off line

off line cover

This CD, confusingly titled off line, is a retrospective of my favorites from the last two albums, plus some new things. (Hey, one of the nice things about not having a recording contract is that you’re free to revise the past and edit out the songs you’re tired of!) It was time for a CD, and counting the moon was too long as it was… And I wanted to remaster the old songs, and fix things that had always bothered me. So the theme here is “songs from the analog age” - all these songs were first recorded on analog tape, even the new ones. Released February 2000.

Lyrics and other notes are available by clicking each song title.

booklet inside pages

keep rolling down river

A hymn to the inspiration and guidance I feel from flowing water. Five-part a cappella harmony.

I wrote this in the fall of 1995, the morning after having seen the movie Beyond Rangoon. The climax of the movie comes as a group of Burmese refugees is trying to cross a river marking the Thai border. At the time, I was spending some time every day watching the creek near my house.

Your rating: None Average: 4.9 (8 votes)

come to me

An upbeat song about the empty times. The yearning to be filled, which makes our lives vibrant, requires that emptiness.

This song is part of an ongoing theme of songs that can be interpreted either romantically or spiritually - as serenade or bhajan. This one leans toward the spiritual, as I’d been spending time sitting with a statue of Shiva given me by a friend’s family’s Indian guru, and reading devotional Shaivite poetry. But relationship emptiness and spiritual emptiness are different sides of the same coin, and the desire to have that emptiness filled in - now! - is the same desire.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

growing up in the garden

This is about my roots in Woodstock, New York, where natural beauty and proximity to New York City pull in different directions.

I wrote this on my way back for a visit. It recorded unusually quickly. It has lot of local references, but I think the idea is a universal one. read more...

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)


A love poem about a breeze that falls in love with the lake it touches, but is (apparently) unrequited.

She was an air sign, I’m water. It all felt symbolic. Also I was riding my bike a lot where I could see Cayuga Lake stretching out, and feeling the autumn winds. This recording took three completely separate tries over many months before it sounded good to me.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (5 votes)

roundtrip vigil

I wrote the first verse of this song in an online chat conversation. That may not seem very remarkable, but consider that it was 1987 at the time (~10,000 computers on the Internet, before either the World Wide Web or IRC). The conversation took place on mainframe computers at IBM, where I and my friend Betsy were (supposed to be) working.

The first line was in response to the question, “but why would you?” I don’t remember what preceded that.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (4 votes)


A happy a cappella song featuring heavy breathing, chest pounding, and lyrics from the back of a condiment package.

And a true story. Occurred and written down in spring of 1990, recorded by Andrew Rappaport in the “counting the moon” sessions in June 1992 in a few takes, while grinning madly. I never found out what “shinshu honzukuri miso shiro” means, and I hope I never will.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (10 votes)

Shenandoah, river of my dreams

A contemplative version of the old folk song about leaving, separation, and longing for return.

This song took me seven years to record. I did some tracks in 1993, of which only the harmony vocals have survived. I did some more work on it in about 1996, including recording the piano intro at a place where my friend Sharon was house-sitting. I redid all the lead vocals in October of 1999, then all the instruments in January 2000.

It’s a mysterious song, Shenandoah. I’m told it’s a sea chanty, yet it talks about inland rivers. Maybe it’s addressing the river, or a region, or a person. read more...

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

counting the moon

A happy ode to sitting still.

The title and chorus for this song came to me in early 1990 just after I finished up my previous album, “the flower grandchildren’s quiet transformation.” I knew at that point that it was going to be the title track for my next album, but it wasn’t until two years later, when I had most of the remaining songs for that album written, that I actually got down to writing the verses for this one. During those years I was diligently sitting quietly for a half hour each morning, often accompanied by my cat. It was a nice thing to do. read more...

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (8 votes)

as it must be

An offering of peace for the times when life brings pain.

The winter of 1990-91 was rough. People around me were getting hurt in accidents, dying of cancer, committing suicide. I was living out in the country, alone much of the time. read more...

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

wind and river

A blessing: May the nature-of-things hold you in the palm of its hand.

My brother Matt was married in July of 1989, and I was his best man. I went on a road trip to Maine with my friend Betsy over the July 4th weekend, and wrote this as a wedding toast along the way. (I remember practicing it outside our tent in a campground.) I sang it at the reception the following week, then recorded it in a few takes after I got home.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

we do not meet by chance

“Do you believe in a love at first sight?/Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time.”

Well, of course it does. Sometimes, unconditional love just occurs, with no discernible reason, no excuse for lowering the defenses, and no way to put them back up.

Love at first sight can take many forms. Sometimes it comes (at least to me) in dreams, and I spend the next day a bit dazed and moody and yearning. Sometimes it leads to romance, and sometimes marriage. read more...

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