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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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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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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that’s beautiful

My friend Ryan stopped by this afternoon. I played him a song I started recording last week. (I’ve got an acoustic guitar, a lead vocal, and a temporary background part on it so far.) “That’s beautiful,” he said. I never know what to say after someone says, that’s beautiful, except to agree with them. For me, beauty is …

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beach place

There's a place on the coast that I go to now and then for stretches of isolated songwriting. It's a place where I can gaze out at sea for hours and listen to the waves bring the eternal note of heartache in. A new set of songs I'm writing is evolving as an intricate, relationship breakup album. …

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love songs

If your heart is broken, a song is a good place to grieve. If you want someone to fall in love with you, a song can be the place to take them in. I believe that all songs – the happy ones, the sad ones, the lullabies, the protest tunes, each social commentary and every funeral dirge – all of them are love songs, …

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world’s oldest musical instrument

I loved museums when I was a boy, and I still do. The great ones in New York City,  especially the Natural History Museum, were places of wonder to me. Some shows last week along the southern Atlantic coastline led me to the Smithsonian, where I spent hours wondering at this flute, discovered in a cave in Germany just ten years …

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still life

My right arm is all strapped up and bandaged. It’s just bruised. I tripped over a guitar cable and down some stairs. For comedic relief, I’m telling everyone else an entirely different story. Some people I tell I was injured practicing the mysterious art of Japanese Ninjutsu. Parachute-jumping. Rock-climbing. Bull-riding. A good songwriter never lets facts get in the way. I’ve …

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