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cold nostalgia

There is a note, stuck to the front entrance of our building. The hot water will be turned off for ten days. This is something that happens every summer, although it snowed a week ago and children wander the playgrounds in ski hats these days. At night it can be 40 degrees fahrenheit.  The hot water is always turned off like this, at some point during June or July. It is a long-standing Soviet tradition, and people begrudgingly accept it here. But the baby, V does not. She wants to stand in a hot bath before she goes to sleep, to splash and pour water all around her, and N. She wants to stand and wiggle her tiny hands under the spout, as she grows pink and clean, as she howls and shouts for us to see what new trick she has improvised. There is no explanation for her, why the hot water is off today, and will be tomorrow. She is angry, furious even.

I used to buy the story that this offered a chance for the water department to fix pipes, to take care of routine maintenance. Hot water c…

a borrowed name (the lucky ones)

When the call came so many years ago, I hid after playing that gold guitar in the living room until I got it right. My voice sounded foreign, outside of myself. Throat beyond the old windows banging in the afternoon sun. Names were considered - Son something, after Son House. I don't even remember the particulars except that Tom Waits mentions Martin Eden in Shiver Me Timbers -
          And I know Martin Eden's
          Gonna be proud of me

I saw this name in the credits of that short film and felt right about it. It wasn't me that sang about a child and regret, about love and a soul being saved. That was Martin Ruby, all him. 

Martin went on many adventures, howling at the moon, swinging low, yelling about how the cops stole your flowers. It was a suit I could pull on, look in the mirror and see someone else. And then I could take it off, and listen to the recording at the kitchen table and feel like I was hearing it for the first time. 

We all make fun of those musicians who go by a one word name, or a changed name, a borrowed name. It is all laughable if you look at it from the easy chair. But try to stand up and wear your heart on your sleeve, warbling like a lost chickadee and you will understand far better how these things happen. We all start from somewhere, an awkward, embarrassing nest we fall from, or fly above. It is a very messy business. 

Last summer I got a fresh call, a request to do a cover of a song. All of the proceeds from the project would go to a wonderful cause, the David Shedlrick Wildlife Trust. Helping to save an endangered species is a joyous act. So, I put on Martin's suit and let the muse take the wheel. There is a moment when the song disappears - children laughing and playing take over. There is a weeping harmonica. There were lyrics I wrapped my head around, from the genius of Palaxy Tracks, the band behind all of this. The toys came out of the closet, I tried to channel the dead and the living and the dust settled. 

And then, the idea of a music video was floated. I made one n the middle of the night, after the day's work was done, after the children were sleeping, their hands like angels. 





You can donate to download here: https://palaxytracks.com













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