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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an open path

We try to arrange our lives, our careers, and our relationships into straight paths for easy journeys … but there are no straight paths. I'm reminded of this on days I ride down the road toward the sea, and suddenly turn right along the inlet shore. My traveling companions, words and music, move alongside me shattering and rearranging themselves.  Together we wander a different beach, reach no conclusions. That’s a form of poetry. Discovering avenues …

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invisible

For the next two days I’m living in a sunny, spare room over a bookshop, in a one-pump, two-church town by the sea. It’s a kind of self-imposed exile. I have this song to finish, and, well, to begin rediscovering who I used to be … . I don’t know anyone here. I’ll wander around among the streets, be quiet and observe …

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worshipful

Standing alone on a small empty stage beneath a wash of spotlights, soundchecking acoustic guitars, it’s easy to see that a dimly lit concert hall is a house of worship. Melody is a profound spirit, after all. I mean, who can say what it is? When I was starting out, I felt every time I walked on stage I …

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bulletproof

When I go on tour, I meet a lot of interesting people. After a show near Woodstock this week, a sweet man calling himself Star Blanket handed me a mysterious bag whose contents, he said, would make me … bulletproof. I opened it and looked inside it, and it was white willow bark, a cage necklace, and a …

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