musical chairs

Last night I sat on a little red chair and sang for around 30 people. Some were sitting real close … their closeness was almost air to me. I was singing some new songs, really new and raw, so I wanted as much closeness as I could have. But probably only two or three in the audience were really that close …

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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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kindness

Last night they wanted me to sing the way someone in love would, how someone wanting love would, how someone feeling alone might. They wanted to hear me tell about hope after hurt, forgiveness, healing after disaster, summery longing, and life after betrayal and breakup (which sadly, I know a lot about). Singing for people has …

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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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words + music

People always ask, “What comes first, the lyrics or the melody?” Hoboy. What a tangle at the bend in the river. I don’t know why they’re so fascinated with the answer to this question. There is no definitive answer. Songwriters write in different ways. Some write a full lyric first, and then put it to music. Others write a …

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