I first heard about the band Lost in the Trees from my daughter Maya. But then I read about them in Garden and Gun. So I knew they must be good. They are a totally interesting mix of singer-songwriter, alt-country and…classical! There are some songs on their album All Alone in an Empty House that sound completely classical. I have to say, the title of the album and first song was a big appeal—one of my happiest times is when I am all alone in an empty house (three kids, a husband, and various people who help out a lot and come and go as they please make it very, very RARE that I get to be all alone in an empty house). The words to the song are sad, eerie, and moody, but I still love it. LOVE it. I’m not going to recommend my five favorite songs this time, because I think you should download the whole album and listen to it all in one continuous flow. It’s best that way. And I’m thrilled that Ari stopped by my back porch!
What was your favorite comfort food growing up?
My mother’s pizza! She’d make the dough by pouring all the flour in a big pile right on her chop block table (the kind with the old sewing machine pedal used as the base); half white flower, and half whole wheat. The sauce was just a can of tomato paste mixed with water and sautéed garlic, all simmered in a big cast-iron pan. The taste was sweet and tangy. She’d cover our old shallow baking pan with oil and heat it in the oven. She said it would fry the crust a bit, so it would be extra crispy on the edges. Large circles of red onions and cheese would be our only toppings. So good!!!
What is it now?
My mother’s pizza. I try to make it, but I’ve yet to do as good a job as she did!
What’s your must-have food when on the road?
Tea! Bringing our tea selection on the road with us has been a lifesaver. Royal Golden Yunnan for the morning, Green Dragon oolong for lunch, and fresh peppermint before bed.
What’s your viewpoint on organic food?
We try to eat as naturally as possible. That often includes organic and local food. My wife is a huge foodie and works at several specialty food stores, has a certificate in sustainable agriculture, and works on a farm. So you can imagine the influence she has on me!
Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
Probably the Pink Floyd albums Meddle and Atom Heart Mother, and the Edward Scissorhands movie soundtrack by Danny Elfman.
Who is it now?
Radiohead’s album Kid A and Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane over the Sea are certainly two of my favorites. There is a lot of classical and film music there, too!
I’m very pro sustainable living. Nothing pisses me off more than the twisted words of the GOP and their constant neglect of the environment. Big oil and the GOP are currently trying to make fracking legal in my hometown, which could destroy our water table! Sometimes, I’d rather go and start a fistfight than write a song! Greed is such a horrible thing!
Where’s your favorite place to play music?
I love playing small acoustic shows where we don’t need to amplify ourselves. Those are the most rewarding because you get to meet some of the folks there and talk to them like individuals, rather than talking to a big crowd (which I’m still not very good at).
As you travel and tour, what’s one insight about humanity that you’ve gained from your adventures?
Being in a band on tour means you live on the interstate and guzzle up a lot of gas with your big van. The country is so beautiful, but we smear it with fast-food chains and Wal-marts. We’ll stop for gas, then drive eight hours and stop again, and it gets confusing. “Is this the same place?” Perhaps the wonderful things about humanity will always balance out the negatives, or maybe the good will even outweigh the bad, it’s hard to predict. Overall, I think the adventure of the human race has been a wonderful one. We’ve created some serious passion in our time here on earth, but we certainly love destroying ourselves along the way.