Updated pic

mike with beardOh shit, I grew a beard and never updated all the pics. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

Played a great gig last month as a benefit for the family of Joe Misuda, Victory Music President who suffered a tragic, fatal bike accident. My good friend Steve Polyak joined me for a few songs and I debuted my sparkly electric guitar, a Danelecto Hodad!

Steve Wacker shared the bill. We packed Egan’s Ballard Jam House and raised over $600 to help with Joe’s uncovered medical care. Good community vibe!

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Wild-crafted songs at the Couth

falltourI’ll be joining the lovely and talented Bill Davie an evening of wild-crafted-crafted, hand-formed, organic, locally-sourced songs! Drop on by and grab a fistful of sound and mixed metaphors! Warning: this performance may contain banjos.

Saturday Sept 20 @ The Couth Buzzard

8310 Greenwood Avenue North

7:30 – 9:30 (2 sets each!)

always free, always fun

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Catch me if you can & early heads up

Couth Buzzard SIS Flyer Oct 5 2013Only fall gig

My only fall gig is this Saturday, Oct. 5th, as part of a Songwriters in Seattle showcase at the Couth Buzzard.

This festival of song starts at 7:30. I’ll be joined by Susan Elliott, Chris Mitchell and Roo & The Few at the venue one local musician calls “the best place to play in the western hemisphere.

Please join us, enjoy the great food & drink at the Couth, and support Seattle’s thriving songwriting scene. 8310 Greenwood Ave. N. All ages and free!

A Heart Needs a Home

Thursday, Dec 19 at The Royal Room, 5000  Rainier Ave. S

Save the date for a special night of Seattle musical All-Stars performing the songs of Richard Thompson to benefit Solid Ground’s efforts to house homeless families.

Wayne Horvitz will serve as music director. Among the musicians we can tell you are joining the bill are Robin Holcomb, Darren Lucas, Eli West, Rob Kneisler, Joel Tepp and Carrie Clark. I wish I could disclose all the players, but you’ll have to wait for the really big news about this bill.

Two shows, 7:30 and 9:30. More info: http://theroyalroomseattle.com/2013-12.php


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13 in 13?

For the past two years, I’ve been the Third Alternate to the finalists of the Tumbleweed Songwriting Competition. Kind of like being 13 out of 10 (well, ok, 13 out of the 50-60 submissions each year), but who’s counting?

This year the topic of the competition is “bridges” and I’ve just sealed the envelope on my submission, Bridge Don’t Rise. It’s a song I wrote for my dad, but I think it will resonate for anyone who has ever lost someone. Take a listen:

Bridge Don’t Rise
© 2013 Mike Buchman

God willing and the bridge don’t rise
I’ll see you over on the other side
We’ll share some laughter, share some tears
Back with you after all these years
So much to tell you, so much to say
But we’ll have eternity, if we have a day
And the bridge don’t rise

            And I can’t wait to see you again
            I can’t wait to see you again, if the bridge don’t rise

God willing and the bridge don’t rise
I’ll drink you in with my own eyes
We’ll laugh about the earthly ways
And all the problems in that place
We’ll share some memories, we’ll have a cry
And I know you won’t be leaving me twice
If the bridge don’t rise 

And I can’t wait to see you again
Yeah, I can’t wait to see you again, if the bridge don’t rise

I was young when you died
Never saw you eye to eye
We’ll be together on the other side
God willing and the bridge don’t rise

God willing
And the bridge don’t rise
God willing
And the bridge don’t rise
And I can’t wait to see you again
I can’t wait to see you again


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Swapping songs with Ginny Reilly and Jennifer and Dave from The Hayburners!


Ginny Reilly

I’m thrilled to announce that on Friday, April 19th I’ll be hosting a Songwriters in the Round evening at the Couth Buzzard that features some amazingly talented performers!

Ginny Reilly is the “Reilly” half of famed folk duo Reilly and Maloney. With her partner, David Maloney, she has performed on the national circuit of folk music clubs from 1970 to 1990. They own a record company, Freckle Records, and recorded several albums on that label. While perhaps better known for her work with David, Ginny is skillful writer and solo performer who captivates audiences with her warmth and timeless songs. It’s really an honor to share the stage with her!

Jennifer Spector

Jennifer Spector

Jennifer Spector and David Tieman are also well-known as a touring duo, The Hayburners. But, as with Ginny, the also write material better suited to solo performance. For this evening, they will be primarily playing solo, but I think we can convince them to join up for a couple well-loved  Hayburners’ tunes.

I’ll have a new instrument (baritone uke!) and a few new songs, including my submission for the 2013 Tumbleweed songwriting competition.

David Tieman

David Tieman

The Couth is a wonderful listening room. No amplification, just the plain beauty of voices and acoustic instruments. We promise to take you on a journey through stories, emotions and song. Hope you can join us!

What: Songwriters in the Round: Ginny Reilly, Jennifer Spector, David Tieman and Mike Buchman
When: Friday April 19, 2013

Where: the Couth Buzzard, 8310 Greenwood Ave N.
no cover, all ages, all ears!

couth 4-19



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New (Years) gig Saturday, January 12

mike guitarI just got invited to join the bill for 2013’s inaugural gig at  Tacos Guaymas Y Mas, Lynnwood (on 196th, 1 block W of I-5 across from the Lynnwood Convention Center.)

The show is Saturday, January 12, 2013, from 6-9pm. There is no cover and the restaurant is suitable for all ages!

For more than three years, Ray Boyce has made this unheralded venue a top place to see a rotating roster of local songsmiths and players.

I’ll be sharing the bill with two talented songwriters, Charlie Spring and Casey Garland. Both write sweet and moving tales of people, love and the land reminiscent of greats like Neil Young and James Taylor.

Charlie is up first at 6:00. Casey plays at 6:55. I play from 7:50-8:40.

Come join us for great acoustic music and awesome, authentic Mexican food!

I’ll be joined on a few songs by my good friend Kelly Murphy, and hope to roll out some new tunes, including this one, called Bridge Don’t Rise, which I wrote for my father who died when I was young. I hope to see you in Lynnwood!

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Happy Birthday, Couth Buzzard!



Community meeting space par excellence, Couth Buzzard Bookstore, is celebrating its 3rd Anniversary on Sat. Dec 22. Poets, musicians and other performers from unknown to world famous are performing throughout the day. I’ve got a slot at 2:30 and will play a few of my songs on banjo/vocals. Hope to see you there!

Congrats to Theo and the crew, and thanks for making such a warm and welcoming space for our community!


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New gig, fresh talent

I’ve got a very special gig coming up Friday, Sept. 28th that I wanted to tell you about.

One of the things I love about volunteering to MC and run sound at Victory Music open mics is the opportunity to support burgeoning new talent. This gig is is like that awesome opportunity on steroids!

Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30pm. No cover!

On Friday, Sept. 28th at 7:30pm I’m hosting a songwriter’s showcase at the almost legendary Couth Buzzard (8310 Greenwood Ave. N, Seattle). I’ll swap songs with good friends Ahmad Baabahar and J.W. McClure. So what’s the big deal?

Opening for us, in her Seattle debut, will by Ahmad’s 15-year old daughter, Kreea Baabahar, who, mark my words, is going to be a special music maker before she is done.

It’s not just that Kreea’s bloodlines are strong, that her dad is a performing songwriter and instructor, her mom a sound healer, her grandfather a jazz and doo-wop hero. It’s that Kreea has a deep passion about her music and a striving commitment to her craft. She writes lovely songs that have a depth well beyond most teens. She has a soulful and powerful voice. And she is just starting to develop her performance chops. So her potential is ALL THERE, like a beautiful flower still wrapped in its bud, poised to pop open.


So come hear Kreea. Someday you’ll be able to say: “I saw her when…” And stick around for the old goats who follow. Ahmad, J.W. and I are an eclectic bunch–we all write pretty cool songs. And after listening to Kreea, we are all gonna have the biggest grins on our faces, I know it will make us sing our best!

The Couth is all ages, all acoustic, and all for free. We will, or course, pass the hat. I’ll be giving my share to Kreea… along with a request for beign on the guest list sometime when she hits it big.

Hope to see you there!

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The day the music died

Drew and Joe from the Circus Contraption web site

I didn’t know Drew and Joe. I only saw them perform one time with Circus Contraption. I’ve only been to Café Racer a few times for take out coffee, a quick cup on the way from Trading Musician to somewhere else. But like most of Seattle I’ve been profoundly disturbed by the loss of these freaky musical geniuses. And while their horrific murders have the headlines, and rightfully so, there were two other deaths in my music world last week that in their quiet ways were somehow just as disturbing.

Nick Consoletti was a too smart and kind for this world. A genius physicist, philosopher and shy musician, Nick made a legion of friends around the world, though he lived a practically homeless existence. To the casual attendee at the Victory Music open mic where I met Nick a number of years ago he seemed another guy who probably lost the thread somewhere, but as this brief quote from one of his papers on the Bohmian Dialogue attests, he was really someone who had woven many threads together:

Nick from his web site

“Bohmian Dialogue aims at exploring the limitations of thought. Such understandings contribute to the harmonization of individual, social, cultural, and cosmological dimensions by releasing collective insight, or proprioception (self awareness), that dissolves fragmentation. The emerging coherence contributes to humanity’s living in a sane and secure manner.”

I don’t know if Nick ever met Joe or Drew, but I can imagine they would have gotten on famously. And while Nick wasn’t a showman, he might have been coaxed to bring out his mountain dulcimer or travel guitar and play a few songs. After spending the Memorial Day Weekend at Folklife, Nick returned to his home in Portland, where he died the day after the shootings, victim of faulty kidneys and an even faultier health care system.

Ruby from Theo’s Facebook feed

As tragic as these three deaths are, at least these men enjoyed life and made music, madness and loving friends solidly into middle age. For Ruby Smith, life was choked off at 17 by an aggressive cancer that did its dirty deed in 9 months time, taking with it phenomenal bass player and a beautiful loving girl, the light of Kate Smith and Theo Dzielak’s lives. I never had the fortune to meet Ruby, but I know Theo a bit through the anchor he has created in the Greenwood community, the Couth Buzzard, and I learned about her struggle and her musical prowess from his postings. The Couth is a bookstore/cafe that must surely be the Greenwood version of Café Racer, a community home, a place where music, poetry and other performance are nurtured along with literate and caring conversation.

Four musical beauties gone in a 24-hour period. How can you make sense of that loss? Many of us will turn back to music, playing together on the street in front of Café Racer, or this weekend’s second line, arranging benefit concerts to raise money for the families left behind. And many of us will try to process  our balled up feelings by writing songs.

(Update: There is a day of music and appreciation for the Couth on Saturday June 23. Music from 10:30 am on! I’ll be playing a short set at 2:30 pm)

For me, these deaths come together and seem to signify something bigger than random violence or the fragility of our health. They feel like a confirmation that our zeitgeist has changed, horribly. That the pendulum has swung so far away from the Age of Aquarius that these dark times will only get darker. But the hidden gift in the horror of tragedy is that it serves to pull us together, to belie the fantasy that each man is an island…

I’ve thought a lot about community these last few days: about what draws people together, and what is my relationship and responsibility to community. I don’t have a café or pub that serves as my living room, and while I’ve played the same open mic for a decade and mc or run the sound system regularly, I question the limits of what I’ve really contributed on human terms. Ruby, Joe, Drew and Nick were all people who gave, probably much more than they got. Certainly the same can be said for the Couth’s owner Theo, and, from what I read, the folks who run Racer as well.

And so, as bad as I feel for the grieving loved ones, and as fearful as I feel knowing that, like the folks at Café Racer, I’ve had to ask disruptive people to leave a venue, or even the food bank that occupies the ground floor of the social service agency where I work, I also feel bad for myself. Bad that I don’t have a more loving heart for the damaged souls I’ve encountered. Bad that I don’t give more where I can, or give even more where I do. It’s a lot to ponder on top of the grief and anger and fear. And I suspect I’m not alone in our community in terms of how profoundly these events have hit me.

Like I said, lots of people will draw from music to find comfort in these times, and others of us will create it as a way to try and understand. Here’s one small attempt I’ve made to help pull it all together for myself, and, maybe, for you. I don’t know whether to call it “Through these darkling days” or “Clowns and geniuses pushed aside.” What do you think?

(unnamed song for Drew, Joe, Nick and Ruby)

I saw my ghost walking in the park
His face was drawn his eyes were dark
In his satchel was everything he owned
There was a faint taste on the wind
Smelled like her lip gloss again
A memory of what our lives had been

This ain’t the Age of Aquarius anymore
Mars is marching us to war
Flowers crumble and blow away in the desert wind
But through these darkling days
I know we’ll find our way
And peace and love must surely come again

Another time the music’s died
Clowns and geniuses pushed aside
A ruby rose cut down mid-bloom
Salty tears on our tongues
We’ll start again what we’d begun
And through the darkness  find our way home


Fingers on our strings and keys
We’ll sing our memories
Raise our voices so we’re not alone
From the Racer to the Couth
Joyous music, raise the roof
We’ll sing and dance until the end of time!


Yeah, through these darkling days
I know we’ll find our way
And peace and love will surely come again

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March and April gigs!

Friday, March 3, 2012, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Songwriters in Seattle Showcase
The Couth Buzzard, 8310 Greenwood Ave. N.
I’ll be sharing an intimate evening of original music with Steven Church, Cris Faget and the Lunabees, as well as other local songwriters. The Couth has a great living-room vibe and is purely acoustic-no PA! Also, no cover & kid friendly!

Sunday March 25, 2012, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
C&P Coffee Company 5612 California Ave. SW in West Seattle.
Join me and John Morse for solo sets in this cozy cafe vibe with great treats. Great way to while away a Sunday afternoon! Kid friendly and no cover!

Saturday, April 28, 2011, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Tacos Guaymas Y Mas, Lynnwood (on 196th, 1 block W of I-5 across from the Lynnwood Convention Center.
I’m returning to this great series curated by Ray Boyce, this time sharing the bill with two killer songwriters, Brian Charles Booth and Deb Seymour. Come join us for great acoustic music and awesome, authentic Mexican food.

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