On the Occassion of “What a Day, What a Time We Had”

I started playing music in 1995, started learning guitar in 2000, began performing six months later and started my first band about a year after that. I never sang.

Three bands and one college degree later, I reluctantly started Trains Across the Sea in February 2007 when I wrote a song and couldn’t get anybody else to sing it the way I heard it in my head. So, out of necessity, I became the “singer.”

In July of that year Trains played their first show at Larry’s Bar. It was me and a lawyer I found on craigslist who played drums.

I spent the next year mostly drunk in my basement writing and crudely recording songs, and in August of 2008 I simultaneously released a self-recorded full-length album and a solo Woody Guthrie-influenced EP. The two friends who helped me on that record soon after entered separate PhD programs in mathematics and will be defending their dissertations in the next few months.

In February of 2009 I decided to get serious about music and wrote and recorded “Greetings From the Peach District,” with a lot of help from Rob Denomme who played guitar, mandolin, banjo and fiddle. “Greetings” was released in May, and in August Rob left for California to begin his PhD program, also in mathematics.

After temporary help from Jim Stehli (piano) and Carolyn Dever (trumpet), I met Adrian Jusdanis (violin) in the fall of 2009 and the two of us played some sixty shows in Columbus over the next ten months, always unplugged and frequently standing on chairs.

In February of 2010 Counterfeit Madison (piano) joined the band by asking when our next show was and just showing up and playing along. Joe Gilliland (guitar, organ) was also at that show, and slowly started hanging around and playing guitar with Trains, also building his own batch of songs (which were to become The DewDroppers).

That summer, realizing Adrian was on his way out and trying get to a snapshot of what the band was like, I haphazardly self-recorded “Thanks for Coming Out Tonight.” The first day I met Adam Nedrow was the day he recorded his drum parts for the record. The five of us (me, Adrian, Sharon, Joe, Adam) played Comfest, and soon after Adrian amicably moved on to start his own project, The APES. The Dewdroppers also began that summer as a 3 piece. “Thanks” was released in August.

After adding Michael Kohn (bass) in February 2011, Trains was now regularly playing around town as a five piece. As ever, I kept writing songs.

I spent most of the rest of 2011 pouring a ton of energy into the early development of The Dick & Jane Project, writing a few dozen songs with them and overseeing the release of their first record, to which Trains contributed a song.

In March of 2012 I decided the time had finally come to make an ALBUM. I met with Eric Cronstein of The Tone Shoppe (to whom I am eternally grateful) and in May we started recording the album. I cut no corners and spent the rest of the year on it. I am eternally grateful to the 13 other players on the record, all of whom are vibrantly active in the Columbus scene in their own projects. I am unquestionably more proud of this record than anything else I have created in my short life.

On April 5th, “What a Day, What a Time We Had” will be released into the world. We’re throwing a party at Rumba Cafe, and if you can make it, great. Trains hasn’t played as this 5 piece lineup in over a year and it will very likely be the last time this incarnation of the project ever plays together.

If you can’t make it, that’s totally fine too, but please take a moment and listen to the record. I really put everything I have in it, and it truly feels like a capstone to this entire endeavor. Should you decide this humble album is worth your money, all the better.

Thank you to everybody who ever played in my band, who ever came to a show, who ever came to the Taj open mic, who influenced me in any myriad of ways. You are far too numerous to list, but I plan to thank you each individually.

As usual, I have absolutely no idea what’s next, and that’s the most exciting part.

Love and education,