Coming Full Circle in NYC

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Thirty five years ago, I moved to New York City, into a friend’s apartment at 4 Saint Mark’s Place. On September 22, I will be performing a show at the Kraine Theater, four blocks away from that first apartment. I’ll be playing songs that I wrote during the years I lived in Greenwich Village, songs I wrote when I lived on the Upper West Side, and ones written in my current home in the Bronx.

Get your tickets here.

The city has changed a lot since my first days here, hanging out in clubs like the Ritz, the Limelight, Danceteria, and CBGBs, finding new experiences that seeped into my songs. In music I found the power of melody and poetry to inspire and soothe and reveal and heal. I would love to share some of these experiences with you in the city that always will be home to me.

Here is a recording from the mid-nineties, by an early incarnation of Late Model Humans, of one of the songs I’ll be performing: New York City.

One night only…

Please note that this post will remain at the top of my blog until the show. Scroll down for more recent posts.

For one night only – Sunday, September 22 – you (yes, you) can experience a show that is a little different from other shows you’ve seen. I hope you will come to the Kraine Theater at 85 East 4th Street in Manhattan and witness Mr. Mike’s Mostly Musical Mashup.

Get your tickets here.

I will be performing original songs written from the 1980s to this year, including ones originally recorded with Late Model Humans, and performed at CBGBs, the Bitter End, and Kenny’s Castaways. In addition to the songs there will be instrumental pieces, original poetry, visual art, and a few surprises.

I hope you can join me on September 22, as we find out together just what Mr. Mike’s Mostly Musical Mashup is all about.

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I Love You So Bad It Hurts (LIVE)

The second song I played at an open mic recently is one of my favorite originals of the past few years. Musically, it’s a simple progression that’s made a little fresher by putting a capo on the 10th fret so that the guitar almost sounds like a mandolin. Lyrically, each verse repeats the first line at the end with a little bit of a twist caused by the lines in between.

 

I love you so bad it hurts
with a kind of pain that I don’t mind at all
I love you so bad it hurts

I love you so much I don’t
have anything left for anyone else
I love you so much I don’t

I love you so much I can’t
drink enough so I can forget
the way your love burns like a lit cigarette
but I love you so much I’ll never regret
that I love you so much I can’t

I’ve loved you so long I can’t see
all the way back to the morning before
my love came knocking around at your door
and I might as well just admit that I’m yours
’cause I’ve loved you so long I can’t see

I’m Not Afraid (LIVE)

I

Fear is the challenge
to overcome or to succumb
and either way your work’s not done
Once you think you’ve got it licked
you’ve only learned half of the trick
Just because you lose, or win,
doesn’t mean a goddamn thing
the next time that the fear begins

II

They say the fear of public speaking is the greater than the fear of death, which makes some sense to me since we all know from a tender age that we will die but there is nothing to say that we will speak in public. That is one bullet we can dodge. And the devil you know is always more palatable than the strange one.

By my blurry count, I have taken to the stage between 40 and 50 times and, like everything in life, each could be the last but so far this is just the latest. I wrote this song about fear a few months ago and performed it last week at Mary O’s on Avenue A between 2nd & 3rd. If you’re in the neighborhood drop in for a meal or a drink but don’t tell Mary I sent you. She wouldn’t know me from a hole in the wall.

III

Meditation Music 2: Water and Trees


 
I started picking the first pattern of this piece one night last week as I was watching/not watching TV and let my mind wander a bit with the open strings and ringing intervals. The second pattern grew out of the first and led to a musically meditative piece. Watching the sun on the river through the trees from my apartment seemed a fitting visual accompaniment.

Daffodil

All of us have moments of doubt, crises of faith or confidence that throw our hopes into disarray. Fortunately, there are graces – love, beauty, humor – that lower ropes into our pits of despair. For me, and maybe for you, one of the sturdiest ropes is music.

The only thing better than those ropes is the ladder of love. If you’re lucky enough to find that ladder you might be able to climb all the way up to the surface where at this time of year you can see the daffodils. 


I got a little bit of time to kill
Won’t you kill it with me
My little daffodil?

I love you baby and I always will
I’ll always be in love
My little daffodil

Like a garden my love grows
In the thaw after it snows
The breath of fresh air that you bring
Turns my winter into eternal spring

I’m tired of swallowing this bitter pill
Give me something sweet
My little daffodil

I love you baby and I always will
I’ll always be in love
My little daffodil

Like a river my love flows
Down the hill where everything grows
The breath of fresh air that you bring
Turns my winter into eternal spring

I got a little bit of time to kill
Won’t you kill it with me
My little daffodil?

Living in the Country

 

I usually think of Pete Seeger as a banjo player. I learned to play because of him, through no fault of his own, from his book “How To Play The 5-String Banjo.” I highly recommend the book. Just like the author, it’s warm, helpful, funny, and wise.

But he wrote this song on guitar and it’s the first tune I learned on the new guitar I got last week, a Martin DRS-1. It’s a pretty mellow song, at least as I play it, and the video is likewise designed to lower your blood pressure. 


A note on the video: the opening image of sunlight through the trees with fence in the foreground is titled “Sun’s Rays and a Gate” and is the copyrighted work of Terry Winter. You can see more of Terry’s beautiful work on Flickr by following this link:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/-terry-/