Southern Roots and When I Turned 25

I'm lucky to have grown up in Charleston, SC, with its rich history and vibrant music scene. I attribute a lot of my sound to the country/western music my Grandfather played while driving around to shop for cars he'd never buy, after hefty meals at the buffet we frequented enough to become regulars. I found out I liked bluegrass music while eating at a middle-of-nowhere barbecue joint with a no-name bluegrass band playing in the corner, even though I knew very little about the genre at the time.

But all that southern influence was about more than just the music, and when I turned 25, it hit me in a whole new way...

Just two kids in love! (Photo by David Strauss)

You see, people in the South get married pretty early. I knew lots of kids that graduated college and before they started work, they started a new life as married couple. I even knew some youngsters who got married in college. There's nothing wrong with any of it, but when I ended up in the big city of Los Angeles, CA, I found that this was not the case!

And so when I turned 25 and decided it was time to start shopping for rings, I found that I was a caught in between two worlds: many of my friends back home had already been married, some even having children, but my friends in LA were living a single life with wedding bells far, far away in their minds. Some of the local Angelinos probably thought I was crazy for even thinking about marriage, but I knew I had met a special girl a couple years before, and that it would be even crazier to not marry her.

I played her a song to propose which I never recorded and never wrote down fully. It's something that only exists in that moment! (Photo by David Whitaker)

She was more than ready for it, by the way, waiting on me, who was still figuring out how to be a grown up in the big city. But as I mentioned, the day I turned 25, it felt like a switch went off in my head and I started shopping for rings. It all seemed very natural, and before I could turn 26, we were hitched!

So why am I writing all of this? Marriage and family have always been core to the songs I've written since Yonder Breaks started. One of the first songs I ever played live was "More Beautiful," which was the first song I ever wrote for my wife when we started dating. When we got married, I wrote "Green Goes White" for our wedding (which I chickened out of playing at the reception, I'm ashamed to say), and became a beautiful finish to my album Christmas Rain. Years later, I wrote "Love Like That," which showed up on the Three EP (which you can have for signing up on my email list), and is all about her inspirational love.

As we continue this journey together of stories and songs, I thought this was a good place to emphasize some of the foundation of who I am and what I write about. This music is all about sharing ideas to find common ground with people, and hopefully inspire a softer heart and a listening ear to both God and those around us. If I can do that even a little, then Yonder Breaks is a success.

The music video for "Green Goes White," with clips from our wedding and some shots of me playing it in my grandfather's backyard the year it snowed a massive amount in my Southern hometown.

Finally, with the number 25 on the brain (for no real reason other than to have something to offer!), use the code HEY25 on my merch store to get 25% off any merchandise you'd like. There are some cool items in there, mostly designed by my talented friends Josh Moreno and Korey Wenk.