Why one writes
It begins with noticing

Tunes for a Monday Morning

American tree sparrow

Today's songs are all from the troubled, complicated, enraging, inspiring, enormously diverse and utterly beautiful country of my birth...

Above: "Little Sparrow" by Leyla McCalla, from her second album A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey (2016). McCalla, an extraodinary young cello and banjo player of Haitian Creole heritage, grew up in the New York area and is now based in New Orleans.

Below: "Bring Your Love to Me" by the wonderful Avett Brothers from North Carolina: singer/songwriters Seth & Scott Avett, backed up by Bob Crawford on double bass and Joe Kwon on cello. The song appears on their eighth studio album, Magpie and the Dandelion (2013). The shadow puppetry in the video is by Hobey Ford.

Above: "Winners " by the bluegrass & roots band Trampled by Turtles from Minnesota, in the American Midwest. The band is: Dave Simonett, Tim Saxhaug, Dave Carroll, Erik Berry, and Ryan Young. The song appears on their eighth album, Wild Animals (2014). 

Above: "Call it Dreaming" by Iron & Wine: the stage name of singer/songwriter Sam Beam, from the Carolinas. The song appears on his lovely eighth album, Beast Epic (2017).

Above: "Tus Pies" by Nakho Bear, a brilliant young musician/activist of Apache, Mohawk, Puerto Rican & Filipino heritage. Nahko grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and is now based in Hawaii. I love this song, and this simple performance, filmed in New York City in 2016.

Below, to end with: "Good to Be Alive Today" by a musician/activist of my own generation: the beautiful and big-hearted Michael Franti, who hails from northern California. The song appears on Soulrocker (2017), the ninth studio album by Franti and his reaggae/roots/rock/soul/jazz band, Spearhead. This man's love and passion never flags. I want to be the same.

Sparrow in flight (photograph by Manuel Grossele)