Hello everyone!

I have a few really fantastic announcements regarding The Modern Working Musician. We’ll be back with our regular interview series later this week.

First, I will be in Nashville the weekend of June 3rd!

I have been afforded the fantastic opportunity to go to a limited person workshop with the one and only Aaron Sterling. He’s currently on tour with John Mayer. He is also a session musician producer and is absolutely incredibly.

I have decided to take the podcast on the road with me that weekend so if you are interested in an interview and you live in Nashville, I’d love to talk to you!

That being said, I am raising funds to help supplement the cost of this adventure and to provide more educational content to you all.

Ill be doing a limited run of Stickers ($5), Shirts ($20, includes sticker), and hoodies ($40, includes sticker).

These can be purchased through the apps: Venmo, PayPal, Cashapp. Just message me for details. I’ll take orders through June 5th and they’ll be shipped out as soon as the bulk order comes in.

Likewise, I’ll be offering low cost ad time to any band, project, or small business looking to promote what you have going on. You can message me or send an email at for more info.

Now, some things to consider moving forward with the podcast…

I’ve had two big things I’ve been mulling over here recently in terms of the podcast, but the main goal is and should be “education above all else.”

With that in mind, episodes in the future will be a little less censored than they were before. That doesn’t mean that the conversation will dive in to impropriety, but I have interviewed some profoundly intelligent guest and seen some truly educational points be hindered by my guest second guessing their language before they speak. So, there will be a disclaimer for those episodes with language. But the educational value needs to remain the primary goal.

Secondly, in this same vein, I’ve had a few people reach out to me about what I am looking for in guests on this podcast.

I would very much like to keep this podcast educational first, promotional second. There is bound to be some inevitable overlap, and I love promoting and supporting musicians as much as possible, but the main focus of each episode is the quest to find creative ways to make a career in this field. That being said, if you are interested in doing an episode, please feel free to reach out to me even if you are unsure!

So, in summation, June 3rd-Nashville trip; buy some Merch or ad time if you want; please reach out to me if you have any questions.

Thanks so much you guys and look forward to Josh Stevens later this week!

The Long Road Home: Releasing New Music With My Brother As “The Wolf River Gospel”

I was thirteen years old when I got my first drumset. If there was ever a moment that dreams actually did come true, it was then. All my life I’d wanted very little else than to make music, and it was in that place and time that I had found home, who I was, my identity.

It was that singular moment that drew me to High School Band, to College, and inevitably to sitting in my office right now preparing for year seven as a music educator. Kids need to find home, their identity. And in a world that changes so rapidly, it is incredibly hard to find for young people. To help these kids to be able to say “I am a musician” is something that can carry them far beyond the four walls of the classroom.

But that is only part of the story. The rest of the journey is about two brothers who, against all odds and over a decade, came to make something that encapsulated years of hard work.

So back to my thirteenth birthday. I was not the only one who started their musical journey that day. My brother had also set in motion a trajectory that would lead him far beyond any of our imagination. As I was making racket, and trying to figure out the basics of navigating the drumset. My brother took my father’s old acoustic guitar out of the closet, dusted it off, and started navigating it as well. Before we knew what a band even was, we had started one.

This lead to a myriad of what we would call “bands” over the next few years. We, along with a smattering of other friends who were novice at their instruments, would get together to play what we knew, and spend the rest of the time dreaming as big as possible.

My sophomore year of high school we’d form a metal band with a few of our friends and play the high school talent show. It was, without doubt, the largest crowd we had ever played in front of at this point, and probably the highlight of that year. It was this point that my brother would transition to singing, which would forever shape the rest of our lives.

After that performance, the band inevitably crumbled due to us taking ourselves way too seriously. I will never forget the invaluable lesson of not putting the cart before the horse. We were so concerned with “making it big” that we started blaming each other instead of focusing on bettering ourselves along side one another.

The next few years were when I could say I really learned how to make music.

My brother was blossoming into a fantastic vocalist. He’d moved away from “metal” (thank God) and was playing acoustic guitar and singing.

I had dedicated myself quite extensively to drumline at this point, and a few of my friends and I had formed another band.

If the previous band put the cart before the horse, this one was the polar opposite. The sole purpose of this endeavor was to make music. We’d meet at each other’s houses and play for hours. Taking one song or chord progression and exploring how many different possibilities there were. We’d change tempo, style, dynamics. If we messed up we’d try again. I can honestly say that this creative safe spaced shaped not only me as a musician, but my philosophy of music education.

After a little while on our own, my brother came to join us. We’d stay up nights jamming in the living room. A friend of ours who was learning how to engineer would record us. It was all for the sake of making ourselves better. These were the golden years, and the relationships and music that was made are still one of my most treasured memories.

After high school, my brother and I were fortunate enough to go to the same university. I studied music and he studied biology. We ended up being roommates which was fantastic because it taught us how to write songs together in a way that we still use today. But this was also when things got difficult. Both of us found ourselves being pulled in so many directions. Him with his studies in biology, me with my various other musical shenanigans as well as a budding music education career. It became more and more difficult to see a future together in music. At the end of college we had essentially parted ways musically.

The next few years were fairly silent as far as our joint ventures. My brother became a park ranger and moved to the middle of the state, I moved back to our hometown and took a job as a choir director. Little did I know that these things were the catalyst for what was about to unfold.

I began cutting my teeth on various musical instruments, experimenting with audio engineering, as well as fronting my own band. Before long I had become a multi instrumentalist with a fair amount of music production skills.

My brother was having adventures as a park ranger. But music always hung in the back of his mind, like an itch that needed to be scratched. It was this need that had him picking up his guitar, and recording music once again.

Who would have thought that urge just to be creative would lead to national television, to a new job, and to here. But it did. From those videos lead to my brother being on The Voice, singing for Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and to so many more amazing things.

The whirlwind of the next few years taught me so many valuable and difficult lessons, but they were necessary to stand on the cusp of releasing art that I am so grateful for.

First it taught me that art should be self fulfilling first. If we’re not making art we enjoy, then it is pointless.

It taught me that how you see yourself is important, and that it is also something we can change.

All of this leads me to here, to releasing music that my brother and I had written from our various experiences together and apart. Releasing music that required the skills that we acquired throughout our entire lives.

The Wolf River Gospel isn’t just a rock and roll record. It’s a celebration of two brothers coming home to the same art, to the same town, to make something worthwhile.



Oakwalker Has Me Longing for Autumn With Their Fantastic Debut Single “Hour by Day”

I’m in the woods. A fog rolls over as I pull my hood up and press a warm cup of campfire-brewed coffee to my lips. The chill of fall brings peace to my soul. Except one thing, none of this is true. In truth I was just listening to the debut single “Hour by Day” by Oakwalker.

The tune starts simple. Bright, strummed acoustic guitar with a bit of room, followed by strings panned right and egg shaker that leads into the first verse.

The lead vocalist, Victoria Dowdy, has a voice that is…haunting. It calls upon all of the classic Americana vocalists while remaining in itself, truly unique. I met Dowdy at a tribute to The Band last November, and since then I’ve been anxiously waiting to hear her voice in a fully fleshed out project. Now I’ve finally gotten my wish.

The tune speaks of how complicated things like relationships can be, and how quickly things move in life and love. The music is a stunning and accurate portrayal of this idea.

The string work and vocals are both truly amazing. If there’s one thing I’d love to hear more of, it would be each of them getting a little more individual space from phrase to phrase.

While this is their debut single, I am an instant fan and expect a fantastic trajectory from this group.

“Hour by Day” by Oakwalker is available on all streaming platforms on Monday, August 10th.

You can find them on all platforms @oakwalkermusic

Also at

Artillery Kids feat.Austyn Michael: One In The Same

Artillery Kids feat.Austyn Michael: One In The Same
This song was written a while back and got shelved because I wasn’t sure when and how I wanted to release it. But I feel now is as important a time as ever. Being a middle class white person from the suburbs, I never realized that I did have hard time seeing things from other points of view. That was until I started working at Bethel Grove. The three years that I spent teaching and working with young people in a black community in the city was probably the most eye opening and valuable thing I’ve ever done in my life. It taught me that, above all else, sometimes it is impossible to see things from another’s perspective so it’s best to sit back and listen to what they have to say. That there are real problems that need concrete solutions. That yes, Black Lives Matter.
Thanks so much to my dear friend and one of my favorite rappers, Austyn Michael for lending his lyrical genius on one of the coolest collaborations I’ve ever gotten to do.

Do What You Want: A Creative Philosophy

I haven’t blogged in a while, and I’m posting a podcast after missing a week. In a world where content is king, this sounds like a damnable offense. But I’m not going to let it get me down.

Being a musician in the age of the internet is daunting and, dare I say, ridiculous. There are so many avenues to pursue, and the fear of missing out is crushing. Long story short, it’s not enough to just make art anymore.

Most musicians I know are wearing themselves so thin trying to find the new social media strategies that are hitting, what new platforms exist, and how to reach a wider audience.

I was the worst of these. Every week I felt the weight of the world in my phone. I was constantly feeling like an outsider while smarter, more successful people were building the careers of their dreams.

But then it struck me. After countless interviews with dear friends, colleagues, artists, and business owners I found the two elements that made all of these things possible: honesty and consistency.

If you look at so many of the great faces of content creation, these are the two things that shine through the most often. They’re honest about who they are as people and what they want to present to the world, and they just do it, over and over again.

Sure there are ways to make it easier and more attractive, but a lot of these strategies move so quickly that it’s just a matter of trend chasing.

So I’ve found what I want to do, a podcast that brings people together via music and educates the world about that and, hopefully a lot more. So as long as I keep doing that, my “engagement metrics” matter a lot less, well to me anyway. Because this art, this content, is something that I would do no matter what.

Honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever made something that doesn’t feel like it needs to be a job or a hustle to be important. Which spares me the existential nosedive when I miss a week here or there of publishing content.

So maybe that’s the lesson. Honesty, consistency, and just do what you want first.