There is a teenaged boy who walks around my neighborhood. I see him in the day and in the evening. He usually has an iPod and is always alone. And when I see him I feel a pang because I remember being about his age and being alone a lot. Walking home from the movie theater, where I would go by myself. Taking my dog down the beach past all civilization, or silently through festivals and crowds, or around my neighborhood at night. I remember the feeling of passing houses full of activity and feeling so close and distant at the same time. By some mixture of chance and awkwardness, I went for years without having any real friends my age. It was music that both kept me company and eventually would be my bridge to finding people I could connect with. This song is about those nighttime walks and about the belief that a friend would eventually be found. There’s a nod to a much-loved friend who once told me she was so over-worked she felt like “a shell.”
February 6th, 2012
January 20th, 2012
Russell was coming over to say goodbye. He plays trombone with us, and was moving to New Orleans, where, really, a young trombonist belongs, don’t you think? But, don’t worry, kids…we’re going to KEEP him. He’s willing to fly around and keep playing some shows with us. That’s a huge relief because we LOVE him. Anyway, he came over and I asked him to join me on “Umbrella” with a whistling solo. Watch his expression when he finishes the lengthy solo. My kids and I laugh every time because it looks like he’s going to faint. I appreciate people who give it their all.
If you would like to hear this performance on its own, here is a link to download the audio:
Download the mp3 of Umbrella
July 27th, 2010
As I said in my last post, I often wind up writing a song for a special occasion. Several years ago, my library asked us to perform at the annual summer ice cream party for the Junior Volunteers. We were happy to oblige, and I thought it might be nice to write a song just for the event. When I asked the volunteer coordinator to tell me more about the junior volunteers, I was soon grinning and scribbling away with my pencil as she listed off things like windexing sticky books, cutting out nametags, putting out the little pencils and slips of paper by each computer. And their time commitment, for me, was the cherry on top: one hour a week. Oh yes, I was going to enjoy writing this anthem. Here is the song that resulted:
July 25th, 2010
Sometimes I write a song in trade, or on a dare, or in support of a cause, or to salute something or other. This song “Smokey” was written in trade. An artist friend offered to swap a painting of my son for a song about her dog. I went over and spent a few hours chatting about Smokey, hearing about her photo being used in a giant ad in Times Square, her growing understanding of Japanese, her ability to swear at the neighbors, her various quirks, likes (peanut butter) and dislikes (other dogs), and her life together with cat-friend Banjo and her favorite human, Leslie. Here is the song that emerged:
July 20th, 2010
OK, I’m cheating a little here in the efforts to get a defibrillator on my song blog. Sorry to be away so long. My good buddy/husband/drummer/former bassist/web designer/personal chef/mechanic/studio engineer Jay started a blog. It’s very neat and nerdy, just like Jay. He made a post about finding an old mic at the flea market and fixing it. He even got me to sing into it for his blog, so I am putting a link to that here.
February 26th, 2010
Here’s a song about that old childhood form of human sacrifice – the picking of teams. I consider this a song to sing to yourself while waiting in the line-up. It’s part resume and part kiss-off (with plenty of love for yourself and your fellow wall-hugger to spare).
February 24th, 2010
Today’s song is one I played with The Verna Cannon. It’s about how fragile people can be when it comes to believing that they can sing. I was convinced that I could not sing after my teacher didn’t choose me to sing a solo line. It took years to build up the notion that I had the “right” to call myself a singer. And all around me I hear people dismissing their own abilities, declaring themselves unfit to sing. How does this happen? I, for one, want to hear you sing.
February 23rd, 2010
I have a band for kids called Lunch Money. But this is a song called “Lunch Money,” and while I’m sure many kids would relate to it, it might be just a tad too dark for a Lunch Money record. Dedicated to anyone who’s ever stared indignantly at the hair of the person who just cut in front of them in line. Triple H.G. Wells reference to boot!
February 22nd, 2010
Yes, I do rhyme “cat” and “mat” in this song. That’s kind of a joke, since I don’t insist on rhyming a bunch in general. I hope this song comes across – it kind of needs the band. It’s all about being married to someone you really like.
February 19th, 2010
OK, here’s a song for today. A quiet one about blowing bubbles out of your window with a friend. Treading happy/sad ground. This song will be on a children’s record (with my band Lunch Money). Don’t worry, there will be fast songs too.