threads

My latest song was inspired by a lovers’ spat I witnessed outside the movie theater here in town. It’s about a terrible, terrible betrayal, and the possibility of moving from the brokenness to happiness, if only for a few moments.

When you’re a songwriter living in a small town you hear more things, about all sorts of people —

Those two parting angrily on the street, leaving their love affair hanging by a thread …

The grammar school teacher who retires after 36 years … the heartworn glow of the movie marquee that says, “Thanks Mrs. R for everything” …

Old timers settling world affairs at the donut shop, their opinions steeled with stubbornness and age …

Young girls, beautiful as warm countries, cheering on the school basketball team on a Friday night, living life as it is, thread by thread.

So many of the songs I make up are tapestries of other people’s threads. Nothing but the musical strand that binds them is my own.

Sometimes I think I need a large city. But you see so little of the world there: we slip easily into our private lives, drift into minorities. In the little towns there just aren’t enough folks for that.

In the city, I would only have read about things in the paper. I wouldn’t have picked up all the threads.

threads

like a prayer

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, years later.

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 upon the house top. I feel the pain in my fingers, the rawness of making sound.

At the same time, it’s the best seat in the house: what I experience is something so unbelievably pure, which is before the sound actually happens. I hover, like prayer.

like prayer