Have guitar, will travel.

Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time

— David Bowie

It’s been a year of changes, fundamentally for the better.

Besides splitting with my partner of 12 years — amicably — and working at a job I love empowering people with mental illness, I have begun a project I hope you will join in sampling, supporting and enjoying: “Love Letters.”

The evolving compilation’s title track represents the kind of songs I write: heart-felt, real-life stories with a message and universal meaning. I am embarking on a journey to pull together select songs that celebrate love, family and spirit, record them with the help of dynamic musicians and a fine producer here in Vermont, and share them in digital downloads, a few hard copy CDs and in performances around New England.

You have fueled this adventure — with your attention as I posted rough cuts on Facebook and played out at open mics and venues around Springfield, VT, which I now call home. You and a lot of coffee, musical inspiration and encouragement from fellow artists and fans.

Many artists move me to pursue creating on a molecular and spiritual level: Janis Ian (now on her final tour, which I will see in April), Tracy Grammer — often accompanied by acoustic co-conspirator Jim Henry — who both have fabulous budding Patreon communities, and Cody Jinks, whose rendition of “Ready for the Times to Get Better” I consider my personal anthem. That song is written by Allen Reynolds and has been performed by Crystal Gayle but it exemplifies my mood and mantra.

Cody Jinks

Last September, I was given a gift — to lead a songwriter-in-the-round at Stage 33 Live in Bellows Falls, VT.

That’s where I performed “Love Letters” and told the story of my mom and dad’s courtship.

“Love Letters” at Stage 33 Live.

This version is stripped down, but I imagine it with violin or cello, brushes and a vocal that has evolved since my “shy singer” presentation here.

Why do it though? I am short on funds, so Kickstarter, Go Fund Me or Indiegogo will figure in at some point as I make a push.

Well when I play a room, and a woman at a far table, chin in hand, sits listening despite the clatter of utensils and the dim rumble of voices, and then later comes up and says she likes my voice or an original, I am moved to give more of myself. Or when a fan comes to more than one show and harps on a song he likes, and how he can hear other instrumentation in his head, I am moved to give more of myself.

“Don’t die with your music still in you” is good advice. I am to take it.

Please follow this blog and my Facebook profile for updates.

When the Audience Sings

Music teacher Sherry Stidfole likes to hear voices singing in unison.

A lover of folk songs, Sherry, who lives in New London and teaches in Waterford, Conn., says she’s a great believer in the mandate, “It ain’t over until the audience sings.”

Plan to accommodate her when she performs with myself and Mike Ball at Captain’s Pizza, 8 Bank St., from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3.

Sherry has practiced this precept by writing original songs for her Waterford, Conn., students, and in many other ways.

Also a lover of the guitar, she bought her first model in a Kingston, N.Y., pawn shop in the early sixties. She taught herself how to play using the book by Jerry Silverman, “Beginning the Folk Guitar.” Next, she memorized “Greensleeves,” and “graduated,” as she puts it, to “The Joan Baez Songbook.”

In 2006 she, Mike Bailey and Steve Fagin formed The Shoreline Acoustic  Music Society, which recently held its 6th Annual festival during Sailfest. It’s there that songwriters (myself among them) have the opportunity to jam and float original tunes by amateurs and seasoned performers alike.

At SAMS, singers and musicians are the audience. And that holds true in other performances Sherry leads as well.

Back in the mid-1980s, Sherry got a bunch of Waterford public school teachers to play “A-Soulin’ ” with her fifth and sixth-grade Southwest School chorus. Now expanded to exclude out-of-towners, the group is known as “The Crew” and can be seen after SAMS festivals and various hootenany performances.

Sherry’s exuberance and love of music are sure to get your blood pumping, your feet stomping — and your voice crackling.

So come on down and, as Sherry advises, “join in!”