I grew up in the steel-mill town of Mingo Junction, Ohio. My parents were Italian Immigrants and my Dad worked in the mill. I learned about music through listening to a.m. radio and the times we went to the Country Music Jamboree in Wheeling, W.Va., near my home on The Ohio River. The first concert I saw was Kitty Wells, I never knew what a “honky-tonk angel” was but I loved her voice. My parents grew large vegetable gardens and an orchard, and made their own wine. As a kid, it was a place for idle summers and sandlot baseball, but as I grew older, it became a place to leave.
I worked summers in the steel mill and went away to college, first to Ohio State University in Columbus, and then to Washington State University in Pullman. I got a degree in Environmental Science but I knew I always wanted to be a musician so I left the forests behind me and moved to New York City.
Upon my arrival in New York, the first place I headed to was the Cornelia Street Cafe. Every Monday night in this Greenwich Village Cafe a songwriter exchange was held where you could only perform a new song. In the audience and on stage were some of New York's best songwriters of the new folk scene: Suzanne Vega, The Roches, Mark Johnson, Steve Forbert, etc. To get up in that small cafe was intimidating, but the exhilaration of playing is what kept me going.
It was during this time that I published my first song, “Big Sister” that went to #11 on the Canadian charts and recorded a song for The Cornelia Street Songwriters Exchange album. Eventually the scene changed and I felt like I needed a to make a move.
In 1990 I came to Austin, Texas with everything that would fit in the back of my Volkswagen Rabbit, which was mostly my guitars. While in New York, a reviewer in Variety once described my songs as having a "rustic sound with a city sensibility," and in Austin, I found my equivalent.
It is a town steeped in musical heritage and the people who live here (read: Native Texans) are proud of this. Here, with the help of a lot of talented musicians and friends, I was able to record my first album, Love & Trust (1993 DejaDisc) and organized my first national tour with Jimmy Lafave, David Halley, and Jo Carroll Pierce. I recorded When I lived in the Wild (1995 BohemiaBeat) and the album was a critical success and followed it up with World in a Drop of Water (1998 BohemiaBeat) and Back to Oklahoma (2001 India Records) both produced by Charlie Sexton. Also with the help of Charlie Sexton I wrote and recorded most of the music for the movie Monster Hunter. Around 2002 I started doing gigs around town with Patty Griffin as my backup singer. She’s featured on my next album Pocketful of Rain (2004 Texas Music Group) and has had me as her tour opener, most recently the Spring of 2006.
My musical travels have taken me to many exotic and some not so exotic locals (read: sofas) and I’ve appeared on several national syndicated radio shows including World Café, Mountain Stage and Acoustic Café. I feel blessed to have this job and with the support of my fans, I hope to continue.
Love & Trust (1993) –DejaDisc
When I lived in the Wild (1995) BohemiaBeat
World in a Drop of Water (1998) Bohemia Beat
Back to Oklahoma (2001) India Records
Pocketful of Rain (2004) Texas Music Group
Retrospective (2004) Texas Music Group
Red Dog Blues (2007)