November 2020 Muse Letter


My daughter, Lindsey, (it was decided 20 years ago having breakfast at a coffee shop in Japan with she and her sister that it was okay to refer them as “daughters” instead of “stepdaughters”) and her family returned to their home in New Jersey after spending three months with Pat and me. The original idea was that they would come to visit and stay for a few weeks. What became clear almost immediately was how comfortable everyone was, how at home we all were.   

So for nearly 100 days we were a family of six. Lindsey and her husband, Joe, working remotely. When September came the boys (the oldest entering 2nd grade and the youngest kindergarten) starting school on their iPads. Through it all we made sure to live each day to its fullest. A seven year old and a five year old have a way of helping you do that. Except for a week of smokey air that kept everyone inside, the weather let the boys decide hour by hour what worlds, inside or out, they were going to create and explore and how to convince Grammy, and sometimes Papa Banjo, to come along. (They were very persuasive.) 

Things are quiet around here these days. Pat and I continue to happen upon or trip over a stray action figure, Lego, or Pokemon card in the strangest of places. And the word gratitude comes up even more than usual. People tell us it is a summer the boys will never forget. I know I won’t. 

More and more I realize life is a complicated, intricate, often confusing, and sometimes simple love story. The summer of 2020 was a chapter like no other. 




Our Presidential election will be over on the 3rd of November. While every election is important, it’s clear how much this one has riding on it. How we deal with The Pandemic going forward is on the ballot. How this country faces (or does not face) Global Warming is there as well. We are also voting on how we will use this moment to face Systemic Racism and on whether Character matters in a leader. 

The four podcasts leading up to this election are called On The Wings of a Dream. My hope in creating them is to consider what the last eleven words of the Pledge of Allegiance – one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all - can and should mean. 

Here is a link to the most recent On the Wings of a Dream Podcast.  



The previous Songs and Stories from Home Podcasts were called Remembering the Dream. In them we shared songs and stories of the Civil Rights Movement of the 50’s and 60’s and how they can resonate with where we are at this moment.  

Here is a link to final Podcast of Remembering the Dream.


Over the next several months the Songs and Stories from Home Podcasts will focus on my relationship with Mike McCoy. In a series of letters I’m calling Dear Partner, I will explore what it’s meant and continues to mean to have a friendship and musical connection and collaboration that began 55 years ago and continues today.

Dear Partner is also the title of a song McCoy and I introduced at a concert at Meany Hall on the University of Washington campus in June of 1983. We met at the UW in the Fall of 1965. Here is an recording of that song from that night.  

  1. 3a Dear Partner_1.mp3


These days I realize even more how fortunate I am to have an amazing extended family. For example there is The Brothers Four family. A few years ago we had Bob Flick’s birthday party at our home. All of the wives were there. Bob’s son and his family. Our neighbors, John and Gail Paine. Reed and Sharon Ruddy who have been part of the family for more than 40 years. At the time it was a special day. It means even more these days when those kind of gatherings are not part of our lives.

It’s wonderful to love the guys I sing and travel with. I also the miss sharing the music with those who come to listen and sing along. The music we share awakens memories in a way nothing else can. I miss those feelings of being connected in that way.

Thanks to all of you for sharing in this amazing journey.