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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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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