On songwriting: The Lesson of Gethsemane (with video)

When I started writing songs in earnest, I had a singular ambition. I aspired to write an album that would be as moving on first listen and as multifaceted on the hundredth as Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska had been for me. I never actually seriously expect that I might–until The Lesson of Gethsemane. There’s no one […]

Origin of a song: By fours and fives and sixes (with video)

Yes, the inspiration photo of folks arriving at Ellis Island in 1907 is perfectly evocative of my own family history. Lyrics: With what little he had my great granddad bet big on a new country When he stepped on a ship from a stone staircase in Southern Italy To first set foot on what he […]

Origin of a Song: Work Without War

Where to begin? I would have said Work Without War had a rich origin story prior to the current crisis. Present circumstances moved me to revisit and re-record it. First off I ought to credit singer-songwriter Billy Bragg. His style and lyrics–sometimes anthemic, at others empathetic–influenced me. (“The World Turned Upside Down” was a favorite […]