Jack Kerouac on the highways and deserted beaches. Americana. The troubadour lifestyle, a suitcase in one hand and a guitar in the other. Leaving everything behind searching for the truth.
I was born and grew up in New Jersey where I experienced a maelstrom of musical influences, from my brothers, with their funky little band, to Mr Vallone, the renowned teacher on my block with everyone under his spell. Like Carl Mazzola, one of the best guitar players in town. You heard it, music caressing the night air when you opened your tiny window in the blazing heat of summer.
I was fortunate to have access to my brother’s impressive record collection, and I learnt from the best. The Beatles, Bob Dylan, bristling with talent and edge, whether through Dylan’s protest songs or the political activism of John Lennon – shot dead on his doorstep because of what he represented.
One person, I figured, can really make a difference.
I spent my youth at anti-apartheid and rock against racism events where I hung out with older guys who taught me the ways of the world. You know, sometimes it’s good to look at things with new eyes.
Americana is everywhere. It is in the spirit of getting up in the morning deeply in love in the baked sunsets of Mexico or in a flat share in London where I ended up in the 90s, in and out of jobs. I was perfecting my song when stumbling into Ellen Blair, who toured with Soul to Soul and Duran Duran. Her support is what drove me forward through the lashing rain of the inevitable.
Americana is everywhere. It’s in France, where I raise my family under a Parisian sky. It’s meeting Jaki and Colin, two amazing musicians with whom I create music for over sixteen years. It’s in the deep love and friendship that we’ve built up over time – the secret ingredient to our music. And it’s working with my newest UK collaborators: Jim Maving, finalist for instrumentalist of the year in 2019 by Americana Music Association UK, and Hannah Cope.
I left France for Galway, looking for work. Ireland, the birthplace of my grandfather, where I was exposed to some of the most culturally diverse music of my life. The enchanting sound of the banjo. Immense accordion virtuosity. Back to my roots where something clicked; these are my people. My people. Ireland, where music is not just music; it’s part of the soul of the country.
Americana is the Wild West, the circus and the freakshows; it’s in the melancholy gaze of the cowboy, Custer’s Last Stand, the savage cold in the dark, in the campfire revelation of song. Waiting for you in the barren landscapes of Paris, Texas and the only-too-human Ry Cooder soundtrack.
Now that I’m back in England, I’d love to share with you my latest solo release, an accumulation of a lifetime of dedication to songcraft stripped to its purest form. Looking forward to your thoughts and seeing you at my gigs.