I used to carry my guitar into the bar at age 13 and sit in with the local blues band with my Dad. I studied music at the Oberlin Conservatory, but a wrist injury stalled my performing career and led me to a degree in Neuroscience. Despite this set-back, I back-slid into music. I moved to Brooklyn and taught myself voice and bucket-bass and formed the street-band Roosevelt Dime, while working at Rockefeller University in a birdsong neuro-lab. I re-taught myself guitar with proper ergonomic technique, became musical director of Red Molly and started Goodnight Moonshine with my wife Molly Venter. During COVID I became a TrueFire educator, designed a recording studio for the Neighborhood Music School and launched the record label Equitone Records.
My passion as a guitarist is for understanding and drawing connections between far reaching forms of music- while still honoring the cultural traditions of each genre. I’m a jazz musician. I’m a folk musician. Composition and improvisation are two of my favorite things. None of it matters without tone, touch, and passion.
As a producer I get inside the heads of the musicians I work with in order to imagine what they themselves are hearing. From there I leverage the power of existing tropes, which give the piece cultural significance and also carry their ideas straight to the intended audience. Ultimately I’m trusting my ability as a sensing, feeling human to know what we like best! It always yields something that sounds new.
I am a TrueFire guitar & vocal instructor. I also offer a limited number of 1-1 lessons in-person and online. My teaching method involves a holistic, mindful approach, where I ask students to envision how they want to feel in the future- when they are playing and singing the way they dream about. I invite them to start from that feeling, here and now.
My approach is scientific and intuitive. I learned ergonomic technique from overcoming my own wrist injury - which allowed me to be the artist I want to be. My work as a musical director and producer has taught me to speak many languages in working with different personality types!