Turning Points: Homecoming

After the near-crippling loss of his mother, a songwriter regains his footing in his music

I first knew I wanted to be a performer in the kitchen of my Aunt Mary's house in Santa Ana, Calif., when I was seven. At my mother's request, I sang Rosin the Bow in front of her and her twin sister. It was so powerful to sing that old folk song and be showered with love and affection and enthusiasm and encouragement by both of them. That was an event. That was my moment. From there on, when people asked, I didn't say baseball player or cowboy, I said I wanted to be an entertainer. Soon after dropping out of...

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