About Steven L. Jones

Artist / writer / musician / teacher. Son of a violinist and choir director. Born in Louisville but live in Chicago with my wife Catherine and our beloved pooches, Maybelle (named for her Carter Family namesake) and Mojo.

Whisperer in Darkness: Der Erlkönig

"Der Erlkönig"

Real things in the darkness seem no realer than dreams. — Murasaki Shikibu Nacht und Wind The first sound is a rhythm, a staccato burst of piano triplets beneath a brief, rising and falling melody evoking hoof-beats. A horse races through a windswept wood at night, bearing a beleaguered boy … → read more

A Survivor’s Reckoning: The Triplett Tragedy

Triplett Tragedy

Blood on the mountain And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? — Genesis 4:9 Truly old Watauga is making for herself a dark and bloody record. — Watauga Democrat, Jan. 6, 1910 On Christmas Day, … → read more

Pat Hare Murders His Baby

murder my baby

O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock The meat it feeds on. — Shakespeare, Othello Cheatin’ and lyin’ On December 15, 1963, Minneapolis police apprehended an intoxicated 33-year-old man involved in a domestic dispute that left his married girlfriend and a responding police … → read more

Suffer Little Children: The Moors Murders in Memory & Song

Suffer Little Children

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto to me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 19:14 This post looks at a pair of songs inspired by memories of one of postwar Britain’s most infamous crimes … Over the moor Oh, … → read more

Alone & Forsaken: Van Morrison’s T.B. Blues

T.B. Sheets

The cool room “The purpose of rhythm, it has always seemed to me … is to prolong the moment of contemplation … by hushing it with an alluring monotony.” — William Butler Yeats, The Symbolism of Poetry “Oh Lord” — Van Morrison, “T.B. Sheets” In the fall of 1967, an … → read more

Never Again: Redemption, Loss, & Wrecks on the Highway (Part 2)

To good and true love fear is forever fixed. — Rabelais This is the second of a two-part look at songs (“Wreck on the Highway” and “Percy’s Song”) about road crashes and their aftermath … Bad News In one of the most memorable sequences in Don’t Look Back, D. A. … → read more

Never Again: Redemption, Loss, & Wrecks on the Highway (Part 1)

This is the first of a two-part look at songs (“Wreck on the Highway” and “Percy’s Song”) about road crashes and their aftermath … The meaning of life is that it stops. — Kafka Impact Shards of shattered windshield, mangled steel, the stink of burning rubber. Torn clothes drenched with … → read more

Revolution Blues: How Charles Manson Murdered the ’60s (Part Two)

This month marks the 46th anniversary of the Tate/LaBianca murders committed by Charles Manson and his cult-like Family. A nightmarish event with lasting cultural impact, music is central to its story. This and last week’s posts explore the connection. At the edge of town… My fellow Americans, our long national … → read more

Death Valley ’69: How Charles Manson Murdered the ’60s (Part One)

This week marks the 46th anniversary of the Tate/LaBianca murders committed by Charles Manson and his cult-like Family. A nightmarish event with lasting cultural impact, music is central to its story. This and next week’s posts explore the connection. Coming down… Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that … → read more

You Can’t Win a Race with a Cannonball: Goya, Guernica & My Son John

A dillar a dollar a ten o clock scholar blow off his legs and then watch him holler. — Dalton Trumbo: Johnny Got His Gun  I saw it. — Francisco Goya Bayonet and Musket In 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte launched a seven-year military campaign against England and Portugal for control of … → read more