my voice (part 1)

I've lost my voice.

I've been putting off this post for months, trying to figure out how to say that. But that's it right there.

It's a chronic throat condition, and it's forced me to stop performing indefinitely. As a singer, as a talker, my heart is broken. But also, I am deeply grateful.

This thing happened over a period of two years, slowly at first. Most of the time I was in denial, and I was still functional enough to perform, record, and converse for about an hour at a time before the pain would start.

But on tour this June, I got scared that I was doing myself permanent damage. I didn't perform for most of July and by August I couldn't have short conversations without intense pain.

Not being able to sing, or, often, speak, brought an anger I've never felt before. I couldn't tour and perform and make a living as a singer, and some weeks, I couldn't say please, or thank you, or I love you. I didn't even tell most of my friends this had happened—I hermited away in silence.

When I canceled this fall's tour, I started renting outside the city—a lovely house where I could concentrate on recovering. And so here I am, and I've done a lot of thinking. The anger is gone—it left when I realized that I could shift my outlook from one of entitlement to one of gratitude.

And this is what I've learned: I am profoundly free. Things happen to me every day; I have the freedom to choose my response to those things. In the past few weeks, I've chosen to be thankful.

I am thankful:

for my loved-ones and family, and the extent of love and care that I wouldn't have noticed if this hadn't happened

for the great health of my fingers, legs, eyeballs, ears, teeth, beard, skin, heart, brain---they all work so well!

for all the singing and talking I've been able to do in these 25-odd years, and that I'm now learning to listen more

for the three albums I've been able to record, and for the creative new ways I'm finding to manifest my art

for the savings I had which allowed me to try all sorts of treatments, even though I'm uninsured

for all the ways this time has focused my life priorities

for the realization that our voice is something more than the vibrations from our vocal chords

for hope! I think I will sing again sometime in my life! And I'll appreciate every bit of it when I do!

I have so much, and I see that now.


buffalo guts

First watch this:

Written and rewritten on sheets of butcher paper, with the help of wikipedia and three biographies on Henry Hudson; recorded in cabins, bedrooms, liberal arts colleges, and attics spanning six different states; collaged together on old maps by an army of valiant souls in time for its release in a 100-year-old Brooklyn mansion, my album is finally finished!

I decided to call it 'Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo.' And I decided it should only have eight tracks--short enough to listen through in one sitting, but deep enough, hopefully, to last far longer. Over the six months of recording this album, aided by the meticulous ear and brain of my co-producer/engineer extraordinaire Peter Hochstedler, I experienced a revolution in my perspectives on what makes an album complete, and good, and worth recording in the first place. 

And then, as I tried to figure out how to make a living off of this newly-birthed thing, there followed a revolution in my perspective on the relationship between money and my art. More on that in a future blog post, but for now let's say that this album is a manifestation of A) the uncanny generosity of so many friends and B) the culmination of years of calculation, thousands of hours of work, and all my guts and love. And I can't put a price on that, so I am left with the economy of generosity. This album isn't mine, it's ours. Your generosity allows me to continue my projects, but I'd rather you have it for free than not have it at all.

So please download the album and pay what it's worth to you!

If that's $100, that's great, if it's $0 and an email telling me which song is your favorite, that's amazing! People's generosity so far has taught me not to limit them to a single price; I've already been given places to stay, offers of hospitality/houseshows for tour, car buying advice, personal reviews of my album in my inbox, folks recommending my album to their friends, and so much more.

Music is my only job and it would make me feel a lot safer to just charge you eight bucks for my album. But you've shown me that asking for more than money--falling into the generous creativity of community--is worth the risk.

And with all my guts and love, I thank you!

ps. The Society Of New Good Stuff ( aka SONGS/SNOGS aka my free monthly listening club) is out for May at!

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