“Somebody Break My Heart” was inspired by a new relationship I developed with water, during a writing residency in Key West Florida. I went down to work on some long-form memoir writing and found “my spot” at a picnic table, twenty feet from the shoreline of Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. I’d type into my iPad and when I would feel something like grief or shame wash over me in my writing, I’d take a break by jumping into the ocean and cleaning the tears from my eyes. Over the two weeks of rinsing and re-approaching, it became difficult to determine the water from my tears and the water all around me as I was floating in the ocean. My co-writer, Steve Nelson, and I tried to to write this song from that place of numbness pleading for feeling, waiting still in the quiet of the ocean floor.
I knew I wanted water and specially movement through water as the predominate story telling aspect to the video. I searched “free diver” on Instagram and came across the choreography work of Gabriel Forestieri, and shared with him what inspired the song and that I’d love to have him consider making a music video for it. About three days later he emailed me back with a rough cut of footage he shot in Sicily. We made a few rounds of edits back and forth but this video sort of just happened without any discussion. We clearly both understood the feeling well, had a deep reverence for water, and working with Gabriel felt more like surfing the energy of an idea than making a music video. I’m eternally grateful and connected to them now.
I hope you enjoy the official video for my song “Somebody Break My Heart” premiering today in Metal Magazine.
Reflecting on the incredible healing powers of water and presenting instruments such as the plethora, samples of water and crushed sand, the artist creates an environment with a life of its own in which there is no room for superficial, pretentious or artificial elements: nature in its purest form. –Metal Magazine
I’m so excited and proud to share my newest album, “The Coronation,” out today on all platforms. “The Coronation” was born out of and during the pandemic, forcing me to reflect on myself and the state of the planet in ways I never have before. It explores fear, destruction, hope, healing, love – and everything in between. Listen for yourself at the link in my bio and order “The Coronation” on vinyl if you please. Listen here: mpress.lnk.to/TheCoronation
“A Gift” is available for streaming and watching everywhere. Thank you to Pop Wrapped for the awesome write up about the track, plus a sneak peak into my upcoming album “The Coronation” (out everywhere August 20th). Check out the full Pop Wrapped article here.
Sometimes songwriting is a bit like fishing. You go to a spot that you may have had some luck before and hopefully it’s a spot where a lot of little fish are nibbling at the bait. Sometimes a big one comes along and you land it. Sometimes you don’t. That’s fishing. They don’t call it catching. I think Eric Bazilian caught a whale when we wrote “One of Us.” The idea is so huge and the delivery is so simple. There is a sense of God’s loneliness in this song that I related so strongly with, especially during this time of isolation. Eric’s question “Would you want to see, if seeing meant that you would have to believe?” felt so appropriate to the theme of this album. Am I willing to be accountable to what you know to be true? I am a fan of the Joan Osborne original but this song will always be etched in my community of family and neighbors singing around the piano.
I wanted to strip this song down to its beams but still have it feel modern and not too folky. The keyboard is my Juno 60 and I’m joined by Raye Zaragoza on this track who added a whole other haunting element to this song. Raye is one of my favorite musicians out there right now so it’s a real treat to have her with me.
For most of my adult life, I’ve held the belief that humanity is right around the corner from something transformative. If we could only see that our separateness is an illusion, then a future of global cooperation and interdependence would be undeniable. As the coronavirus locked down the world, I felt this long-held belief inside of me becoming a reality right before my eyes. Of course I was not immune to the suffering around me, but I was overwhelmingly inspired seeing humanity united in common cause. We were witnessing that rapid political and behavioral change IS possible. This feeling was no longer a mirage off in the distance; it was not some hope just around the corner. The crossroad is here; the tipping point is now. Just as the dolphins returned to the canals in Venice, I felt a sense of boundlessness to who we might become on the other side of this storm, now that the proof was everywhere: we are living in a house made out of each other.
The question of “How do we protect those susceptible to a virus?” invites you toward “How do we care for vulnerable people in general?” Compassion, just like fear, is contagious. This song is a compassionate invitation to take inventory of our society, strip down the superficial, and see what is worth saving and what can be built back better. “The Coronation” marks the emergence of our collective unconscious into consciousness and the transcendence of compulsion into choice. I look at the last year of lockdown as sort like an extended rehab healing us from the story of separation and offering us the courage to forge a new crown and become the rulers of that which had ruled us.
My co-producer Ryan Hommel (Amos Lee, Heather Maloney) and I wanted to bottle up the sense of “a reunion” in this track, so we set out to build this song using instruments from everywhere in the world. The chorus includes a Dan Bau (a Vietnamese zither) & Viola Da gamba (a gut stringed member of the violin family). Griffin Goldsmith (Dawes) did all the drum programming and added percussion and Cynthia Tolson (Demi Lovato) played all the violins.
Last summer I spent my afternoons driving around western Massachusetts to play a backyard, a driveway, someone’s lake dock, and even a baseball park. These pop up shows began when I helped Rocky & Rheeda celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and my wife and I left grateful for the gardening tips Rocky provided us. I played a few belated birthday parties and made friends with many dogs and a coop of chickens throughout my journey too.
What I learned from last summer is that even though we must remain physically distant (for a little while longer), it is imperative we remain socially connected. Music is one of the things that does that and I would love to be your excuse to bring your community together for some safe outdoor live music this summer.
“Pop Up Pandemic Party” requests are now open for the summer of 2021. I’m so excited to relaunch this for anyone within a 100 mile radius of Northampton, MA.
You can select your preferred dates in the link below and submit a request form.
– SHOW GUIDELINES –
– Performance location must be an outdoor private residence (driveway or backyard) within 100 mile radius of Northampton, MA.
– These are PRIVATE events for a flat fee (fee varies depending on date and time). Performances are 75min.
– Seth provides all sound and “staging” (power required).
– Max number of attendees (counting the host and children) is 20.
As the days get shorter, I am reminded just how much of our daylight this year has been spent in a strange kind of 2020 darkness. COVID-19 has disrupted much about our lives, our livelihoods, and our holiday traditions. In normal times, you might be planning family gatherings with grandparents and grandkids, caroling around a piano, or watching your kids eat all the chocolate from their advent calendar. For some, you may find yourself quite relieved and equipped with a solid CDC excuse of why you won’t be seeing your in-laws or won’t be hearing drunk Dave say something vulgar by the eggnog at this year’s holiday party.
For me, the holidays were always a time of tension in my home when I was growing up. The season can be hard on those suffering from addiction or in a family with a loved one who is. It can be a stressful season of feeling financially strapped as many of us are right now.
Much like 2020, the holidays are heavy and often sticky. However, I believe it is the darkness that gives the candles in the window their flickering contrast.
When I was a little kid, I collected as much magic from the holiday season as I could to contrast the stress in my home. As I look out at an uncertain world full of tension the child in me feels the urge to try and bottle up some of the magic from this season and share it with you. I also can’t help feeling that the world is in need of some magic right now.
Not the magic of illusion or trickery. We have enough of that.
I’m talking about the hope that allows us to see what is seemingly invisible and the flame that melts the myth of our separateness even as we still remain so distant from each other.
On December 19th, I’m excited to share with you my first HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR Livestream. The show will include music, jokes, dancing, and will featuring some of my good friends. Even Jesus Christ will be there!
I didn’t want to create a pay wall since so many of us are feeling uncertain about our financial futures. This show will be FREE on Facebook LIVE and YouTube. If you do have the means to support, I ask that you become a patron and join me in there.
I invite you to bring your imagination and share some magic with me on December 19th at 8pm.
I’m getting tired of emails beginning with “I hope this finds you well,” so instead I hope this finds you as you are, learning to love the place you are in and heal from the loss you’re feeling. I also hope you are continuing to find ways of being useful during this time of change. Like you, much of my life has been adapted to online experiences since Massachusetts’s social distancing practices began. During this time I’ve been chatting with other creatives and promoters across the country and doing a lot of thinking about the cracks that were already in the foundation of the wider touring industry at large long before this pandemic came to our world. We relied on cheap fossil fuel to drive long distances, fly, and sail to our audience. As music festivals got larger and larger, they often undercut the local musicians that made the region a “scene” in the first place (like Katy Perry headlining New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival in 2019). In many fields, I believe our solutions are going to be local ones for the considerable future so I’m excited to unveil “POP-UP PANDEMIC PARTIES.” A Pop-Up Pandemic Party is a personal micro-concert experience. These would be 30-minute outdoor pop-up performances where I’d bring a small PA system to set up & play while maintaining social distancing practices and keeping equipment sanitized.
How Does It Work?
We’d need a private outdoor space for your family or group to watch from and a space for me to set up such as a driveway, front yard, or backyard. If anyone other than the people you cohabitate with are going to be there, I’d like to know about it. If other people want to watch from their own yards with people they live with, that is more than welcomed and a wonderful way of bringing community together.
I will not setup on porches or decks and will not go into homes under any circumstances.
I will be 15-20 ft away from any guests while singing.
We’d keep these pop-up performance to no more than 10 guests total in one space.
I would ask for your respect by keep your distance during setup and tear down and maintaining social distancing practices during the event. I love talking and hugging you after shows but given the circumstances we can’t do that here. I envision this as a great way of celebrating a loved one, a birthday, a special occasion or sharing the uplifting energy of music with your neighbors & community.
Safety is paramount and I will absolutely not proceed with a show if all of these conditions cannot be met. As of now these pop-up events will only be available within a 50 mile radius of Northampton, MA. For those in other parts of the country I’m still doing my weekly “Pandemic Party” webstream if you would like to stay connected to live music on my Patreon page.
Thank you PopMatters for premiering the song “Til Further Notice” I wrote in response to our collective uncertainty. The song is available for purchase exclusively on Noisetrade with proceeds benefiting the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund for COVID-19.