Welcome to this tiny corner of cyberspace!  Please allow me to introduce myself:

Drawing on my literary background as an English student & ex-university teacher, I specialize in booksmart/streetwise songs that tell the truth but tell it slant, all of them starting in the "foul rag and bone shop of the heart" (Yeats). 

Like countless others, I'm a child of Bob Dylan, who made it possible to sing to the mind and the soul, not just the feet--with poetry no less!  In fact, the first concert I ever attended was Dylan's in 1965 at the Minneapolis Auditorium, just months after he electrified his sound, Newport, and the music world.  Here's the review:

However, I'm equally a child of literature, not just the great writers from across the pond & on this side of it who speak to the human condition,  some famous, some not, but the aesthetics that characterize it, such as making every word count & connecting the parts to the whole, yadda, yadda, yadda.    

Looking Ahead:

My former career in the rear view mirror, I have several albums-in-progress, am hosting and performing monthly in the Themefests I originated, and come 2023 will be doing CD-release events not only for the nearly completed Dubliners Sung, which sets Jame's Joyce's short stories to Celtic-flavored music & original lyrics, but also for The Dwindling Road, performances of which were derailed by the Covid pandemic--as they say, the best of well-laid plans . . . .

J. B   This is my family tree. 

My musical family tree





DESCRIPTION: Born in Land of a 10,000 lakes, now alive and well in City of Big Shoulders, where by day I've taught college writing and literature for many a year while devoting off hours to crafting songs rooted in literary poetics and works.  Well, mostly anyway.  

MODUS OPERANDI: Guitar, harmonica, some keyboards and bass. Solo or with accomplices now and then. Credo: The truth told slant, sound echoes sense, every word counts (except when it doesn't)...  And all songs begin in what Yeats' described as the "rag and bone shop of the heart,"

MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Hard-scrabble folk/rock tradition of Guthrie, Dylan, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Kinks, Doors, Lou Reed, Springsteen, Patti Smith, Costello, & Tom Waits + touches of Celtic, blues, cabaret, and classical. 

LITERARY INFLUENCES: From Shakespeare, Shelley, Keats, & Dickinson to T..S. Eliot, Yeats, Joyce, ee cummings, Richard Wilbur, J.D. Salinger, Flannery O'Connor, and assorted other classic and contemporary writers and poets. 

WHEREABOUTS:  Last seen at Mrs. Murphy & Sons, the Atlantic Bar & Grill, and the streets and parks around Lincoln Square but has played at No Exit, Chopin Theater, Heartland Cafe, The Bean Counter, Lunar Cabaret, and other venues.



By Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Autumn Beauties   

 Spring and Fall

By Gerard Manley Hopkins

      to a young child
Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.



A song from the lineage of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman, and others crossed with songs in the Halloween tradition of The Monster Mash, I Walked with a Zombie, and countless more--Trumpenstein.  Go to Music for a download. 

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