Too Long | Crooked Roads

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About the artist

My first memory of music was listening to my mom’s Beatles records—sometime after my birth in ’64 and before ’73. I consciously said to myself, “If there is a god, he’s speaking through these guys.” Their records were unbelievably bright and vibrant. My dad had some records of Joshua Rifkin playing Scott Joplin rags too. I liked those melodies—really catchy. I used to play the melodies on the piano—just one finger plunking it out. Dad played piano and guitar and trombone, but I never did anything beyond that noodling around on the piano. It always seemed beyond a mortal human like me to come up with melodies the way The Beatles did—how does that happen?
I played trumpet in my middle and high school bands at my dad’s urging, but dropped music when I went to college. Then the summer after my junior year, I discovered another record, one that was by then over 20 years old: Dylan’s Freewheelin’. That affected me differently than The Beatles did. I heard tenderness there, and other things more indefinable. That’s when I picked up an acoustic guitar and learned some chords. Then I got every Dylan album I could find, and it was like discovering riches. I got into REM, too, and Elvis Costello and Van Morrison. After college I discovered, through Dylan, Woody Guthrie and other folk guys, then Hank Williams and later Gram Parsons.
It took me awhile to go from playing other people’s songs to writing my own. It went from dabbling to more and more serious, until it even seemed I had a knack for writing melodies—that thing that I’d always thought was so magical and beyond me. I discovered that writing words was the hard part!
Over the years I’ve rounded up a lot of great musicians from the Bay Area where I live who have done me the honor of playing with me. Members come and go as lives change, but I’ve called every combination Crooked Roads. As William Blake wrote: “Improvement makes strait roads, but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of Genius.”

Lyrics

Can’t find a reason to get up anymore.
Wait for the weekend but I ain’t sure what for.
I used to live to hear my praises sung to me.
But now I’m feeling just how lonely that can be.

Cuz it’s been too long
since someone got my jokes.
And it’s been too long
since someone met my folks.
And it’s been too long
since someone whispered something only for my ears.

I make up errands just to have some place to be.
Seems so important that everyone like me.
But everybody’s just nobody in disguise.
And I guess I had to go this far to realize

that it’s been too long
since someone gave my hand a little squeeze
And it’s been too long
since someone blessed me when I sneeze.
And it’s been too long
since someone whispered something only for my ears

And everybody’s looking for their soul-mate.
But I just wish I had to call someone
when I’m running late.

Cuz it’s been too long
since I’ve had someone on my mind.
And it’s been too long
since I lost all track of time.
And it’s been too long
since someone whispered something only for my ears.

Been staying home nights playing guitar until three
to an audience of the cat and the TV.
I look at the wall where her picture used to go.
I think about putting it back and that’s when I really know

that it’s been too long
since someone’s known exactly what I mean.
And it’s been too long
since someone’s messed up my routine.
And it’s been too long
Oh, I’m finally coming clean.
It’s been too long
since someone whispered something only for my ears.