Click the dropdown menu under "Music" above for pages devoted to specific albums and EPs.
The opportunity to perform this 20-minute set came up suddenly, and thankfully I said "yes" before my nerves got the better of me. Aside from playing a few songs for family and friends (two weddings and a funeral), I haven't performed since The Furious Light tour ended in August 2015. It was a little harder than I expected to jump back into it, but I'm glad I did. If you listen closely enough, I bet you can hear the anxious quiver in my voice and my heart just about beating its way out of my chest. By the end of it, though, I was buoyed by the melody and the goodwill of those cheering me on. My dogs may have snored through it, but this "Quarantine House Concert" got me back behind the microphone with a guitar for the first time in almost half a decade!
LATEST STUDIO ALBUM
For years I’ve been “too rock for folk” and “too folk for rock.” This album embraces both extremes and blends them in a way I’ve never been able to before. This was exactly the record I needed to make--with precisely the people with whom I wanted to make it: my brother Brian (guitars) producing and my friends Brian Yost (drums) and Tara Hanish (cello). We set out to make something that was honest and raw, as well as sonically engaging. It’s the truest, fullest expression of myself I’ve been able to capture so far.
DREAMING OUT LOUD RECORDS
One of the things I’ve had the most fun with over the last few years is populating dreamingoutloudrecords.com. The first “Dreaming Out Loud Records” release was in 2000, a time when burning CD-Rs at home was a luxury. Since then, we've published 40-some albums, EPs, and singles under the following motto:
All music. No business. Always-free-to-download music from a prolific group of friends raised in Northeast Ohio—preserved from the highest quality elements available and presented with supplementary media-rich PDF liner notes filled with images, lyrics, and interviews to enhance listeners' appreciation of the artists' vision.
For a few years Dreaming Out Loud Records was an LLC, but it's morphed into more of "records" in the sense of:
record noun | ˈrekərd | a thing constituting a piece of evidence about the past, especially an account of an act or occurrence kept in writing or some other permanent form.
Or like Ani DiFranco sings in her song, "Fuel":
people used to make records
as in a record of an event
the event of people
playing music in a room
You'll find everything from experimental instrumentals, singer/songwriter acoustic stuff, country, rap, rock, and all-sorts-of crossover genres on the Dreaming Out Loud records website. It all comes from either myself, my family, or my immediate circle of friends. I don't know what they were putting in Rittman's water supply when I was growing up, but we've sure made a whole lot of stuff!
ANNUAL MIX ALBUMS
Every year since 2004, I've assembled a "Mix Album"* comprised of songs from guys, gals, and groups whose music moved me the most that year. At first, I just made them for myself. Then, I started sharing them with friends tucked-in holiday cards. Once I started playing music and building a mailing list, I'd send CD-Rs to folks as a "thank you" for their support.
I've collected all the years (17 and counting!) of mixes HERE—replete with extensive track-specific liner notes and the context in which they were presented the year they were compiled. For example, here’s the concise way I pitched the 2010 mix:
Get a Copy of My Annual Mix CD
Discover New Music The Old Fashioned Way
As Rob Gordon says in HIGH FIDELITY...
"The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem.
You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules."
Song must be new to me (not necessarily "newly released") during the calendar year.
Must be something I could sing myself, making the whole thing a markedly (and awkwardly) autobiographical effort.
The collected duration must be limited to 80 minutes (the storage capacity of a CD).
*I started using the term "mix album" in 2014, as they've always been designed to work as a whole and to flow as a long-form record should. Thanks to my friend Kevin Conaway for that distinction. His mix albums are truly fantastic!