Thursday, May 26, 2016

New Music and Video 

It is a great honor and surprise to have my new song - 'Signs' - featured in the Global Tea Hut video for the May tea of the month.

I recorded Signs early last year at Billy Mohler's studio and he did a wonderful job producing it, bringing in Adam Gust, Sean Woolstenhulme, Randy Ingram, and Phillip Peterson to complete the track. Then the two brilliant Ryan Williams and Nate Wood mixed and mastered it respectively.

Shoutouts to WuDe for doing such a great job editing the video to fit the song, to Baelyn Elspeth and Ariana Dedianko for your superb tea picking skills, and to Brandon Boyd and Incubus for creating the song 'In The Company of Wolves' which served as great inspiration when I was completely stuck in the writing process of the song and couldn't figure out how to fit two very different sections together into one piece of music.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Brand New Custom Koa Mya-Moe Ukelele

Last Summer, I started noodling around with my Grandmother's old Martin ukelele. I spent a whole afternoon figuring out how to play it, learned a few songs, and quickly became obsessed. When I got home I immediately started researching ukeleles online and noticed that some pretty cool people (with some very nice sounding ukelele recordings) were playing Mya-Moe Ukeleles. I read all about them on their website, listened to some videos, browsed through their extremely thorough gallery of every uke they have built (with all the specs) and determined that I need to get one asap. I was obviously not the only person who thought this because there was nearly a one year wait list to get a custom uke built. I put my down payment in and then bought another ukelele to practice on while I waited.

 If you are considering buying a Mya-Moe Ukelele, I highly recommend it. You get to choose the size and shape, what type of wood (top and sides/back), and all the other features. They do an incredible job of answering questions, have a ton of videos showing every step of them building ukeleles, and they even put up a webpage for your ukelele with all of its specs, start date, estimated completion date, and then post pictures of every step of the building process. Here is my page so you can see an example. I got extremely excited every time a new picture got posted and saw how my uke was coming to be. They kept to the dates very well, and actually ended up finishing it a few days early. They also sent an email letting me know that it was on its way and to let them know as soon as it arrived. It was very clear that they care very much about each of their instruments as if they were their children! They are great and again, I highly recommend getting a uke from them.

Now, a little about the instrument itself. First and foremost, it exceeded my expectations and is a truly beautiful instrument. It arrived in a nice little, sturdy custom fitting hard case with a lock and a strap. Pretty cool. I opened it and behold, a truly beautiful instrument was inside. The pictures, while good quality, do it no justice. It plays very nicely with perfect intonation, and the tone is absolutely beautiful. Full, rich, and crisp. The K&K pickup inside sounds surprisingly wonderful. I have been having quite a battle trying to find a pickup that I am completely satisfied with for my acoustic guitars. Not the case with this. It sounds perfect. Below you can see a video of me playing a cover version of 'Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes' from Paul Simon's 'Graceland'. This will give you a taste of the tone and look of the instrument. Enjoy, and as I have said before, if you are thinking of getting a ukelele from May-Moe, stop thinking about it and just do it! You have a whole year to pay for it and only need to put $300 down to secure your spot.

Big thanks to Gordon, Char, and Aaron for making such wonderful instruments!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Friday, October 4, 2013

Show Time!

I am very happy (and I must admit, slightly nervous) to announce that I will be playing live again for the first time in nearly TWO YEARS! Wednesday, October 30th, at 9pm at Witzend in Venice, CA.

The great Sean Woolstenhulme will joining me on guitar as well.  I would love to see you there!

Buy tickets in advance HERE

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Farewell To A Great Teacher

I know exactly what he would say if I were to thank him for all that he has done for me - "It is from your hard work alone that all the benefits come to you". While this is indeed the truth, without the teachings of SN Goenka, I would not know how to do the hard work that has brought so much benefit to me, and for those teachings, I thank him deeply and profusely.

On September 29th, 2013, at 10:40pm in Mumbai, India, SN Goenka passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Born in India in 1924, Goenkaji was a businessman who eventually discovered Vipassanā meditation in Burma from a man named Saya Gyi U Ba Khin.  He eventually went on to become a great Vipassanā teacher and was a pioneer in spreading this technique of meditation across the world. He was a major influence to many people including Ram Dass, Jack Kornfield, and Krishna Das, just to name a few.  He selflessly made it his life's work to teach this way out of suffering to countless people, and he did it for free.  All of the 170 plus meditation centers across the world are run solely by donations from students who have partaken in a 10-day silent meditation retreat, and neither Goenkaji, nor any one of the other assistant teachers or volunteer servers receive a single cent for their service.

I took my first 10-day course in June of 2000, in North Fork, CA, and as of 1 month ago today, completed my 7th course.  Words can do no justice to the benefits I have received through this practice over the years.  Through simple and practical means of learning to objectively observe reality as it manifests inside my body from moment to moment, I have become a much happier, less reactive, and clearer person.  I am no longer plagued by strong, negative emotions such as anger, fear, or grief.  That is not to say that I never experience these things, but they have significantly less power over me than they did in the past. I have learned great patience, I have come out of addictions, and I have experienced deep, peaceful tranquility far beyond what I ever thought to be possible.  At the risk of sounding crazy, if I could somehow take all the benefits that I have gotten and give you the direct of experience of the true happiness that I feel, I bet my life that you would immediately go to a meditation retreat. It is that powerful.

For showing me and so many others this noble path, and for the immense impact you have had on my life and the lives of so many others, I offer the deepest thanks. The debt of gratitude I feel is immeasurable.  Rest In Peace Goenka. You made the wold a better place.  May you be happy and liberated, wherever you be.

With all of my mētta,


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Move Video

Here is a video of Move. It was filmed by Karess Joii during the photo shoot for the In A Stream album cover back in October of 2012. Share and enjoy!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

In A Stream Review in LA YOGA Magazine

Thanks to Daniel Overberger and the good folks at LA YOGA Magazine for the review on In A Stream.  Check it out...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In A Stream Is Available Now!

It brings me great pleasure to let you know that the new album, In A Stream, is now available on iTunes, BandCamp, and on my website.  Go grab your copy now!

Huge thanks to everyone involved in the completion of the album! Nate Wood, Jesske Hume, John McCaig, Karess Joii, Jenny Begin, and Emily all rock!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Breaking Silence

My oh my, it has been a while.  What have I been doing since I lasted posted in 2010? Why has it been so long? Probably because I started going to school at Yo San University to study Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Yes, that's acupuncture and herbs.  As I type this,  I am approaching being half way through the program.  Becoming an acupuncturist is not as easy as one might think.  It's a full four years of intense schooling.  So that is what has been occupying most of my time.  That and meditation, qigong, and tea.

On the music front, although I have rarely played a show in the past few years, I have been recording quite a bit.  In fact, I have two albums completely recorded.  One of them is fully mixed, and just waiting on mastering.  I will be releasing it sometime in the Fall of 2012.  It is called In A Stream and it is more acoustically oriented than my last album, Look Inside.  By no means is this a definitive direction.  Who knows...maybe my next album will be electronic?

The other album is more "band" oriented, but I programmed all the drums and bass myself.  It is a group of songs I wrote all the way back in 1999 -2001.  During a meditation retreat, the inspiration to record these particular songs hit me hard.  As soon as I got home, I recorded the entire album, playing and programming every instrument on the album.  It took me one month and was one of the most fun and satisfying recording experiences I have ever had.  I meditated for at least an hour before every single recording session, and really let the music breath.  These songs are longer, and a little more daring on a structural level than anything I have release before.  It is definitely an album to get into a quiet state and listen all the way from front to back without distraction.

Although the recording was fun and painless, mixing it has been quite a project.  I have tried at least three times and am still not quite satisfied.  I recently bought some new speakers, so I have faith that this next time through, I will have success and the album - Pain & Joy - will see the light of day soon.  I am actually starting a charity project called Dhamma Records to release this album through.  It will serve to benefit Vipassana meditation centers across the globe, and it will be most certainly include other artists.

It feels good to be blogging again.  Expect more news on the new albums and Dhamma Records project soon.