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Dark of Night

I’ve been participating in February Album Writing Month for 15 years. Though I’m not aiming for 30+ songs during February like the past two years, or even the standard goal of 14, I couldn’t let the month pass without writing something. Which, of course, happened spontaneously as I was trying to sleep one night last week.

Dark of Night

You’re the dark of night
You steal the sun from the sky
You’re the dark of night
Make the songbirds cry
You’re the dark of night
And I don’t understand why

You told me you loved me
Sweet as a slice of peach pie
You told me you loved me
Intoxicating as rock and rye
You told me you loved me
You knew all along it was a lie

You took my heart
Made me think I could fly
You took my heart
Told me I was your guy
You took my heart
Was just a piece of meat for you to fry

You’re the dark of night
You steal the sun from the sky
You’re the dark of night
Make the songbirds cry
You’re the dark of night
I’ll never understand why


A Month into Winter

Not that the Phoenix valley has much of a winter, but this year was more wintery than the past two; December’s highest temp was 73º but the previous two years it was in the low 80s.

For the first time in 15 years, I’m not knee-deep in songwriting. I’ve participated in February Album-Writing Month since 2006, some years writing as many as 32 songs in a single month. I want to write at least one to celebrate my 15th FAWM, but I’m having a hard time dredging up the feeling.

I’m also 6 months or so behind on delivering the third Jake Calcutta story. And don’t get me started on the third Irish Adventure; poor Web Martin ended his second adventure on a low note and I’ve been meaning for years to lift his spirits with another chapter in his life.

The family band used to practice music 5 days a week. We’ve been up in the music room twice in five months. I’ve barely strummed my brand new 3/4-size Orangewood guitar. It’s beautiful, easy to play, great-sounding, and parked beside my desk. But, parked. In the same stand as my Blueridge tenor, the most wonderful musical instrument I’ve ever owned.

Moving my mother into assisted living absolutely trashed me physically and emotionally. Getting herself evicted in under 90 days because she’s so uncooperative was a gut-kick to Best Beloved and I after all the time, energy, and money we spent making it happen.

I usually ignore my age; I don’t celebrate birthdays, and the only reason I know my age most of the time is that it ends with the same number as the year. I haven’t been conscious of anything special about turning 60 the end of last month, but I have been feeling old, slow, a bit bleak.



February Album Writing Month Rides Again

Tomorrow begins a month-long exercise in artistic immersion.

I’ve been participating in February Album Writing Month (FAWM) since 2006, making this my 13th year. (I missed the first year it went public, but I’m still one of the Old Folks in the forums.) Nearly every song I’ve ever written has been born in February. For a while I wrote throughout the year, partly because I couldn’t afford to shut down all my other activities during February.

It wasn’t the same, though. Writing three songs in a week isn’t the same depth of immersion as writing 14 (or 30, like last year) in 28 days. Now that my schedule allows it (thanks to Best Beloved who loves my art) I’m back to diving in unrestrained.

Except tomorrow, when we’ll be taking the Little One to Tucson to spend a few days with her sister. But I’ll bet I can write a song on the drive. Maybe she’ll even play the ukulele while I record it.


February Album Writing Month #13

Every February since 2006 I’ve participated in February Album Writing Month. (I joined up during FAWM’s 3rd year.) While I do sometimes write songs during other months, the bulk of my nearly 200 songs have been written during these episodes of shared mania.

Hundreds of participants commit to writing a full album, 14 songs, of new material during the 28 days of the month. Sort of a NaNoWriMo for songwriters, though with less emphasis on embracing low quality; it’s more like accepting it without actively chasing it.

Some of my very favorite music has been written by my fellow FAWMers during this month of madness. Here are four examples:

Fiji (Matt DiVito) Quickly (Resonance)
Dear Noreen (Phil Henry) Pig of Lovliness (oddbod)

Whether or not the styles are your cup of tea, the songwriting is as good as most of what you hear on the radio or elsewhere. Better, I think.

I’m still working on making better recordings, which these chaps have mastered. But I’m proud of my lyrics, confident in my songwriting.

And ready for February.


My Music Website

After more than a decade writing music, I’m slowly putting all my demos online. There are more than 2 dozen already live at http://tunehenge.com (that’s out of 30 I wrote in February of this year, 2017.)

Eventually I plan to have all the demos worth listening to at tunehenge. Some of my demos are purely experimental or for my own fun. Trust me, you’re missing nothing. There are still more than 100 songs I’ve written and recorded rough demos for that’ll end up at tunehenge.

Continue reading “My Music Website”



More Than Love

I’m going to start posting older songs so I have all my music in one place.

This demo was recorded at Ray’s Barn, a studio owned by a marvelous musician named Ray Brown. My first time in a studio, I was so nervous my throat practically closed and I found myself muscling my way through every song.

I learned all about words when I was just a lad
Reading piles of books like my mom and my dad
Merriam Webster was a good friend to me
Shakespeare and Seuss suited me to a tee
There must be a word I’ll find so apropos
I don’t know it yet but here’s one thing I know

It’s more than love
There must be a name
It’s more than love
That fires the flame
I look into your eyes
And I find myself there
Look into your heart
And I’m walking on air
I don’t know what it is
But it’s more than love

I know so many words about living and life
So many words about husband and wife
Words like forever and words like forgive
Words like together as long as we live
But I can’t seem to find the right word for the way
I keep feeling inside, so here’s all I can say

It’s more than love
There must be a name
It’s more than love
That fires the flame
I look into your eyes
And I find myself there
Look into your heart
And I’m walking on air
I don’t know what it is
But it’s more than love

Words might never say
The way you make me feel
But I’ll keep trying
Until I find
The one word that’s ideal

I’ve read millions of words in those books on the shelf
And there’s ten thousand more that I’ve written myself
You’d think one of these would say just what I mean
But they all seem to fall below or between
I know so many word that say just what it’s no
But I’ll try to describe it with words that I’ve got

It’s more than love
There must be a name
It’s more than love
That fires the flame
I look into your eyes
And I find myself there
Look into your heart
And I’m walking on air
I don’t know what it is
But it’s more than love
I don’t know what it is
But it’s more than love


Adding Songwriting to the Creative Mix

FAWMEvery year I spend some time in February mixing with the folks over at February Album Writing Month.

Every year, I notice that stretching to do more creative work makes me even more creative. It fires up things in my brain I forgot were there. It dredges up old feelings and new thoughts.

What it doesn’t do is use itself up or run itself out.

If you’d like to hear what I’m doing musically, head on over. While you’re there, look through the songs and see what others are writing. The library grows by about 500 songs most days during February, and most have demos you can listen to and even download. I’ve discovered some of my favorite artists on FAWM; regular folks who love making music as much as I do.

P.S. Ginger is off to the editor tomorrow and will be ready for y’all to buy before month end.


Meta-Limerick

For 7 years I participated in February Album Writing Month. Short version: a bunch of loonies (over 10,000 last year) get together online and write a whole album of music.

limerickEach.

That’s 14 songs in 28 days. It’s crazy.

So crazy that the forums are filled with thousands of songwriters talking about it. As if writing 14 songs in 28 days wasn’t busy enough.

Eventually the FAWMku tradition arose. (February Album Writing Month = FAWM = the prefix for everything about the event.) Someone always started a forum thread with haiku about songwriting.

And every year, Continue reading “Meta-Limerick”


Songwriting is Easy

Like Hemingway said, just sit at your typewriter and bleed.

I’ve written 5 songs in the past couple weeks, as part of two songwriting challenges.

I’m emotionally exhausted. Even the fun songs are emotional effort, but the ones that dredge up the past or make me look inside my dead father’s brain are like digging a grave with your own bones.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  • Into Town — A desperately lonely song; nothing at all like my father would have been if he were the one alive and alone instead of my mother.
  • I ♥ You — A totally silly diatribe, to balance it.
  • Good Pair of Jeans — Another fun one, because Poppies refused to come out.
  • Upside Down Smile — A jazzy number for my Best Beloved, which also helped Poppies ruminate in my unconscious.
  • Poppies — Finally, Poppies, which just might be my father talking to me again.

Into Town

This started creeping into my head and I couldn’t slow it down.

Just warming up for 333 this month.

Into Town

Think I’ll go into town, pick up some things
Piece of screen for the bathroom window
Hook for the front door so it don’t bang
When the wind blows

Set down this coffee
slip on my outside boots
head into town

Guess I’ll go into town, pick up some things
Laundry soap maybe a dish pan
Extra fork for when the kids come
Do what I can

Set down this coffee
Slip on my outside boots
Get outta this rocker
And offa this porch
Head into town

Ought to go into town, pick up some things
Few pairs of socks when I got somewhere to go
Maybe a few tapes I could play
Or a tube for the radio

I’ll set down this coffee
And I’ll slip on my outside boots
I’ll get outta this rocker
And offa this porch
Then I’ll get to the shed
And fire up the truck
Head into town

Time to head into town, pick up some things



USSS: Ross Durand

takes a lot of songwriting confidence to take on the challenge of writing an entire song for each line in Bob Dylan’s Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. Takes a lotta songwriting chops to pull it off.

This year it looks like Ross Durand is going to finish this seriously ambitious and musically satisfying project. Continue reading “USSS: Ross Durand”