Yesterday’s Moon

This was meant to be a hopeful happy coming home love song. Turned itself into an “I’d love to stay but you know I’m a traveler” song.

Lyrics

yesterday’s moon sleeps behind the hills far away
I’m chilled in the dark, the sun’s not yet risen today
hungry and tired but no matter, I carry on
around the next turn is the home where you wait with the dawn

these traveling ways are the only life that I know
in spite of the leaving and all the while missing you so
maybe this time I’ll have all I need here with you
and I’ll settle down and we’ll share a sunset or two

tomorrow night’s moon will soon peek over the hill
red setting sun is giving way to night’s chill
it’s warm here with you but I’m hungry to carry on
to see what’s around the next bend beyond the next dawn
to see what’s around the next bend beyond the next dawn
to see what’s around the next bend beyond the next dawn


The Week After That

At last night’s living room concert I gave everyone slips of paper and had them contribute song ideas: people, places, things, moods. The suggestions were

pensive
dark ages
Costa Rica
Aunt Jemima
old motorcycles
siblings
a cowboy who doesn’t like horses or cows

It pretty much wrote itself. I performed it 15 minutes after I pulled the ideas from the hat.

Lyrics

what do you do when you’re in the wrong place
in the wrong place in the wrong time?
thinking like that can ruin your breakfast
looking for reason and rhyme

roping and riding and drivin’ ’em in
is driving me out of my mind
so I’m moving on
next week I’ll be gone
the week after that I’ll fine

my sister just doesn’t get it
she doesn’t have to, she knows I’m okay
her Harley will get me to LAX
I’m flying south today

chorus

I’m off on a plane to the tropics
heading south as fast as I can
get away from those horses and smelly old cows
in Costa Rica I could work on my tan

chorus

no more bacon and eggs in the morning
Aunt Jemima’s got nothing on me
that medieval torture of saddle tramp days
is washing away in the sea

chorus


3000 Miles

Ireland sings to me most nights and some days. We spent a month there in 2005. I’ve been trying to go back (and if possible, stay) ever since. Yes, I’m one more of those people who want to be Irish. Seems everyone with a certain bent is inexorably drawn there.

Continue reading “3000 Miles”


Marmalade Coast

Noodling with chords I found myself playing a strange jazz progression. I spent some time noodling with a melody, da da da-ing it. Listened to it on repeat for a few hours one day while I read.

The next night doing the dishes, I opened the tea cabinet and smelled the Earl Grey, which in our house means you’re having marmalade whether you want it or not. Flashes of a night drive from Sacramento to Mendocino with my wife sparked more words and out it came.

Continue reading “Marmalade Coast”


Laminated Map of the World

I wanted to write a follow-up to my 12-minute epic Arabic trance mandolin piece from a few years ago.

This feels a bit like ordering whiskey and getting lemonade. I like lemonade, once I roll it around in my mouth a wee bit. Still ain’t whiskey.

http://www.freeimages.com/photo/antique-world-map-1153206

Continue reading “Laminated Map of the World”


A Light Between the Branches

heading north across the border to a land that feels like home
to a place a man can step outside and breathe
fill my lungs with all the songs nature’s singin’ out to me
where there’s room to spread my arms and sing along

there’s a light between the branches in a stand of aspen trees
that lift the stream up to the very sky
it whispers with a voice colored blue and white and gold
of peace for every soul that passes by

sky so wide I cannot see it all
trees of every color as far as eyes can see
listen to the rivers as they call
come lie in my arms; find the peace that means so much to me

there’s a voice across the prairie that’s calling out for me
to find my way out to another land
my soul fills all the spaces that are filling up my heart
with the comfort of a warm and gentle hand

sky so wide I cannot see it all
trees of every color as far as eyes can see
listen to the rivers as they call
come lie in my arms; find the peace that means so much to me

heading north across the border to a land that feels like home
to a place a man can step outside and breathe
fill my lungs with all the songs nature’s singin’ out to me
where there’s room to spread my arms and sing along


Not Just Believe

A caravan of angry camels tramping o’er the dunes
Precious cargo swaying to and fro
They circle round and round the map That’s tacked up on my wall
As I lay restless, dreaming here below

They never seem to tire as they make their dusty way
Endlessly they circle ’round and ’round
They never take me with ’em on a journey far away
To see the things that Marco Polo found


I want to know the world is round
Not just believe

I read about those far off lands and wonder what it’s like
To wander through a market in Peru
To taste the precious spices of Madagascar’s coast
And ride a camel into Timbuktu

Let me see the sails of a flying clipper ship
Grow on the horizon as it nears
Show me what the jungle’s like in darkest Africa
And the beauty of the garden in Algiers

I want to know the world is round
Not just believe

With Slocum and with Dana, two years before the mast
Help Amundsen find Scott in frozen lands
Then warmer climes with Ibn Battúta, out of old Tangier
Learn wisdom’s seven pillars in the sands

I want to tramp with Halliburton that romantic road
For seven years I’ll ponder in Tibet
Fly with Saint-Exupéry into the desert sands
And make a mark no one will e’er forget

I want to know the world is round
Not just believe


Maricopa

this one wrote itself

ABQ

Leaving Maricopa in a cloud of dust
Ain’t nobody back there gonna follow us
They can stay right there ’cause we ain’t done nothin’ wrong
And we’ll be in Albuquerque by the time they know we’re gone

Leaving Maricopa in a borrowed car
I know we said we wouldn’t have to go that far
But she’ll be busy hanging out with her friends down at the salon
And we’ll be in Albuquerque by the time they know we’re gone

Leaving Maricopa at the speed of night
Had to take the car, couldn’t catch a flight
Heading east on 40 face-first into the dawn
And we’ll be in Albuquerque by the time they know we’re gone

We’ll go to Babylon
Maybe the Amazon
We’ll run this marathon
Up to Saskatchewan
Maybe we’ll go to St. Louis and see that big mastodon
Right now we’ll be in Albuquerque by the time they know we’re gone

Leaving Maricopa in a cloud of dust
Smelling like grease and looking like rust
Tomorrow I’ll be dressed up in silk and you’ll be in chiffon
And we’ll be in Albuquerque by the time they know we’re gone


With the Radio On (the original)

From 2006, one of the first songs I ever wrote. I still perform it, though quite differently from this version. Like, I change chords and stuff.

Back in 2003, Best Beloved and I left Phoenix at 4 in the morning after being awake since 6 the previous day. We drove to San Francisco. By the time we got there we’d been awake 44 hours.

Parts of the trip were fantastic. Though I’d owned Michael Nesmith’s Tropical Campfires for a few years, this was the first time I ever paid attention to it.

Three years later a single moment of joy on that road trip turned into this song.

Lyrics

Flyin’ down the highway with the radio on
Singin’ just as loud as I can to my favorite song
Well it might be Nez or Bob or Van
But I always try to sing it just as loud as I can
Flyin’ down the highway with the radio on

You pull out the map every once in a while
And I glance at you and you glance and we share a smile
And the sun glints through your golden hair
And I can’t believe my luck that we’re there
Flyin’ down the highway with the radio on

You feed me a fast food fish sandwich, it drips on my shirt
I slurp green circle logo iced mocha, try to stay alert
Like Newtonian bodies in motion we stay
Cause we hate to slow down ‘less there’s no other way
Flyin’ down the highway with the radio oh

Big fast car and a snappy tune And you right by my side
Cup o’ joe and a bite to eat Man, what a ride!

Finally stop for some greasy home cookin’ in a roadside cafe
Settle up and head for the door glad to be on our way
Drive into a sunset we wish we could frame
Settle in for a night that’s just more of the same
Flyin’ down the highway with the radio on
Flyin’ down the highway with the radio on
Flyin’ down the highway with the radio on