These are all the best things that happened to me this year.
Shows: Vie de Bohéme, The Axe & Fiddle. On January 8th, Joel (my brother, drums), Joseph (our good friend, guitar), my friend Spencer (bass) and I played at Portland’s Vie De Boheme. The show wasn’t very flashy; it was just really fun to play in front of our friends, family, and fans. Not to mention that space is ultra-vibey. The following day, the boys and I also got to play at Cottage Grove’s The Axe & Fiddle, headlining a full-house. It was surreal to take in the fact that greats like The Shins and The Decembrists have played on that stage. The beer and food were out of sight, and it was a blast to travel a little and play this venue. We concluded this three-night stint of shows by hosting a private event at a gorgeous home in Raleigh Hills, just southwest of Portland. I realized how much I enjoy sharing the meaning behind my songs, and that I don’t get a lot of opportunity to do so. It was also a unique experience for all of us there, being witness to the first performance from my brother, Joel, who is working on a Kickstarter album under the moniker Project Clayton.
How to Love Music Video. On March 19th, my good friend, Andreos, myself, and my newly-found acquaintance, Dave, flew out to Los Angeles to film a music video. We filmed where we weren’t supposed to, lit fires where we definitely shouldn’t have, and used cell-phones while driving, all for the love of film. That video has about 2.33 edits left on it before it reaches your beautiful little eyes. I’m so excited for you to see it. You can read more about what filming was like here.
Show: Crying Wolf. Joel, Joseph, myself and our friend Thi (reads: “Tee”) played an extremely last minute show at Nashville’s The Crying Wolf on March 24th in a very small and obscure back room with an unmarked door to enter from the bar. That show has very funny stories attached to it, which I hope to one day type here, but it’s still a little too fresh for the finger-pointing that goes with the story. We had the chance to play to a room full of friends, which is really all that matters.
April Fool’s Travel. I played the ultimate prank on my Oregon family by flying into town on April 1st without telling anyone. Both of my parents, with blank, surprised stares and jaws dropped simply exclaimed, “What the?!?” I have video to prove it.
The Ryman Experience. Death Cab for Cutie played at The Ryman Auditoriumin Nashville on May 24th. I happened to be sitting in row 18 that night, and my life was at that moment complete.
4th of July Fireworks. Around 10pm on the 4th I met a beautiful, quirky, wonderfully hilarious woman wearing short-alls at a party. She wanted to meet me because of my mustache. Ali Fay grabbed a seat on the kitchen counter I discovered that she grew up in Nashville, moved to Oregon when she was in middle school, and ended up graduating from a high school thirsty minutes from my own, in the same class that I did. After asking for her phone number later on, she put her information into my phone and texted herself saying, “You should ask this girl on a date!” So the next day, I did.
Recording in San Diego. On August 12th, we started our trek driving three days straight to Portland, then down to San Diego to record my second full-length record. We recorded for a week at Big Fish Studio in Encinitas, California, with one of my best friends, Blake La Grange (Mercury Mastering). The product sounds amazing. The collaboration between all of us was incredible, and the studio sounded heavenly. We’re currently working on mixes and extra sound-texture goodies, but it should be done in 2016.
Red Rocks Dream. In November I visited Denver, Colorado to play at my friend Aaron’s wedding. The day before the wedding he showed us around the visually stunning hills of Idaho Springs, northwest of Denver, and we stopped at Red Rocks Amphitheater on the way back into town. Red Rocks is nuts. It looks incredible. I stood on the stage and dreamt for a moment that I was playing a show for a packed amphitheater. Add it to the bucket list.
Finding my wife. I knew I loved Ali Fay very early on. She’s beautiful, hilarious, kind, thoughtful, incredibly intelligent and we make such a great team. She drove with me back from the recording trip to California, where I tricked her into saying, “I love you,” for the first time. A few months later, when we went to her parents’ house for Thanksgiving, I talked to them about marrying Ali Fay. They were ecstatic, of course. After fumbling my way into picking a ring, I asked Ali Fay to be partners and best friends for life on New Year’s Eve. We’re working on a website to tell our story and wedding details, so you can read the actual story there soon. Until then, I’ll tell you this: I’ve never been more excited for a new year than I am for 2016. I found the woman of my dreams, someone that fulfills every area that I fall short in, and compels me to be a better man by God’s grace.
Thanks for joining me on the 2015 journey. Cheers to what’s ahead!