Now that Dry January is over, we’ll ask a musical question. In a world where it’s recognized that even a little alcohol will hurt you, is there still a place for the nihilistic drinking song?

Well, step aside, “Just One More” and “There Stands the Glass.” Like them a hard-country number, “One Drink In” walks the stepping stones across Booze Brook and into a place where even the mind’s eye, finding pleasure and self-disgust in the same frosty glass, is seeing double. Written in 2020, “One Drink In” was recorded by Day for Night in late January 2023, crowning my months-long effort, even cold sober, to learn to enunciate “The slippery slope is getting slicker.”

Hear “One Drink In” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (Day for Night: Doug Hubley, guitars, mandolin, lead vocal. Gretchen Schaefer, acoustic guitar, vocal. “One Drink In” copyright © 2021 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved.)




Slow sad songs constituted much of my output after I resumed songwriting, in 2010, after a 12-year layoff. So when I started this song, in 2016, it was time for something upbeat. Typically for me, “The Other Me” is still wordy, overly self-referential and wry — bordering on bleak, actually — but it has a good beat and you can dance to it. And if Hank Williams provided a spark of inspiration for the lyrics, things always go a bit better with a hint of the Monkees. (Or is it Stevie Wonder?)

I wrote most of the lyrics in the bar of the Samoset Resort, in Rockport, Maine, while Gretchen Schaefer, my partner in life and music, was showing her original mosaics at a craft fair there. Performing as Day for Night, we recorded this version at Quill, a coffee shop in Westbrook, Maine, in August 2018.

Hear “The Other Me” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (“The Other Me” copyright © 2016 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Banner image by Doug Hubley. Day for Night image by Jeff Stanton. All rights reserved. )





With musical Christmas froth coming at us from all directions, Song of the Month! takes five minutes to look, instead, at a melancholy side of the holidays.

We understand that loss is integral to life, and so peace must just be made with that fact, art made from it, character built, etc. We grow up hearing this, and maybe even had to come to grips with it early on.

In whatever form it takes, the departure of a loved one hurts in many ways — the unanswered “Why?” can be the worst — and that’s the topic of “Blue Shadows,” written in 2022 and recorded in November.

Hear “Blue Shadows” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (“Blue Shadows” copyright © 2022 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Photo above: Saugus and Randolph streets, Portland, Maine, photographed by Doug Hubley. Below: Doug Hubley in a photo by Gretchen Schaefer. NOTE: This recording uses sound posted under the Creative Commons 0 License by DBlover on the Freesound website:



I wrote “Slow Poison” for the Cowlix in 1990, aiming for an Everly Brothers kind of thing that, as I discovered, was beyond my reach at the time. Still, it was a solid uptempo number (even if our attempt at an X-style harmony didn’t help) and we learned the song anyway.

But “Slow Poison” really came to life with the Boarders, the band that followed the Cowlix (and actually was the Cowlix, minus two members). Our energy suited “Slow Poison” well, as this crackling, slightly over-the-top rehearsal recording demonstrates. Recorded in The Basement on Oct. 18, 1995, by the Boarders: drummer Jonathan Nichols-Pethick, bassist Gretchen Schaefer and me on guitar and vocals. (As Day for Night, Gretchen and I continue to perform “Slow Poison.”)

Hear “Slow Poison” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (“Slow Poison” copyright © 2010 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Below: The Boarders in 1994. From left: Doug Hubley, Jonathan Nichols-Pethick, Gretchen Schaefer. Photo by Jeff Stanton.)

The Boarders in autumn 1994, shown in front of the original Three Dollar Dewey’s. From left: Doug Hubley, Jonathan Nichols-Pethick, Gretchen Schaefer. (Photo by Jeff Stanton)





I carried the first few lines of these lyrics around for years until I realized what and who they were about. And then, thanks to personifications of the topic abundant in all walks of life, it was pretty easy to finish the song (which also owes a certain stylistic debt to the Blue Sky Boys). “Mr. Special” will never be a Billboard No. 1, but the folks portrayed here are tops in their own personal rankings, so all’s well. Performed here by Day for Night in rehearsal, Sept. 9, 2022.

Hear “Mr. Special” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (“Mr. Special” copyright © 2021 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Day for Night: Doug Hubley, mandolin and vocal. Gretchen Schaefer, guitar and vocal. At top: Sen. Joseph McCarthy in a detail from a photograph by Thomas J. O’Halloran — U.S. News & World Report photograph collection, Library of Congress. At bottom: Doug and Gretchen, 2013.)

Doug Hubley and Gretchen Schaefer are Day for Night.



Labor Day 2022 arrives in an employment landscape much different from that of, say, 1974, when I took the job that led to this song. In those days, between an economy much sicklier than today’s and the cultural resentments still lingering after the eruption of the ’60s youth movement, the very notion of a socially acceptable Big Quit would have been radioactive to all but the most privileged or bohemian. But the same “f— this” impulse that today’s America was somehow able to accommodate has seethed in the hearts of many, including me, probably since the dawn of humanity.

The job that spawned “You Know How It Is” was a position as a “materials handler” (aka stockboy; I was 20) at the South Portland, Maine, branch of the Jordan Marsh department stores. (That building is now a Macy’s.) I loaded and unloaded trucks, brought merchandise and supplies to the selling floor, ogled my female colleagues, and took on miscellaneous tasks like unlocking a customer’s car with a coat hanger and driving an incontinent man home (no cars were soiled in the making of this anecdote.) By and large I hated the place and the work (I think I’d enjoy it now) but I did meet one of my best friends, who is also a longtime musical partner, at Jordan Marsh — that being Ken Reynolds.

Well, Jordan Marsh is gone, and I am still here. But the JM job did give me, a sensitive young artiste sacrificing my soul and precious youth for corporate profit, this song. When I finally busted loose, in 1979, it was to set foot on the path to my “real career,” which proved gratifying and disillusioning in ways I could never have imagined five years earlier. But it never provided much material for credible country lyrics. So I’m glad to have this old number to fall back on — even the title makes a virtue out of banality.

Recorded in the Basement in summer 2020. Hear it below, buy it on Bandcamp! (“You Know How It Is” copyright © 2010 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Learn more about the life and music of Doug Hubley at Notes From A Basement.)


You Know How It Is

The stockboy relaxes, 1974. (Hubley Family photo)



The song dates from 1974, one of my most prolific years. There’s nothing like being unemployed and sponging off your parents to free up time for songwriting.

Forty-eight years later, though, “Oh, What A Feeling” is the sole keeper. Though I was 20 and this has a melodrama suitable to that time of life, it still holds up (so say I, anyway).

I made the 1974 recording in the upstairs hall of the family home, in South Portland, Maine, because it had a nice little natural reverb. But I made this recording in 1978 to submit to a songwriting contest held by WBLM-FM, which at the time still embraced the free-form college-radio aesthetic.

A difference in my songwriting between then and now is that I was much less suspicious of my musical ideas — thinking of possible plagiarism, for example. I could use what came along without needing to see ID and perform background checks. Ignorance isn’t good but it’s not all bad, either. (That being said, “Oh, What A Feeling” is not to be confused with the Everly Brothers song of the same title!)

Hear “Oh, What A Feeling” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (“Oh, What A Feeling” copyright © 2010 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Banner photo by Canon self-timer.)

Doug with the brand-new Fender Telecaster in 1976. Later I had a black pickguard made for it. Way cool! (Hubley Family photo)





A year ago, in summer 2021, I dedicated four successive Songs of the Month! to the 40th anniversary of my band the Fashion Jungle, which spent some time in the spotlight in Greater Portland, Maine, during the 1980s.

A 41st anniversary doesn’t have quite the cachet of a 40th, but I’ll nevertheless devote another Song of the Month! for June — the month in 1981 that the FJ was founded — to the band.

And in fact “End of the Affair” was written that year, but in September, over Labor Day weekend in an inn in Georgetown, Maine. Another of the angst-ridden tales of love gone wrong that I can’t seem to help writing, the song draws on the emotions of a breakup the year prior. But the lyrics are more interesting than the real thing. If you’re going to dwell on it, why not snazz it up?

The original FJ, which parted ways about a month after I finished “End of the Affair” (now that’s some persuasive songwriting!) learned but never recorded the song. Instead, from the commercially released audiocassette Six Songs, this recording was made in January 1984 by the best-known FJ lineup: bassist Steve Chapman, drummer Ken Reynolds, keyboardist Kathren Torraca, and me on guitar and vocal. (Hear a live version at Geno’s rock club in Portland by the same personnel. Always a passionate number, “End of the Affair” was particularly poignant for me during that October 1984 show, which I wrongly figured was the FJ’s last hurrah.)

And yes, this composition shares a title with Graham Greene’s novel published 30 years earlier, which I’d read during a 1970s Greene binge that made a literary impression of singular depth on me.

Hear “End of the Affair” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (“End of the Affair” copyright © 1984 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Banner photo by Jeffery Stanton: the Fashion Jungle at the Maine Festival, August 1984. From left: Steve Chapman, Doug Hubley, Kathren Torraca, Ken Reynolds)





Here’s a plain country song for a sultry summer night. It’s also a nod to an old country-music tradition, as exemplified by “Tennessee Waltz” and “New Partner Waltz”: the waltz of romantic betrayal. This time around, though, the situation is experienced not by the betrayed, but by the betrayers, who are suddenly facing both closing time and a big decision.

This version of “Last Call Waltz” is performed by Doug Hubley and Gretchen Schaefer, aka Day for Night, at Quill, Westbrook, Maine, in June 2018.

Hear “Last Call Waltz” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (“Last Call Waltz” copyright © 2015 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Photo by Minolta self-timer.)

Doug Hubley and Gretchen Schaefer are Day for Night.






This early original is a paean to the live fast–die young lifestyle, which seems like a swell idea when one is 23, idolizes Gram Parsons and Hank Williams, and enjoys the robust constitution of youth. Singing about burning the candle at both ends seemed right and romantic back then, even as musicians like Parsons, who died of hard living in 1973, continued to helpfully offer object lessons in why it isn’t such a good idea.

Submitted to my bandmates in April or May of 1977, “Let the Singer” was the one original song that the Curley Howard Band ever played. Formed that year, CHB was a hard-rehearsing, hard-drinking, hardly-ever performing foursome that tried to blend country music, Sixties hits, California dreams and British pub rock.

CHB had a short life but a long tail. CHB begat the Mirrors, which begat the Fashion Jungle, which begat the Cowlix, which begat the Boarders, which begat Howling Turbines, which begat my current band, Day for Night. Ergo, a musical lineage spanning 45 years and counting.

Here, “Let the Singer” is performed by the Mirrors — that is, three-quarters of CHB: drummer Ken Reynolds, bassist-guitarist Mike Piscopo and me. It was recorded on the Sony two-track at Jim’s Night Club, 144 Middle St., Portland, Maine, March 3, 1979, early in the Mirrors’ run. I had a cheap piezo pickup plastered onto my Silvertone acoustic with putty, hence the distinctive guitar timbre. (Personnel notes: The fourth member of CHB was Andrew Ingalls. The Mirrors’ fourth member was singer Chris Hanson, not heard here, and multi-instrumentalist Jim Sullivan joined the Mirrors soon after this gig.)

Hear it below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (“Let the Singer” copyright © 2010 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved.)

The Mirrors, 1980, clockwise from left: Jim Sullivan, Ken Reynolds, Christine Hanson, D. Hubley, Mike Piscopo. (Photo by Minolta self-timer)