Performing at French Quarter Fest with the Revealers
I met Greg Speck when we were both hired as side men for a New Orleans house party. It was obvious after the first set that Greg and I had an innate musical connection. We quickly figured out that we had lived 10 miles from each other in upstate NY for several years. Greg is a uniquely gifted accordion player and I am fortunate to have him as a part of the project.
Playing bass with Christian Serpas and Ghost Town.
Neti Vaan is a fantastic violinist who I have been following for many years. Her credits and New Orleans bona fides are too long to list...she does not remember the first time we played together at Jazz Fest as she was performing with four other bands that year. I am pleased beyond words that Neti has chosen to share her incredible personality and musicianship with the project.
Adam Coolsaet and I met 15 years ago as sidemen on a singer/songwriter project. Adam is a world traveler and moved to South Africa for several years. I consider it my good fortune that Adam has returned to the crescent city as his chill personality, rhythm chops, dynamics, and listening skills make him the ideal drummer for this project.
Jazz Fest 2017 with the Revealers.
Ya Ya Sol is the culmination of 20+ years living and working in the New Orleans music scene as both a sideman as well as a bandleader. During that time I developed an interest in multiple styles and genres. In this project I focus those interests through the lens of fingerstyle guitar technique. I perform solo or augment my shows with the talents of rhythm players and/or soloists depending on the size and scope of each individual performance.
Ya Ya Sol began several years ago from weekly jams with friends in my living room at 1111 Leontine Street and developed into a project that became a favorite on Frenchman Street, performed multiple years at French Quarter Fest, made it to the Gentilly stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and recorded a full length CD.
Before, during, and following my work with the first incarnation of Ya Ya Sol I worked with several groups around the greater New Orleans area. Some of these include(d): the Revealers, Christian Serpas and Ghost Town, 30/90, Chris Klein and the Boulevards, Smokey Greenwell and the Bad Apple Blues Band, The Bourbon Cowboys, The Jesse Moore Band, Colin Lake, and Gal Holiday and the Honkey Tonk Review.
While the gigs as a sideman allowed me to learn and appreciate many varied musical styles as well as helped me to maintain and develop my chops, after several years of side work and the subsequent burnout it was clear that a change in direction was necessary. After some soul searching I determined that the most effective way to continue my musical journey in the spirit of both enjoyment as well as development was to eliminate much of the side work and direct my energy in an inward direction.
For me, the inward musical journey included eliminating much of the side work and spending more time at home developing the craft. Focusing on acoustic guitar I explored many fingerstyle techniques including: Travis picking, Samba, Bossa Nova, Delta & Piedmont Blues, Ragtime, and Flamenco. Developing a working knowledge of these styles has allowed me to create a repertoire of material that, on a good day, allows me to present a song holistically in its entirety without accompaniment. The goal is that the holistic presentation of the song structure will work in a solo setting and also provide additional players with a solid foundation to stretch out from.
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