Great songwriters create vivid imagery from their stories and yarns. Tom Waits is the master of painting those pictures in your mind and they are not always pretty, but they always require an emotional reaction. I love the way he puts a nursery-rhyme theme into a bleak, city scene full of unsavory characters and scenarios in “Clap Hands.” As a songwriter, Waits has no real contemporary rival when it comes to songs delivered like short stories. Most writers, including me, struggle to find this magic that Waits and his writing partner and wife Kathleen Brennan have. Covering Tom has always been a challenge and learning experience to stretch musical boundaries and discover the nuances from the best, knowing that you will never do it justice while trying to put your own spin on the tune. Some other songs in the BLP cannon include, “Jockey Full of Bourbon,” “Time,” “Chocolate Jesus,” and “Tango til They’re Sore.”  This was recorded a few years ago by The BLP with John English, Joe Ledbetter, and Matt Brennan.

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