What Songwriters Are Made Of

Chris Castle puffed on a cigarette in the cold night air outside Hanafin’s.

Downtown New London was quiet for a Friday night, snow on its way but delayed.

Reddish hair wisped across his forehead. He smiled. He joked.

Inside, I nursed a lime-drenched club soda and waited for the man from New London, Ohio, to serenade this second-home hole-in-the-wall.

The scheduled 8:30 p.m. performance time came and went but a small crowd lingered patiently, looking for the songwriter to come in and play some tunes from his new CD, Last Bird Home. We each found a circle of friends, at the bar, at the tables, and made small talk.

When Chris sat down to play — lone electric acoustic guitar heavy on the bass, as if to drown out the drunken camaraderie in the back of the bar — he sang tenderly. Flawlessly. Sweetly.

“Rest My Weary Body.” “Adelai.” And newer songs like “Lion In the Cage.”

When I grow up I want to know my audience this well: the late-comers and the loyal early arrivals, both.

His voice gently lulls the listener into a world of lost love, rugged self-reliance and abiding belief in both.  Eyes closed, fingers nimble, the man is his work: Prepared. Heart-felt. Generous. Genuine. With a wry, good-natured sense of humor to boot.

We’re only as good as our last gig, wherever that may find us.

2 thoughts on “What Songwriters Are Made Of

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