Archive for the ‘Songs – Lunch Money’ Category

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Friend Donut

For two summers in Charleston, SC, I worked at an independent donut shop. Circus Donuts. It used to be a Burger King. But it was transformed by vintage circus posters, an offbeat couple of donutologists (as they called themselves), and enough donuts to leave me smelling like them each day when I came home and hugged my mom. In the mornings, the place was humming with business and a crew of workers, but in the afternoons I was often left to run the place by myself. And, as is my style, I took it personally. I had heard my boss say, “When there’s time to lean, there’s time to clean,” and I took it to heart. The booths sparkled. The coffee (that I loved to smell but hated to taste) never ran out and the little diner mugs were stacked and ready should a busload of old folks suddenly descend upon me. Times like that, it was *my* donut shop. And when my good friend Jennifer would stop by, I would always conspiratorially place an extra donut on her tray, calling it the friend donut. The one you get for being my friend.
“Friend Donut” is a love song to a friend. It’s about giving your friend the royal treatment. In an imagined future donut shop. Jennifer and I continued to refer to the “friend donut” for years to come. It came to mean “that extra thing you get because you are my friend.”
In recent years I have made a friend named Aaron in my current home of Columbia, SC. He is unusual in his extraordinary appreciation for both friends and donuts. He writes memorable, singable songs of family and friendship for his band Those Lavender Whales. He puts out his friends’ records on a label called Fork and Spoon that he runs with…his friends. He daydreams about opening his own donut shop. He goes for donuts in a nearby town where I once discovered donuts that were surprisingly, emotionally reminiscent of those I once sold at Circus Donuts years ago. So today I offer you this simple version of “Friend Donut,” with cheers and love to friends old and new…and to the royal treatment.
P.S. You can download the audio at my Soundcloud page.

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Snow Globe

Here’s a song from the Lunch Money album Original Friend. Most of the lyrics come from my memory of a day from my childhood when a light dusting of snow got us all sent home from school. Snow was, and still is, so rare in South Carolina. That day my brother and I just started walking home. I don’t even think our mom was notified that school was closing. Even the old guy who served as a crossing guard on the highway was not at his post yet, and we hesitated for a second and then shrugged and navigated it on our own. We made our way the couple of miles to our house, surrounded by miraculous snowflakes. I remember being confused that it could actually snow when all I had brought that day was a red sweatshirt! For me, this song is about the beauty of snow and also about the exhilarating freedom to be kids wandering home in it.
My brother now lives in Massachusetts, where snow is not as rare. I was visiting him one October and it started snowing. I was so moved by this unexpected bonus and, on a whim, I lay down on the ground and looked up. When I did that, I was astonished by how different the world seemed from that perspective. It was suddenly quiet and thick flakes were floating right towards my face for as far as I could see. It was one of the most surprising sensations I have ever experienced.
Feel free to download this mp3 at my Soundcloud page.

Friday, 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

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Picking Teams

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).

Friday, February 19th, 2010

You and Me and a Bottle of Bubbles

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.