ACG Music & Healing brings human connection, beauty, and expressivity to individuals facing isolation and challenge, through collaboration with a skilled and trained ACG Artist. These services are available to a wide variety of clients through partnerships with more than a dozen social service providers including hospitals, shelters, residential rehabilitation facilities, parental education and family health organizations, and veterans service providers. Learn more about ACG Music & Healing.


Cypress Tree was written in September and October 2022 by Neil with ACG Music and Healing Artist Lydia Froncek. This collaboration is in partnership with Texas Oncology. Lydia is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer, also a member of Austin folk outfit Ley Line.

“The process of writing this song together was pretty natural. We listened to some of Neil’s favorite songs and drew inspiration from their use of nature imagery and metaphor and the bluegrass style of music, rhythm and songwriting. The idea for the song began with the image of a cypress tree that brings him a lot of peace and clarity when he takes the time to sit and let his thoughts settle. Then the song goes on to explore a relationship with his friend. The chorus carries us to the river rushing by the cypress tree, offering a way forward even in troubled waters. The bridge is moment to ask some difficult questions about the relationship that ultimately bring us back to the hopefulness of the chorus. The song comes full circle to the cypress tree where the main character reunites with his friend, either in his thoughts or in reality, it’s open to interpretation.

To write this song together we explore the deep feelings and questions that come up in a shifting relationship with a close friend that struggles with substance abuse. Neil really opened up and was willing to channel these questions and experiences into poetry, both detailed scenes for the verses and larger metaphoric ideas for the chorus. I worked on the track to give it a bluegrass quality with acoustic guitar, mandolin and bass. Then Neil had a chance to record vocals for the first time in his life! He did a great job of gaining confidence with the singing as we went and the hardest part in my opinion is listening back and choosing takes but he was very patient with himself and this process.

After he recorded I added some harmonies to help build the song towards the end. We really enjoyed writing and recording this song and I think it captures an honest moment in Neil’s life that has some very universal themes.” -Lydia Froncek