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the long way around

The living room is a forest of mic stands and cables. A cup of coffee, a large glass of water and a shallow shot of whiskey sit on the tiny white table. I alternate between them, making sure the guitar is in tune, trying to understand if the chair will creak when I lean my head back on the second chorus.  There is a hush in the room. I can hear my own heartbeat. The lyrics are printed out on a fresh piece of paper, large and thick so I can read them easily even though I sing with my eyes closed and will surely forget a handful of words no matter what I do.

The guitar sounds dry, perfect - even honest. I can play a simple D chord with a long strum, or the side of my thumb and it sounds so different. I record a few takes, barefoot in the bright room. I am going too fast in some parts, and my fingers are already sore from the chord changes.

And then all at once, I am thinking of a show I played in an old factory in Brooklyn, way back when I had just started writing songs almost twenty y…

a new song

I don't have a good explanation for how it happens, just that it does. The guitar may be out of tune. It may be 2 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning. I dig into random piles of notes, fragments, phrases, turns of language. No matter what, it evolves into a confession. Even when you lie, you are telling the truth about something. The admission, the coming clean, it surfaces even when you try to keep it hidden.

Walking in another man's shoes offers a strange freedom. Most of my clothes came from the Salvation Army when I was growing up. I wore other people's suits. Maybe I never stopped.





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