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I was walking our dog during a freeze-thaw cycle a few winters ago and noticed something in the wetlands.

The ice that had previously imprisoned the leaves and vegetation on the surface had thawed enough to release them again. The leaves, waterlogged, disappeared into the water below, but not before leaving the image of their ‘bones’ in the ice.

As the temperature fluctuated, the water level fell, leaving distinct layers of ice which had formed below the impression of the leaves.

When I observed this, the sun was just coming out, the water was rising, and it was evident that this strange, beautiful phenomena wouldn’t last more than a few minutes.

I went inside and told Nancy, who brought her camera and caught these ephemeral images before their momentary display ended.

I like the wintry photograph for the album’s title track, “December 32nd,” which is a song about New Year’s Eve from the perspective of those who aren’t in a position to believe in its inherent ability to renew.

The image also has resonance from the standpoint of my becoming old and having recorded these songs at this late date. I know that few people will hear them, and the songs will not, in all probability, survive me by much.

Nevertheless, I’m glad to have recorded them, happy that good friends helped me do so, at peace in the knowledge that whatever mark we make, it will become fragile and dissolve in time. Our work is no less beautiful for its transience.

Photos by Nancy Solo

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Updated: Mar 9, 2019

This is the second or third song I ever wrote, back around 1990. I wanted to write a funny, topical early Dylan/Dave Van Ronk-style tale. Originally, it was thirteen verses, but now it’s down to ten because I’ve learned to edit in the last 37 years.

I still play it occasionally and people seem to like it, though I get a few quizzical looks when I sing about phone books and dial phones. There’s an Easter egg in the 8th or 9th verse for those who hang with it.

Yes, this is the actual van...

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Updated: Mar 9, 2019

I have a friend who has been, at times, susceptible to the wiles of women who mean him absolutely no good. As far as I know, they have all had red hair, but it’s taken him decades to make the connection.

He once came into my office to chat after a long absence, and I asked him how he was doing. He said things were good, so I risked another question… Are you seeing anyone?

“Oh, no,” he replied. “It’s just like Bob Marley said. ‘No woman, no cry!’”

I told him I didn’t think that’s what Bob meant in that song, but he assured me otherwise. This song is dedicated to him. (He’s now with a great lady who usually has blue hair. Progress.)

I heard this song as a Motown tune, and thanks to the saxophone stylings of Damien Hyde, vocals by Rod Johnson, the horn and vocal arrangement and pretty much everything else provided by Dave Roof, I think we nearly got there.

No Use Trying (single)

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