“Bittersweet” broke a 12-year dry spell in my songwriting, a drought that began after 1998’s “Caphead.” I finished a few lyrics during that trek through the desert — making singable words out of other peoples’ translations of a few bossa nova classics, so those weren’t even my own ideas. That was it and it wasn’t much.

I never gave up on songwriting during those years. I just never finished any songs. If excuses for that lapse aren’t interesting and the root causes are hard to pin down, it’s nevertheless clear that what roused me again was Day for Night, the acoustic country duo in which I perform with Gretchen Schaefer, my life partner inside and outside music.

Once we had stopped trying to be so darned eclectic and had focused on antique country music, my songwriting path became clear. And what better topic than an invasive plant as a metaphor for love gone wrong?

“Bittersweet” began as a few lines scribbled in my pocket notebook during a lunch-break stroll around a Maine downtown. In 2007, I spent several graphomanical hours in a hotel room roughing out ideas for it. Several years after that, at the dining table on a gray cold day, I polished off the lyrics in one intense session. In the basement studio on a different cold gray day, I devised and recorded the music.

And I was a songwriter again . . . just like that.

Hear “Bittersweet” below in a 2018 performance by Doug Hubley and Gretchen Schaefer — Day for Night. Buy it on Bandcamp! (“Bittersweet” copyright © 2012 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. Photo above: A Day for Night selfie taken on Peaks Island, Portland, Maine, in 2010. With “Bittersweet” new to us that year, the viney pose was no coincidence. Below: Day for Night at the 2019 Deering Center Porchfest, in a photo by Jeff Stanton)



Day for Night relaxes after performing at Deering Center Porchfest, Sept. 8, 2019. (Jeff Stanton photo)



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