Songwriting is a process of cobbling together the various pieces, and invariably the finished product reflects one's place in time. In this sense, the past is acknowledged, and released. Here you'll find the origins of selected songs and lyrics for review, along with SoundCloud links if the recording’s worthy. I'll post more over time as they come of age.
Selected Songs in Alphabetical Order
This is a song of appreciation, inspired by my observations and sense of peace while sitting in my backyard. It's a place of great serenity for me, and I like to begin and end my days there. Lemon on my fingers, and bourbon in cut glass. Present in this moment, mix gratitude with that ... these are a few of the reasons. Florida ©2021.
This song was written in response to a letter from an old friend, and was intended as a farewell of sorts. The original arrangement had very much a Jackson Browne feel, sans piano, and I'm grateful for his influence. Having said that, I much prefer this arrangement. Damn near 50 years on this road, did you find what called you so? Florida, ©2008.
Many of my songs are a blend of self-help and public service announcement, in the sense that the advice I give myself may also be good for others. While this was inspired by the life events of others, the PSA is this: don't be limited or labeled by others, don't worry about situations beyond your control, and tell your story in as bright and shiny a way as you can. There’s no keeping you from being anything. Florida, ©2014
Written over Thanksgiving break at Denison in 1979. A nice, jazzy, song about making someone happy, and how pleasurable that can be. Let me play you something now, maybe something written special, just for you. Ohio, ©1979.
Some people are naturally inspiring. Have you ever walked into a room full of people, yet one just shines as if standing in a spotlight? My friend Amber is one of those people. From the moment I met her I was drawn to her energy, and still am. She’s a kindred spirit, she's a nice surprise, there's laughter and a hint of crazy in her eyes. Florida, ©2013
This song was inspired by a friend who lives very transparently on FB, and seems to derive tremendous support from the feedback on her posts. I took it a step farther, and wrote a song for her. Sometimes silence is your only friend, light the shadows, free yourself, start again. Florida ©2019.
This song was written about one of my favorite women. It’s a tribute, and an acknowledgement of all good things, at the end of a relationship. I worked on this for months, and consider it among my best work. Your eyes, they shone like the sun, so in love you were with being in love. Florida, ©2016
This song was written quickly in 1991, and was pure whimsy about men believing themselves to be in control in a relationship. It sat in the can until Steve and I revived it in 2017. We seek, but never learn, past the point of no return. Florida, ©1991
One of my earliest surviving songs, written at Denison and full of references to the outdoors, and of simple pleasures. Up on Cherry Creek, I planted in the spring, my old dog Whisky and I. Ohio, ©1978
This song describes the transition from marriage to divorce, from flight to sorrow. I'd gone alone to Colorado, ostensibly for vacation, but really to prepare myself for what was to come. I can still remember where I was in the mountains as these lyrics came to me. This ring of vows now is empty metal. Colorado, ©2004.
This song began its life in 1992 and was titled When It Comes To Fate. I dusted it off and finished it with my present mindset in 2017. Perhaps then life is a river, or an arrow in flight. Florida, ©2017
For years every weekday morning I'd walk out to the road before sunrise to collect my paper, which I'd then digest over coffee. Eventually I realized that I was poisoning myself with this daily dose politics, wars, and general America in decline, and cancelled my subscription. The paper lands in my driveway, before sunrise I am steeped in the blues of the day. Florida, ©2008.
One of my first electric tunes intended for a full band. As I approached graduation, I was thinking a lot about leaving my friends and the uncertainty of going forward alone. I remember finishing the last verse just before Knockwood performed this song at King Hall. This song explores that uncertainty, as set to a western theme. Do we ride together, or is this another story left untold? Ohio, ©1980.
In late March 2020 I was dispatched home in response to Covid-19, and the descent into isolation and discovery began. It’s a mixed bag, but I’m grateful for my circumstance and remain hopeful for the future. This is one of a handful of political songs, and seeks to keep our collective head up amidst the shitshow that presently is the USA. Buckle up, America, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride, hobbled by the virus and the political divide. Florida © 2020.
I’ve long been fascinated with dreams, and from where the imagery comes. There are certain places and images – mountain ranges, roads, construction sites, houses, and rising moons – that I visit and see repeatedly, however I’m fairly certain I’ve seen none of them in this lifetime. Occasionally I hear music and lyrics in my dreams, and for years I’ve kept a journal on my bed to write them down while still fresh. These occurrences raise lots of questions. Where’s this data come from? Are dreams actually memories from past lifetimes? What would we be capable of if we had total recall of our dreams? As I consider the implications, each morning I wake up I’m endlessly, boundlessly grateful. Florida ©2020
This political rocker took years to finish, and is an absolute fucking favorite. I started it in 2008 in the flush of new hope for the country, then it sat waiting for Trump to come along and really motivate me. See for yourself. Genuflect for the new patrician, sitting naked in his gilded hall. Florida, ©2017
Sometimes the sound of a new guitar is all it takes. Within moments of plugging my Shawbucker Telecaster into the amp, I was working on this song. Thanks to Fender and the universe for the inspiration. Drive ‘til tomorrow, head south, let the highway figure it out. Florida, ©2018
Some songs are born of betrayal, and are more a salve for a wound than fit for public consumption. This is one of those. Sadly, it's a really good song, it's just witheringly direct. Its essence: some friends or family will fucking turn on you. Don't carry them when they do. High Regard was heard by a handful of people before I retired it. For now. You’re not worthy of my high praise, my high regard. Florida, ©2019/2021
Among the first songs I wrote in Colorado the summer after graduation. It shows. But it also describes the youthful, romantic feel of daydreaming about someone. I found myself wishing that the summer could go on, for years and years and years. Colorado, ©1976.
My first country song, and its title appeared while watching the Grammys in 1991. When the best new songwriter award was presented, I said "I want one". The resulting story was one about which I had a little knowledge. She'll love you like a river flowing, leave you washed up on the shore. Florida, ©1991.
Written my sophomore year at Denison, from Wink's perspective after a breakup. I’ll go and play my songs in a three-man guitar band. Ohio, ©1977
A song about the road and of transition. I wrote this a year or so after leaving Colorado, when I was still gathering my wits about me. Recorded for The Bathroom Tapes, I never really played it a lot after that. I've been toying with it again lately in hopes of reviving it with Steve. I need the challenge of living life carelessly again. Florida, ©1986
This began as a poem about two old men reminiscing on a park bench in New York City. I revised the story as two friends separated by their life choices, only to be reunited later in life. So you smiled and waved, sold your stocks and your suits, and you said goodbye. Ohio, ©1979
Written at Denison, and an absolute sentimental favorite, largely because Brad, George, and I played the shit out of it. It's a youthful song about flirtation without real connection. I’ve never been hard to talk to, just a little bit hard to find. Ohio, ©1979
Another song written in Dallas after graduation in 1980, reflecting on a conversation about love I’d had with Jenny. Babe, I’d say I love you, but it’s not enough. Texas, ©1980.
From time to time everyone dreams of quitting their job and heading off to parts unknown. This song is my expression of that theme, set to up tempo blues. Any day now, you'll mash that pedal down and let it fly. Florida, ©2007.
This song is built of 5 parts, the first 2 of which were written circa 1996. Unfinished, it just drifted around, making an appearance every now and then. Eventually I finished it using some imagery both present and past. Much of the lyrics are vignettes meant to paint a scene for the listener. Part 2 owes its attitude to Stephen Stills. Well I’ve wings at this moment, yeah, I’ve faith in tomorrow. Florida, ©2007.
My alter ego works for big corporate america; a job which pays the bills while I dream my nights away writing songs. This song is inspired by, and perhaps exorcises some of, the corporate demons. Ground down, the mill turns 'round, small cog in a symphony of gears. Florida, ©2007.
Still stinging from Jenny's and my breakup, I ruminated. I took a walk down on the coastline lately, I whispered to you but the wind shot it away. Texas, ©1981
This is an instrumental that kind of got it's name by default. Most instrumentals don't exactly make their name clear, as songs with lyrics do, and I needed a title track for my CD. I originally called it Wolves. The song is dark, brooding, and cool. Florida, ©2008.
An all time favorite, written in Texas in 1980. At the time I traveled a lot of dirt roads running off into the distance, thus the imagery. These back roads became a metaphor for my recollections, and some longing. Bouncing pebbles mark the time, and dust clouds rising fill in the lines. Texas, ©1990
I wrote the original in 1991 about two young hearts, their love story, and their sad ending. I loved the music and the melody but regretted the story. So, it sat, for 30 years, until I rewrote the last verse in a manner vastly more pleasing. It’s now back on the set list. For this is our calling, to ride on the wind, and to thrive. Florida ©1991/2021
Stop hiding, stop waiting, and live. Don’t be defined by a past that no longer suits you, and start your life new every day. Everything is vibration; give it a shot and you’ll come ‘round. Florida, ©2017
This song was inspired by a photo of a woman with her back to the camera and surrounded by vast open space. She was once again on the Camino. But the song took a turn away from her journey, and became more a study on our collective journey. Sown fields after harvest, once green, turning brown, sky hinting of scarlet… Florida ©2020.
This song, along with Empty Metal, was written about my divorce. Sometimes memories come to call around nightfall. This song muses that the past can be consuming, particularly so if the sad memories aren’t balanced with fond ones. Nestled in with the sorrow, joy’s along for the ride. Florida, ©2006
Written in open G in 1995, the siren’s song I describe was an unresolved calling from the past. It's among the most beautiful songs I've written. I re-arranged it several years ago, and have yet to re-record it. I will. Time to set a course away from the voices in the wind. Florida, ©1995
Another song about transition, from the perspective of a stranger in a strange land. I really need to play this one more, and record it again. When I close my eyes, I can see to tomorrow, and recall yesterday. Florida, ©1986
Written in Boulder, this song describes a meeting with the wind, and the feeling of renewal. No drugs were involved. I recall the touch of her hand, and the infusion of strength as my life found direction again. Colorado, ©1984.
I started this in 2002 in response to the untimely death of my wonderful friend, Wink Dulles. This, and its companion song, Yeah, You Were, took 2 years to complete. Here I muse about the afterlife, and the expectation that we’ll meet again, somewhere ‘round the bend. Seek those who fill up our days with light, and joy. Florida, ©2002.
In August 2018 I drove up the east coast to Maine, stopping to see friends along the way, with all of my gear to play a gig at college friends Tod and Galen Mott’s Tributary Brewery. As it happened, these stops were all cover for the real mission: the scattering of my mom’s ashes in one of her favorite places near her home in Salem, MA. Until that moment, I was unaware of the significance of this act, as this song would suggest. I cast her ashes on a hilltop field, where the wild strawberries grow. Florida, ©2018.
A song about surveillance capitalism – the mining by governments and businesses alike of our freely offered data, which is utilized to assemble our digital profile for profit via subsequent and continuous online marketing. Brilliant, and terrifying. We surrender information, monetized by the machine. Florida, ©2019.
In 1982 I wrote a song called Tumble Down, which never quite hit the mark. I'd revisit it occasionally as I like the chord progression and melody, just not so much the subject matter. The Witching Hour is written upon this framework, and examines the time of night when the world is still, all things are possible, and the universe speaks. Take this time to reflect. there is wisdom to receive. Florida, ©2019.
In her 1995 novel, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott writes "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” This quote explains in part the perspective of this song as I examined a lifetime of knowledge of someone, and wondered if I'd ever really been told the truth. Pay no attention to the man behind the screen, he’s no great and powerful wizard. Florida, ©2019.
A song written in 1991 about the value of true friendship. It's a wonderful song, though difficult to play and sing, and Steve and I have recently dusted it off to include in our live sets. Trust our love to shine indefinitely, you’re the lighthouse, always beckoning me. Florida, ©1991.
Initially inspired by my observation of a friend’s highs and lows as a wavelength, this song imagines a world where we operate solely by the laws of physics, and not the laws of men. Do you think the universe really cares who you love? Hint: the answer is fuck no. Florida, ©2016.
Written in 1982 as sort of a letter to a friend. Is there anything left of the past that you need? Come and see. Florida, ©2006.
This song begins after a life event left me figurative roadkill, while the rest of humanity passed by. It explores the differences between real and fair-weather friends, casting the latter as scavengers waiting for you to falter before picking your bones. Cherish the ones who make you feel good, and pay no mind to the other kind. Florida, ©2017.
Sometimes a song takes me totally by surprise, and I follow the inspiration where it leads. Such is the case here. The first words I wrote were Welcome to Infinity, You're gonna need good shoes. I found this so playful and thought provoking that I followed. It's inspired in part by Michael Newton's Journey of Souls, and the notion that souls gather to review each recent life and regroup before setting forth once again. I play off of that idea by making Infinity an actual place, rather than a concept. Anyway, the completed song pleases me immensely, and I hope it will you too. Florida © 2021.
Written during my Boulder days, this song resulted from a 1984 conversation with a girl who was interested in me, while I fancied her roommate. The verses fairly describe this trios' differing points of view, and the resulting stalemate. So keep your variety, thanks, I’ll just hold out for consistency. Colorado, ©1984.
Circa 1983 Brad Sageman wrote an instrumental called Where Are We? that we played during Knockwood sets. It began as a jazzy, upbeat number that transitioned into this brooding, minor key progression that I always thought was the best part of the song. Over the years I've made numerous attempts to write lyrics for it, and finally completed them in June 2007. This field, though fallow now, must yield, before the plow. Florida, ©2007.
Some people don’t want you to succeed – at life, at love, your job, your art, or anything – and they’re equally resistant to your efforts to raise their vibration. Trying to help someone unwilling to help themselves will always backfire. The path of least resistance is to simply wish them well. Florida ©2021.
Written from a similar point of view as in Shadows. I’m reflecting on the past, and the lessons we learn along the way. Written in 1986 for a friend and lost love, the song suggests that we'll dream those dusty thoughts, stack ‘em up like wooden blocks, ‘til we've built ourselves a future different than we’ve now. Well, in retrospect, maybe not. Florida, ©1986.
I started writing this in 2018, then got distracted it seems by South of Richmond and the others that followed. I revisited it recently, added a cautionary bridge, and called it good. It's a meditative song about pursuing joy, shedding the past, and being true to oneself. Say it loud, these truths that make you everything you are. Florida, ©2021
The opening line describes a terrifying moment in a private plane in the early 80s in which the inexperienced pilot became disoriented at night in heavy clouds, and was unaware we were spinning downward until I saw the compass and altimeter. I use this metaphor in my observations of a person or persons’ seeming lack of self-awareness and self-destructive behavior. These observations culminate in a series of questions meant to prompt some self-reflection for us all. Are you aware we’re all connected – you decide. Florida, ©2018
Some songs are more intimate than others, yet they resonate still. This song describes my separation from family members over their desire to control my behavior and their unreasonable expectations that I’ll comply with/succumb to the will of the hive. Fuck that. Being cast as a black sheep of the family for me means I’ll speak the truth and live authentically, I won’t be labeled by my past, I won’t be controlled through imperious behavior and toxicity, and I’ll find my chosen family. They’re so resentful of your sense of peace, see, you’re already gone. Florida, © 2021.