Branching Out - cover art FINAL.jpg

Branching Out EP

Release date: 11/29/21 

This is my debut EP! "Branching Out" is comprised of my original music, and songs I associate most with nature. I lived, and working, in Yellowstone National Park over the 2021 Summer, where I had time to heal and take new inspiration. It's my hope with this EP that you feel more connected with the natural world than before. It is imperative that we understand how to appreciate and care for the Earth, so that we may preserve it for future generations.   

About "Branching Out"

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   1. First Ascent 

 

This is about the first time I went rock climbing; it was so good, that I joined my university's "Outdoor Pursuits" rec program, worked my way up to lead camping trips for our students around the state of Texas, and now I have an employee recreation job in Yellowstone National Park with @YCERP, so you could say it went well!

 

Basically, I did the best I could to capture the spirit of adventure we all feel when taking on something new and exciting that challenges us to grow. Now go hiking and enjoy the outdoors (after you listen to the rest of my EP)!!

 

     2. Oh What a Beautiful Morning

 

Classic tune from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma." I recorded this over the Summer of 2021 in my cabin while working in Yellowstone. If you ever hike, camp, climb, road trip, or are outside with me, I will shamelessly whistle or sing this almost every morning.  

 

     3. Caprock

 

An original of mine for one of my favorite State Parks in Texas; Caprock Canyon State Park near Quitaque, Texas. From start to finish, I wanted this to feel like you're spending the day there; from the soft beginning sounds, to the land waking up, leading to your mind being blown from the beauty of this land. I think we need to spend more time enjoying the lands that have been preserved for our recreation than on our phones. Yes, stop wasting so much time on your phone!

 

     4. A Whole New World

 

One of the feature songs from Disney's Aladdin. I've been a fan of this song since I first heard at at the age of 5. Call me cheesy, I don't care. I love this song as it speaks of the freedom I feel when exploring something new; that although there is only one "physical" Earth, there are so many different places, cultures, ethnicities, people, and ideas that have their own little worlds. 

 

I also arranged this in Yellowstone after visiting the Shoshone Geyser Basin, as this basin is one of the more remote geyser basins in Yellowstone. There is a real privilege that comes with being here, as it's an 11 mile one-way hike. I had the privilege of going there twice this summer, and WOW it's hard to think of anything else than just being there, enjoying the raw, natural beauty of geysers from one of the worlds largest super-volcanoes. I hope you, the listener, get that sense of presence. 

 

​     5. Wichita

 

An original of mine, I wrote "Wichita" for the Wichita Wildlife National Refuge near Lawton Oklahoma. These mountains, being only a three hour drive from home, were a sanctuary for me while I was still figuring out who I am during my college years. I must have taken over twenty trips there in two years. Any time I was feeling low, down, depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc, I went there to heal. Every time left the Wichita Mountains, I felt restored. Every time! Do you have a place like that?

 

     6. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

 

In April of 2021, I found out that one of my close friends, Jared Friz, from the rec department mentioned in Wichita had died from a trad (traditional) rock climbing accident. This devastated our entire outdoor community as Jared was the human glue that helped hold our community together, and was a guide for those who needed help. He was one of the most genuine human beings I have ever come in contact with. If you knew Jared, you knew how much he cared for everyone he spent time with. I had the privilege in January of 2019 to lead a trip through our "Outdoor Pursuits" program to Caprock Canyon State Park (refer to track three). He was very supportive of my friend, Beryl, and I as we did a lot of the planning and organizing for this trip. Jared's example of standing back, and only offering assistance when really needed, taught me that sometimes as a leader you need to let people find their own path. 

 

I miss Jared dearly. I made this recording several nights after I learned of Jared's death. He was 27. 

 

I miss you Jared. 

 

     7. Amazing Grace

 

This has to be one of the oldest tunes I have in my memory. Whether or not your identify with a particular religion, or several, I believe that we can all find ourselves in this song. I found myself in this song when being lost during my college years because I had no idea what I wanted to do with the trumpet performance degree I was getting (cringy, privileged  white-boy problems, am I right?). Nature is where I find my source of life, my direction, creativity, sense of being, and so forth. In other words, if I did not have my connection with nature, I do not know what I would do. And I don't think it's just me. Through everyone I've talked with, at some level, our connection with nature is crucial for life, as nature is where we came form. I don't think we, myself included, are connected enough with nature at this time. I don't necessarily know how everyone else can grow with nature except to get out and hike, which is why I made this EP; I want you to stop making excuses about why you cannot go outside. GO OUTSIDE ALREADY! I believe that our future depends on it!!