Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

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, February 26th, 2014

When I’m Sad, I Make My Friends Sing to Me

A lot of us are intense about music, whether or not we make music ourselves (there are so many ways to build your life around it). You meet people and, when they tell you what albums they love, their taste speaks volumes, right? It’s shorthand. We feel love and loyalty towards our favorite artists and experience a genuine, powerful sense of loss when they are gone.
Through my life as a musician, I have been drawn to fellow songwriters as friends, and it has been our songs that did the introducing, providing that very same shorthand. And one night, when I was up past any hour that would be appropriate to make a phone call, I realized I could go over to my stereo and put on something by one of my friends. And everything got better. Voilà. So this is a love song to records and the people who make them.

You can download the audio at my Soundcloud page.

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Better with a Friend

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.”

Sunday, 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:


Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Never Before or Again

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.

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.