The Singer


I'm passionate about communication. Getting a thought or a feeling from one mind to another is some of the purest and truest magic I know of, which may explain why I'm so strongly drawn to language and wordcraft.

The same passion drives my love of and involvement in traditional music, tradition being an especially engaging means of communication across time. I sing — one of the purest forms of vocal communication, as I see it — and write, often songs.

I was born in Canada and grew up in a number of places scattered on both sides of the US/Canada border. Along the way I was drawn to traditional singing by the classic combination of love of song and scarcity of entertainment; I spent much of my youth in backwoods areas, often without electricity. Informal live music (I pestered my musical neighbors) and a battery-powered record player/radio were lifelines. One early goal was to become the best human radio antenna I could; I practiced regularly.

The world is an endlessly fascinating place, and it seems to me that the only thing to do with that much wonder is to absorb all you can. Learning isn't just what you do (or did) in school; it's every bit as constant and essential as breathing. I think this outlook has a lot to do with where and who I am today. Fascination and admiration has led to a drive to emulate what I love, and to contribute to its richness: to sing; to write; to teach, and try to encourage others to "follow their bliss," as Joseph Campbell put it.

The lure of words and wordplay has drawn me to contribute to quixotic projects such as the tongue-in cheek Omneficent English Dictionary In Limerick Form, where several hundred of my limericks are published; I also contribute irregularly to The Kilt and Harp on the topic of Scots dialect in song.

I perform, write, record, and teach in the greater Twin Cities area and live with my family in the heart of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.