So, I've released the album.

I think it was in 2009, perhaps even late 2008. That's the day that I went to a songwriter showcase and performed two songs, including She Believes. Jake Oken-Berg was performing too. Jake had a lot more experience than me. I was there to nervously try and get some performance experience playing in front of an audience, while Jake was there to simply test a couple of his songs for audience response and then sneak out the back door.

Jake is also a piano-driven songwriter and has been around a lot, touring with both his self-titled band and another well-known band he co-fronted called The Retrofits. He felt an affinity for She Believes. We met for coffee, and I shared my complete lack of knowledge about putting a decent recording project together. Soon, we came to an agreement - Jake would serve as my producer for the project.

With that, the months and years started passing. It sounds funny that it took so long, because the project really was never dormant - there was always something on the calendar, and another dependency to work through. But when balancing it with life and Real Jobs, things have to wait for the weekend, or perhaps the weekend after. Jake was patient and essential for the whole duration, and was involved with every step, from tightening up song forms before the studio dates, to helping me edit comps and direct the session musicians as they came in, to signing off on the final mixes and masters and giving me the thumbs-up to print. But even more helpful was just the reinforcement of telling me good ways to work, and what would be a waste of time and money. I'm sure that when it netted out, he saved me hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

At this point, I look back and see mostly a blur. Wrestling with editing comps, learning about mixing and mastering, restructuring songs, picking photographs and fonts, etc. But the point has been the music - it's been extremely gratifying to bring to life several songs that I have cared deeply about on a musical level.

So this is just to note down the fact that the album is finally released, which I'm still kind of stunned by, and to point out the people that deserve thanks for their direct roles in the project.

Obviously, Jake, for the reasons above and more.

Pete Wright was there from the beginning. One of the songs is even about his family. He was listening to roughdrafts and encouraging me to move forward when I wasn't even sure I had any business calling myself a songwriter. Pete also took the wonderful photos that are part of the cd package.

Steve Turmell was also there all the way through - he was always excited about the progression of song ideas, and his background as a musician and recording artist definitely helped make the possibilities of recording seem more real.

Scott Townsend and Chris Gustafson came by the house often to jam song ideas with me on drum and bass, and volunteered their time for some long sessions in the studio to get rhythm tracks down.

Eric Austin and Dan Schlesinger were bandmates of mine when I was in Deja Nu, and came by to volunteer their sounds of clarinet and trombone onto My Favorite Clown.

There are so many more, from the session musicians to the recording engineers, all of whom you can see on the album page. They all know the score about being independent musicians and try to pitch in in various ways to save costs, while also remaining professional. Portland musicians are a very generous community and it was a ton of fun working with them all.