This is a special Mother’s Day message – and a question: Where is your mother in you, now?

This picture is my mother and me when I was little.  My biggest childhood heroes were my mother, my aunt, our post-mistress who had a wooden leg, and my dad’s dog. I think about my mother a lot, and I talk about her in my shows.

That used to embarrass me – how much I think about her – but now I accept it.

My mother gave me music, taught me to harmonize, to play the ukulele, to read chords on the piano. She was the most compelling performer I ever experienced, and she taught me to watch for heartbreaking, mind-blowing, unexpected performances to happen anywhere – in kitchens, on street corners and sometimes even in concert halls –  and to sit breathless and watch them with all your heart when they happen.

For Mother’s Day 2015 I collected nine of my memories about her in this one blog and I like to reshare it every year: The story of the Nightingale, my mini-music video “Favorite Aunt” (about my mother’s little sister), Mother’s Day Revisted, the fine art of Falling Short, The Butterfly Glass, One Mom’s Legacy of Music & Burnt Food, My Mother’s Mexican Hat, Two Horses Running and Anna Bella & Piano Man Sam about my mother’s mother and father.

My mother died many years ago, much younger than I am now – and our tumultuous relationship has improved profoundly since then.

I hope you enjoy these memories.  And I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day, wherever your mother is in you.

And by the way … where is she in you, now?

The Fine Art of Falling Short

My relationship with my mother has improved greatly since she died nearly 30 years ago.  She left me a legacy of  fierce passion for truth,  music as a first language –  and a tangled conundrum of inspiration and shame for simply existing.  In other words – a human experience. – See more HERE

My Favorite Aunt – A Music Video

My mother died long ago.  After that, I declared the night before Mother’s Day as “Aunty’s Eve.”  Read about my favorite aunt and see our 90-second Music Video is called “Favorite Aunt” which was featured on an NPR show about Aunts.  I wrote the song in 2007.

See more HERE


Mother’s Day Revisited

Mother’s Day never meant much to me until one year I suddenly thought: wait!  What does my MOM really want???  Oh sure, finger paintings are always a big hit, but … is there something else?  I remember the year the light bulb went on for me. I was 9.

See more HERE

One mom’s Legacy of Music and Burnt Food

My mother left me two legacies at the end of her short life, both sprung from the same idea: great art can spontaneously appear anywhere, anytime. The first legacy was her music, which was impromptu and spectacular. The other was her cooking…  See more HERE


My Mother’s Mexican Hat

After the divorce my mother and I went to live with my Aunt.  After a year or so the three of us went to live with THEIR mother, my grandmother.  A few years later my mother started dating again.  Then one day, she went on a date to Tijuana, Mexico.  See more HERE

Two Horses Running

Because she died so young, I’m now older than my mother.  But she’s still my mother.  That’s non-negotiable.  I’m still struggling to be exactly like her and nothing like her.  She was – for me – paradox embodied… Like, the horses…  See more HERE

The Butterfly Glass


We’re sitting at a table, with a cheap waterglass and a set of watercolor paints.  I’m about to go to a birthday party.  My mother is painting an exquisite butterfly onto the bottom of the glass… a present for my friend…  See more HERE

Anna Bella and Piano Man Sam

I’ll tell you something now, if you want to hear.  It’s a story about my grandparents that nobody’s ever told.  For years, my Grandmother pretended to be leading a normal life…  See more HERE

(This one is about my mother’s mother and father.)

The Nightingale

“The Nightingale” is one of my most-requested songs.  I wrote it in memory of my mother’s voice.  On this page you can purchase the sheet music via download, listen & share the audio, see my “Behind the Scenes” video about the song and see YouTube performances by other harpists.  See more HERE