I grew up in the foothills of the Appalachians, Fayetteville Tennessee, the land of Jack Daniels. Iíve written poems and lyrics as long as I can remember. I first put them to melodies on a Kuke-ulele (an elongated, crazy painted up ukulele) my Mom bought me in Greenwich Village. I moved on to guitar, piano, harmonica, trumpet and banjo- playing in various bands throughout high schoolÖ a bluegrass band named Pure Lard, a rock band named Unclaimed Freight.
My formative heroes were songwriters like Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker,
Tom Waits, Randy Newman, John Prine, early Springsteen and Michael Franks
I came to Nashville on a football scholarship with Vanderbilt. I signed with Vanderbilt, not because of their great football record, but because they had good English professors and primarily because Guy Clark played regularly at the Exit Inn.
After graduation, I opened a restaurant, Faison's, close to Music Row in Nashville. Then a few years later I opened 12th and Porter. I had a good run in the restaurant business, six restaurants and almost 25 years. I met and fed and got drunk with many of my heroes (never telling anyone my songwriting secret) and made new heroes. When producing a dish or a song, I like to give people something they donít expect or canít get everywhere.