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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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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