I was always going to be a novelist. But at a car show in Mill Bay, British Columbia in 1994, my best friend stuck a branch in the spokes of that bicycle. He suggested we start a grunge band - Ira could play the bass; I could play the guitar. For six months, we wrote pages and pages of lyrics. Then we got our instruments and learned how to play them. Threw those lyrics away and started writing songs. Songs became a far more comfortable medium for my expression - it was like sticking a novel in a pan and simmering it until only the best elements of the story were left, then singing it to other people and watching them respond right away.
Since then, I've put the grunge... not exactly behind me, but it shares space with folk, roots, country and whatever else comes to mind. I left the West Coast for Ottawa, Ontario, where I found a new musical community and new stages to play on. Finished a degree in journalism and English literature, married a lovely girl and moved to Scotland for a year. Music stalled a bit there - the year was mostly about good pints, long conversations with theology students and preparing cappucinos for Kate Middleton, who may yet become the future Queen of England.
Back in Ottawa, I started working with CBC Radio, which makes me insanely happy. I brought a bouzouki back from Scotland and managed to fill a conveniently emptied hole in Celt-punk sextet Siobhan. For my troubles, I've played shows, drunk local beer and driven and crashed vans (not in that order) in Finland, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. And through it all, I've kept writing and performing my own material.
I spent a notorious summer on a picket line a few years back, which made me reconsider how seriously I was taking that material. I cobbled a few of these songs together and asked some friends to play on it. The result was the 2006 EP Long Shadows in the Afternoon. Six songs is just the tip of the shoelace, though, when it comes to the songs I've written. So three years later, I'm at it again with a full-length record, I Am with the Hunters.
My music centres on my cheap acoustic guitar - the same one I used to patch through a distortion pedal and play drop-d punk tunes on all those years ago in Nanaimo. The songs draw their inspiration from the places I've walked and lived - the coast of British Columbia, an ancient pilgrim trail in Spain, or a second-floor apartment looking onto rainy Bronson Avenue. I've added a new bouzouki to the arsenal, as well as my latest love, the ukulele.