Welcome to my home on the internet

I live in New York City and I play, write, arrange, and produce music for myself and lots of other people. I spend quite a bit of time in Austin, Texas, and travel around the country with various groups. I've contributed performances, compositions, and arrangements to recordings by bands like Snarky Puppy, Okkervil River, Bill Laurance, Nelo, and many more. My band is Progger.
For booking, lessons (in person or via Skype), or questions, send an email to proggermusic@gmail.com.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gushing over the Progress tour

What should reasonably have been my second month in New York turned out to be one of the most epic, exhausting, fun, expensive, and rewarding months of travel I've had in years. Rather than do the responsible thing and stay in New York to hustle as much work as I possibly can, I went for broke, flew back to Texas, and from there took my band, Progress, on a tour with the Funky Knuckles. We went from Austin to Hattiesburg, MS; then to Atlanta, GA; then back to Lafayette, LA before hitting New Orleans and then tooling back to Austin.

Every single venue we played was great, and I'm humbled, excited, and teary-eyed at all the wonderful, beautiful, helpful, supportive, talented, and brilliant people we met on this too-brief trip (Brad, Sasha, Cliff, Jordan, Kevin, Gregg, Destinee, and so damn many more). Furthermore, I really want to encourage everyone to support the venues we played, because they treated us beautifully and definitely hold themselves to a higher standard than your average joint.

The Thirsty Hippo in Hattiesburg is a brilliant little spot with great food and friendly staff, and Brad, the owner, runs sound like an absolute badass. It's a restaurant-- and it sounds amazing. enough said. Well, not enough said. I have tremendous affection for the Hippo because it was a crucial spot in the formative days of Snarky Puppy, and I have extremely fond memories of staying up late with Brad and the whole crew after closing time, sipping Abita and munching on garage pizza.

529 in Atlanta was a great surprise: a small but very good-sounding room owned and operated by genuine music lovers who know what they're doing in one of the coolest neighborhoods in the nation. The show itself was a blast, but our following "day off" in Atlanta was pretty monumental. Carter's gig at Elliott Street Pub (featuring Bryan Lopes, one of the greatest saxophonists I've ever heard) turned into a massive Progress/Knuckles/Atlanta Free-Jazz jam extravaganza in a tiny, awesome little bar. With great sandwiches. Also, I got to eat lunch with one of my childhood heroes, Col. Bruce Hampton. Never would have expected that. The late-night jam at Apache Cafe only added to the epicness, especially when Caleb McCampell showed everyone that he not only crushes everyone on keys, but... yes... as a singer as well.

Artmosphere in Lafayette is always a good time. It's a great place to hang out and very comfortable, with good sound. But, most importantly, we had the surprise pleasure of having Cliff Hines and Sasha Masokowski open the show. They absolutely murder. Their music is brilliant and innovative, they all play the bejesus out of their instruments and voices, and we're definitely recruiting them for some shenanigans next time around.

We could not have found a better place to play in New Orleans than Gasa Gasa. The room was designed by the sound engineer, everyone was friendly and courteous, there was a freaking green room, and Freret St has tons of amazing coffee and food nearby. Jordan Koppens was our MVP in New Orleans not only for booking and promoting this show, but for getting us on WWOZ and WTUL. Also for being cool as hell.

Finally, it almost made me cry to see such a warm welcome back at our home base, One2One. Despite the fact that there was a UT home game, the Knuckles and Progress had some of the heaviest crowd support we've ever had, and it was a perfect way to close out the tour. The kind of support we got that night sealed the certainty that we're going to do this all again sooner rather than later. 

For icing on the cake, Progress will be supporting Snarky Puppy at the Parish in Austin this coming Monday, 9/23. Allison Wedding will be there, too. To say that this has been a good month would be like calling deep-fried avocado bacon balls "kind of tasty."