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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Holiday folk frenzy at Taco Guaymas!

Banjo alert for Dec. 17, 2011!

December 17 will be an evening for the ages, as impresario Ray Boyce has assembled a tremendous lineup of performing songwriters to put ring out the 2011 series of concerts at the Tacos Guaymas Y Mas in Lynnwood.

We’ll be making whoopie from 5pm to at least 9pm and while the sets will be short, the talent is deep! Come join us for great fresh Mexican cuisine and great fresh local music. Tacos Guaymas Y Mas is on 196th, one block west of I-5, next to the Lynnwood Convention Center. The show is free and family friendly!

In reverse alphabetical order, here is the lineup:

Nelson Wright
Thaddeus Spae
Three Left Feet
Silver Lining
Jim Page
Jim Marcotte
John Morse
Steff Kayser
Alan Kausal
Hounds at Bay
Michael Guthrie
Alan Ehrlich
Carrie Duncan
Jim Chekerylla
Mike Buchman
Karin Blaine
Ray Boyce

Hope to see you there!

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Fall schedule and Tumbleweed wrap-up

I’m really excited about my little Fall Tour for 2011! I’ll be sharing the stage with some songwriting legends, including Kat Eggleston and Bill Davie, at venues from Egan’s Ballard Jam House to the C&P Coffee Company. All the details are on the Schedule page!

My song Common Threads that Bind was named the Alternate at the Tumbleweed Music Festival 2011 songwriting competition. Yep, ranked 11 out of 10! (Really 11 out of 40-ish, the best of the losers!) But, I was invited to perform it for the festival’s closing show and so had the chance to play to my biggest audience ever, some 250-300 people! It sounds much better live now than the little demo I sent in to the competition, but if you want to check that out, go to the Attic Tapes page and listen in.

Tumbleweed’s amazing community vibe makes it a really special festival. A big part of that was the Victory Music Open Mic stage. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped set up, MC and run sound. Hope to see you there next year!

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Welcome to Mike Buchman Music!

“Looking through a window into the story of someone else’s life can be a real gift.  Mike Buchman’s heart is well connected to his familiar places and people, and his music dances with the joy of those connections.

“Mike’s outside-the-box wordsmithing has led him into some interesting and unique thought processes. Here’s a guy that’s not afraid to sing about the coagulation of honey, or feeding tubes or even God,
(all) in the language of feeling.

“He has the gift of making an audience listen, because, truth be told, he has something real to say.”

~ Victory Review

Welcome to my little corner to the web. I’m a performing songwriter from Seattle, WA. This site has some information about me, samples of my music & lyrics, performance schedule, photos and videos, articles I’ve written about some of my favorite musicians and other fun stuff.

Please poke around, listen to the tunes, sign the Guest Book, and let me know what you think!

I’m always looking for gigs at house concerts, cafes and other acoustic friendly venues. Email me if you have any idea!


This video was shot at the Victory Music open mic at the Q Cafe by my friend Steve Miller (not that Steve Miller). The song is called Just 18.

Playing at the "Songs for Shelter" benefit at Egan's Ballard Jam House, November, 2009

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