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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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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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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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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