• Happy birthday, Mom, my biggest artistic influence.

In my family, my mom has always been the most artistic one. Some of my earliest memories are of her playing piano. Over the years she has also done sewing, knitting, macrame, pottery and most recently quilting. She's also a gifted interior designer, although she would never admit it! But back to quilting. The picture above is one of her designs and to make it, she first had to think through all of the geometric interplay, then she had to pick and cut the fabrics and then she had to sew it all together to create a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts, impressive though those parts may be. And it is this emphasis on craft that has been passed on to me. When I write and record songs, I'm not after a happy accident or some sort of abstract thing that can be interpreted 100 different ways; rather, I want something that clearly expresses my intent, that has a beginning and end and that has an identifiable structure. Oh, and it should also repeat, but not exactly. I think my mom's quilts have these qualities, and no gift I could give her today could possibly match the one she has given me:  a near obsessive interest in making art and craft work together, because I think the best songs, the kind I strive to write, embody both. And now that my mom is probably thoroughly embarrassed, I will stop!