Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Travelogue


My car is a clunker
Not like the fancy ones for which I valet
And when it breaks down
I ditch it hoping someone will just tow it away
I own one nice shirt
And one nice pair of pants
I go to work and take my place
With all the other worker ants

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Better


Is this the way to live a life
Never think about the meaning
Then one day you wake up
And the whole world is careening
Well I'm no philosopher
Not Jean Paul Sartre
But it doesn't take a genius to know
You gotta have heart, miles of heart

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Closer


This photograph is my proof
There was that afternoon
When things were still good between us
And she embraced me
Oh yes she did
And we were so happy
It did happen
She did love me
Look see for yourself

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Thought Palaces


You boyfriend was a jerk
And he beat you to a pulp
One time I kicked his ass
You jumped back with a gulp
Then you disappeared
Moved out to LA
Starred on "Melrose Place"
Life is one big soiree

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

The New World


No none of us are alone in this
One way or other we face the abyss
The bum, the cabbie and the millionaire
Hitler and Ghandi and good ol' Voltaire
One thing's for sure we all grow frail
The electric charge comes off our third rail
And if you fight it then you are a fool
Ain't it a bitch how life is so cruel

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Monday, March 24, 2014

From Eliot WIth Love


You got a cat
You are a teacher
You love the world and every creature
You are amazing
You do it all
You stand above me a hundred feet tall

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Little Bastards


You may think that he is hiding
But he is in plain view
He is me and he is you
You may think that he's gone missing
Just look over there
Look at the guy with the well-groomed hair

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Breathe


I so want to believe
That all my good ideas are safe and sound
I so want to believe
That it's turtles all the way down


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A Star Fell Down on Indiana


A star fell down on Indiana
Just like it did in the beginning of time
We all turned out to see what happened
Some of us laughed
Some of us cried
And together we held onto each other's hands
Until the last of us had died


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Cakewalk


Up and down
The wheel does grind
Round and round
In this Coney Island of the mind
High and low
With all mankind
We spin and spin
In this Coney Island of the mind

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Further Adventures of Larry Kusnitt


And after all our pain and suffering
And after all of our goddamn work
Why oh why is God a goddamn jerk
Such a goddamn jerk

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mercy


The quality of mercy is not strained
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath
It is twice blest
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

This Lonesome Road


Here is yet another album - originally recorded in 2011 - that I have completely remixed and rethought. I moved around the song order, took out an instrumental, rerecorded many of the vocals and, in one case, remade the basic track. I've always liked this album because of songs such as "Spooky Girl," "Lovesick Blues Boy," the title tune, and what is perhaps my most personal song, "Right Here." And now, hopefully, it is that much stronger. Thanks again to Helen, the gal on the cover. My Mona Lisa. Read a nice review of the album.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Primitive Man


Do we ever see ourselves as we really are? Do we ever see what it is we really do? Or are we so adept at self-deception that we can't know the primitive man that lurks beneath the surface? We may laugh at or be disgusted by a man/child despot like Kim Jong Un, but aren't we all like him in some small way? This album is for the lion inside the lamb.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sing Cuckoo!


Every addict is formed
In the crucible
Of the memory
Of that first hit


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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Harpo's Blues


Recorded in 2009, this album is now fully remixed for your listening pleasure. Many thanks to cover girl Jes Johnson.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Westphalia


"Westphalia" was my fourth album, and even though several songs were done at least in part at Woolly Mammoth Studios in Boston, most of it was recorded on my own. In fact, the very first track I made for it, "Dime in My Pocket," was the first one I ever did solely at home. In the beginning I thought it would merely be a demo, but the more I worked on it and the more it started to come together, the more I thought, "Hey, I can do this." The song itself is a bit strange - very few rhymes and I'm not sure exactly what it is about - but what it taught me was how to create a certain feel, and that was as important as just about anything else. As for the themes on this record, I was, like Candide, re-examining my personal philosophy of life in face of evil. Here are 12 songs about locusts, good intentions and the best (and worst) of all possible worlds. In the end, this has to be my most purely strange album.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Friendship Ring


This album was originally recorded in 2009, but it has been recently rethought, remixed and polished up for your listening pleasure. Thanks to Natalia, whose face graces the cover.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Brutal Beauty


Time for a brand new album. It's a name-your-price type deal, which means you can download it for free (or fork over your cash to help the cause, if you prefer). So grab it while you can because once I exceed 200 downloads, as I did last month, Bandcamp automatically flips it into you-gotta-pay mode.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Songs for a Blue Girl


One day you are on top of the world. You are young, you are strong, you are beautiful. But then, slowly and almost imperceptively, your youth fades, your strength slackens and the person you see in the mirror no longer glows the way it once did. "Where did your long hair go / Where is the girl I used to know," Brian Wilson sang, mournfully. Eventually, life plays a cruel trick on us: just when we think we've got the world by the tail, it all gets taken away. No one is exempted, no one is immune.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Songs of Love and Regret


What better way to ring in a new year than with 13 songs about love and regret.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Head for the Hills


The cool wind of hope blows eternal
As if to keep us on our toes
Maybe there'll be a brighter day tomorrow
So pack up all of your woes


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Monday, October 7, 2013

The Beyond WIthin


Back in 1968, the band I was in, Larry and the Love Muffins, recorded an album at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood for Capitol Records' Tower subsidiary. It was produced by Norman Ratner (of the Leaves' "Hey Joe" fame) and many of the tracks were arranged by Jack Nitzsche. Because we were pretty green and had never been in a studio before, it was decided that the Wrecking Crew (Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, Billy Strange and Larry Knetchel) would perform on many of the backing tracks. Fourteen songs were laid down and the album was set for release, but at the last minute, for reasons still unclear to me, the label pulled the plug. Now, after years of legal wrangling, I have come into possession of the original masters and I am proud and happy to present to you "The Beyond Within."

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Blue Skies Ahead


I look at a faded photo
I don't recall the time or place
There is some girl in blue jeans
I don't recognize the face


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Broken Things


Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies
Deeply buried from human eyes
And, in the hereafter, angels may
Roll the stone from its grave away


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Monday, August 19, 2013

Music From Big Beige


A big beige building seated in the shade of the Fenway in Boston, Big Beige bore this music and these songs along its way, It's the first witness of this album that's been thought and composed right there inside its walls.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Kith


It wearies me; you say it wearies you

But how I caught it, found it, or came by it

What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born

I am to learn

And such a want-wit sadness makes of me

That I have much ado to know myself


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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summerville


Yeah I got a noonday demon
He is in hot pursuit
Yeah I hate my noonday demon
He's a crusty old coot


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Good Man


What constitutes a good man (or woman)? For most, it's who we think we are. But who we think we are and who we are can be two different things.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eliot Wilder: 101


Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position
But certainty is an absurd one
Why not celebrate the vastness of our ignorance
And be a possibilian

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Meet Eliot Wilder


More than a decade ago I left my job as a copy editor at the Los Angeles Times, where I had been working for over 18 years. Then, in a fit of mid-life crisis, I moved to Boston to attend an MFA program in creative writing at BU, which, despite high hopes, turned out to be a very negative experience. One of my instructors began the first day of class by saying, "I plan to cure you all of taking a creative writing course again." She did. In the years that followed, bit by bit, my life began to unravel; I lost both of my parents (my mom to Alzheimer's and my Dad to cancer), I became estranged from my two sisters and I could not seem to find steady work. Along the way, my daughter was born and I became a Mr. Mom. I also began, almost every day, to write songs, something I had once done when I was much younger but had long since abandoned. But I felt now I had something to say about myself and the world around me, and say it in a way I could not have said when I was in my early 20s. It started off slowly, but as I grew in confidence my work and inspiration rate increased, and I got to the point where I was going at it for about eight hours a day, coming up with ideas and material - toiling away for just about the same amount of time one might spend at a job. So these songs of mine, well, I guess you could say they are my life's "work."

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Social Studies


When I started writing songs for this album I began to see a connection with the songs from my past three records, "Little Bastards," "Scoundrels" and "Primitive Man." All contained stories about people doing what they do without apology. So, in an aha! moment, I decided that these albums formed a quartet. If you listen closely, and no doubt you will, you may detect a dialogue of sorts, where a character from one song is speaking or responding to a character in another. Some of these people are questionable in nature. Some are on their way up and some are on their way down. All of them are just living their lives and doing what they do.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Scoundrels


Most of the characters in these songs are people I know, have once known or, perhaps, imagined I knew. They are all rather slippery people, the kind you are not quite sure of, the kind that leave you guessing. When they tell you something personal, as they often do, you wonder how much of it is true and how much fabrication. The thing is, they don't know themselves - so how can you? And yet, because they are often good at sounding like they know what they are saying, and because they look and act completely convincing, you want to buy in.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Goodbye Tomorrow


Creativity is done in a vacuum, and nature, as they say, abhors a vacuum. This must explain my incredible popularity.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What I Found in the Remains


It's a new year, and it's time to look forward to the promise that a new year brings. But it's difficult not to look back on the past one with all its tragedies - some natural, most of man's own doing - and not feel a sense of sadness, loss and grief. This album picks through a few of the events the year 2012; it is, in a way, a photo album of what happened by chance and what we chose to do to each other.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Great Escape


Many of these tracks are what I have come to term "lesson" songs for my daughter Astrid; they are parables - little stories that illustrate instructive principles that she might find useful as she travels along her life's bumpy path. So you have tunes like "Up Shits Creek Without a Paddle," which retells the saga of the grasshopper and the ant, and "Down the Rabbit Hole," which recounts Alice's journey through a mad world. There is also "The Inspired Fake," about charlatans who are intent on convincing you of their worth but instead only peddle bad faith, and "This Might Sting a Bit," about sellers of false hope. By writing these, it has forced me to reconsider my own understanding of what is moral and true in a universe that is increasingly difficult to comprehend. We listen, we learn.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Stockholm Syndrome


No doubt there have been times when you've found yourself in a predicament where you feel stuck, either at your work or in your town or in your school. And your brain accommodates, and you think, "You know, it could be worse. This isn't so bad. I can always leave." But then you don't leave. Or when you do leave, it's almost as if it's too late. As the poet Rilke says, "You must change your life."

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dreamland


This was an attempt to make an album in singular style (in this case, a mostly acoustic record), rather than hopscotching all over the map stylistically, as I tend to do. I wouldn't exactly say that this is a mellow record; rather, like the title, it's more dream-like. A couple of the songs - "How Can Anybody Get Anything Done 'Round Here," "Set Yourself Free" and the title track - are among my all-time personal favorites. I also like "Turtles All the Way Down," which came about after watching an episode of the series "Awake," which was unfortunately cancelled.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Low Down


The making of this record was a difficult experience. Many songs were reworked or outright rejected. Many ideas smacked into a dead end. Many tracks lacked that certain special something that would make me want to ever listen to them again. But I kept at it, and eventually this is what I came up with. Twelve songs about being low down. More than any other collection of tunes, this one cuts closest to the bone. Maybe it had a lot to do with the weather (I kept recording while Hurricane Sandy wailed away outside my window), but this is the best expression I could come up with for my particular form of depression. If you have ever suffered through dark nights (and days) of the soul, perhaps "Low Down" will resonate in some small way with you.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Personality Crisis


For people who live unexamined lives, the world just happens, happening as it does beyond their will or ability to act upon it. Because, to them, there are always external forces - perhaps God, perhaps chance, perhaps circumstance - that they believe are outside their ability to understand and control. In most cases, they get away with so much because they think so little. But if they began a process of self-evaluation and -examination, they may come to discover that there is much they can do. Or, at the very least, they can stop deflecting blame for the pain they inflict. Coming to this place of discovery requires much work - more work than most people want to invest in. But the ultimate reward can be great, not only for the people who awaken to their lives, but also to the people in their orbit. They just need to start. But the question remains: How to begin?

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beautiful People


A few weeks ago saw my 40th high school reunion, and although I did not attend, the event did cause me to reflect on the passage of time. A friend sent a link to a site with photos of my old classmates, and seeing those pictures really threw me. Who were all these old people? Who were these men in Hawaiian shirts with big bellies and bald heads? Who were these women with bleached-out hair, saggy skin and too much make-up? Who were these strangers? The one thing I've come to realize is, life is a great leveler. No matter how much you think you've got it going on, sooner or later life bites you on the ass. With that in mind, I began writing songs for what has become "Beautiful People," which I think can be summed up in the lines:

There goes the past
Receding and not always redeemable
And here comes the future
Waiting to churn us up

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Speak, Memory


This album, originally recorded in 2010, has several of my favorite tracks on it, including "Crossing the Line," "Midnight Town" and "The Devil Ain't Got No Music," which was inspired by a line that Mavis Staples uttered on "The Colbert Report" when asked how she felt about singing the devil's music. (Subsequently, in the past year, the blues singer Lurrie Bell has recorded a tune using the same title, but I got there first!). At any rate, after listening to this record recently, I thought it could be better - not only the mix, but the vocals as well. So I've given it a fresh coat of paint. The sound is brighter now, it pops more and the singing is (hopefully) a little more on the money.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Other


We went to Niagara Falls a few summers ago and stayed with some friends who live in upper New York State, which is actually very rural, all fields and farms for as far as you can see. These friends live in a small college town called Seneca Falls, which is the very place that was fictionalized as Bedford Falls in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life." Only now the town is pretty depressed - lots of these small towns were once factory towns, and now all the factories are gone. So you see a lot of people who look tired and careworn and blown apart. It was a sad place, and I couldn't help but feel that sadness. So when we came back I started writing songs that reflected that, songs about the displaced and the dispossessed. Songs about the separateness we all can feel.

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

End of the Road


There comes a time when a certain relationship reaches an end, but one of the parties seems to be unaware that this has happened. Or maybe that person lives in a state of denial. Or is oblivious. Or just wants to pretend that what's has gone on for the last decade or two or three is hunky dory, even though no effort or energy whatsoever has been put into keeping the relationship alive. It's just this thing, this entity - but it is not true; it does not breathe, it does not move, it is not about anything at all. And what do you say to this person? How do you tell him or her that you are at the end of the road?

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Bread of Dreams


This was my second album, and it all came about because of Dave Westner, engineer and multitasking musician extraordinaire at Woolly Mammoth Studios. At this stage I was extremely unsure of what I could do both musically and lyrically, but slowly (the recording stretched on between 2007 and 2008) I began to find my legs, mostly because Dave was so proficient at translating my vague ideas into musical realities. Once we'd finished a track, he'd say, "Go write another one." And I would. And bit by bit, "The Bread of Dreams" came together. I like this record a lot, and I really love Dave's playing on it. He's an incredible "feel" musician, and most of what he did he laid down in the very first take.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Very Soul of Me


"The Very Soul of Me" was originally recorded in 2010, but recently I remixed and reconsidered it, in the process deleting a song and adding a new track, as well as redoing some vocals and adding additional instrumentation. This album came out of my obvious love of soul music - all those Saturday afternoons as a kid spent watching "Soul Train" did make a big impression on me - and it is quite possibly the one recording I've done that is closest to my heart.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Da Bomb!


"Da Bomb!" features 12 instros to get you groovin' on a summer afternoon.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

I Will Never Forgive You


As the saying goes, it's a thin line between love and hate.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Secrets and Lies


Several years ago I was extremely shaken to discover that a person I thought was a close friend was, as it turned out, a sociopath, a liar and a fraud. His deceits, which involved him not so cleverly trying to bilk me out of money, rocked me to the core, and it forced me to reexamine just how much I could truly know someone. Are people really who they say they or are they in fact something other, something cold, remote and unknowable? If that's the case, how can we ever feel a true connection?

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