Political Songs Twisted Love Songs Uncategorized

Activist (Essay)

A few years ago, one of my students–I think the class was Environmental Literature.–had been reading a labor newspaper before class and gave it to me. It had an article about how often women organized and supported labor movements but that the men took the credit and also took the labor of women for granted. I was a kid at the time, but I remember when my dad, a railroad worker, would be on strike. I remember being scared but was too little to know why. Men would meet on our porch and have dark, threatening conversations. My mom would cook for them and keep the kids away from the porch. So the Anna in the first verse is made-up from that. The irony of the labor movement exploiting the labor of women did not dawn on me for many years.

Reggae Influenced Songs Twisted Love Songs Uncategorized

Virtual bliss

I wanted you yesterday and I want you more today.
It’s a garden of earthly pleasures—won’t you come out and play?

And I dreamed you were my inspiration.
Bold lovers on a midnight ride.

Dreams like this—shadows and mist.
Dreams that don’t abide.

Political Songs Reggae Influenced Songs Uncategorized

From the Vault: Heal the Nation

FROM THE VAULT (ORIGINALLY POSTED IN 2015) It seems like a long time ago when I was sitting in my living room, listening to Burnin’, and Bob Marley’s image on the cover of the album spoke to me. Burnin’ Album Cover Picture. TheWailers Burnin’ I wrote down what he said—in Patois—which I do not speak. […]

Political Songs Reggae Influenced Songs Twisted Love Songs Uncategorized

“Virtual Bliss” and its Double

The Dub
It’s interesting to think about the relationship of a song to its dub. I discovered this relationship through listening to Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey and Garvey’s Ghost and Lee “Scratch” Perry’s dubs of many classic reggae songs. Because I was a member of reggae’s white, middle-class audience, I was immediately drawn to the spiritual and political songs and sought them out.


The Karma Refugees: Mini Concert

Karma Refugees Caitlin Brutger and Mike Opitz perform an intimate three song set live in their home studio, The Maltshop. Here they perform three songs from their recent virtual album, Dreams and Visions (2013—available on this website). The video was shot and produced by Adam Konczewski. Different Lifetime Murakami Moon Summer and a Dream


Virtual Album – Dreams and Visions

Streets Suitcases for Walter Benjamin Midnight in Triana Bandit Different Lifetime Boom Soca for Soul Reprise Remake of One Drop Song Lost Cause Beck Summer and a Dream Virtual Bliss What a Shame Trad Blues Murakami Moon from Haruki Murakami 1Q84 Summer and a Dream (live in the Maltshop) Angel from Montgomery (John Prine Live […]


My first recording and Benjamin’s “Author as Producer”

Karma Refugees: A Trip through Benjamin’s “Author as Producer” After a while we started to think we needed to give a name to the group of song-makers had that gathered each of the last several years to write, play and record songs. Tom, Kathee and I had been members of The One Drop, a college-town […]