voice of a songwriter

Money, Money, Money

In fifth grade, I was invited to the home of the prettiest girl in my class. She came from money. Her Sergio Valentes proved it. But stepping into her house was more proof than I could handle. The furniture matched. There were paintings, real paintings, on the walls – walls painted COLORS, not just beige. There were rugs…on TOP of carpets. There was a deck with more than one level… Read More

Writing to the Rhythm

Ever heard of Dalcroze? I’m guessing, no. I went to a Dalcroze workshop a few years ago, knowing just about nothing about it. I attended because some teachers I very much respect are really into it. I found out why. Dalcroze, or Dalcroze Eurhythmics, is an approach to music education founded on rhythmic movement, aural training, and improvisation. As the Dalcroze Society of America elegantly describes it, “based on the philosophy.. Read More

Trust No One

I’ve heard, and sometimes believe, the adage, “trust no one.” When I’m in a particularly protective mood, this saying comes wrapped in a gray cloak, hood up, shrouded in mist.  At times like this, “trust no one” means I’ve been hurt.  It comes to usher me back to my safe little tent where I can lick my little bumps and scrapes piteously. When I’m feeling self-righteous, “trust no one” shows.. Read More

Ten Year Gestation. 32 Minute Birth.

How long does it take to write a song?  Sometimes a day, sometimes an hour.  My latest song took ten years and 32 minutes. In fact, maybe longer.  I don’t know exactly when I scribbled down the hook, and only the hook, of my latest song, “Don’t Let Me Let Down My Man.”  My best guess, it was about ten years ago, during my “La Dolce Vita Period.” From about.. Read More

Hard Sales

Last week, I spent five hours of my precious tropical vacation saying no.  Over and over. My mom, Queen of the Free Deal, invited me to meet her in Ft. Lauderdale to join her on a two-day cruise to the Bahamas. Little did I know I’d be sitting through a day of time share presentations.  Oh well, I thought.  I’m with mom.  How bad could it be? Truthfully, we lucked.. Read More

Circle Up

Last Friday night, I walked into a garage full of eight guys with mostly gray hair and one soft-spoken women with purple hair.  Each of them held a guitar in their lap, except for Ms. Purple who cradled a ukulele.  The only music in the air was the chatter of conversations as everyone settled into their spot in the circle of mismatched chairs. The warm, cozy garage, the local headquarters.. Read More

On Tour

I think I just booked my first tour.  It went like this. I decided I need to go on retreat this year.  In years past, I used to escape for a couple of nights at least once a year, usually solo, but sometimes with other deep, spiritual type friends.  A few times I even signed up for an organized deal. But it’s been a while.  A long while.  I took.. Read More

backSTORY: When You Go to Bed

It wasn’t until months after I wrote the song “When You Go to Bed,” that I found out that a dear childhood friend was headed into brain surgery. Back in Mr. Barnes’ 5th grade class, we were best friends in the innocent days before we cared much about boys and drew little hearts for the dots over our i’s.  We went roller skating and watched Star Search. By middle school,.. Read More

Singing What Need to Be Said

I get such a rush when a new song comes together. Recently, I wrote about a few song bits, how I kept some ideas and threw out others. You may like to read that blog in tandem with this one because I thought up some new bits and put ‘em with the old bits and it’s all simmering to perfection like my Aunt Mary Ellen’s meatballs and gravy. “Courage O.. Read More

Live to Give

I own a lot of bibles. Little “b.” One of these is a tiny, beat up pamphlet I’ve been carrying around since 1996, reading it over and over. The title is Steps Toward Inner Peace by Peace Pilgrim. Peace Pilgrim dedicated her life to the cause of peace – inner peace and peace among people – walking over 25,000 miles throughout this country with no possessions, spreading her message. The.. Read More