I moved to Portland, OR 9 years ago from a small town in the midwest - Eden, WI. I rode the Amtrak Empire Builder west with a suitcase, a Fender Jaguar guitar, and little idea of what my plan was - except to get out of the hometown mindset. As a youth I always loved singing, writing, playing guitar - and found myself more often than not becoming the band leader for the various groups throughout my adolescence (most were just ok). After a year of living in the PNW, I decided to travel North America - both to study various forms of American traditional music, and to learn a bit more about myself. After a year and a half of hitchhiking, working on farms, and having a strange-range of adventures - I returned to Portland to plant some roots.
Coincidentally, I started a roots band called Jacob Miller and the Bridge City Crooners - which prospered in the city, and became what felt like my “life’s work.” We released several albums, toured extensively, and made a hell of a lot of folks dance. I poured my everything into the group, and it was a beautiful experience I was fortunate to share with my best friends and colleagues.
But, things change - and last year, I was overcome with conflicting feelings. I wasn’t content writing old time music anymore, even if it was as fun as it had been. I put it on myself that the people who enjoyed our music expected exactly what we had been producing, and I just wasn’t there anymore.
In August of 2017, I decided to disband the Crooners and focus my efforts on writing solo music.
At first, it felt a bit alien - “ What am I doing?" - I thought to myself most days. But as the months passed and the songs developed, I realized that this change was more artistically satisfying than I ever could have imagined. It was growth.
Music has always been the best vehicle for me to emote. The simple pleasure of moving a crowd, but more specifically - one person in the back of the room; expressing ideas and sentiments that are so completely personal and specific - but at the same time so universally resonate. It is my language, and it is the only kind of life I’ve ever seen for myself.
This album started out as demos in a Southeast Portland living room. Naturally, I put it on myself to do everything on this record - writing, arranging, instrumentation, etc. But through more than serendipitous happenings - it has grown into something so much bigger than myself.
It now holds the talents of some of the PNW’s most talented and charming players. Horns, strings, vocal choirs, immensely talented arrangers, composers, etc. Still, the album is, in the truest sense, autobiographical.
Though I wrote all of songs, I've collaborated with world reknown trupeteer and dear friend - Charlie Porter for string, horn and choir arrangements on the record. Charlie is one of the greatest musical talents I've had the pleasure of working with, while simultaneously remaining the most humble guy. His efforts and ideas will contribute in making this record really shine.
I’m fortunate to be working again with engineer and musician, Ryan Oxford (Y La Bamba, Nick Delffs, Like a Villian, etc.) at Color Therapy Studios in Portland, OR for much of the tracking process. It will then go to Zachary Dyke (Liza Anne, Coin, Molly Parden, etc.) in Nashville, TN. Zach has produced some of my absolute favorite records, and it is a true honor to have him involved in the process. I feel beyond lucky to be working with such a team - and couldn’t be more excited to share these songs with you.
As one might imagine - creating an album as an independent artist is a costly process. From studio and instrument rentals to paying musicians - mixing, mastering, and PR to assure the album is received by a wider audience - I only have so many kidneys to sell on the black market.
You can pre-order it here - get the t-shirt, vinyl, or any of the other gifts, and all of the proceeds will go directly to making this whole thing possible. Every last dime will be used in the creation of this album, and anything over the goal will go towards more content for the fans - and more gas in the touring tank. Here is a breakdown of where the money will be going..
-Studio Rental/Recording Engineer
-Paying the Musicians
-Post Production/Mixing and Mastering
-Album Art and Design
-Printing CDs and Vinyl
-Kickstarter Fees and Mailing
-Promoting the Album: Press Campaign, Radio, and Tour Promotion
There are many ways you can help! Of course, every dollar pledged to this campaign gets us closer to an all-or-nothing goal, but you can share this link on your social media, or tell your friends who you think would enjoy my music. Word of mouth counts for so much!
Risks and challenges
Working and living as an artist is something that is both chaotic and beautiful. So many gigs, so many hours of booking/social media (not as fun), and so much hope in things clicking in a genuine way.
As uncertain as it all is, it is the kind of life that I just love, and I want to share these stories with you. Your support means more than I could begin to articulate; thank you over and over for your love, care, support, and belief in this dream of mine.
Here are some links if you'd like to check out my music for yourself..
Listen on Spotify..
- (35 days)