A Brooklyn Love Story


Eight years ago, I met Sal while we were working together at a technology startup. He was one of the first guys I started dating when I moved to the city but I kept trying to break up with him- I had just moved to Brooklyn and wasn’t looking for anything serious.

But something about Sal magnetized me to him. It was almost like I’d known him my whole life. We’d both grown up in Catholic schools, were the oldest children of our families, and had big dreams we wanted to pursue. He was playing in a band called The Astounding and our creative energies meshed instantly.

During one of the weeks Sal and I were broken up he invited me to come to a show he was playing. I dragged my roommate an hour and a half outside of Manhattan to a tiny church basement in the Bronx. Both of us were wondering why the hell we got all dressed up to watch this tiny band in the middle of the nowhere play for a bunch of high schoolers. We grabbed some Cokes and sat way in the back, waiting for the show to start.

Sal and his band got on stage and started to play- and I felt a shift. I could see the passion, vulnerability, and feel the sheer joy he was exuding. This quiet guy that sat behind me at work transformed into a full blown rock star. It was a side of him I’d never seen before and my stomach filled with butterflies.


Over the last eight years I’ve gotten to see Sal’s musical journey unfold. I’ve seen him get up the courage to go from guitarist to lead singer, and I’ve heard his sound evolve and his lyrics mature as we’ve grown up.

Last night, I had the absolute pleasure of being front row at his record release show at Mercury Lounge. His new band, EXNATIONS just released their first EP called ‘Tiny Sound in the Dark’ and finished a four-city tour to celebrate their new music.

For thirty minutes I watched in awe as my husband, Taylor, John, and Matt put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen them play. My stomach filled with butterflies just like it did that night in the church basement.

I’m so proud of the hard work it took to get this record out, Sal’s dedication to his craft (while working a full time job) and his constant pursuit of creative evolution.

Bay, you just keep getting better and better. I love you and I love this record. Congrats on it’s release.

Listen to Tiny Sound in the Dark on Spotify or iTunes now.



Story by Erin Bagwell
Edited by
Diana Matthews

Erin Bagwell