“I got to listen to your new album and I am most impressed……I am a major fan of great story songs such as “Ode To Billy Joe” “Friends In Low Places” etc. “Cardboard Castle” is one of those rare story songs that I truly love. This song is one of those rare creations that is surely destined to become a standard for our times. The other 10 songs are equally excellent and compliment the title song perfectly. I salute you and your producer on a fabulous piece of work.”
Best to you.J. Aaron Brown, 2-Time Grammy Winner, Legendary Nashville Publisher, Former President Word Music
“I want to thank you first of all for sending me your cd collection. Secondly I wanted to really listen before I replied to you with my thoughts. I read your liner notes with on line reviews which gave me a hint at what lay ahead. I am just a guy who drives a lot and listens to all types of music because I get bored easily, but I want you to know that I was truly blown away with your music. Your lyrics sound as though you’ve lived these songs and I felt I was there with you, I mean you did not fill any of your songs with fluff. A few early favorites; Watch What You Pray For, I Might Not be Much, Phantom Pain, Promise Keeper, and last, The Charleston 9. I went and double checked the liner notes to see who was playing guitar.
Truly unbelievable that you play all instruments, you and Beck are the only guys I know that are talented enough for that. I will continue listening on the road this week and will stay in touch. I want to hear about songs you’ve submitted to songwriters competition.”
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I discovered a music genre called “Americana”. The Americana Music Association defines this as “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.” That helped give definition to what I was creating, and I went with that. Telling stories in pure musical artforms.
I realized I had accumulated quite a portfolio of “lyric sheets” in a folder in my desk, all of which had a musical concept that I kept in my head. Of course, I thought they all had merit, and rivaled anything I was listening to on the radio or recorded media. But it was like having a great set of blueprints for an amazing house, but never building the house. I made numerous recordings in my home studio, all solo. But like anything really good, it cant be created in a vacuum, but must involve community.
Thin threads connected me to a “real deal” record producer, and some wheels were put into motion. Joe Taylor is a SC native who has a storied history as a session guitar player and performer with roots in LA, Nashville, and NYC, and a record producer with 20 years of experience producing records for RCA in New York. A friend introduced us at a local Charleston club one night, and I pursued a professional relationship.
Joe and I began meeting at his studio, Salt Creek Recording in Bennetts Point, South Carolina down in the ACE Basin, back in the spring of 2016. I sent him rough demo recordings of a handful of songs, and he felt like the raw material was worthy of “producing” into a professional recording. We picked a few songs from my portfolio, and I wrote some new ones, and we started laying down tracks. Joe was connected to an amazing group of talented studio musicians, and we invited drummers and background vocalists, and bass, keyboard, horn, and harmonica players to Salt Creek to add their art to our project.
The Team worked all summer building a musical web that would encase and embellish each song lyric.
Cardboard Castle is a dream-come-true for me, and the beginning of a new adventure involving all the music that has enriched me all my life.