Secrets I Told to a Sound Hole

Secrets I Told to a Sound Hole is my debut studio album, on the theme of music and my journey with it. The best place to purchase (digital, physical, or merch) is my store. You can also stream at Spotify, YouTube or Soundcloud (below) or purchase on BandcampiTunes, Google Play, Amazon, or another digital retailer you like.





CREDITS: Produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered by Chris Badami at Portrait Recording Studios. Cover designed by Matthew John Corrales. Frank Turner quote on cover used with permission.


Someday I’m gonna sing a song that’s not in G, and like it
Someday I’m gonna do those fancy pickings at speed
Someday I’m gonna look an audience in the eye, and not stumble
Maybe even tell them something I haven’t memorized

But I’ll get there, I’ll get there, I’ll get there, I’ll get there
The fun’s in the journey anyway
I’ll get there, I’ll get there, I’ll get there, I’ll get there… when I get there

Someday I’m gonna earn more than I spent on the train, just to get there
Someday they won’t just come to see me, they’ll be happy to pay
Someday important people will answer my emails, because they want to
Or maybe important emails my important people sent their way

Because I’m just doing this because I have to know, or at least I have to try
What does it feel like to be on the other side?
Because every one of my best days has been when people gathered ‘round for a song
How does it feel to be the one who brought the whole thing on?
But then I’m already making those moments
For free and imperfectly, that is to say untarnished
And I’m already rich because I have everything I’ve ever wanted.

I’m stepping onto a stage
Small and uncomfortable, dirty and imperfect
But everything’s okay
Because somewhere beneath years of polish are your footprints
And you’ve left an energy that I can tap into
I can achieve all you do if I want to

And we take a breath, and we start to sing
La la la, la la la, la la la

I put my pen to the page
The feelings don’t match the sounds, amateur that I am, but still
I know they will someday
Because you’re living proof it gets easier with practice
And you can turn terrible things into great songs
You remind me it’s not something I should give up on

And just like you told me, I shall underwhelm
With the most awkward eye contact and smallest of crowds
But the way that I got bold enough to think that I could do this
Was I recognized in you an unmatched conscientiousness
And found it inside of myself
Just like you must have first seen it in somebody else
And I’m one level higher with every step I take
Up the many stairs to your now much bigger stage

Just once I want to get drunk, and tell the truth
Just once for you to stumble on my unlocked diary
Or maybe they’ll all just come out and announce themselves
The secrets I told to a sound hole

If you could catch a glimpse of just how I feel about music
You would say that it was sick, and perhaps it is
Because when the music brings that hollow pang, that’s when I know I’m all right
Try to understand, but how could you understand?
It’s not just shitty job savings that I can’t help but invest
It’s my blood and my body and my very will to live
I’m taking bets on myself and keeping all of the risk
Because I know the well-trodden one’s a fruitful path
But all that I can see is hopeless, empty black

I used to ask myself when I was young,
Do you really think you’d be one of the lucky ones?
Is this a means to being cool, or is it true love?
But it made no sense to question
Because music was my only definition of cool, whether a dorky music teacher or a rock star
Try to understand, but how could you understand?
I want to talk shop with my heroes, I don’t care about their clout
As long as they know what I’m talking about
I’m just looking for the people who can make a worthy sound
Because if this guitar could serve my every human need
Then it would be the sole companion that I would ever seek

I’ve made it just onto the edges of the inside, where I just might stay
It’s hard to break through dressed in baggy jeans and dated, faded tees
But I never looked good in those stupid hipster clothes
And I’m not the life of the party because I didn’t come here for the party
I came here for the music
Try to understand…
I’m sitting in the corner all alone
The only one here who isn’t staring at a phone
Hoping someone’ll notice that I’m so serious
Because what you realize when you grow up
Is that it’s not about who’s the dork and who’s the punk
It’s about how you’re living your life
And I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m trying to be the one who lives it right
Sitting in the corner all alone
The only one here who isn’t staring at a phone
Hoping that you will notice
Because all I want to do is just to sing one song for you
And if I should fail I’ve got no problem just getting back up, and getting back in line…

My feet were made to take me places, to wander the earth’s circumference
Where I could win friends, I could achieve greatness
Just getting out there makes the difference
And I could be cutting my teeth at the open mics in all the big cities I could dream
But instead I’m slaving over a post with five likes and songs no one hears but my family
And I sit here so long on top of my feet
Stopping the blood from circulating
That I get pins and needles, and I’ve gotta get up and go

And I don’t blame myself for the fear of leaping right into something new
Inside the comfort zone things are clearer
And stepping out is terrifying to do
But though I know it’ll be painful and strange to step directly on that sleepy foot
Isn’t this the whole reason I even came, to take this road as far as I could?
And deep down I know if I’m not using these feet
That I’ll be sorry because they’ll go to sleep forever
So I feel my pins and needles saying I’ve gotta get up and go.

You can see I’m struggling
It’s starting to feel like I’m stuck
I want it, what I wanted
When I felt like I was standing at the summit of the highest mountain
And free time is more hard won freedom I take for granted and I never use well
I want it, what I wanted
When I felt like inspiration wasn’t trickling but a flowing fountain

But I made it out this far, I’ve always faced it all
I found my way through some trying days, and all I want is more

It’s a good thing I’m so ready
Because this is the year I sink or swim
I want it, what I wanted
When I knew that healthcare that I could afford was something I could count on
And this time I don’t even know if I can really tell myself that everything’ll be OK
I want it, what I wanted
When I knew that my own voice singing inside my head was pleasant sounding

Because give me one clear shot:
Make it and win, or miss and lose big
And I’ll blow it off to binge watch shows so bad they make me cringe
Better to get me on a train with a notebook and no phone
En route to somewhere where I can sing this song all night
And I’ll effortlessly find and clear the hurdles in my mind

I’ll beg if I have to
I know that you can’t write a fairy tale for me
I want it, what I wanted
When I said that this was something I was gonna do with help or without it
And this takes time, but we’re not immortal
So how can we ever know how much we really have to spare?
I want it, what I wanted
When I said it’s always possible that I could fail but I still doubt it.

Head north was the vague instruction
But the highway labeled N was twisted and confused
Now due east is what it says on my compass
I ask myself, what am I trying to prove?
And I’m not directionless, I just got lost a little bit on the way
But there’s a map in my hands and there’s no better chance I’ll get than today
And I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ve got nothing…

I don’t want to play Sudoku anymore
I don’t want to waste my weekends anymore
I don’t want to run in circles anymore

And I keep taking my advice from the realists
Who tell me don’t build castles in the air
But I just can’t stop coming up with new blueprints
And you know I’ve gotta build these castles somewhere
These words are poison to my heart if I don’t sing them when they start to build up
Plus the storage on my phone is at its limit from the songs that got stuck
And I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ve got nothing…

And when the dream stretches out before me in all of its glory, in all of its glory
I second guess my eyes, can it really be this easy?
But then every day I’ve owned my failures, worked hours and hours, worked hours and hours
I underestimate myself, this force was pent up in me for years
It’s enough, I’m enough.

He wears scuffed up boots of a most honorable kind
But he found them that way at the thrift store
He speaks fresh insights as if they came from his own mind
But they came from manifesto pamphlets on his floor

To go with his boots he wears a denim jacket
With Crass, Propagandhi and Black Flag patches
When you see him you think he must create a lot of art
When you see him you think he must work so hard
But he never created a thing but for derivative work
He works hard at his image, makes creative friends and claims what they earn
But man, what did you mean when you said that you wanted to be free?

And to go with his boots he’s got some shiny doctrines
Always retweeting quotes from 19th century authors
When you see him you think that he must read a lot of books
When you see him you think he must do so much good
But he never seems to show up when he’s called on for support by his friends
And he only shares his views in rooms where everybody agrees with him
But man, what did you mean when you said that you wanted to be free?

He wears scuffed up boots of a most honorable kind
And yeah boots may lack the memory of the lives they leave behind
But how can you just pick up where someone else leaves off?
For the love of all that’s good in the world… start something
Because the world doesn’t need another hero
Who thinks he can buy the appearance of merit
It needs someone sporting sneakers that she scuffed up herself
And a wardrobe consisting of jeans and a T-shirt
Because I think what’s cool is being relentlessly you
And I think what’s punk is letting yourself be the judge
And I think that free means having no one to please but yourself
What did you mean?
If you want to be free…

I wrote these words when I was young
Closed up the notebook, put it in a closet
Let it sit for years collecting dust
Internalized the negative, there’s no point in trying this
Dedicate your life to something sure
If no one ever cares, then this is too much work

I’m not sure if I can do this, but I’m sure that I can’t not
I’m sure that there is nothing else for me in this whole wide world
So I’ll carry this guitar to my own crucifixion
The destruction of all of my real world ambitions
But it’s something I have to do, this is something I have to do

A voice can make the world a better place
I know because I have listened, God how I’ve listened
Drawn to that green and purple stage
Singing alone in my bed, I’m sweating and I’m out of breath
That’s a good sign that I should care
And if I died trying, that’d be a crown I’d proudly wear

I don’t care what you say, I’ll make it on my own
It’s my turn now, you’ve had your day
And I’m as strong as stone

If you look hard enough
There’s someone who wants to see you fail
They’re gonna spread hatred, try to burn all your bridges
Discourage and shake you, cut you down till they break you
But if you look hard enough
Someone wants to pick you up where you fell off
They’re gonna shower you with love, tell the world that you’re too good
Build you up till you’re strong, build a stage you can sing on
So I can handle this
It’s just a small rejection
A small sliver of flesh nicked off my back with a dirty old knife
And I can live without it

Wish I could sing a song of a perfect world
But sometimes it’s uncomfortable, sometimes it’s unbearable
Sometimes you’ll want to lash out, sometimes you’ll want to give up
But I will choose love and music is enough

If you look hard enough
There are people who want to do harm
They want to ruin lives, stop you sleeping at night
Make you blind if you can see, chain you up if you’re free
But if you look hard enough
There are people who want to do good
Caring even for those in whom others might see no hope
To preserve what we have and help the good outweigh the bad
So we can handle this
It’s just a small shake-up
An illusion of certainty severed off from our innocent minds
And we can live without it

Just me with my guitar
You might wonder why I even bother
But those fakers and haters, I’m doing it for them
Because everyone is worthy to do what they most love
And I do it because someone somewhere just once
Might need to hear my voice and that’s enough
Just me with my guitar
You might wonder why I even bother
If I could be stuck in my bedroom forever
Well to me it doesn’t matter if I stay here because…
I will choose love and music is enough.

I want to talk about love, I want to talk about love
Yeah, some people love a woman, some people love a man
But me, I love the art that gives us song
I want to talk about love
And I want to talk about music, I want to talk about music
Yeah, I’m always gonna make it, I’m always gonna listen
And I’m a better person for it
I want to talk about music

Because I can’t imagine pledging my days to anyone or anything else
If companionship means giving this up I’d rather stay by myself
Because I’m hopelessly in love, I hope it never lets me go
Because I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna marry music

So let’s go down to the courthouse, let’s go down to the courthouse
Yeah, let everyone get dressed up so we can be together
And we can show the world our love
Let’s go down to the courthouse
And sure the spark might dim a bit someday
Nothing ever seems as perfect when it’s not so fresh
We’ll find it harder to express ourselves in new ways
But I hope that what we’re left with
Is a bond that can’t be broken by the naysayers that try to bring us down
Until death do us part

I’m watching the old lady at the open mic
And she’s been here as long as anyone can remember
Had some adventures in the scene in her time
Every wrinkle in her skin a folk singer who passed right by her
She would have made it if she just got a break

I’m watching the old lady at the open mic
She’s amazing; am I afraid that could be me?

Well, 40 years of a day job you hate
In an office where they gather round the cooler and nobody gets you
Just to come here every night and stay up late
Sing your 10,000th song and wonder when you will have paid your dues
Her songs are fine but the stars never aligned

Well, if that were me I could say I wouldn’t give up just yet
No, I would blog, vlog and live stream for all the views I could get
I’d crowd fund this old lady’s last hope to reach her dream
And I’d go viral and everyone in the world would know my name
Because who could resist contributing to that cause?
People round the world who want to hear me sing my songs… what a dream

I’m watching the old lady at the open mic
She’s amazing; am I afraid that could be me?
I’d have to say no; let’s call it plan B.