Welcome to this tiny corner of cyberspace well outside the orbits of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever else is out there beyond my ken. Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the group, The Pariahs, or its leader, Johnny Pariah.  

Some years back on the radio, I listened to the resident composer for the Chicago Symphony give an elaborate explanation for his piece of music that was about to premiere, including the positioning of the musicians.  Intrigued, I stayed tuned for the inaugural performance. And the dissonant drek in the speaker had me switching to rock within minutes--all intellect, no heart or soul, at least to my ears.

Therefore, though there is a particular aesthetic vision behind my work, I encourage you to sample it before going any further down the rabbit hole cz if you don't like the songs, whatever I say about them, or myself for that matter is, well, blather.
This site is devoted not simply to my work but to art in general, especially songs and poems. some of them famous, others unknown.  In the words of John Lennon, "whatever gets you through the night."

"I had to write what I wanted to sing."  - Bob Dylan

"If there is a book you want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."  - Toni Morrison

"Enough said."  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. 

Now Available . . .

The Dwindling Road

See /music for samples from this & other past and ongoing projects, including Dubliners Sung--Joyce's stories w/ original lyrics set to Celtic-flavored music.  

See /podcasts for "Dylan, The Fab 4, & the Middle 8," & more.

See /bio for more on my background.

See Arlo Guthrie and Emmylou Harris' rendition of Woody Guthrie's "Deportees" if you're short on understanding and empathy for refugees at our southern border. https://youtu.be/Pa3sJTX-W_4 

Lately listening to  . . .

The Handsome Family & Movie Soundtracks



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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