far away

Winter arrives early and takes its place at the window. The sky this afternoon has filled the air with snowflakes. There’s just a little light now in my upstairs studio, pale and lonesome as faraway music. I’m dying to take a break from the songs I’ve been writing, but seem to be unable to. I’m afraid to fall out of the groove. …

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water + bread

Live performance is writing in pencil on a small postcard. It’s transient and something that the audience may not remember exactly but may talk about for some time to come. It comes with surprises and no guarantees. It’s an entirely different way of being in the world. The worst seat in the house belongs to the singer: on stage, I am as a mockingbird alone …

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otherly beauty

I have long drawn strength from the reverence with which I approach my art. As a child I was touched by the otherly beauty of liturgical hymn and speech that I heard in the chambers of churches, where everything sounded (and was) important. At five or six I lived for songs my grandmother sang while she prepared the ritual food made …

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no rewind, no repeats

Tuesday night I unpacked all my heart before a roomful of strangers, closed it up after an hour or so, then carried it offstage. And it was over, like a beautiful dream. No rewind, no repeats. There is a remarkable thing about performing live, and it isn't about getting everything right, which is so, so rare. It's about …

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a little motel music

It’s twilight, and the notes I sang to people some hours ago seem to float in the air like motel room coat hangers. Lying on the bed with my guitar and my remarkably low-fi, home recording studio away from home, it’s clear that the motel exists to help me think of loneliness and make up another song. Things that are supposed to be so honest, so true, have …

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a crooked road

On Friday I’ll make the trip to a pretty little dot of a town along the Crooked Road, Virginia’s heritage music trail, to play some songs for a live audience. I figured in the spirit of the place I’m headed, I’d try some tunes that invoke a handmade style. It will be August. It will be sunflowers as far as I can see. I …

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