You grew up in Honolulu. What is the indie music scene like there?
Itʻs a pretty diverse scene here. You have a strong tourism industry, which provides solid employment for working musicians. (myself included) There is also a pretty healthy scene for original indie music as well. There are a handful of artists like myself who work regular weekly gigs at home and tour as well.
What inspired you to get into music?
My parents discovered that I was musically inclined very early on. I began classical piano at age five. I was taught by the Suzuki method, which is all ear training. I did a duet recital with the founder, Dr. Hideo Suzuki when I was six.
At what point did you start to write songs and play guitar?
When I was fourteen, my older brother turned me on to Metallica. This inspired me to pick up the guitar. I wrote my first song at sixteen and have never put either down since.
What is a songwriting session like for you?
I canʻt say that I have a typical session or any disciplined songwriting habits. I do try and capture any flashes of inspiration before theyʻre gone. Iʻm always ready to capture a guitar idea on my phone voice memo. I also carry a moleskin notepad whenever Iʻm on the road. Iʻd say it's pretty split down the middle as far as melodic/harmonic/ song or lyrics first. I have been enjoying co-writing in recent years, beginning with my Learning You By Heart album. The title track, along with four others were written with renowned authorʻ historian, Gavan Daws. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavan_Daws
Have you always been a solo act, or were you even in a group?
My first paying gig was as a bass player for a Reggae/Ska group Red Session, when I was seventeen. After that, I was in a band on the island of Kauai with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann called House Of Spirits. After leaving Hawaii for a few years in my early twenties, I really dove into studying Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar. Most of my recording career has been as a solo artist.
What is life like in Hawaii?
Itʻs wonderful! The best weather and the nicest people in the world! A rich culture and a melting pot of diversity, Iʻm proud to have been born here and call Hawaiʻi home.
Have you ever crossed over into other genres such as country or pop?
Yes, my album before last, Learning You By Heart, certainly has a number of country flavored songs. These days, it would fall more under the Americana umbrella.
Have you been performing live lately?
Thatʻs is what I do full time. I just got back from a two week run on the East Coast. I play 20 plus gigs a month here at home when Iʻm not on the road. In January, Iʻll be in Southern Cal, Santa Cruz and the Bay Area. March in the Pacific Northwest. April will bring me back to the west coast and in late May/ early June Iʻll be playing in Ireland.
Tell us about your latest project.
My last album was released in march 2018, Itʻs called “Cut The Dead Some Slack.” Itʻs a double LP/ CD of Grateful Dead done Hawaiian Slack Key style.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I have a trio album with fellow guitar slinger/word singer David Gans and Celtic harpist Anela Lauren. The group is called Fragile Thunder and the album will be, " One Afternoon Long Ago.” It will debut with live performances by us at the Skull And Roses Festival in Ventura, CA on April 5-7 2019. Beyond that Iʻll begin work on an all original album, with a full band.