From The Wood

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This was my first crack at writing and recording my own music. I booked the studio in the winter of 1994 and had only written two songs and they didn’t even have complete lyrics…”Rebecca” and “Haven’t Seen For A While”. I was fairly certain yet completely clueless about songwriting and what my plan was. I went into the studio in the winter and started tracking songs with a backing band that consisted of Eddie Hartness, Mike Clem and Julie Murphy. That’s pretty much all the members of national recording group Eddie From Ohio. They all happened to live in VA and were kind enough to loan their talents to the project of a wide-eyed college kid trying to make his mark on God knows what.

My friend and local musician Travis Allison rocked the keys while Stuart Ridgeway manned the console at Cue Studios in Falls Church, VA. Feels like it was just yesterday that I was singing and playing in that tiny little room, belting out vocals to a velvet Elvis hanging in the booth and using a magic wand toy to hold as my security blanket while I attempted to sing without smiling. I recall always asking to have the lights lowered to near blackout so I could sing and not feel like an idiot doing the 80’s-Bandaid-“Do-They-Know-It’s-Christmas”-hold-one-ear-and-concentrate-on-the-pitch thing. I was terrified I would not pull it off.

My brother Hugh joined in on vocals, John Small crushed the bass and best bud Chris Bashista joined me for extra tracks “Girl From Athens” & “Pride”. I’m listening to the record now while writing this and I cannot believe how young I sound. I used pretty much every acoustic guitar lick I had ever learned from The Allman Brothers Band and Eric Clapton on this record. I was a big fan of hooky guitar lines, can ya tell? Um, what is going on at the beginning of” “Rebecca”? Guess I was feeling very rainforesty. Eddie and Mike nailed their parts and made my music come alive. I am forever in their debt. Thanks EFO!

That record changed everything for me. It took me out of bars and rescued me from playing “Brown Eyed Girl” at the local pub where nobody listened. That May when 10 boxes of my CD showed up at my nasty off-campus house in Farmville, VA, I was pumped to hold an actual CD with my name on it, but also fearful that my friends would laugh at it. I skipped my exams and went door to door—in and out of every dorm room. I sold all 1,000 copies in one weekend and the following Tuesday my house gig was one of the best shows of my life. People were singing MY songs, jumping up and down to “Rebecca”—for once, not the cover songs. I got a taste of being original and I was instantly hooked. Thanks to Longwood College for investing in me! You guys made it all happen.