Liner Notes

As I mention in my book, I didn’t put myself back together alone. Here are just some of the people that are responsible for my album existing. Each of you belong in my ending credits.


We’ll always be kids below the stairs. Thank you for carrying my world on your shoulders, for the countless nights where I drove the seven minutes to your house to work on music, for your family’s way of always welcoming me for so many years. Together, I think we’ve realized how much there is out there that we haven’t seen yet. The older we grow, the more thankful I am that we can make music together in protest of the passing time.


To an extent that you probably don’t know, you saved the making of this album and you encouraged me to write my book. I ran with that advice. You have since become such a close friend of mine, even down to sharing the name of the album with you first. Thank you for being here from the beginning and for letting the world see my music through your eyes in our videos. You are one of the real ones. Our lives may not be the movies we want them to be, but we can sure as hell make them reconsider. We’ve got a lot more movies to make.


Thanks for giving me big shoes to fill. Thanks for being at the core of so many of my memories. Thanks for the photographs, the drives down the highway, the visits to your old childhood home. Thanks for the tips on how to perfectly mix cranberry and orange juice. Thanks for the inspiration. I couldn’t do your eulogy justice; I hope I did your song justice. I know you’ll find your place in the sun, because I see you in my shadow.


I neglected to tell you how much you changed my life, but I’m glad I could finally send you my letter. May no great confession ever go unsent again, may you know your impact on my life and the lives of so many others, and may the light of a dead rock star someday take you home.


I’ll be with you any time you say you’re down to ride. Maybe the dream of being roommates in New York City someday wasn’t so farfetched after all.


For always relating to me, for deciphering pictures of whales at art shows together, for constantly reminding me that writing, art, and lyrics can have the depth and strength of North American Mountains. Thanks for being a brother. Here’s to many more songs together.


Thank you for stepping in and bringing my vision to the screen by capturing it with your camera. From the moment we met you looked a lot like an old friend, and I’m so thankful to have that in New York City.


I hope I made you proud with this album. Thank you for supporting me, for giving me second chances, and for showing me Bob Dylan’s acoustic version of Blood on the Tracks. The way you can hear his shirt buttons hitting the guitar when he plays is pretty special. Even the greatest masters of all have charming imperfections.


Thank you for letting me lean on you in the years of my life when I needed crutches the most, when I felt nearly entirely broken. You helped me put myself back together and for that I owe you the Circleville sky and all its stars. Because of you, I appreciate a lot of things about life that I wouldn’t otherwise. You make me feel warm enough to not need any blanket at any drive-in theater anywhere in forgotten America. Oh, and thanks for singing on all of these songs.


Whether or not you know it, your ability to execute my artistic vision and bring it to life with your eye for graphic design took this project from rough sheets of scrap paper ripped up in a madman’s bedroom to what people now see on screen, on vinyl, on CD, and in the book packaging. I had lofty and impossible ideas for how special I wanted the artwork for this album to feel, and you made it happen. Thanks for always being by my side through our rambunctious adventures, bro.


Your mixing on this record came at a time when I needed it most, and you delivered. You took the lo-fi pieces of what I created in my bedroom during a crazy time in my life and turned it into something polished. You gave me the perfect mix of my old self plus a new beginning. Thanks for diving in.


Thank you for playing my music live with me and for giving me the opportunity to tour. That’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, and you not only make it doable, you make it effortless. Keep your ear to the ground. May every album release of mine coincide with a new great awakening of yours, until your skin is all covered in tattoos and mine is all covered in wrinkles.


Since my high school days, you’ve made it possible for me to play my music live. For so many shows we’ve done together, so many trips we’ve been on and offbeat hotel rooms we’ve slept in, for so many days of trial and error in New York and New Jersey and Erie and Athens...thanks for killing it. You don’t need practice to make it sound perfect.


Thanks for making so many of these recordings possible. I have a feeling we’ll be making a lot more records together.


From our first days ever spent together at a different summer camp than the one in this story, I’ve been your biggest fan. Thank you for taking so many photographs during the making of this album and on the sets of the music videos. If our friendship is ever in danger of dying, let’s meet up and regrow it at the Daisy Diner.


Thanks for reading my fingerprints. Your song is on the way.


You played a huge role in helping me rebuild myself. Thanks for teaching me how to gain the strength to lift the weight of twenty-five years of life. I know you’ll be here until the end, and I hope you find the secret to happiness. I’ll be waiting on you to share it with everyone.


You were a voice of reason over the phone during the years when I felt the most lost. I can tell the world you’ll be the next Springsteen, and all I want in return is for you to listen to a million of my broken love song voice memos. Someday, we will write them together in Nashville.


You can have my ribcage. I hope it protects your fragile heart from a world that can be vicious and cruel. I know you like you know the ocean, and I know the world is missing out if it doesn’t see all of you. I hope we can sing together again someday, this time in harmony.


Thank you for the photographs behind my albums all through the years and for the ones used in the artwork of Holes In Our Stories. Your work is now even more immortal to me.


Even as we get older, you constantly find new ways to help me get my music heard by the world, and for that I’ll always be thankful to have you as a bro. From starting at the very bottom of a snowy Cornell hill together, until we hit the top.


I know we don’t talk anymore. But thanks for your keyboard. I took it and wrote a thousand sad songs.


Thanks for the support, for yelling the loudest at all of my shows, and for introducing me to the crazy world of music. I’ll give you the best damn best man speech a best man has ever given.


Thanks for always being here to make my music a reality. If you didn’t love tea so much, I never would have recorded “you are my favorite miracle” on The Book Report. My idea of a perfect setting in which to make music began with you.


You let me into your world when mine felt like it was crumbling. As a result, you helped me meet some real friends that most people would die to be Fake Four. Thank you for making the vinyl of this album possible. As a wise man once said, if we want some real change, we need to make it with our friends.


I know you well enough to know that you are happy now, and I can think of no greater joy than that.


Mom; Dad; my four brothers Joe, Tommy, Gabe, and Noah; E; Clara; Andrew Rose; the camp counselors and the good folks of the Young Writers Workshop; Chris “Eyeconic Visions” Kelly; Chris Gehringer of Sterling Sound; Jay Bernard; Andres Vahos; Josh Angehr; my Fake Four Inc. family; Enrique Mancia; F. Virtue; Chris Pizzolo; Zac Hill; Beth Oldis; Jessica Eve; Eun Suk Hong; Chelsea Wertheim; Andrew Arne; Conor Burnett and Ryan Kimiecik; Kinetics, David, Accent and the underground icons of Folk Revival; Carl Storkman; Griffin Dinsmore; Ken T.; and the good people of the Tompkins Square post office on East 3rd Street in New York, NY.


I want to thank every single fan who believes in my music and keeps it alive — you are the reason it is around today, and I mean that wholeheartedly. My advice for you is to send your letters, to confront your most uncomfortable fears, and to understand that you are not alone in anything.

“It’s not about being understood by everyone if you can feel understood by even a slight few.” —Matthew, a fan I met at a small coffeeshop show in New York City in 2018

Thank you for making this bigger than me.