Friday, December 30, 2011

10 things in 2011

I know I rarely update this blog as is. Then I go and cheat on it with another blog across town. My friend Eric Epperson asked me to write an article about the 10 things I learned in 2011. If you would like to read what I wrote please go here: The Musing Carnival.

And I promise I will never turn my back on you again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Knoxville, I love you darlin'. It's time to go.

2011. The year of throwing back the sheets. Grabbing the guitar. Heading to God-knows-where to play a show. Sleeping on someone’s floor or a Super 8. It has been a good year. It has been a year of looking at the approaching bills and doing the math of how much I’ll make at this show in order to pay car insurance by this date. But that’s not how it started, and that’s not how it will end.

I moved to Knoxville at the turn of the year in 2007. I came here to be a youth minister. Later, I resigned from that ministry still loving those people, but started pursuing a career in music. I got a job at Oodles Uncorked in Market Square. (Market Square is my favorite place on earth.) The rest, as they say, is history. Since then, I have lived in a freezing house full of guys I cared deeply about. Those were raucous times. I lived in an apartment where I heard UT students drunkenly stumbling outside my window. I lived out in the country of South Knoxville with one of my dearest friends and a bulldog. Now I live upstairs at some other friends’ house.

Knoxville has been my coming of age tale. Sure, it took me until 27 to come of age. However, there comes a time when you just come of age, and that chapter simply ends. Before I get to that, I’ll tell you about this town.

I can’t put it down in any conceivable order, really.

Market Square. Kids in diapers splashing in fountains.

Brick sidewalks guide me to the best black coffee you’ve never had.

Music pours from pubs with hardwood floors and dangling Christmas lights.

I ride a bike with eighty other people from venue to venue. We interrupt a thousand people watching an outdoor movie.

I'm getting in the car with Stewart and Kym. We’re headed to the tree house a man built. God told him to.

I'm there for Jude’s birth and, later, for Eleanor’s. I see Bill and Betsy’s face shortly after they have seen their own children for the first time.

I'm walking past the radio station and I wave to Matt Morelock outside his music store.

JK and Gamble are playing pool at Toots while Kelly and Lauren are singing karaoke.

Tony is meeting with a friend of his who has no home and they are both doing sketches on a picnic table.

A man plays guitar with his dog at his feet.

I’m riding my bike to the studio through the bitter cold for Eric and I to brainstorm what the current song needs.

I’m laughing my head off on a porch. The sun’s going down, and the summer air clings to our skin.

I’m crying my eyes out with a friend while the traffic plows past their window.

Knoxville, I love you darlin’.

So, I’ll let you know what’s next. When January hits… After my fifth year in Knoxville is complete, I’m headed to Joplin, Missouri. Today I just accepted a dream job. I’m headed to CIY (Christ in Youth) to help them create a brand new conference called Mix. You can look up more details about them online, but I will say, briefly, that they are a Christian conference I trust.

See, I grew up attending Christian conferences where I got yelled at about sexual urges. It was weird. This is run by a group of people I would trust with my life. These are people who believe faith should lead to action. I have seen them charge kids to fight the water crisis, sex trafficking, and violence overseas. This is a conference where faith is elevated but, to the best of man’s ability, not distorted. Quite simply, hope is spread. Isn’t that what Jesus did, anyway?

I’m excited to be helping with the writing, planning, and creating that is involved in producing this new four-day summer conference for jr. high students. There’s not much that could take me away from the city I have grown to love so much and, more importantly, the people in it. But this is something I believe in, and I guess that’s what all of us should head towards, anyway.

Life seems to be a collecting of places we call home. Collecting places our souls long for.

I am thoroughly excited. I am thoroughly sad to leave. But we head towards what we believe in.

I’ll be swinging back through very soon, I’m sure. In the meantime, K-town, keep the tunes loud.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When You Realize You Like Your Job...

So, I felt pretty tired.

I had fallen asleep on the couch the night before. I try not to make a habit of that, but after a string of long days dominated by designing album covers, phone calls, final listens to the album, getting quotes from duplicators while juggling bookings and writing, and blah da blah...

I just crashed on the couch. It was too comfortable to leave.

Anyway, the next day I find myself on a bitter March morning walking hunched over while the raindrops lightly draw blood from my face and neck. I duck into Old City Java in Old City, Knoxville, and order a cup of coffee. The day is about to get really long really fast. Deadlines are rushing at me to get this project done, and I understand the phrase "crunch time" like never before. It isn't pleasant to think of how, in a couple hours, I am going to plant myself in front of a computer alongside my graphic designer, Gamble Scrantom, and work frantically for 6 hours straight after already logging several hours a couple days before.

But suddenly a thought came over me like April. This is it. This is my job. I'm not squeezing this in to other jobs or other responsibilities. I get a job where I can tread over pavement to coffee shops and work from there. Then, I have a job where I wake up in the morning to a long list of people with whom I get the pleasure of laboring over art. I cast a vision and watch bandmates, producers, photographers, graphic designers, and duplicators catch it and put their own spin on it.

I've reconciled myself to my to-do list. My busyness is the most fun anyone can ever have. I almost forgot that in the rain.

It has been a joy to watch so many different types of artist leave their signature on this album we have come to call "Danced with the Devil."

Also, it has been a joy to see so many of you support this project by pre-ordering.

Look, we are at the point of needing to pay off some of these artists. Every time any of you pre-order, you are directly supporting a local artist who, instead of trying to get rich, they create beauty all around them through, not only their work, but their personalities as well.

Please consider pre-ordering our new album, Danced with the Devil, at, and receive a free download of the title track.

You can also watch a video of me and Terry, the bulldog explaining how to pre-order here.

Thank you so much, my friends!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pre-Sales and B-sides

I had a great time recording the solo, acoustic B-SIDES with my friend, Andy Jones, on a cloudy (but warm) spring day in the mountains of Tennessee.

The project features 6 brand new songs recorded live plus 1 acoustic track from the new album.

We are selling the B-sides as part of a package.

We would be honored for you to purchase this project now and help us fund the remainder of our new album, Danced with the Devil.

If you have not already pre-ordered, please visit

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Please Help! $8.00 for a long way!

Go to to help us fund the remainder of our New Album, "Danced with the Devil," and to receive the title track TODAY!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Danced with the Devil

We are proud to announce that our second album, Danced with the Devil, will be released May 5th, 2011 in Knoxville, TN.

However, we need your help! On Thursday, March 10th, we will begin pre-sales for the new album. You will immediately receive a digital download of the single, title track upon purchase. If you pre-order, you will make it possible for us to fund the remainder of this project!

Please help us out this coming Thursday, March 10, 2011!

We are very proud of this project, and we can't wait to share what we have made with you. We can only hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed recording it! Much love.