In October, I spent a few days out in Montana with a couple close friends working on a cabin. The last day we were there, we finished early and went to the trout stream two miles down the road for some fly fishing. It became one of those afternoons where everything fell into place. Autumn’s air was brisk but warm enough to take the gloves off. Between casts, we zoned out in the bluebird skies with drifting clouds overhead. It took some doing, but we eventually figured out what the trout were eating. Laughs and hi-fives were plentiful, but also the continuous drone of the current was contemplative. It had been over a year since my marriage fell apart, nine months since my dad passed; I was a different person in a way. I sat on the bank of the freestone river and was overwhelmed with two words: gratitude and generosity. I ruminated on those words for a while, continuing to move forward, vowing to stay present and vulnerable. At dusk, the crescent moon peered out above the mountains, and the stars that night, I’ll never forget. Change is good. Fucking hard, but good. For many, to say the last two years have been difficult would be an understatement. Stress and uncertainty about life in general, family, friends, kids, even Mother Earth has grown exponentially. There is a heaviness to human consciousness right now, a darkness at the surface. As a songwriter, I get to channel these feelings into songs. In Break Me Open, I confronted darkness, I wrote about fear, I looked at love from different angles, I left it all out on the field. These past couple years have been the hardest of my life: full of grief, loss, and change. I feel like I had two choices. I could run from life, turn away, grow cold, resort to drugs, run and keep running. Or, I could give myself a deep look within. I could dig deep where the pain lives, where fear is festering, to try shed a new skin and come back a better person. Everyone is so far from perfect. This is not a “divorce” album. And while going through that has shook me to my core, leaving me at times, wondering who I am, and where to go, this record is bigger. It’s about love - past, present, and future. It’s about fatherhood - the overwhelming feeling of deep love for my kids and the melancholy of watching them grow up right before my eyes. It’s about accepting my faults and wrongdoings, exposing myself, and trying to know myself better than I did the day before. But above the darkness, it’s a message of hope, honesty, and growth. It’s a call to be vulnerable: Break Me Open.