In the studio, T.K. Webb plays meandering riffs on a vintage Guild acoustic. He proves to be a down-home guy, kind and a bit reluctant in the spotlight. He cracks wry jokes and offers to cry on command.

In the studio, T.K. Webb plays meandering riffs on a vintage Guild acoustic. He proves to be a down-home guy, kind and a bit reluctant in the spotlight. He cracks wry jokes and offers to cry on command.

In a way, Webb's the same on his records, a catalog of jangly Americana with big ideas and a sound as open as the West. They landed on my desk a few years back, when he was living in Brooklyn, and immediately gleamed from the heap.

When Webb ditched the Big Apple for the Midwest, Columbus imported one of folk-rock's most intriguing voices.

I've been here for about a year and a half. I came back to Columbus for the cost of living. My wife is originally from here. We met in New York. She was booking the Knitting Factory. That was one of the things when I left New York - Columbus was not that different from where I was from.

It's killer to have a yard. It's killer to be able to walk outside and there's a bunch of grass. You don't realize you like that until you're surrounded by concrete.

I think I needed a t least a year to write and figure out what I really wanted to do. I made a self-titled album the month I left New York. I found out I was going to be a dad, and I just wrote this weird record that I recorded in my buddy's bedroom. That record was for that moment. It's definitely time to start all out again.

As a rock 'n' roll dude, it hits you: This is going to be a definite adjustment. Part of that is a welcome adjustment, just from a nuttier lifestyle. As a songwriter, any major life change is, sooner or later, going to bring out a bunch of songs.

I feel really inspired again. There's an urgency in my mind to be playing and writing again. It's the best feeling. You don't realize how special that is - that initial inspiration when you're a teen - until years later. I kind of feel like that again. Things that used to bum me out just kind of seem funny right now.

Three things I can't live without are my baby, my wife and music.

Being here has reminded me why I do what I do, why I started writing songs in the first place. That's the best thing about moving back to the Midwest. Even with family, I have more time that's just my own time.

I write songs basically for an outlet. And originally, to get out of where I was from. It was an excuse to leave that wasn't just train-hopping or something. It was an excuse to leave that wasn't just bumming around.

I first picked up a guitar when I was nine. My brother had guitars around the house, and he was too busy to play them much. I sort of would hide them. The guitar seems like such a mysterious thing when there's no one there to show you what it does. It's been a constant since then.

The b est advice I ever received is don't devote your life to rock 'n' roll. This guy named Mike Czech told me that. He was a Kansas City indie-rock luminary. Awesomest guy ever. He ran the first club I ever played at.

I've met so many killer people. I got to express myself. In the end, it was totally worth it. I can't complain about that too much, the ups and downs.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at jross@columbusalive.com.