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My Musical Journey

I grew up in the steel-mill town of Mingo Junction, Ohio. My parents are Italian Immigrants and my Dad worked in the mill. I learned about music through listening to a.m. radio and the times we went to the Country Music Jamboree in Wheeling, W.Va., which is twenty miles down The Ohio River. The first concert I saw was Kitty Wells. My parents grew large vegetable gardens and an orchard, and made their own wine. As a kid, it was a place for idle summers and sandlot baseball, but as I grew older, it became a place to leave.

I worked summers in the steel mill and went away to college, first to Ohio State University in Columbus, and then to Washington State University in Pullman. I took the circuitous route, but finally made it to New York, where I moved to learn the art of songwriting.

Upon my arrival in New York, the first place I headed to was the Cornelia Street Cafe. Every Monday night in this Greenwich Village Cafe a songwriter exchange was held where you could only perform a new song. In the audience and on stage were some of New York’s best songwriters of the new folk scene: Suzanne Vega, The Roches, Mark Johnson, Steve Forbert, etc. To get up in that small cafe was intimidating, but the exhilaration of playing is what kept me going.

It was during this time that I published my first songs and was recorded for the first time for some compilation records. But, like all scenes, this one changed, and sometime after that, I felt like I needed a change also.

In 1990 I moved to Austin, Texas with everything that would fit in the back of my Volkswagen Rabbit, which was mostly my guitars. While in New York, a reviewer in Variety once described my songs as having a “rustic sound with a city sensibility,” and in Austin, I found my equivalent.

It is a town steeped in musical heritage and the people who live here (read: Native Texans) are proud of this. Here, with the help of a lot of talented musicians and friends, I was able to record my first album, organize my first national tour with Jimmy Lafave, David Halley, and Jo Carroll Pierce, and I am proud (read: almost Native Texan) to have completed my third and fourth albums with the help of a new friend, Charlie Sexton.

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