does the new CD compare to or differ from your last two CDs? "Well,
the first one came out so many years ago, and it's been a long time
since the second one, too, so right away I'd just have to say that this
is what's happening with me today. It's a little bit different on many
levels I guess, lyrically and musically. The first album was recorded
in Nashville with session guys, and it definitely had a "Nashville"
flavor to a lot of it. It was pretty straightforward. The second one
was recorded in L.A. with me playing most of the parts, and I was going
for a looser kind of sound there, and it was more abstract. Soundwise
and stylewise, this album might be closer to the second one than the
first, but it's hard to say."
feel your music has evolved?
I imagine it has evolved as much as I have. A couple of these songs
are several years old and have been sort of hanging around, and others
are completely new. The first difficulty was deciding which songs I
wanted to record. It was tough to choose. I found that I had all these
pieces in various styles, shapes and sizes that had come to me over
a period of time, and I was afraid I would have to discard some of them
immediately because they just didn't fit for what I had in mind musically
for the album. I had all these different songs going on here, different
rhythms, styles, time signatures, etc. With production, our challenge
was to somehow try to make them fit so that it sounded like one self-contained
piece of work. I think we recorded eighteen altogether, so some songs
that normally might not have made it onto the album actually did make
the cut and some didn't."
"Dan (Grigsby), who co-produced the album with me, worked very
hard and was key in making this happen. I brought in my home demos,
and we discussed in detail what we wanted to do sonically in pre-production.
Then we experimented some more with home demos before we actually went
into the studio."
is your process for creating music? "I
compose mainly on the guitar. Normally, the way I go about it is I'll
be playing my guitar and come up with some kind of musical phrase that
catches my ear, and usually a lyric will sort of pop out of that. I'm
not sure how that happens, it's hard to explain. Different moods will
evoke different sounds, and different sounds will evoke different lyrics.
Once I have that, I have a nucleus for what the song could be. I start
experimenting with chord progressions and doing something musically,
extending what I already have. And likewise, from that basic lyric I'll
try to write something around it. Normally, the music is what provokes
the lyrics, although sometimes I'll have something in my head like ' Oh
that that would be a great title for a song ' and try to write
something to it, but rarely does it happen like that for me. I'll then
have a song. But that can change over time. I'm constantly changing
lyrics and music right up until the drummer is counting off before we
inspired you for this album? "I
think the main thing that has inspired me in the past is relationships.
And that was certainly the case again, but for this album I tried to
allow for more of the universal themes that I started to develop in
the second album. I didn't want to get too heavy with it, but there
are the trials and tribulations and things we go through in life that
took on a much different meaning for me over the last few years. There
are different themes for different songs, obviously."
did you release a single first? "Well,
one of the reasons is that we knew we were going to take a long time
before we got the album out, and people have been waiting for something.
So we thought it would be cool to get something out there that was ready
to go, so that people wouldn't have to wait so long."
us about the musicians? "We
have some great musicians. Most of them I met through my co-producer,
Dan Grigsby, who has worked with a lot of these guys or they were friends.
Some of them were my friends that I asked to come in. We have great
musicians all around. There's an abundance of talented musicians here
in New York City. It's a great place to record music because there are
so many great players ready and willing to come in."
there any particular challenges during the recording of the album? "I
think the big challenge was to do something that I could really feel
good about, and if some other people felt the same way that would be
great. The real challenges are the little ones on the way there, like
putting the right musicians together, putting the right studio together,
getting the right gear, making sure people got there, got paid, we got
the work done, etc. Making sure everyone had what they needed, making
sure what kind of pizza everyone wanted! And that's before we even start
talking about musical challenges. There were a lot of little challenges
along the way. Each one had to be met. But we did it and it was a lot
of fun. Challenging, but fun."
do you appreciate most about the album? "It
has to be working with the people that I worked with, and meeting some
of these musicians and engineers and working with Dan. That was probably
my favorite part. My most inspiring part also. When you get a bunch
of talented people like that together in a room and watch it unfold,
it is breathtaking."
plans for a tour? "Yes,
we definitely want to go out and play this music now because we think
it sounds great on the record. We hope to release it one way or another
sometime in July. Hopefully we'll be playing sometime after that. So
look for us coming soon to your town with the band! And come and see
us about the title track, In Our Time. "In
Our Time is essentially a love song. It also refers to a universal
love. There's a cello in it, me and my acoustic guitar, drums, bass,
and an accordion. We wanted this to have a feeling like it was a bunch
of us sitting around the living room or the kitchen and playing. No
fancy stuff. Normally I'll go into the studio and try to concentrate
on getting rhythm tracks drums, and bass mainly. While we're recording
those parts, I'll be playing a "guide" track along with them
so they can hear me singing and playing. I would normally come back
after that and put down a "real" guitar and vocal track. However,
sometimes what happens is there's a certain magic feeling when everyone
plays together, and everyone is hearing the song being born for the
first time as we're playing it. It becomes almost impossible to recreate
that feeling when you go back and try to do it again. That's what happened
with In Our Time when we all started playing the song together. We felt
a little bit of that "first time" magic, so we kept my live
vocal and live guitar in it. So it's basically a live song. We added
my electric guitar and then the cello and accordion in the dubbing session.
I didn't have a title track for the CD, and it just made sense that
this was it, and it became the centerpiece for the album."