I work at home most Fridays and in our new apartment, I look forward to the soundscape. Sitting in bed with my laptop and my second cup of coffee, I listen: spring birds, purposeful footsteps heading down the sidewalk toward the subway station a couple of blocks away, school busses pulling up to the stop […]

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Now is the cool of the day

John Hiatt is not a musician I know as much about as I probably should. I don’t think I could name you one of his songs without looking, though I’ve heard plenty. And this is strange, because he plays with people I love – Lyle Lovett, Ry Cooder. He grew up a few blocks from […]

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Yesterday, my husband handed me an article by New Yorker staff writer Vinson Cunningham on his love for Motown and Holland–Dozier–Holland (H–D–H). This passage jumped out at me: H-D-H always wrote and arranged the music first, and even without lyrics their compositions speak of romance that is wrenching and helpless, though not always sexual. There’s […]

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The Sam Phillips Project

I don’t remember why I started listening to so much Sam Phillips.  I was working on an article a year or two ago on music on the TV show Gilmore Girls, so that might be what started it, but I’ve been a fan since the late 1980s when she released The Indescribable Wow.  “Holding on to […]

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The Songwriter’s Toolkit

Back in middle and high school I used to write really terrible songs.  I’d write them at the piano. This was an odd choice in retrospect, because I was a violinist. But it wasn’t so easy to sing and play violin at the same time.  And really, until I discovered Laurie Anderson my sophomore year, it […]

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Why song?: A love story

On a very hot day in the summer of 2015, I left my apartment near Prospect Park in Brooklyn and went for a long and very sweaty walk to clear my head, not thinking too hard about where I was going. Normally when I need to get out, I head to the park where I can […]

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