February 16

Auto-Tune, Tuning and Emotional Impact

People talk about the negative effects of auto-tune on music, but I think it’s hard to actually spell out how auto-tune affects music from an aesthetic perspective.  All things considered, I think auto-tune can be used strategically at the right time and in the right way to achieve certain aesthetic qualities.  But I wanted to […]

February 27

Interview: Reonda

I will be performing at SXSW in mid-March, which will be an exciting opportunity to perform with some of the best Asian-American music talent (make that some of the best music talent) in the country. I was pleasantly surprised to see another performer at my showcase who lives in Brooklyn.  Reonda, who also designs her own line […]

January 17

Music and Social Justice / or Why Many Musicians Should Not Release Records for General Public Consumption

This may come as a surprise to you, especially coming from an exemplar of the DIY music industry.  But I believe that many musicians should not release records for general public consumption.  The reasons are of a social justice and economic nature. When I say this, I don’t mean that musicians should not record an album […]

December 25

A Brief Guide to What Does St. Lenox Sound Like?

People sometimes ask – what does St. Lenox sound like?  I have a hard time answering that question and reading through reviews, it’s interesting to note that there’s relatively little consensus.  I’ll keep a running log of comparisons, to provide some semblance of a guide. Adam Levine (Cincinnati CityBeat) (Willfully Obscure) Billy Joel (Music. Defined.) […]

December 23

The Difference Between Emotional Richness and Aesthetic Quality

It is no secret that emotions can provide insight into important values.  However, the emotions are not themselves necessary indicators of certain types of value.  So, for instance, feelings of sadness can oftentimes indicate a loss of value – you cry when a loved one has died.  However, one might get the same feeling upon […]

December 17

Triangulation of Emotion and Emotional Competency in Listening

Unless you adopt a pure form of an association theory in music (under which the connection between emotions and music is merely one of repeated association), you understand that music expresses human emotion in such a way that is more or less universal, and that an exploration of music and its complexities will inevitably be […]

November 25

Transfiguration in Music

At first glance, this post might look like a gripe about a single critical comment in an otherwise exuberant review from the Harvard Crimson – an obsession with a minor blemish from a perfectionist.  I assure you that it is not, I swear it’s really not.  I wanted to make an observation about music as an […]

October 29

Introduction to Modern American Social Realism

Lately, I’ve been inserting the terms “social realism” and “modern American social realism” into commentary and interviews about my own music and the music of others.  So, I figured I would lay out what it is that I mean when I talk about modern American social realism. When I speak of social realism, I refer […]

October 29

Praise for Ten Hymns From My American Gothic

Recent Press for Ten Hymns From My American Gothic: Pop Matters came out with their review of the record, giving it 9 out of 10 stars, observing “[a]lbums of such sheer artistry, originality and thematic immediacy are few and far between. This is the album of perspective and hope we need in this time of political […]

October 18

Swan Song Theory

There was a songwriter who I have seen a number of times at open mic.  He’s moving to Colorado and so this is the last time I’ll probably hear him, barring some errant future trip to New York City in some distant year. Would you like to hear my theory about the Swan Song?  I […]