B i o g r a p h y-
When I was
a kid, I created my own comic strips, often satirical, and wrote
parody versions of current rock hits (didn't Frank Zappa start that
way?). As a teen, I got into (somewhat) more serious poetry, as
well as the guitar, moving through basic rock, then blues styles.
Like so many others, I used the blues as a basis for exploring other
styles, such as jazz and country music. Also like so many others,
I started to sing in informal groups because no one else wanted
the job. I got better over time.
was attracted to acoustic blues because that style's solo guitar
/ vocal approach seemed so complete to methe rhythm, melody,
and very expressive, raw singing, all come together around a simple
tight focus. Blues lyrics tend to be simple and direct, while lyrics
based on 19th Century Romantic poetry traditions tend
to be more image-laden and impressionistic. I like both approaches.
Can we mix them? Is that allowed?
the '80s, my repertoire coalesced around a solo guitar, finger-style,
blues/folk approach. I covered some blues classics, and wrote tunes
in that vein, honing my skills. In the mid-1980s, I moved to Boston,
the East Coast Mecca for acoustic musicians. I formed an acoustic
group called The Loiterers, and for a few years, acoustic
and electric versions of the band played mostly around the eastern
half of MA. In 1991, I released a cassette-album called WHOA!
That's a'Plenty that documents my exploratory nature, and
my group's ability to play several styles very well. Contemporary
folk-rock, blues, swing, Brazilian, African, Caribbean, Mexican
touches abounded. None of the styles were presented as if I were
attempting to be a purist, rather, I was (and still am) a songwriter
mixing sounds together just to enhance the songs and put them across.
1993, I released my first CD, Free Eats! again, with
The Loiterers. This collection featured more of a full band sound,
reflecting the gigs we'd been playing around that time. The tunes
were more blues-based this time, though Soca and Klezhmer influences
pop up in a few places. Most of the tunes were based around solo
guitar arrangements, though that's not always immediately obvious
when listening to the recordings. I began to play outside of New
England around this time.
went back to solo and duo acoustic performances. By 1996, I had
three acts going: solo acoustic, The Cool Beverages
(an acoustic trio: guitar, upright bass and drums/percussion), and
The Loiterers, which had by this time become an electric blues/roots-rock
band. The Cool Bev's sound was the basis for my next CD release,
Few Simple Words. Once again rooted around my acoustic solo
guitar arrangements, this disc mixes styles, more subtly this time.
African and Latin guitar touches are still there, but over the years,
I've learned to integrate them with more widely recognized blues
and folk styles. The guitar work is, as always, very up-front, but
this time, I let it stand a little more on its own, though I had
excellent support from acoustic bassist Dave Smallwood and
drummer/percussionist Deb Blackadar. My act has always
featured some open-tuned slide guitar, and A Few Simple Words
has several tracks based around that style.
the past few years, I've been working as a duo (sometimes trio)
Juba , in
which I team up with a great blues/boogie piano player, Bruce
Ward. Our styles meet best on blues-y material, so we
offer a mix of blues and roots-rock, on both originals and classic
covers. In Juba, I typically play electric guitar. Long-time
musical associates Brian Flan or David
sometimes appear with us on drums. I still play solo acoustic
shows as well.