The California Songbag

“The California Songbag” is a set of songs inspired by Carl Sandburg’s The American Songbag but updated to reflect America and the dream of California as it exists in 2023. It contains 3 songs I interpreted from the Carl Sandburg book (“Sweet Betsy From Bike”, “The Gambler Blues”, and “Willy the Weeper”), plus original songs I completed during a trip to Southern California in October of 2023. During that trip, I attended the Adobe Max conference, and many of the music videos I created for this album include new tricks and techniques I learned at Max. As I worked on these compositions, I spent a lot of time contemplating the demise of the American dream, and trying to link what I saw in California today with the type of giddy enthusiasm the original pioneers and prospectors had when they arrived in the state. The song “Sweet Wilma From Berlin” is about my mother, and in many ways is my origin story because it describes how she went to Hollywood with 3 kids and pregnant with me at age 20. For a year she lived alone with us in a strange but fascinating new world while my dad did a tour of Korea. She was also a pioneer and a prospector lured by the dream of California.

Music available on all the major streaming platforms.

Watch individual videos below.