A brief discography/bio:
As a performer:
The River - 1991-1995
Blessed West - 1996-1998
Cal Hollow - 1998-2001
Evolution of an Idea Project - 2002-2009
Katie Todd Band - 2001-2006
Travis Dow Band 2004-2005
Concrete Cowboys - 2006-Present
As a writer (album cuts/singles):
Cal Hollow - 2 albums
*Single - "No Mercy" (1999)
Evolution of an Idea - 3 albums, co-written with Will Foreman
Travis Dow Band
Concrete Cowboys - "Hard Country" (2008) and "Next" (2009)
*Single - "Even Misery" (2008)
*Single - "Never Satisfied" (2008)
"100% Handmade" (2002)
"Someone's Awake" (2004)
"Back To Nowhere" (2006)
Where I come from:
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but I consider the San Francisco Bay Area home, as I lived there from age 7 until age 29. I have a degree in Theatre Arts from Humboldt State University, where I fronted my first band, The River. We played about half cover songs and half originals. After a stint as rhythm guitarist in the San Francisco-based Blessed West, I created Cal Hollow (originally called Box Elder) in 1997, along with Seth Berenberg on bass, Mark Cameron on drums, and Jeffrey Hemmelgarn on guitar and additional vocals. Our first album, "Two Bulb Twilight", on Jericho/Sire Records, was helmed by Grammy-winning Producer John Porter (The Smiths, B.B. King), and included the single “No Mercy”, which generated substantial airplay both in the U.S. and abroad. Basically, we hit the jackpot. When Jericho had financial difficulties, we were cut adrift, and the band parted ways soon after.
I took off for Nashville to explore the source of all things. While performing at the Folk Alliance Festival in Vancouver, Canada, I made several important connections in the Chicago music scene. Thus, I decided to move North to reform Cal Hollow and also serve as lead guitarist with piano-pop phenom Katie Todd in her band.
The Cal Hollow project produced one more album ("North Central") before disbanding, so that both myself and drummer Mark Cameron could devote more time to The Katie Todd Band. Over the next five years the band would play shows throughout the Midwest U.S., record three albums, and generate intense label interest, ultimately remaining independent.
During that time, I continued working on my solo material, producing four more solo albums, "100% Handmade", "Someone's Awake", "Travis Dow Band", and "Back To Nowhere", and one collaborative album with lyricist Will Foreman ("The Fate of Dreams, Vol. 1").
In the Fall of 2006, it was finally time to go, and I, along with my fiance Katie, packed up and headed back to the West Coast, this time settling in Portland, Oregon. Another solo album is in the works, along with the second and third albums in collaboration with Will Foreman, "The Fate of Dreams, Vol. II and Vol. III". My primary "thing" at the moment is writing and performing with the stellar Portland country band Concrete Cowboys, which gives me a chance to work on the country songs I've always wanted to write. Chad Kessner's voice provides the vehicle for a lot of things I couldn't say before, and the band's often packed shows provide instant feedback and an enthusiastic audience.
What I've Been Up To:
*Debut album (with Cal Hollow), Two Bulb Twilight, was released in May 1999 and was produced by 4-time Grammy Award winner John Porter (The Smiths, B.B. King, Keb Mo’, Bonnie Raitt) on Jericho/Sire Records.
*Three albums with the Katie Todd Band: Changing Faces(2003), LIVE(2004), and Make Some Time For Wasting(2005), produced by Blaise Barton (Liz Phair, Ike Reilly). Opening slots included shows with Jewel, Steve Winwood, The Wallflowers, Five For Fighting, Pete Yorn, Patti Labelle, Anna Nalick, and Lifehouse, as well as a spot at Lollapalooza '06.
*Produced and performed behind four solo projects, 100% Handmade(2003), Someone’s Awake(2005), Travis Dow Band(2006), and Back To Nowhere(2006).
*Interviews & features in Gavin Magazine. Articles and reviews in the San Francisco Weekly, Examiner and the Times, the Chicago Reader, and various newspapers throughout the U.S.
*Airplay on over 50 radio stations in more than 20 states, including Chicago’s WXRT, San Francisco’s KLLC, WXPT Minneapolis, KUPL Portland, and FM-100 Memphis
* Winner of San Francisco Musician's Union Songwriting Contest - 1998
*With Concrete Cowboys:
- Placed third in nationwide Marlboro Country Music Contest
- Several Oregon and Washington Battle of the Bands wins
- Performances with Emerson Drive, Whiskey Falls, Hal Ketchum, Rhett Atkins, Andy Griggs, Lee Brice
-Winner - "Outstanding Achievement in Country Music", Portland Music Awards, 2010