I was born in 1976 AD on a 4.5 billion year old blue planet in a solar system in the Gould Belt of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Approximately 5,200 years after the invention of writing in Mesopotamia, and 18 years after my birth in Kerrville, Texas, I started writing songs about remarkable people and places that I wanted to remember. Because no one else knew the songs, I started singing them myself at a bar in Austin, Texas on Tuesday nights.
Through music, I kept meeting interesting people, and through writing and singing songs about them, I have had the opportunity to travel around the North American continent and also around Europe. When no interesting people are around, I make up songs and stories about interesting people that I imagine.
But there have been plenty of fascinating people around me during the years I have lived in Mountain Home, Houston, Dallas, New York, Madison, Wisconsin, and now again, since 2007, Austin.
Over the years, I have recorded the songs and offered them for sale, as albums, 6 different times. In September of 2013, I will offer the latest - a 7th collection of songs called 'Stories They Tell' - to the public in exchange for money and attention.
The eleven new songs add up to a retrospective, big picture look at what humans have been doing over the last 10,000 years. Making tools and stuff, forming relationships based on power, money, sex, and/or love, and, most importantly, telling stories of how it all went down.
On this album, there are also songs about superstition, innovation, power, theft, technology, travel, philosophy, politics, aging, and history.
Some of the most interesting people I have met worked with me on these songs. Over coffee and beers with Gordy Quist, Adam Carroll, A.J. Roach, Paul Cauthen, David Beck, and Clay McClinton, we wrote several of these new ones. And I wrote about half of them by myself, usually on cocktail napkins or the digital notepad of smartphones.
I played the songs for producer and guitarist Gabriel Rhodes and he liked them and we came up with a plan to record them at his studio, just west of Austin, with Rick Richards on drums and Josh Flowers on bass. My friends Colin Brooks and Jamie Wilson said they were willing to drive over to the studio and sing harmony vocals.
Then the most amazing thing happened. I sent a message with the idea to record the songs in an email to a big group of friends and other interesting people I have met over the years.
And 225 of them, from 13 different countries and 26 states, said, "yes, let's do it."
So we all put our money together to pay the musicians, recording engineers, graphic designers, photographers, printers, postal workers, compact disc and vinyl record manufacturers, and now we've got this album we all made together, available as digital downloads, CDs, and vinyl LPs.
I hope you enjoy listening to it, and I bet you can tell we had a very good time making it.
And here's to the beautiful and complicated ongoing experiment of human life on earth- and here's to the Stories They Tell.