That Time The DJ Compared Me To Kanye

June 27th, 2016

While it’s true that Cumulus Radio’s headquarters are thirty floors above the fabled Madison Square Garden, the radio powerhouse’s offices are still nondescript on a good day, and wholly beige the afternoon I visited last week. I rode the elevator alone, and arrived at an empty, paint-chipped lobby where a Post-It Note lists after hours contact. The place came alive, though, when my pal, 95.5 PLJ DJ Ralphie Aversa, stepped into the room and led me back to his studio to talk about my new album, “Great Lakes.” The guy crackles with ...

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The Promise Of “Great Lakes”

June 12th, 2016

“Great Lakes” is an album haunted by water: water that drowns (“Oceans of Doubt”) and destroys (“Brand New Oblivion”), protects (“Bigger Than The Moon”) and purifies (“Great Lakes”).

It’s an album about the forces that move us: storms, currents and tides.

And it's an album about the long road to finding one’s way (“A Kiss To Build A Dream On”), and finding one’s way home (“Something In-Between”).

And the whole thing began with a promise.

I was sitting on the edge of the Mississippi River in ...

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R.E.M.: Life And How To Live It

September 21st, 2011

I'm pretty sure I'd never seen a man wearing eyeliner, let alone one stabbing, sweating and strutting his way shirtless across a stage back lit by 16mm film of fish swimming in slow-motion.

I was in the second row. Standing on my seat for two hours straight. Singing every word.

Indeed, R.E.M.'s 1988 Philadelphia Spectrum performance was mind blowing enough to derail everything that had come prior, and everything that would follow. The tale is well-worn. Heck, it's baked into my biography.

"My big brother brought R.E.M.'s ...

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Casey Shea’s New LP Gets “In Your Head”

September 20th, 2011

I've followed my pal Casey Shea every step of the way.

From his early NYC days straight off the express bus from Music City, to his oversized, undefeated Undisputed Heavyweights shows, to his understated, overwhelmingly-beautiful Sundown.

I've roped him into all four "A Holiday Benefit records (our fifth and final effort bows December 14th at Rockwood Music Hall II), my "Forever Young" benefit LP (in which his angelic vocals float like billowing clouds above "Golden Slumbers"), and even the soundtrack to my documentary "Mister Rogers ...

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July 25th, 2011

Twenty-two years ago this weekend, I left Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, with two grand in my pocket, a hot bike lashed to my VW Rabbit, and a tiny bit of blow in my nose.

Back then, we mocked the families we served at Funland, checking out the young, hot, sunburned moms as we strapped their panicky toddlers into kiddie rides, and tearing down the straight-laced, khakied dads as we fleeced them for plush.

This week, I was that guy, navigating the boardwalk with a stroller and an armload of supplies. This week, I was in the backseat, nursing ...

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Sunny On These Days

June 27th, 2011

Tonight's my first rock show in more than a year, and I'm a little bit freaked.

Other than "A Holiday Benefit, Vol. IV" in December (where I performed two Christmas standards), and the "Forever Young" Benefit in October (ten cover songs), my last show was March 2010.

To even call it a rock show is bit of a misnomer: The Backscratch Sessions (Rockwood Music Hall 9p) is nine artists doing three songs each, one of which is a cover of one of the other eight performers. Great idea. Totally psyched. But three songs? Solo acoustic? Not a ...

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Baby Brain

May 31st, 2011

I'm 38,000 feet over Albuquerque, New Mexico, when the newborn in 8B begins crying. I can hear it all -- including the woman behind me whining and sighing to her husband -- despite my noise canceling headphones.

A baby's shriek is a difficult sound, to be sure. Still, all I can think is, 'Lighten up lady; you were a baby once too.'

Shriek or not, the sight (and sound) of a baby is enough to tear at my heartstrings.

I left Maggie and Abbi at 7:06 am. I won't return until roughly the same time next Tuesday, June 7th -- Maggie's first ...

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Rachel Platten’s 53 Steps Into The Great Unknown

May 24th, 2011

Most major music careers begin on modest stages. Springsteen cut his teeth at Asbury Park's Stone Pony. Elton John made his stateside splash at LA's Troubadour. And Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta became Lady Gaga at Rockwood Music Hall.

Of course, Rockwood's been my home turf since founder Ken Rockwood (the Professor half of one-time Bar/None recording artists, Professor & Maryann) first swiched on the PA in 2005. The room's knows for Ken's careful curation, fierce intimacy, excellent sound, and well-considered wine list. Amongst ...

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Tuesday In The Park With Maggie

May 11th, 2011

It was a cinematic, spring afternoon.  

The sky was unwaveringly blue, shot through with bleached-lemon sunlight, all framed by the piercing, green canopy of a long-slumbering Central Park.  A cool breeze blew from the northwest, scattering pollen like snowflakes on a blanket of fresh grass.

In the middle of it all, my eleven-month-old daughter walked, twirled, stumbled, collapsed, sat and giggled. She studied each blade of grass, each fallen leaf like it was her first.

Because it was.

Abbi and I'd returned from our first, brief ...

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The Cruelty Of The Curbside Cab Line

April 27th, 2011

Few things bring out New Yorkers' lesser selves than the Penn Station taxi line during an Easter downpour.

It's also one of just a few scenarios capable of adding insult the injury of a late train and an exhausted ten-month-old.

We were nearly three-hours behind on a one-hour trip by the time we stepped off Acela #2256 at 8pm Sunday night.

Maggie was strapped to my chest, her sweet, slightly-sweaty hair matted to her forehead just a few inches from my lips. She was well-past her bedtime, and shy one crucial afternoon nap, alternating ...

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