Ryan Lee Crosby
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Ryan Lee Crosby

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"The Night is Young by Aimsel Ponti"

Ryan Lee Crosby. My, oh, my. This Boston area musician just won the 2006 WFNX Radio/Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll award for best singer-songwriter. The full name of his band is Ryan Lee & the Mindless, and the record is called "There is no Music."

According to their press release, the message of this summer tour is to believe in themselves, in the power and strength of the human spirit and in music's capacity for healing and joy. I'm down with that. So what's the lowdown on the music? Let me put it this way. I haven't been struck by a male singer since I first heard Ray Lamontagne, which, as we all know, was quite awhile ago.

Crosby's voice will make you ache and just might levitate you a little with its dreamlike sweetness that could be likened to Elliott Smith and Nick Drake to name just two that came before him. His lyrics add to the intensity as they were born out of a dark chapter in Crosby's life a few years ago that was laced with sedative and alcohol addiction and the strained relationship with his father, who was diagnosed with cancer. The songs are, for the most part, sparse and intimate, and I think this will be one of those shows where you may want to forgo bottle clinking and chatter and really listen. Ryan Lee's got something really poignant to say, and he does it through his own brand of alternative folk rock that will turn you on your head. - Portland Press Herald

"Road to Redemption by James Reed"

The Ryan Lee Crosby who performed at Harpers Ferry earlier this week is not the same man who once played to packed audiences with his noise-rock trio Cancer to the Stars. In a homemade DVD of that band's final show last year, Crosby is seen slinging an electric guitar as though he were chopping wood with it, his hair mussed and sweat on his brow.

More than a year later, back at Harpers, it's another scene. Crosby's hair is a little more kempt. He's traded in T-shirts for snug dress shirts and ties. He's singing sprightly love songs that begin: "Please do that trick where you throw your arms around me." And his voice, once droll enough to elicit comparisons to Morrissey, is now delivered in hushed tones that echo some of his primary influences: Elliott Smith, John Frusciante, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, and Sufjan Stevens.

This professional transformation, though, owes more to Crosby confronting and ultimately triumphing over his past. At 23, he has recently transcended some of the most trying and turbulent times of his life. Shortly after he started Cancer to the Stars, his father fell ill with bone cancer in 2001. Crosby, in turn, spiraled into episodes of homelessness and drug addiction, to the point where he once ended up in the same hospital as his father.

Crosby has since turned his story, once sad and seemingly doomed, into a tale of redemption and freedom found through music. Tonight, Crosby and his new band, the Mindless, are celebrating their debut album, "There is no Music," with a listening party at Great Scott in Allston; the official record-release show is tomorrow night at the Lizard Lounge.

Crosby is quick to point out that Cancer to the Stars was not the root of his problems, but rather he associated his three-year run with the band with some of his most painful personal experiences. The band earned a small cult following, released an EP and some demos, but it also dealt with an entirely different side of Crosby's music.

"With Cancer to the Stars, the music was far more abrasive than what I'm doing now," he says over dinner in Central Square. "Lyrically, the music was intentionally vague. It was emotional, but maybe not as personal. The fact that for a number of years my father was really sick and I wasn't healthy either, a lot of the Mindless stuff came from that."

Crosby is now dealing with his past with threadbare honesty. And it's not just his family and friends who are in on the secret. His story is spelled out in graphic details in his press release, on his website (www.myspace.com/ryanleemusic), and certainly in his songs. Even he is surprised sometimes by how much he divulges in his lyrics.

If you want to know how Crosby has wrestled with his loneliness and addictions, it's right there in "Belief in Me and You" from his new album: "Late last year I nearly died/ It was the second time I tried/ To avoid the holidays/ And all the ways/ They leave you with nowhere to hide."

"I kind of feel like a lot of my life has been a secret," he says. "There are things that I would usually keep private, but somehow they have managed to get into my songs."

He mentions a lyric he wrote at the last-minute request of his sound engineer. "Mom and Dad/ Please come back/ I'm not made!/ I'll be good!/ Like I should," he sings at the tail end of "(A Person Has the Right to) Peace in the Home."

Crosby says he has a "strained" relationship with his parents, who live in Connecticut, but it's getting better. When Crosby's father became sick (he's doing a little better now), the two spent a lot of time together, and although they still don't see eye-to-eye on certain things, they're at least talking.

As a performer, Crosby is anything but your earnest, run-of-the-mill guy with a guitar. His noisier past still crops up (his show at Harpers included a cover of "Big Takeover," by hardcore punk band Bad Brains). Even his new album shows glimmers of a rock-star past, especially on the loud and jangly "This World's Going Straight to Hell (and You and I Are in It)."

With Daniel Daskivich's unobtrusive production, it's clear that "There is no Music" is about Crosby's words and lo-fi melodies, and Crosby, as soft-spoken and discreet as he is, is the star of his own show. His voice, haunting and lithe, is at the forefront of "Belief in Me and You," as gauzy washes of electronica and drums that pop like fireworks over a distant harbor glide over Crosby's acoustic guitar.

Daskivich, who plays guitar and bass in the Mindless, along with Justin Tibbetts on drums, met Crosby while in a band called the Gasolines. Initially Daskivich had intended to produce Crosby as a solo act. But then, he says, he became invested in Crosby's music.

"I guess I felt like Ryan was pursuing music the same way that I pursue music, which is with passion," he says, adding that Crosby's tumultuous past lent the lyrics even more heft. "I think because he himself felt isolated for so long, it gave him - Boston Globe

"Redemption Songs by Ted Drozdowski"

Ryan Lee Crosby Re-Emerges with the Mindless

Ryan Lee and the Mindless's There Is No Music (Solari) was one of my favorite local albums of 2005. That's not exactly a sparkling first sentence, but it is honest, as is the album. It's a chapter torn from singer-songwriter Ryan Lee Crosby's psychic diary with the utmost of care, and offered quietly as a lovely, spare tale of despair that ends with the promise of redemption.

Crosby barely lived to tell it, but he does so with a sensitivity and command that reflects the most cohesive, open-hearted narratives of his influences Nick Drake, Syd Barrett, and Elliott Smith, with touches of Syd's wilder sonic side increasingly cozying up to the acoustic-boned arrangements as this nine-song collection reaches its end.

"A lot of the songs came from my experiences of roughly 2003 and 2004, which was a very dark period," Crosby relates with the same understatement that makes his debut as a leader such a thoughtful, probing gem. How dark? Well, when Crosby applies his sweet, quavering whisper to a lyric like "late last year I nearly died/it was the second time I tried" ("Belief in Me and You"), he's just stating the facts. Crosby was in the midst of a struggle with an addiction to tranquilizers coupled with heavy habitual drinking, which fueled a wave of ennui that was already overwhelming.

"I had a doctor who was well intentioned, but I would tell him I was trying to quit drinking and I was having trouble and needed to mellow out, so he'd write me a prescription for codeine or tranquilizers, and then I'd take them along with the alcohol," Crosby explains. "There were days that I would just lie in bed sick, trying to figure out what I wanted to do."

Crosby was also estranged from his father, who was suffering from cancer. And his band, the spirited Cancer to the Stars, which lived in the territory between trip-hop, punk, and Radiohead, was fragmenting around him.

"It got to the point where I wanted to make a clean break musically and with other aspects of my life," he says as we shovel in a weekday morning breakfast at the Grecian Yearning diner in Allston, not too far from his home. "At one point I'd even lost my voice, because I was shredding my vocal chords every time I sang with Cancer to the Stars. Even when we practiced I just turned up my guitar and screamed, which was great, I guess, for getting everything I was feeling out. I thought that I probably wouldn't have any trouble until I was 26 or so [he's 23], but I was wrong. One day I tried to sing and nothing would come out. That lasted for six weeks. I saw a specialist who said there was no permanent damage, but that I needed to see a vocal coach."

Having slipped from the grasp of addiction and self-destruction a year ago, Crosby began working on the songs for There Is No Music. To a certain extent they were a form of therapy. The fragile state from which numbers like "Belief in Me and You" and "(a person has the right to) Peace in the Home," inspired by the tension Crosby's father's cancer caused between the musician's parents, is reflected in their whispered vocal melodies and the occasional crescendos that snap loose his coils of frustration.

Although Crosby's too much a storyteller to indulge in pure navel gazing, his autobiographical tales of quiet struggle amount to a broader investigation of what it means to be human -- to feel pain, confusion, need, and maybe even satisfaction at fever pitches, as peaks in the valleys of routine that make up our daily lives. And Crosby's directness and devotion to melody make it all easy to absorb, even if you've never chased a Darvon with a gin-and-tonic. By the time he gets to the disc's final numbers, things are brighter, if not exactly sunny. "In a Little While (everything will be alright)," with its country-rock echoes of both the early 1970s Rolling Stones and Cowboy Junkies, embraces the notion of love as salvation, and carefully tailored electric guitars ignite sonic skyrockets of hope in the mix -- even as Crosby sings that "the future's on fire/my hope dies in you."

As the song's tectonic plates of sound grind together behind his gentle singing, Crosby's abilities as an electric guitarist make the album's concentration on acoustic textures surprising. After all, not every player has a Johnny Greenwood-like command of feedback, tones, and dynamics at their fingertips. John Frusciante is another of Crosby's touchstones, for both the Red Hot Chili Peppers' guitarist's conceptual ken and his highly personal solo recordings.

Nonetheless, "I knew I wanted to play quieter music and write more carefully, so building these songs around the acoustic guitar became really important. I was trying to write more carefully and I'm working on continually honing the songwriting process. Cancer to the Stars felt emotional to me, but maybe it was more outwardly emotional, more physical in the way we expressed ourselves live. I wanted to transla - Boston Phoenix

"Stunning Debut Album from Ryan Lee Crosby by Jaime Perkins"

Boston has this way of churning out amazing songwriters. I'm not really sure why; maybe it has something to do with a sense of history, garnered whilst driving around on roads that were built for horse and buggy. Maybe it's the relentless extremities of the seasons here in the unforgiving northeast. Either way, there seems to be something to it; the relatively small city has one of the best music scenes in the country.

One of that scenes up and coming young stars is Ryan Lee Crosby. This emotionally honest songwriter will be appearing at The Red Door in Portsmouth Feb. 6 as part of that venue's popular Hush Hush, Sweet Harlot series. Crosby will be appearing with his band, Ryan Lee and the Mindless, supporting their debut album There is no Music. A mellow, introspective blend of lo-fi folk, indie rock and Americana, There is no Music features a relaxed combination of quiet guitar, spacious drums, and confessional lyrics. Crosby, for all of his apparent melancholy (he sports by far the most depressing press release I've ever read, depicting a life riddled with homelessness, addiction, and a paternal bout with cancer, all of which apparently, thankfully, are behind him) has used his experiences to craft and inform an album of catchy, semi-ironic shoegazing anthems. Fans of the Seacoast's own Water Section would be interested in hearing the album; I was immediately stricken by the similarity between these two bands. They share the same delicately projected vocal style and subtle melodic framing, though the songs on There is no Music are somewhat more focused, the arrangements more succinct. Songs like "Knock Me Out," "It's Complicated," and my personal favorite "This World's Going Straight to Hell (and you and I are in it)" seem to breathe and flow on their own, each one taking its own path toward stark grace and quiet affectation. This is a softly stunning debut from a talented, calmly evocative band. - Portsmouth Herald

"There is no Music Review by Sasha Keeler"

On their debut album There is no Music, Ryan Lee & the Mindless cast a glimmer of hope on tales of despair. With a sincere vulnerability in Lee's voice and lyrics, something pure is created. The first track, "Belief in Me and You," seems strongly influenced by the raw voice and obscure style of the late Elliott Smith. Through tender vocals and a moody guitar, Lee is exposed. "Late last year I nearly died / It was the second time I tried." A mix of folk and indie with contours of punk rock, There is no Music is a solemnly refreshing taste of pure emotions as Ryan Lee pours his heart out.

Having moved on from his earlier trio Cancer to the Stars, Lee re-emerged from a dark period of his life, finding hope and inspiration out of tragedy and recovery. He evolved into an acoustic singer/songwriter with a seemingly new perspective on life and perhaps music. The overall mellow mood of the album is accentuated by the versatility in "Obey Me," with its ironic upbeat/indie-pop style mixed with heavy lyrics: "Understand exactly how I feel / Tell me things that make the world seem real." "Knock Me Out" also displays an edgy indie pop feel mixed with country style acoustics with a harmonica intro and pronounced drum beat. Again the dark lyrics create a sense of irony: "Knock me out, knock me out / I don't want to know / What goes on in the world / I'd rather be alone."

"It's Complicated," starts with light acoustic in the background of overpowering lyrics, focusing more on message than mood. "The employers are there just to berate you / They are destroyers of your brain and your heart too." The sincerity in his voice makes the lyrics and the message more powerful. Lee's not whining or looking for sympathy. "In a Little While" displays a different kind of vulnerability. With simple melody, Lee's voice shakes over the chords as if he is singing the words to convince himself they are true: "Everything will be alright / In a little while."

Lee creates out of necessity. There is no Music directs the focus more on the lyrics and reflections of life, heartache, suffering, recovery, and redemption. Even if the raw melancholy of the album leaves listeners unsettled or unenthused, it's hard not to appreciate Lee's honest sensitivity and passion for the music he creates. - Northeast Performer

"Ryan Lee & the Mindless by Bethany Williams"

Ryan Lee Crosby didn't want to be in a band anymore. "I wanted to use my name because I wanted to make clear that this was the work of a solo artist," Crosby says. After time spent in Cancer to the Stars, it took a while before he was ready to form Ryan Lee and the Mindless. It was only after working on his solo album with producer Daniel Daskivich that he realized he'd need to form a group to play the songs he was recording.

Crosby found that having his own name on posters made him more connected with his songs. "It has made the material far more personal than any music I have written in the past," he says. "It's allowed me to write about experiences that may be irrelevant in more collaborative efforts, and while I have found that the themes in the songs have become more focused, the process of writing under my own name has been a liberating experience. The name on the disc represents the material, and for me that means a responsibility to really emotionally invest myself in the songwriting."

He recorded two albums and an EP last year, but the only ones that are being released are There is No Music by Ryan Lee & the Mindless, and Split Cassette, a split CD credited to Ryan Lee Crosby and Raymond Morin's the Instances. "Last August, I was wrapping up tracking with Ryan Lee & the Mindless when Raymond proposed that he put out a split of our material on his label," Crosby says. "I had already used all of the material I had written that year but I saw this as a fun and exciting project. I wrote and recorded all of the material in about five days." The resulting material was raw and dark, being directly influenced by a suicide that took place in his family two decades ago.

For Crosby, his songs are a form of catharsis, helping him better himself. "The lyrics on There is No Music came from a period of a few years where I was really, really sad, and recording was somehow a way to put that sadness out there into the world so that I could feel better and maybe someone else could too."

His current musical situation certainly helps Crosby be more creative, since he's now unrestricted by the limitations of others. "For many years I often ended up playing with people who were talented, but were alcoholics or drug addicts and they had difficulties achieving goals," Crosby says. "I have my problems for sure, and I tend to be the first person to open a beer while working, but I never stop working so it seems to balance out."

Ryan Lee & the Mindless are hitting the road, playing Portsmouth, Philadelphia, Hartford, Baltimore, and Charlotte. "Getting in the van for a month and playing everywhere you can without any prior promotion in print, radio, or retail won't really do all that much for you," Crosby admits. "I think that it's better to play fewer shows on the road and instead focus on creating awareness before you show up to play the gig. If you don't tour, you limit your potential."

Crosby hopes to free himself from such limitations, and he aspires to play music that will affect people. "Everything that I have imagined so far has come to pass, but it's an ongoing process. I think there will always be ways in which I will want to grow and improve as a writer, and as each project has come to a close it has become a little clearer to me where I would like to go next. I am just continuing to work to make the songs as clear as can be and hopefully something will resonate through the music." - Northeast Performer

"Ryan Lee & the Mindless on tour by Doug Wallen"

Like most guitar-slinging troubadours, Boston's Ryan Lee Crosby spins personal hardship into songwriting gold. Crosby's stuff is especially authentic, fueled by his father's terminal cancer and his own brush with hard drugs and homelessness. After fronting an indie rock band-the bitterly named Cancer to the Stars-failed to provide sufficient catharsis, Crosby pursued a strain of whispery folk akin to Elliott Smith's early solo work. It suits him well, and his well-reviewed album There Is No Music will soon be followed by a split EP on the Pittsburgh label Sort Of. As Crosby zigzags the country on tour, though, his many ghosts are sure to follow. - Philadelphia Weekly

"Ryan Lee & the Mindless by Michael Brodeur"

Susan Sontag described cancer as the body "turning to something hard." While I'm not going to dwell on Sontag--cancer is depressing enough--the idea of organs going rigid from cancer is an interesting counter to the effect that it had on Ryan Lee's music: It got softer.

Lee fronted the much-loved local noise-pop group, Cancer to the Stars --who named themselves only months prior to Lee's father being diagnosed with bone cancer. "It got to the point where I felt like I would obsess over it," he tells me, "but I really embraced it. It made what we were doing feel immediate to me. Every day of my life had something to do with cancer. It took on this weird meaning."

As the band grew louder and less kempt, Lee (who describes their latter performances as "tantrums") began feeling lost in the din. "We ran on this energy that was constantly pushing us toward imploding," he says. "We just kept getting angrier at each other and things in general. Even when we were doing poppier stuff, it kept getting louder, more negative."

After a stint of letting his voice recover ("I was always screaming") and consulting the hushed tones of Leonard Cohen, Tim Buckley and Jackson C. Frank, Lee re-emerged with cohort Dan Daskivich to form the Mindless. "I like the idea of these populist forms, writing songs that anybody can listen to."

His work under the Mindless moniker elaborates on the crystal-clear pop that CTTS hinted at in their last few songs--light, floral guitars and Lee's voice tunefully hovering just above a whisper a la Elliott Smith. With his father in remission, it's not surprising that traces of the cancer seem to lurk in the periphery of the music, assuming unexpected, nearly undetectable forms. In "It's Complicated," employers are "destroyers of your brain and your heart too," and in "Completely Disarmed," high-spirited hope mixes with total resignation: "Maybe it will be OK when I / lose it all and do not have to try." Lee handles these naturally occurring contradictions like the good songwriter he is--by plainly accepting them.

"I feel like a big part of my day-to-day life consists of urges to be self-destructive, yet also wanting to hold it together," he says. "The music probably reflects that."
- Boston's Weekly Dig

"Different Folk by Jeff Breeze"

For Ryan Lee Crosby, being voted "Best Singer/Songwriter" in the 2006 WFNX/Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll and nominated for a Boston Music Award made him step back from the swirl of publicity and re-evaluate what he was doing. Such rapid acclaim for his solo debut was a bit disarming.

"I decided for the most part to stop playing shows because I felt like I had a lot of work to do," Crosby says. "I hadn't really thought about any of the things that come along with what happens when you put a CD out."

The business of promoting and booking brought on fatigue and separated him from the reasons he plays music.

"All I wanted to do was to be writing a lot and playing a lot and singing. I wanted to get back to the place where I knew what I was doing and why."

Crosby says he was more comfortable "just trying to be rather be something." That sense of comfort is what drew him to Club Passim, the venue he plays on Sunday on a bill with Ryan Fitzsimmons. "It just felt really comfortable right away. Every time I've been there I feel like I can just be myself. After Cancer to the Stars, my sound started to change and people started to ask if I'd played at Club Passim." He says, bringing up his former band. "I went there to eat one night and met Matt (Smith, the club's primary booker) and they had me back a week later to open a sold-out show they had."

While a venue that shares a space with a vegetarian restaurant and doesn't serve booze may seem daunting, it provides an ideal fit for Crosby's hauntingly confessional songs.

"There's just different priorities: People go there to sit down and listen and have it be really cozy and very personal," Crosby says. "It feels like a really appropriate place to be playing the kinds of songs I am writing now."

The performance will feature new songs from his recent hibernation, as well as old tunes in new arrangements and some cover tunes. Crosby feels like he's in the pupal stage and not ready to become a butterfly yet.

"I still feel like I have a lot of work to do and I'm really enjoying it. I just think that songwriters should be spending more of their time writing songs than hanging out at bars."

- Boston Metro

"Crosby's Voice Getting Louder by Michael Marotta"

The story of Ryan Lee Crosby reads like a classic tale of American rock 'n' roll folklore: A young man with a propensity for performing starts a band that screams and blisters through the speakers, his voice reaching unsettling peaks in the name of high-voltage punk ambition.

Through trials and tribulations of daily life and exploring the seedy depths of society, the performer grows introspective, finds his place in the world by exchanging his scream for a song and his screech for a melody. He begins to say more with a calculated lyric than unrelenting teenage angst.

Crosby has come a long way from the noisy days when he fronted Cancer to the Stars, a band that took equal parts "Nevermind" and "Raw Power" and forced piercing sounds though unwavering speakers. About three years after the band's demise, Crosby is still performing, and last year organized backing band the Mindless to release the acclaimed album "There is No Music."

It was a musical departure from Cancer to the Stars, and in turn positioned Crosby as one of the area's brightest singer/songwriters. His now-gentle voice became louder than it was when turned up to 10. He soon landed a Best Singer/Songwriter award in the '06 'FNX/Phoenix Best Music Poll and a Boston Music Award nomination for Outstanding Local Male Vocalist.

With a slew of new songs in the works, Crosby's been shuffling his time between gigs in the Boston area and New York City. This Saturday, he's at T.T. the Bear's Place (10 Brookline St., Cambridge; 9 p.m., $9) with his full band, playing with Faces on Film, Age Rings and Badman.

"For the past six months, I've kept out of the bars and directed all of my focus inward by reading, listening to music, writing new songs, rehearsing and recording every day," Crosby said. "I'm trying to learn new things, so I'm doing yoga and also teaching myself to play the piano and the drums."

As Bret Easton Ellis once wrote, "the better you look, the more you see." The same rules can apply to health and happiness.

"Late nights on the town, drugs and love affairs worked for many years," Crosby said. "But now, I enjoy nothing more than staying home with my lady, drinking red wine and writing until the early hours of the morning."
- Boston Herald


"There is no Music" by Ryan Lee & the Mindless (Solari Records)

Single "Obey Me" from "There is no Music" included on the WFNX/Newbury Comics compilation "Wicked Good Boston Bands 2."

"Split Cassette" by Ryan Lee Crosby b/w the Instances (Sort Of Records)

"Factory Heart" CD Single by Cancer to the Stars (Black Dirt Records)

"Return of the Invisible Man" (Last Day Left Records)

"Every Day Escape" by Cancer to the Stars (Last Day Left Records)

Songs streaming at www.myspace.com/ryanleemusic



By Ted Drozdowski

Honesty can be ferocious. Shocking, really, in our culture of perpetual hype, viral marketing and endless spin. That’s why a pure openhearted statement like Ryan Lee Crosby’s debut "There is no Music" has the power of a silent canon blast.

The young singer-songwriter with a warm, natural voice and extensive sonic guitar vocabulary doesn’t want to sell you on anything — not an image, not a stylized musical approach, not manufactured cool.

Crosby’s beautiful melodies and dynamic singing, coupled with his perceptive and often highly personal lyrics, are an immediate notice that the music business machine doesn’t have its cogs buried in his heart. If anything, Crosby’s message is to believe—in ourselves, in the power and strength of the human spirit, and in music’s capacity for healing and joy—even if that requires bucking all the odds.

"There is no Music," which won Crosby the award for Best Singer/Songwriter in the prestigious 2006 Boston Phoenix/WFNX Radio Best Music Poll, sparks such little epiphanies. They ignite from the soft patter of acoustic guitar that’s the album’s backbone, and in the wild electric excursions of lead guitar. Fused with his emotionally raw lyrics, the album is a trip through the highs and lows in Crosby’s own heart and mind that becomes something broader in the narration.

Crosby began writing these songs after besting an addiction to tranquilizers that was compounded by habitual drinking. He was also in an estranged relationship with his father that was complicated further by guilt when the elder Crosby contracted cancer. Add to that the fall-out from the break-up of his previous band, Cancer to the Stars, which had lived in the territory between trip-hop, punk and sleek modern Anglo pop.

Crosby says, "I had to make a clean break with my past. After I stopped abusing tranquilizers and anti-psychotic medication, I began to feel the need to communicate, which developed into a rabid interest in folk and popular music. I was obsessed with its potential for connecting people."

Crosby’s autobiographical tales of struggle amount to a larger investigation of what it means to be human — to feel pain, confusion, need, delight and hope at fever pitches, as peaks in the valleys of routine that make up our daily lives.

(Ted Drozdowski is a musician and freelance journalist. His writing has appeared in the Boston Phoenix, Rolling Stone, Mojo, Guitar World,
Musician and countless other publications across the globe. He is the leader and slide guitarist of the internationally touring Mississippi hill country influenced cutting edge juke joint band Scissormen.)