Artist: Canyon City
Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado
Latest album: Circling the Sun EP
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): Nimrod (my first high school band name)
What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?
One of my favorite memories is from a couple years ago when I was playing an acoustic show at small venue in Camden Town of London called Green Note. I was still pretty new to the UK and even though it was a relatively small room, the show was one of my first that had sold out well in advance. It ended up being such a special night, one of those evenings where you can just feel that everyone is riding the same emotional wave and you have this feeling of connectivity that’s hard to describe. I remember sitting in the front lobby, kind of hidden away while people were walking in, and making an effort to remember as much about that moment as I could — what the walls looked like, what the chatter and noises of people walking in sounded like, the lighting, how it all felt. I’m so glad I did, because now I go back to that mental image often and smile.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
I’ve found that there’s an environment that really works for my creative process, and though I don’t always adhere to the same motions, it’s a set of tools that really help me get in the right headspace while writing. I start the day with some coffee, then before I do anything else, I try to go outside for a brief walk to start the creative day. After that, I set up the studio for whatever I’m working on that day, maybe light a candle, if it’s nice outside I open the window and go to work. At least once a day I also try to take a break to meditate, which is a huge part of my creative and emotional wellness. At the risk of showing my nerdiness, I also keep an air quality monitor going in the studio to make sure the inside CO2 levels aren’t getting too high and do what I can to keep a solid flow of fresh air. It’s all about creating an environment that makes it easier for the soft-spoken parts of the mind to get their say in.
If you had to write a mission statement for your career, what would it be?
Again, I’m really sounding the nerd alert here, but I actually do have a mission statement written out that I revisit and revise frequently. I’m not going to share it in its entirety, as it’s born of some personal places of the heart, but the essence is for my work to be a conduit for connection. Whether that’s personally connecting to the moment I’m in, or offering something that listeners can connect over or with wherever they are, or facilitating spaces like the concert I described earlier where people from all walks of life find themselves having the same emotional experience together. I think there’s a great healing to connection and I try to make the most of that opportunity wherever it can be fostered.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
Since my wife and I moved to Colorado this year, we’ve truly been in our happy place. Going out into nature isn’t just something I enjoy, I consider it to be a crucial part of my creative process. Whether it’s hiking, camping, cycling around town, snowboarding or just doing my daily walks throughout the neighborhood, going into places overtaken by life does so much to clear my mind, restore my soul and inspire me to explore new perspective. As a result my songs have lots of references to the natural world, especially as I see and appreciate more of life’s mechanisms that connect us all in this shared environment.
Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?
Oh man, if I could meet up with the late Tom Petty for some burritos and margaritas I would be in heaven. I don’t know if that meal and musician go together in any logical way, but listening to Wildflowers and digging into some delicious Baja Burrito — a favorite of mine from my old stomping grounds in Nashville — are two of the best feelings I can summon. Otherwise I’m a sucker for folk music early in the mornings, especially when I’m trying to pull that perfect shot of espresso.
Photo credit: Brooke Johnson