The Making of While There Is Still Time
I was inspired to write this lyric when I heard a physician on a COVID-19 informational video quote several lines from a Phillip Larkin poem, “The Mower”. The poem is a brief but deeply resonant and haunting verse about the cost of carelessness and the harm it can do. Watching this sober man of science almost break down in tears when he quoted a man of letters during a crisis that feels both physical and spiritual, I knew I had to write this song.
But I’m a lyricist only – I don’t write music. I am lucky enough, however, to collaborate with the magnificent singer/songwriter, composer, arranger and pianist, Michele Brourman…
…When Hillary handed me this gorgeous lyric, I loved it right away. She said she thought it should have a Dylan-esque vibe which made me smile, cause many decades ago, for a very short time, I was in Bob Dylan’s band. So, I was channeling, and the music came pretty quickly. We then called the magnificent cabaret star Maude Maggart and asked her if she would sing it.
Maude’s husband David Lucky, a talented songwriter in his own right, recorded her vocal at home, grabbing a rare hour when their baby daughter was sleeping. I’d started a track with a sampled guitar, piano and bass. Sent that off to my brilliant friend and co-producer of twenty-five years, Stephan Oberhoff, who added his live guitar and a haunting pedal steel sound, and then mixed it all beautifully. Hillary then reached out to her friend and folk music legend Christine Lavin in New York City who was very excited about creating a video to help get the message far and wide. Everything was done remotely, by phone, email, text and zoom, as we were all in social distancing mode because of the pandemic.