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Welcome to this tiny corner of cyberspace! 

For a sampling of my nearly completed labor of love and madness,  Dubliners Sung, w/ special guest singer Nora Byrd, come to the Atlantic Bar & Grill on Bloomsday at 7 p.m.  Our sampler is the appetizer for the Bloomsday event hosted by Jeffery Hegelson. $7.

Now, to continue . . .

If you're looking for streetwise/booksmart songs, you've come to the right place.  Common mythology has it that when artists like Robert Johnson go down to the crossroads to offer their souls for fame and fortune, the Prince of Darkness is always ready, willing, and able, but the un-famous work on this site is proof-positive that there are some offers the devil actually can refuse. 

If your work is too artsy for the streets, not arty enough for the ivory tower, not trendy enough for the pop charts, and not an easy fit for a specific genre, why, even the devil has limits :)

Still, if you like tunes that don't insult your ears or your intelligence and reward closer scrutiny, you might just find my work worthy of your time and attention.  I like to think of the songs as the truth told slant, all of them starting in the "foul rag and bone shop of the heart."

J. B   This is where my songs reside. 






And 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 Lincoln Square but has played at No Exit, Chopin Theater, Heartland Cafe, The Bean Counter, Lunar Cabaret, and other venues, most commonly backyard gazebo as weather permits. 



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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