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I wrote this album about growing up. Working on this album for five years was my way of trying to find meaning in the feeling of not knowing who I was.
I feel like for most of my twenties, I was trying to create some perfect version of myself and then find a place where that person would fit. Iâve tried to reinvent myself so many times, Iâve lost count of all the different people Iâve wanted to be. Itâs a difficult process learning how to be okay with yourself, the fact that youâre imperfect, and the fact that you have to define your own place in this world.
The album is about me creating a place where I can belong and can trust myself. I hope that idea connects with other people and helps them realize they can do that too.
My idea for the album came together when my brother in law Greg gave me the Neil Young album On the Beach. I heard the line, âI went to the radio interview. I ended up alone at the microphone,â and I felt like he was singing straight to me. I hadnât known it was possible to write so clearly about alienation from yourself. When I think about that time, I picture sitting in my parentsâ minivan listening to Neil Young and looking at that CD cover: Neil Young with his back to us, facing the ocean. The characters in my albumâValerie, for exampleâare all facing that ocean in their own way.
On the album, in addition to me on guitars/vocals/keys, youâll notice the contributions of drummer Colin Brooks. Colinâs creative and precise musicianship consistently takes my songs to a higher level. (He was also the one who told me to listen to the album Forever Changes by Love, without which I would not have been able to dream as big about what a rock and roll album could be.) Colin currently records his own music under the name The New Same. He used to play with my sisterâs husband, Greg Zinman, in this amazing band Sea Ray in the late 90âs and early 00âs. So thereâs a family connection that continues to this day.
Sandy Davis, of the band Pecas, played bass with natural feel and tone. Yoed Nir, a classical cellist and a member of Regina Spektorâs band, played cello with this emotional quality that adds beautiful splashes of color. Andrew Cedermark, a guitarist I really respect, generously played an epic guitar solo. Jamal Ruhe, mastered the album and kept it sounding nice and heavy.
And then thereâs Kevin McMahon, who stuck with me as I worked obsessively on the same album for nearly half a decade. Kevin produced, recorded, and mixed the album at Marcata Recording, his studio in Upstate New York. Kevin let me do exactly I wanted to do, which was really the first time anyone has ever given me that kind of permission in the studio. He also told me right away that he wasnât going to help me make a perfect album; it was my job to figure it out and learn as much as I could.
Kevin believes in giving artists the freedom to be themselves. He was also really good at stepping in to remind me that mistakes were okay, and that perfection wasnât the goal of a rock and roll album anyway.
So here it is, a weird, human, and imperfect album about finally finding the confidence to be yourself.