Music has been a force in my life for as long as I can remember. My father played any instrument you handed him. I thought everyone played a musical instrument, and that they all wanted to be Hank Williams or Jimmie Rodgers when they grew up. No astronaut or cowboy dreams for me. I wanted to be a musician.

A door opened in my head when I realized I could create it, not just listen to it. One night driving home from work a song idea came to me. Before long the entire song was in my head, but I had no idea how to write down the music, or even how to figure out the chords.

Eventually I discovered a songwriting community that helped me sort the details, and since 2006 I’ve studied music theory and songwriting and practiced enough on my instruments to feel like I have a clue.


I call it acoustic cowboy rock. It’s part country, part rock, with folk and jazz influences. Americana, except that label is too vague.

Imagine Bob Dylan meeting George Strait for drinks at Roger Miller’s house, or if you’re more musically eclectic, Jude Cole and David Gray backstage with Dylan. (It will always circle around Dylan, but as a student and admirer, not in emulation.)

Of course, you could always just go listen to a song or two and decide for yourself what it is.

Sometimes there’ll be surprises. Arabic trance. Children’s songs. Raging electric rock. Vocal experiments from doo-wop to monastic-sounding chants.

But mostly cowboy stuff because that’s the people I come from.

These recordings are first draft demos unless the notes say otherwise.


I also write fiction at JoelDCanfield.com