In April of 2008, I moved to the small town of South Lima, NY. To call it small is actually quite an overstatement because the entire "town" is really just 50 houses on a single country road. I moved there after an almost ten-year relationship had ended and while I was only moving 20 minutes away from my old apartment, I might as well have crossed the Atlantic. At first, my ex-girlfriend stayed at the old apartment we had shared and kept our dog and cat. While I knew that I had made the right decision by moving out, I was devastated by the sudden change to say the least. I can remember thinking that all I needed was my dog, and then everything would be "back to normal". 2 months later, I had my dog. Then I decided that if I just could get my cat back, everything would be all right. 2 months later, I had my cat back. As happy as I was to be reunited with my pets, it was clear to me that going "back to normal" not only wasn't in the cards, but that "normal" wasn't so normal after all.
Moving out on my own had certainly put a damper on my finances and I briefly (out of desperation) considered putting music aside and getting a "real job". I had been working part-time for years in anticipation of touring that had never really happened and I thought that perhaps my ship had sailed. Then one day, I got an email from a producer in Nashville who was eager to work with me. Was a nice little ego boost but like most every musician, I had grown weary of the "big break" dreams we all are ashamed to admit we have. Throwing caution to the wind, I went for it and decided to travel to Nashville to make my first solo album "Truth Is". It was a great experience all around and I got to play with some of my musical heroes but most importantly, after the release of the album, I finally went on tour. A REAL tour. While "Truth Is" certainly didn't make me rich, the album, the experience making it and the subsequent touring (all 50,000 miles) gave my career the kind of legitimacy I never even knew was possible. Not the legitimacy bestowed by critics, your family, your peers or friends, something even more difficult to attain, especially for a self-loathing "artist" like myself (yes, I put the word artist in quotes for a reason). I finally realized that music wasn't something I WANTED to do, it was something I HAD to do. There have been plenty of stumbles in the last three years musically, but I kept getting up, something I had always feared I wouldn't be able to do when the going got tough.
As it turns out, the songs on "Truth Is" were mostly written while I was in the last throes of the aforementioned doomed relationship. Admittedly, that record was pretty dark and depressing (basically a "breakup" record....woe is me) but within months of moving to South Lima, I started dating the girl who is now my wife. Looking back, my 5 years living in that impossibly small town were the happiest of my entire life thus far. Sure, there was still heartache, there was still death and there was still doubt. But with the experience gained in the previous chapters of my life, I had learned (and am still learning, of course) to "stop and smell the roses", even in the darkest hours. When I was feeling stuck in my part-time job, scared that music would never pan out for me; I was still able to remember how lucky I was to have what I had. I had a cozy little apartment with my future wife, my beloved dog and cat AND I got to travel all over the country to play my songs for people. Not bad. Those five years helped shape me into the man I am today more than any other time in my life. And while I was there, I wrote a bunch of songs. Eleven of those songs appear on my new album, affectionately titled "South Lima". The songs are about living, love, doubt, fear and moving on. Mostly though, they are about what it's like to be a human being; flawed as all get out, but learning to be ok with that. I've never been prouder of anything I've ever released and I hope you like it.