t h i n g s + f l e s h

lyrical essays on songwriting + other mysteries


Motels exist to make songwriters think of loneliness. To be a songwriter is to be attached to something: your kids, your home, a flower, a moment, injustice, anything. You attach meaning to sound, and sound … Continue reading

August 13, 2014 · 8 Comments

a crooked road

A sense of profound heartbreak is palpable throughout M’s record, but so is a feeling of hope: her sweet, clear voice, by turns melancholy and resolute, makes heartbreak a little bit easier to take. … Continue reading

July 30, 2014 · 10 Comments

good records

I’ve begun collaborating with M on her next album. Much of the recording, arranging and producing the weeks ahead will be done in late-night sessions at a studio in a town just far enough … Continue reading

July 9, 2014 · 18 Comments


I thought the song I made up for N was completely finished. She asked me to compose a short piece for string quartet and computer-generated sound, and I did. But listening to it, there was … Continue reading

June 26, 2014 · 17 Comments

truth + lies

There’s a misguided belief that just because you play an acoustic guitar and sing in a near-whisper close to the microphone, it makes you more honest than singer-songwriters who attempt to create an experience of truth in some other … Continue reading

June 19, 2014 · 24 Comments

every day

This bird comes every day and stops at the branch to sing for an hour or two, as if it were absentminded, trying to remember the melody of June. That’s all it … Continue reading

June 10, 2014 · 31 Comments


A friend of ours — an actress — was visiting here with us tonight, along with her husband the filmmaker and a couple of writers who live in town. We got to wondering when all the singing, writing and acting began. … Continue reading

May 27, 2014 · 19 Comments

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