blues for Chi-peh-tah", a piece commissioned by Baltimore's Single Carrot Theater, is an awkward conversation between a coyote, a desert finch, and a quest for meaningful connection. "An Evening Tale" is a sort of America folk melody that veers tonally to the left . "Sapphire" is experimental in nature with use of extended techniques. "Allegretto for David" is loosely based on Beethoven's Allegretto, but travels into some some different places. "The Bobby Bowman Stomp is a country-western inspired tune I wrote for my old friend, the late pedal steel guitarist Bobby Bowman.
Later in the year, an album that often featured my pedal steel guitar, the Mary Halvorson Octet's Away With You, was released by Firehouse 12 Records. This was, in part, the culmination of a year of back and forth conversations between the composer and bandleader Mary Halvorson and myself - figuring out how to write for the instrument, what its strengths and limitations were, what octaves worked best, etc. Then I had to learn and later memorize the pieces. "Away With You" received significant critical acclaim and was on the top ten list for best jazz albums of 2016 in the New York Times (best album of the year), Chicago Reader (best album of the year), NPR, LA Times, The Atlantic, All About Jazz, El País (Spain), and Quietus (UK).
Also, in 2016 I did quite a bit of touring which, I think, is good for you as a musician; you're playing in a different place every night, driving miles and miles through mountains, prairies, deserts, sunrises and sunsets, with only the radio, CDs, and your own thoughts to keep you company. It is a profound disconnect from your daily life at home, but a precious opportunity to meet people in different places and different countries to share your music, to give a new voice in performance to whatever it is your art has to say. Ideas and inspiration come at a moment's notice allowing you access to a deeper part of your self and a different shade to your performances. Some video from these tours is included in this section.