Vera Smiles

Vera and AnaisMaile knows a wonderful Russian woman named Vera who studied drama and taught it to kids. So when we were looking for someone to speak Russian for a kid’s album I’m working on, Vera immediately came to mind. Tonight she came over, preformed and translated this poem.



От улыбки хмурый день светлей!
От улыбки в небе радуга проснется.
Поделись улыбкою своей
И она к тебе не раз еще вернется!

И тогда наверняка вдруг запляшут облака,
И кузнечик запиликает на скрипке!
С голубого ручейка начинается река,
Ну а дружба начинается с улыбки!


With a smile a cloudy day brightens!
With a smile the world is colored like a rainbow.
Share your smile with a friend
And your smile will return to yo!

And suddenly clouds will be dancing
And the cricket will play the violin!
With a blue stream the river begins,
So friendship starts with a smile!

Vera and Anais

Beginner's Mind

My last job was teaching guitar, mostly to kids. There was this magic cul-de-sac full of wonderful kids where I worked with almost every kid on the block, nine students on one street. The neighborhood called The Overlook, so they were Overlookers.

We’d frequently write songs using the old I-write-a-line you-write-a-line method. That’s how Beginner’s Mind was written, me and Kyle, Ian, or Abby, picking some chords, making up a progression, taking turns writing lines.

Eight-year-old Ian and I wrote some crazy songs. Check out the sci-fi thriller Flea-Bee about getting sucked into the TV and landing in a future where men look like cockroaches or flea-bees. Or the redneck narrative of Hillbilly,

<a href="" class="broken_link">Hillbilly by Jason Molin</a>
I’m a hillbilly
No really?
Yes silly!
I’m a hillbilly

I recorded these songs in 2006, as an album of the best songs written with students, but have never released it till now. I just discovered Bandcamp and the simplicity and ease of the interface for showing off music inspired me to dust off the old .wav files and share.

The other inspiration is Family Time Rocks!, the kids band I’m in with Sara Hickman and Gray Parsons, where these songs have new ears. Thanks to Susan Sermoneta for the cover photo.