My 2016 in Live Music

Time again for my annual musical nerd post. After a stellar 2015, this year was a bit of a letdown. I saw 25 acts this year, down from 30 in 2015. I did see quite a few acts for the first time in 2016, but only one blew me away. Most disappointing though is that I only caught one show in a new venue (new to me). Oh well, here is to a better 2017!

Below is a list of the musicians that I saw live in 2016 with favorites in bold.

Lockn’ 2016
  • Zoso — 1/14, The Jefferson, Charlottesville VA
  • Heartless Bastards — 02/28, The Southern, Charlottesville VA
  • Yo La Tengo — 03/27, The Jefferson, Charlottesville VA
  • White Denim— 04/19, The Southern, Charlottesville VA
  • We Are Scientists — 05/15, The Southern, Charlottesville VA
  • Lake Street Dive — 06/11, Charlottesville Pavilion, Charlottesville VA
  • Tony Furtado — 07/03, Eddie’s Attic, Decatur, GA
  • Joe Russo’s Almost Dead— 08/25, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Vulfpeck — 08/26, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • White Denim — 08/26, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Charles Bradley & His Extraordinares — 08/26, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Peter Wolf — 08/26, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Ween — 08/26, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Phish — 08/26, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Keller Williams Grateful Grass — 08/27, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Twiddle — 08/28, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • The Wailers — 08/28, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Chris Robinson Brotherhood — 08/28, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Phil Lesh & Friends — 08/28, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Gary Clark Jr. — 08/28, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Phish — 08/28, Lockn’ Music Festival, Arrington VA
  • Real Estate— 09/29, The Jefferson, Charlottesville VA
  • Chris Robinson Brotherhood— 11/10, The Jefferson, Charlottesville VA
  • The South Carolina Broadcasters — 11/19, Cville Coffee, Charlottesville VA
  • Driftwood — 11/19, The Southern, Charlottesville VA

Previous Years



Always be on the offensive

There is a simple message that keeps popping up in my life over the last few weeks. It’s become a source of motivation and an answer to occasional thoughts of doubt, negativity, and just feeling overwhelmed.

No matter what, always be on the offensive.

Throughout my life, I’ve had a habit to go with the flow. I’m not afraid of confrontation or stand for what I believe in. I often do in business. But, I’m also content to sit back and let others drive decisions if I sense that my opinion or viewpoint could ruffle someone else’s feathers, especially in matters that don’t pertain to my business.

That kind of attitude often puts me and my family on the defensive.

It’s come up in my family’s volunteer efforts. My wife and I can continue to sit back and be assigned tasks that might overwhelm us or we can speak up and take on what we know we can deliver while also making the scope of our request clear so we do not over commit or be taken advantage of.

It’s come up in the precious time together as a family. We have been taken on some wonderful vacations thanks to the grandparents. Week long beach vacations in the Carolinas, Disney World and the Mickey boat to name a few. With three kids under the age of 10, it’s tough to do more than that for a variety of reasons, mostly financial and time off from work. Of course, that’s the easy way out. You only live once, right? Before you know it our kids will be off to college and we will regret not taking them to more places. Again, it’s a matter of going on the offensive and making it happen regardless of the hurdles.

And then there is my business. It takes a toll on me, but I love it. The peaks and valleys throughout the years have given me a lot of grey hairs. Every time we hit a valley, it’s a stressful period. We keep bouncing back by going on the offensive, but maybe we should be doing even more.

I recently saw John Bassett III, CEO of Vaughn-Bassett furniture speak at the University of Virginia and subsequently have been reading his book, Making It In America. Mr. Bassett and his family have been in the furniture business for generations. While all his competitors were selling out to the Chinese in the early 2000s, Mr. Bassett and his team held their ground and keep producing their furniture in America … and were successful. But they didn’t hunker down during this crisis, they went on the offensive by investing in new ideas and programs, which led to higher revenues, incentivized workers, and improved production.

As I get older, I am starting to feel time ticking away like never before. Sitting back is not a way to live life to the fullest no matter what the situation. Go after it every day like it’s your last.


I love the month of August. It’s a transformative time on the calendar as the dog days of summer wind down and give way to fall.

On August 1st, I’m in the thick of a summer haze. It’s miserably hot, but that means I’m at the pool almost every day. August is the time for that last summer getaway; the last chance to attend a music festival or a larger-than-life stadium show. It’s the month typically reserved for that 10 game west coast swing, which could kill your baseball team’s playoff chances. If you’ve been golfing all summer, August usually produces the best round of the year. August makes me think of Maine. I love Maine.

But as August moves on, an excitement of a different sort builds. Friends, neighbors, and colleagues all return home after that last summer road trip. It’s good to see them, catch up and make plans for the fall. It’s back to school and whether you are a teacher, student, or parent, it always symbolizes a new start. After one of the slowest stretches of the year, work finally returns to a normal pace because everyone is back at the office.

August begins in a stupor that slowly wears off as the days pass by. At the end of month, that stupor has been replaced with a sense of purpose, optimism, self-motivation and focus to get busy again.

It’s this transformation that makes August the best month of the year. I can’t wait to experience it again, but first things first.

See you at the pool.

It’s the end of the laptop as I know it (and I feel fine)

About one month ago, I purchased my 4th iPad. The first 3 didn’t go so well. I still own the first 2 (1st Gen iPad and the 1st Gen iPad mini), but they belong to my kids and have for years. About a year ago, I thought I could use an iPad Air for work to go along with my MacBook. That didn’t work out too well either. I stopped using it after a couple weeks. I sold it after a couple months.

Why the hell would I buy another iPad?

One reason and probably the main one is that I’m a sucker for gadgets, specifically Apple devices. I’ve owned at least a half dozen iPhones and Apple TVs over the years. I also own an Apple Watch (at least I waited over 6 months after its release to purchase it). I wanted to try the iPad Pro.

The other reason is I wanted to try to replace my laptop with a tablet. That was never my motivation when purchasing the previous iPads. Regardless, I was fully aware that I could be returning it within the 30 day policy. I was hopeful, but realistic.

Before I dive into the result of my first 30 days, I should explain what I do for a living, which will explain what I use a computer for. I’m the co-owner of the digital and branding company, Storyware, in charge of Sales & Operations. Our team currently consists of 5 people, so we all wear a lot of hats. Occasionally I would roll my sleeves up for some very basic front-end development or use PhotoShop.

During the last 6 months though, my business partner and I decided that I won’t be writing code or pushing pixels around anymore unless it’s an absolute emergency. I need to focus on my day job — selling and running the non-technical side of our business. Thus, I use a lot of communication, documentation, and productivity applications. So when the time came for a new laptop, I decided to take the plunge and buy the 9.7 inch iPad Pro with the Apple keyboard and Pencil.

Now I don’t plan to use the iPad Pro as my only computing device. I still have a Mac, in fact two, but they are rather old machines. I will be using a 2010 Mac mini at the office. It’s getting a new hard drive, which will be nice. I also have a 2010 11 inch MacBook Air at home. However, I am giving it to my kids. I only plan on using it in case of an emergency.

When I purchased the tablet I envisioned using the desktop as my primary device at the office and the iPad Pro as my primary device away from the office. This is no small change. As a small business owner, I used my laptop a lot away from the office — including almost every night.

What has happened though is more than I expected. When given the choice of the desktop or tablet at the office, I prefer the iPad Pro. I do use both at the office, but I expected the tablet would be in the bag in favor of the desktop. Now it’s the first device I boot up each morning. The iPad Pro has become my primary computing device, rather quickly.

Why now though? How is the 4th time a charm?

It’s the keyboard and the pencil, without a doubt. I was very skeptical when I bought the Apple keyboard. In fact, I almost didn’t buy it, but I figured I could return it. The exact opposite has happened. I love it. The iPad Pro keyboard just feels natural to me, which was a surprising development. I made a lot more fat-finger mistakes on my last laptop, a 12 inch MacBook, than I do with the iPad Pro keyboard.

The Apple Pencil definitely lives up to the hype. I was more excited about that purchase than the keyboard and it has not let me down. I have only used it with one app on a regular basis (GoodNotes), but it has been flawless.

So, my 30-day trial has ended and I am fully committed to using the iPad Pro as my primary computing device. It feels different, fun, and odd at the same time. Most of all, it feels powerful. It is the first device that meets my computing and entertainment needs. I like that feeling a lot.

Originally published at Storyware.

My 2015 in Live Music

2015 was one of my best years ever when it came to seeing live music. Here is a rundown of whom I saw, with my favorites in bold.

  • Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band — 1/3, Union Arts & Manufacturing, Washington D.C.
  • Umphreys McGee— 2/11, The Jefferson, Charlottesville VA
  • TAUK — 2/11, The Southern, Charlottesville VA
  • The War on Drugs — 3/29, The National, Richmond VA
  • Delta Spirit — 4/11, The Jefferson, Charlottesville VA
  • Avers — 4/17, The Southern, Charlottesville VA
  • Futurebirds — 4/17, The Southern, Charlottesville VA
  • Ryan Adams — 5/3, nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Charlottesville VA
  • Beck — 5/20, nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Charlottesville VA
  • Other Lives — 6/2, The Southern, Charlottesville VA
  • Alabama Shakes — 6/9, nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Charlottesville VA
  • Sonny Landreth — 6/18, The Southern, Charlottesville VA
  • John Butler Trio — 7/9, All Good Music Festival, Berry Hill Farm — Summit Point, WV
  • The Motet — 7/9, All Good Music Festival, Berry Hill Farm — Summit Point, WV
  • moe. — 7/9, All Good Music Festival, Berry Hill Farm — Summit Point, WV
  • Everyone Orchestra — 7/10, All Good Music Festival, Berry Hill Farm — Summit Point, WV
  • Chris Robinson Brotherhood — 7/10, All Good Music Festival, Berry Hill Farm — Summit Point, WV
  • Railroad Earth — 7/10, All Good Music Festival, Berry Hill Farm — Summit Point, WV
  • The Word — 7/10, All Good Music Festival, Berry Hill Farm — Summit Point, WV
  • Joe Russo’s Almost Dead — 7/10, All Good Music Festival, Berry Hill Farm — Summit Point, WV
  • Primus — 7/10, All Good Music Festival, Berry Hill Farm — Summit Point, WV
  • The Wood Brothers — 7/15, Waterfront Plaza, Brookfield Place, NYC
  • Foo Fighters — 7/16, Citi Field, Queens NYC
  • My Morning Jacket — 7/21, nTelos Wireless Pavilion, Charlottesville VA
  • Phish — 8/16, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia MD
  • JR JR — 11/2, The Jefferson Theater, Charlottesville VA
  • Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band — 11/12, Bowery Ballroom, NYC
  • Futurebirds — 11/12, Bowery Ballroom, NYC
  • Stevie Wonder — 11/17, JPJ Arena, Charlottesville VA
  • We Were Promised Jetpacks — 12/4, The Southern, Charlottesville VA