RYAN HOLIDAY (bestselling author, the Michael Jordan of marketing)
To me, Holiday is The Godfather of modern marketing writers. He had five books published before the age of 30 and has been an advisor to clients Google, Tony Robbins, and Tim Ferris. Check out his book his book "Trust Me, I'm Lying", which dives into the malleability of today's click-bait fueled internet. Scary stuff.
Holiday is one of the worlds most efficient men. A master of zen and philosophy, he's taught me to be more self-aware and more present. I read five Ryan Holiday books this year and am about to dive into number six.
JEFFREY LEWIS (DIY musician, Comic book illustrator)
If there ever is a town square for DIY touring musicians, there would be a statue of Jeff in the middle. The NYC native has operated completely outside of the modern music industry (by choice), working as his own booking agent, tour manager and visual artist.
He's "underground" famous. Equally well known for creating comic books, as well as great folk/punk albums. I'd consider Jeff a pal and a hard working fella with deep respect for the art of independent music.
IKE REILLY (Songwriter, My "Dad")
Ike is known as the lovable loud mouth frontman for rock n roll band "The Ike Reilly Assassination". We did some tours earlier in the year and I learned a lot from this man. I was especially impressed with his joke telling between songs. His solo shows inspired me to hone in on my banter at shows. Ike is not my biological Dad, but I still call him that. It's pretty weird we have the same birthday.
CHARLIE CAPLOWE (Artist manager, Xtra Mile Records)
Many-a-folk might look up to "rock stars". I'm more fascinated by the behind-the-scenes figures who make the "rock stars". Charlie has a hard-working DIY approach to management and has helped build acts I really dig (Frank Turner, Will Varley, Skinny Lister). His creative marketing brain is admirable. One of my favorite stunts he (and Frank) came up with was "24 shows in 24 hours" to help launch a Frank Turner album campaign. It's documented in Franks "the road" video. Check out his label Xtra Mile Recordings.
DARRIN BRADBURY (Troubadour, Storyteller)
Darrin is a master of DIY touring. He is known as a folk/satirist and "no point" storyteller. He will make you laugh and cry in the same set, which is major-league difficult.
JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD (Minimalism Songwriter, Grunge Music Enthusiast)
Even with some 10 million bands on planet earth, it's still tough to find the ones that have their own identity, or original sound. Mayfield truly has her own thing going on and has mastered minimalism on another level. She sings and plays effortlessly, keeping it simple and working to her strengths. Clearly Mayfield is not trying to ride a trend-wave to popularity or get swept up in the pop culture zeitgeist, she's just doing what she wants to do. Super high respect for her aesthetic.
BEAU SORENSON (World's Most Efficient Sound Engineer)
Beau is the fastest and most efficient engineer I've ever seen in the studio. He's worked on several Death Cab for Cutie records, as well as other greats like Bob Mould. I tracked a record to analog tape with Beau in Oakland over the winter.
ROBBIE FULKS (Troubadour, Storyteller/songwriter)
After many of my shows this year, excited middle-aged dudes would come up to the stage saying "hey man you sound like Robbie Fulks!". I checked out Robbie and he is a master of the road and perfecting the live show. Definitely an inspiration.
JOHN VANDERSLICE (Legend/Songwriter/Mad Scientist)
Over the winter, I recorded an album to analog tape at Vanderslice's studio in Oakland. John is a mad scientist of recording and collects classic old gear for his studio Tiny Telephone.
He's a massive force of positive energy and I love him a lot. He's kind of my Dad. JV has a mutual love for 90s NBA basketball and jogging. Check out his studio and all the great records that they've worked on.