As Joe, Pat, and I (Brother Sun) get ready for SummerSongs at the end of this week, it brings a flood of memories and expectations. I will never forget my writing class with Sloan Wainwright, my notation class with Ritt Henn, working individually with students on their songs, hanging with the likes of Julie Gold and Cliff Eberhardt, sitting almost all night long next to Penny Nichols singing harmony to every song ever written and Mark Dann knowing the bass part to every song ever written. It’s impossible not to mention David Roth’s great care in making sure every student is in the mix, happy, and getting what they need. Certainly, I’ve left out names and a hundred other unforgettable moments. Always, always the greatest moments are when someone who had no idea they could accomplish something – singing in front of people, writing a song they actually love – is empowered to do it. It’s magic.

It is a rare and cherished environment. Being a songwriter is a solitary art for most – certainly me. No one every gives you a merit badge or colored belt of progress, and when you’re as off the beaten path as I am, it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever receive any industry acknowledgement. So it’s all about what happens when I sing my songs. So, a long time ago I decided to follow my own star and accept the consequences. Then, being at a place like SummerSongs where people are interested in knowing about my process, how I work, it is enthralling. I am so happy to take the time to fully develop these ideas for someone who doesn’t have the time to fail as much as I have. Failure is a large part of writing, as is will. Will is the single largest element.

So, all of these things lie waiting at SummerSongs. And Penny, David, and Sloan have created a culture there of nuture, fun, work, and togetherness. Brother Sun has shows every night of the following weekend, so Joe, Pat, and I have to include sleep in there somehow. I, personally, am in the middle of a bunch of new ideas that are waking me up at night. So, I’m very excited to be in that environment. It’s a songwriters dream to be in a place so conducive to creativity. Hopefully, I’ll see a lot of you there.

Laundry and Acid Reflux

This is a work in progress. I’m working because I was listening to the Red Sox game in Anaheim and with a lot of nasty behavior that is all too familiar to New Englanders, the Sox gave up four runs in the ninth to tie the game. Someone I’ve never heard of loaded the bases for Albert Puhols and then a bloop, a hit, and someone I’ve never heard of threw an easy out into right field allowing the tying run to score.

So now I’m awake. It’s invitable that the Angels win now. Yes, there’s three up, three down, then a speedy Angel hits one on the screws into left field. Joe Castiglione is sounding like his lunch money was stolen. You can always count on the tone of voice, greek chorus effect from Joe. But wait. The next Angel can’t execute the bunt, strikes out, and then they pick off the speedy guy. Joe is positively ebulliant. Seven-seven in the tenth.

Someone named Breslow ( truly a science fiction name) is pitching for the Sox. Oops, a bullet is hit off of Breslow’s back and into center field. OK, can of corn, someone named Gomes actually catches it. Only a New Englander, someone who felt the architecture of Boston sag in 1978 when Yaz popped out to the hated Greg Nettles (the man who effectively ended Spaceman’s career), someonewho actually began to celebrate in 1986, personally causing the Bob Stanley Sox to give up four in the ninth to people named Mookie, can truly understand the physic acid reflux of caring for the laundry that is the Boston Red Sox.

Needless to say, the 11th went three up, three down for the Sox, making it even later and more painful when the Angels inevitably win. This will effect the entire next day, of course. So, the ridiculous error by the person I’ve barely heard of, just up from Pawtucket, becomes Biblical. There is always a reason why someone is in Pawtucket to begin with.

And there it is, a two run homer for Josh Hamilton and I can now go to bed to remain awake thinking about the bitter pill I’ve just been handed. It’s really beautiful in a hammering your finger kind of way. Not being able to sleep, I check the news. People have died in a SF plane crash. Such a luxury that my invited miasma always has a tomorrow.