Monday, February 23, 2009

home again, but only for a day

just got home from san francisco. what a great trip. I was out there with the jons (jon black and jon becker) visiting our digerness friends, and doing some music for a conference with city church in santa cruz. the trip was complete - music with friends, late night delayed flights, long nights and good talks (when I was able to keep my eyes open), a trip to the santa cruz boardwalk, a ride on the santa cruz roller coaster, amoeba records (where I acquired the entire nick drake catalogue), and a meal of cow tongue and pig stomach, which made jon becker somewhat toxic for the plane ride home.

I shot film all weekend, so no photos from me yet. here are a few from the friends.

tomorrow I hit the road with griffin. good times.

Friday, February 20, 2009

comment magazine

this is cool.

in other news. I'm in san francisco. loving all things west coast and all things digerness. and this weekend, I'm shooting only film.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


valentines weekend, I went to pittsburgh to participate in a conference. I was there as a photographer, and my role was to talk to college kids about photography, as well as document the event and the city of pittsburgh. it was a fairly open ended job and it was a great experience. the interesting part of the job, to me, was that there were several other photographers covering the event, so the pressure was off and I felt really free to go for the images that I would want to take, not the images that I felt I needed to take. and since I love cities, streets, and strangers, I spent a lot of my time wandering the cold streets of pittsburgh. it was wonderful.

along the way, I met some wonderful people. specifically scott calgaro and his wife, who I hope to visit with again soon.

and I got some great time to reconnect with my friend jeff shinabarger, who is more or less a genius, in spite of the fact that he tried to keep me from drinking too much while I discussed conspiracy theories with mrs. barber at dinner.

and also, if you are in the pittsburgh area looking for a wedding photographer, check out caryn azure. she was there at the conference doing the same thing I was doing, only much better, and I think she got actual shots of the actual conference, whereas I'm not sure how much of that I did.

I've been buried in the studio this week. clint was in town for a few days and we put in some serious hours (I think two 12 hour days) working on two of brad lyon's songs. (they sound amazing.)  I'm also still going through edits for a wedding I shot last weekend. and I leave in a few hours for san francisco. so I haven't had time to edit much from pittsburgh yet, but here are a few early favorites:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I wish I had made this video

and in case you love sports and are afraid that I am making fun of you, let me clarify: yes, I am definitely making fun of you.

*special thanks to jacob for this one

Sunday, February 8, 2009

BTM - When are you going on the road with Griffin House?

okay. so a lot of people have been asking me about this. there is confusion, because obviously griffin is on the road right now, and I'm still here in birmingham. I think three people have asked me about this just today.

I pick up with griffin in a couple weeks and play the following shows:

feb 25 - philadelphia
feb 26 - dc
feb 27 - nyc
feb 28 - boston
(plus one more in ohio somewhere)

I have been previously booked for gigs in san francisco the weekend of feb - 19-21, so unfortunately I will not be able to play the atlanta, birmingham or nashville shows. very bummed about this, but of course it's always nice to go to san francisco so I'm getting over it pretty well.

A TON going on right now. finished up music production for a series of commercials up in wisconsin, in the middle of a new record for some really great songwriters here in town, flying to pittsburgh in a few days for a very unique and interesting photography job (complete with interns) (more on that later), and beginning the process of a couple new projects from red mountain (more on this later as well).

oh. and I've been shooting quite a few weddings. which are turning out beautifully. if you are getting married and you want to look natural and sexy and beautiful you really should call me. just sayin.

going back to the title of this worstweblogintheworld post. if you are in any of those cities above and you dig griffin house you should come out and catch a show and be filled with joy. otherwise you will be filled with sorrow and it will not be my fault.

Friday, February 6, 2009

george winston sucks

I grew up listening to a lot of george winston. don't worry, I listened to cool music too. my first album purchase ever was paula abdul's "forever your girl", which I think I got in 1988, when I was 9 years old. I rode with my brothers to the mall and got the tape. back in the car on the way home mike made fun of me, and danny told mike to shut up as he put the tape in and we rode home. "opposites attract" and "coldhearted" started to play, and I'll never forget how it felt, hearing my new record blasting through the speakers of my brother's '79 monte carlo. I sat in the back seat, not saying a word.

as a small item of personal redemption, I'll mention that my next album I remember purchasing was sting's "ten summoner's tales" which I still listen to this day.

but along the way, with my elton john, U2, vertical horizon, michael jackson, indigo girls, pink floyd, ccr, paul simon, fleetwood mac records, I listened to george winston. to be honest, growing up I listened to so much music its hard to really remember. I remember devouring whatever was new (I'm still kind of like this today) so as a result, so much of what I loved at any point is now tiresome to me. and I remember making repeated attempts at jazz (I have over a hundred jazz records that I never listen to) but it never worked. jazz never moved me. it never has. and I have too much baggage with it to be able to really hear it.

the home I grew up in was an eerily silent home, so as soon as I could drive, I was working as much as I could (mostly just to be free from the house), and I was spending literally all of my extra money on music.

but one person I do remember from high school was george winston. of course I always loved playing piano. and winston's music always resonated with me. long, flowing lyrical pieces and melodies buried in seemingly complex piano arrangements. I remember as a teenager picking apart what he did and realizing his playing was surprisingly simple and repetitive. I dug that. and for better or worse (probably worse), the music of george winston has been a huge influence on my playing. I have spent the past 8 or 9 years trying to deconstruct that, but still, in the quiet moments when I'm pretty sure no one is listening to me play, my music sounds a lot like his. it just sort of feels like the music I have in me.

so on wednesday night, when winston was playing at the carver theatre, on the north side of birmingham, I was looking forward to it. I imagined his music, which I like much less than I used to, taking me away and reminding me what he offered me 10, 15 years ago. the room was half full, and the old dingy theatre felt almost like a coffin. a relic of a city that is way past it's prime. winston is half bald, with a thick beard. he wears old, baggy jeans pulled up to his ribs. he doesn't wear shoes. his glasses are out of style. the piano is just a little out of tune. and winston gives off a vibe like he'd rather be anywhere else. drunk, perhaps, at home, alone. he takes deep breaths while he plays. and he plays stiffly, apparently unmoved by the music his fingers and locked wrists are producing.

he plays the piano and the room falls quiet. and I immediately notice that the music is not there. it's somewhere else. it's like I'm watching someone else play, like he is watching himself in the mirror, in a dream. he missed countless notes. the kind of mistakes that I make at home and scream out "AHH!" out of frustration that my hands can't keep up with my mind, and then I stop, play it slower, get it right before moving on. he made huge mistakes, and never indicated that any of them bothered him. his notes, instead of being crisp and having intent, were slurred together and when combined, said nothing. beautiful melodies that should have swept me away instead were lost in the sloppiness of their execution, and what was left was a flat, lifeless soundtrack to a room already half filled with death.

don't get me wrong. I loved the concert. and I got to see two old friends from high school. and it was a relaxing break from a new record I've been working really hard on. and it was good to see that george winston is still playing. and it was good to know that my music has some distinctions from george winston.

and it was good to see again that music carries me, more than it carries george winston. or at least more than it was carrying him on wednesday night.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


brooke bought me my ipod I think christmas 2003. it was a 40 gig. and it was awesome. I think this sweet little baby cost about $500. and over the past 5 years, it has carried my music with me wherever I've gone. I've dropped it countless times, replaced the battery twice, and taken it apart to fix it more times than I can count. countless nights with headphones on, long hours in the car, traveling all over the country, and my ipod has always been right with me.

but a couple days ago, it breathed its last. I went out and bought a new ipod, of course. and even though it is nicer and cleaner and has color and video and shoots laser beams, I still like the old one better.

I'll miss you, old ipod.