Song #19: Pull Out the Bad Bone

This little song was created as an antidote/anecdote if you, like me, are wresting personal and collective shadow material on the regular. XO

I went to the doctor
And what did I say
“Pull out the bad bone
But let my skeleton stay
Pull out the bad bone
I’ll be on my way”

I went to the doctor
And what did she say

“Well, I’m sorry to tell you
If it were alone
I’d reach right inside you
And pull out the bad bone
But the evil is rampant
From basement to eave
Can’t pull just one bone
And then let you leave…

“Oh, I’m just ribbin’ you
I’m just pulling your leg
You’re so full of goodness
And it’s goodness for goodness’ sake
I’m giving you the elbow
I’m just flapping my jaw
You’re so full of everything
Don’t let it trip you up when you fall”

I went to the doctor (I went to the doctor)
I went to the doctor (I went to the doctor)
And what did I say
“Pull out the bad bone
Show it the light of day
Pull out the bad bone
I’ll be on my way”

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Song-of-the-Week #18: “Learn to Lose”

A theme-message that’s been with me over the past couple of years–learn to looooose. A-ha. A clue/cue to relief. Thanks again to Paul Curreri for doing a fine job of engineering and helping to produce this recording. Recorded on a grand piano at the First Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville. Photo by Brian Fox. Shawl by me.

All of the signs say
Learn to lose
Learn to lose
Learn to lose

Backwater brack flowin’ over my shoes
Learn to lose
Learn to lose
Learn to lose

Pickin’ through the ragpile–
Whose is whose?
Learn to lose

What have you now?
Whatever you choose

Old ball wreckin’ me now
Oh it’s long, I don’t know how
Old ball reckonin’ me now
Oh it’s long, I don’t know how

All of the signs say
Learn to lose
Learn to lose
Learn to lose
Give a little blood to the bruise…

Pickin’ through the ragpile–
Whose is whose?
Learn to lose

What have you now?
What have you now?
What have you now?
Whatever you choose


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Song-of-the-Week #17: Love Behind the Word

This song was commissioned by someone for a new love in their life. I drew upon their story and my own love learnings to create the song.

Cello part written and performed by my beautiful friend Isabel Castellvi.

Thank you to Paul Curreri for engineering and co-producing this recording. I sang and played live on a grand piano at the First Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA.

Speak and speak–I start to choke
Lungs exchanging air and smoke
Oh, wisps and rings that divvy up the space
A curtain parting way around the freshness of your face

You say, “Lie quiet with me, friend.
Words make shapes we don’t intend.
Slow down. Soul can’t always find its best expression through the mind.
Just being near you is how I hear you.
No need fear you won’t be heard–
Feel the love behind the word.”

I wouldn’t deign to train the vine
Shake down fruit and call it mine
Still I’m at stake with root aglow
Around which wildness can grow
I’m spun along ecstatic length
A spool summoning his strength
Do you have any idea?…

You say, “Lie quiet with me, friend.
Words make shapes we don’t intend.
Slow down–soul can’t always find its best expression through the mind.
Just being near you is how I hear you.
No need fear you won’t be heard–
Feel the love behind the word.”

Sun warming sleeping seed covered over
Light will bleed through each cracked and wounded part
Respect for every waking heart

Lie quiet
Words make shapes
Slow down
Just being near is how we hear
Before you fear you won’t be heard
Feel the love

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Song-of-the-Week #16: “The Smile”

Inspired by a qi gong exercise taught to me by a Chinese woman in a church basement, called “Pulling Down Heavens”.

First draft of “The Smile” was aired as part of a bi-monthly songwriters’ meet here in C’ville. Thanks to Devon, David, Suz, Lauren, Daniel, Abe, Matt, John and Wes.

Big thanks to Colin Killalea of Klauss.for engineering this recording.

Illustration by the multiflorous Sam Gray, one of my favorite local artists.

Whenever I feel the well’s gone dry
The smile comes down from on high
The smile comes down from on high
To flow and fill me some

In seein’ a pearly sky gone grey
The smile comes to lift the day
The smile comes to lift the day
With a low, ongoing hum

Whatever may rend this life apart
The smile comes to cheer the heart
The smile comes to cheer the heart
And to sound its gentle drum

Whenever I feel the well’s gone dry
The smile comes down from on high
The smile comes down from on high
To flow and fill me some

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Song-of-the-Week #15 – “Float a Cuppa Tea”

A little ditty, written for friends who caretake and inspire with carefree fire.

Great thanks to John Ashley Murphy for his inspired harp-playing (hear Midstream, his album of original harmonica instrumentals), and also to Daniel Goans of Lowland Hum (stream their gorgeous new album Thin), who played on and engineered this track in his little attic studio in Charlottesville, VA.

Track Credits:
Diane Cluckvocals, broomstick bumps and furniture thumps
Daniel Goanssnare
John Ashley Murphyharmonica

you draw me a bath
you make me laugh
float a cuppa tea in the tub for me
I miss your smile, stay awhile
float a cuppa tea in the tub for me
float a cuppa tea in the tub for me
float a cuppa tea in the tub for me

when you’re lukewarm, you do no harm
but you give no pleasure
oh! twist my arm
put the kettle on, boil till it’s gone
steam up the window
blow me a kiss, go
(draw me a bath…etc, from beginning, repeat)

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Song-of-the-Week #14: Share and Veer

Here’s a preview of Song #14: “Share and Veer”:​

​Agree to agree.
Agree to disagree.
Agree to enjoy,
to appreciate each other / another, fully.

I wrote this song in a courtyard in Cardiff before a show with Herman Dune and The Wave Pictures. Recorded at home with a rattledash amp from Colin. Thanks to Ken for mastering help.

Come to me slack-jawed
Arrive and have no fear
What we share, we share
And where we veer, we veer

When I go to you nameless
The names all disappear
And what’s left there, we share
Share on until we veer, oh!

Your company is stainless
Our sameness I revere
The difference, too, is blameless
No, it I’d not repair

When words cannot contain this–
How dare I dare to dare?
So close upon our closeness
Distance hearkens–
There I hear you
There I hear you
There I hear you
There I hear you

Come unto me claimless
I’ve nothing to declare
Where we veer, we veer
And what we share, we share
It’s okay…

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Your comments and reflections welcome→

Song-of-the-Week #13: Grandma Say

Here’s a preview of Song #13: “Grandma Say”:

Grandma Cluck (before she was a grandmother) with my Aunt K. and father

I wrote this song while multi-tasking, something I’m working on unlearning doing. I was in the middle of cooking dinner, vacuuming the studio room, recording a drum idea for a song, probably other things when I imagined my Grandma Cluck watching me, shaking her head and saying, “For Pete’s sake…”

Both my father’s mother and mother’s mother were highly skilled in homecooking. One of my favorite memories of my Grandma Cluck is seeing her in her tiny kitchen, wearing a white shower cap to keep falling hairs out of the food. Sometimes she cooked so much she’d be too tired to eat. One of her recipes I adore is for chicken-corn soup with hard-boiled egg, a Pennsylvania-Dutch specialty. When she made it, she pulled the veins out of every stalk of celery and every piece of chicken.

My grandmother on my mother’s side recently had a birthday; she’s 93. Here’s some advice from her about storing and eating summer peaches:

i bake in haste
eggshell in ev’ry cake i make
now what would your grandma say?
if she saw you cookin’ that way?
turn the heat way down
and open that door ‘fore the cakes go brown
-eyed suzies nod and sway–
they see you cookin’ that way, hey

what did you think it takes to do all this cookin’?
keep yourself and the house good-lookin’?
work to the bone till the bone’s gone bare
notin’ the growth of new grey hair
pullin’ strings on the purse for the things you bought
end of the day it seems you oughtta negotiate your pay–
now what would your grandma say ?

she’d say,
“do the things you love and do them well,
‘cuz you can’t tell when things will go from good to worse
don’t live life like it’s a curse.
include the ones you love,
tell them so, make sure they know
try best to keep them in your song
‘cuz no one’s here for long”

that laundry’s dried
pull the pins off and the line inside
mend the holes until they’re gone
now put those glad rags on
if your heels dig in
shindig ‘em on out with yr kith & kin
“you’d best get out there and play”–
that’s what your grandma’d say

I recorded “Grandma Say” in an old church hall in Charlottesville, VA; Wizard Ken helped out with mastering.

Offer your comments, ideas, glances or gazes→

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Song-of-the-Week #12: Perigee Moon

Here’s a preview of song #12, “Perigee Moon”:

perigee full moon

falling in love whilst traveling…
written during the florid perigee moon of this past June.
(next one occurs April 22nd, 2014.)
zither, harmonium, vocals recorded & mixed by Diane.
thanks to Ken for mastering.

thinking of you
perigee moon
hangs over me
over the road
so ripe and full
leading me on
dusk until dawn
perigee moon

i flew for days
north unto south
‘wish i could stay
close to your mouth
if i lived in your town
i’d be around
wax till we wane
tenderest pain
thinking of you…

thinking of you
perigee moon
hangs over me
over the road
so ripe and full
leading me on
dusk until dawn
perigee moon

you let me play
close to your heart
tending the garden
we love and depart
in quiet profound
each homeward bound
nothing is turning our journeys around

salmon & gold
perigee moon
ruddy with blood
huger than huge
that’s how she goes
perigee friend
emerging and merging and sinking again
emerging and merging and sinking again

* * *Check out XARNDA’s remix of the song* * *


Reflections ? Projections ? Direxns… →

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Song-of-the-Week #11: “Love You This Much”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “Love You This Much”:

There are many songs dedicated to romantic love.  This isn’t one of them!  Romantic love, I might say, causes an enjoyable stir, is pleasing to one’s sense of aesthetics, even ornamental, and perhaps a kind of training ground for deeper love commitments.  On the deep side I’m thinking of the way it feels to embrace a challenging situation or person, even oneself, knowing you’re there to stay, unprepared as one may feel.  I wrote “Love You This Much” from inside this feeling.

A few nights ago my friend Ash Devine blew through town, riding a current of Appalachian folksong and her own sweet melody.  We recorded this sitting across from each other, one mic, late at night after our show at Magnolia House.  I’m singing & playing nylon-string guitar; Ash accompanies me on vocals & baritone ukelele.

Thanks as ever to Ken(‘s Last Ever) for mastering help.

spring leads me to the plough
i love you so much i don’t even know how
i love you so much i don’t even know how to love you this much

big field before me now
i love you so much i don’t even know how
i love you so much i don’t even know how to love you this much
but i long to learn…
i long to learn so i keep in touch

a few steps into the field
with blades so sharp but the ground won’t yield
you’d think it cut deep but the ground won’t yield
‘the time it takes to wonder why
there’s a flash and a crash and an opening sky
cryin’ down tears where it once was dry
little seeds sprout in me now
how…

spring leads me to the plough
i love you so much…
little seeds sprout in me now
i love you so much…

Sparks ?  Thoughts to share ?  Ruminatory expanses await you… →

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Song-of-the-Week #10: “The Power of Allowing and Receiving”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “The Power of Allowing and Receiving”:

my friend Grey Revell inspired me to finish this one.  i wanted to make the most of the opportunity to record with him while he was in town, also i’d been wanting to write a country song.  Grey graciously accompanied me on guitar and left me his little amp to boot !  somehow i’ve played music all this time and never owned an amp.  experiments to follow…

as i lay bathing
in the blazing mountain heat
no, there was nothing
between the sun and me
except the shadow
of an incidental bird
who kept on circling
to ensure i wasn’t hurt
it hung in the sky
and kept me in its shade
so once i’d gone inside
on my skin i found its shape
in pale relief now
i am believing
in the power of allowing and receiving

in the power of allowing and receiving
something came to carry off my grief-thing
like it was nothing
i am believing
in the power of allowing and receiving

riches from the hands
that long to share their gold
if you’d just loosen up
that old white-knuckle hold
that binds the burdens
closer than you might would guess
just set ‘em down now
dance around in a pretty dress
sung out to the sky
a song from balled-up roots
you’re bound to catch reply
as sure as trees yield fruit
their leaves are shining
i am believing in the power

the power of allowing and receiving
somehow it carries off my grieving
like it is nothing
i am believing
in the power of allowing and receiving…
receiving…receiving…

live sound recording & video by Ken’s Last Ever.

Comments ? Ideas ? Stories to share ? →

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