Not to be confused with the Boston ska band or the reggae song by Dennis Brown, this Day for Night number was inspired by a conductor’s announcement on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited. The conductor said we’d stopped to wait for an eastbound train, but I had to bend the facts to suit the song’s own reality — hence “westbound.” Alliteration is nothing to be sneezed at in snongwriting songwriting, and the switcheroo also activates the fraught and many-layered symbolism of East vs. West in American mythology. “We’re headed back East as we always must be / To the same old and the good old and the old used-to-be.” (Note, too, that I managed to make use of the time-honored country songwriting tradition of rhyming a word with itself.)

I wrote “(Waiting for A) Westbound Train” on the back porch of a cabin at the Chautauqua in Boulder, Colo., in June 2019. Gretchen Schaefer and I recorded the version heard here in a basement rehearsal just three months later. We now perform it as the first half of a medley that concludes with another Chautauqua product, “Just A Moment In The Night.”

Hear “(Waiting for A) Westbound Train” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (Below, Day for Night relaxes following a September 2019 performance at the Deering Center Porchfest. Photo by Jeff Stanton. Above: Gretchen Schaefer waits for a southbound train in Brunswick, Maine, 2018. Photo by Doug Hubley. “(Waiting For A) Westbound Train” copyright © 2019 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved.)




“Groping for the Perfect Song” is one of two numbers written for the Fashion Jungle that explore songwriting angst, although this is less about staring at the blank page and more about circumstances and motivations.

“Groping,” finished in 1982, and 1983’s “Nothing to Say” were responses to the FJ’s early emphasis on original material. The quality of our songwriting was such that we wanted recognition for it — but there were never enough original tunes. Writing a song about insecurity about songwriting (twice, no less) isn’t high inspiration, but at least it was honest.

And, as those swingin’ teens on American Bandstand used to say, “Groping” has a good beat and you can dance to it.

This concert recording, direct from the soundboard, is rough but I like it. On stage is the longest-lasting FJ lineup: drummer Ken Reynolds and bassist Steve Chapman, along with me singing and abusing the Stratocaster. (Keyboardist Kathren Torraca also performed with us during this show, but not on “Groping.”)

The concert took place in a rambling brick pile in Portland, Maine, that has seen nightspots and eateries come and go. (I personally performed at four of them, at least.) Located at the corner of Market and Middle streets, it housed the Rathskellar in the late 1970s, Ruby Begonia’s in the 1980s, and the Big Easy in the ’90s.

And as I recall, the nightclub It’s Magic had just gone belly up there in 1983 when some promoter dreamed up an April Fool’s Day show featuring local and regional punk–New Wave bands. We were one of three or four acts booked, with headliners possibly including Boston’s famed Neighborhoods (or was it Lou Miami & The Kozmetix? Or Pastiche?).

Hear “Groping for the Perfect Song” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (Below, the Fashion Jungle in action in 1982: Doug Hubley, Ken Reynolds and Steve Chapman. Photo by Jeff Stanton. Above: songwriting setup, Maine Idyll, 2017. Photo by Doug Hubley. “Groping for the Perfect Song” copyright © 1983 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. )



April 2023 is a far cry from the depths-of-the-pandemic November of 2020, but one thing those months have in common is rain, at least in Maine.

“1,000 Pounds of Rain” was Song of the Month! that November, but here’s a different rendition. Where the previous example was recorded by Howling Turbines in 1997, this one comes from a rehearsal two years earlier by The Boarders — the band that introduced the song.

I finished “1,000 Pounds of Rain” in spring 1994, but got the title earlier. The inspiration was a 1990 Cowlix performance at a Portland, Maine, seafood joint called the Drydock. So as not to disturb the tourists in the dining room enjoying their lobster and fried clams, we were told to carry our equipment to the second-story performance area up a cast-iron fire escape. It was pouring rain.

I liked the title, but it took me years to figure out what the song should be about. Finally completed around the time the ’Lix were splitting up, “1,000 Pounds” turned out to be a cry of despair at reaching middle age. (If someone complained to me about such a thing now, I’d tell ’em, “It beats the alternative.”)

It was one of the first numbers the Boarders learned (and as a matter of fact, the Boarders’ future drummer Jonathan Nichols-Pethick was in the Drydock audience that night and, liking what he heard, later joined the ’Lix, which segued into the band heard here).

Hear “1,000 Pounds of Rain” below! Buy it on Bandcamp! (The Boarders, below, from left: Doug Hubley, guitar and vocal. Jonathan Nichols-Pethick, drums. Gretchen Schaefer, bass. “1,000 Pounds of Rain” copyright © 1995 by Douglas L. Hubley. All rights reserved. “Peaches in the rain” photo by Doug Hubley. Boarders photo by Jeff Stanton.)




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. )






In lieu of actually being able to ride a train this year, for October 2020 I’m showcasing “(Waiting For A) Westbound Train.” Written in Colorado in June 2019, the song is performed here in a September 2019 rehearsal by Gretchen Schaefer and me — aka Day for Night. Learn more: Day for Night on ReverbNation.


(Waiting For A) Westbound Train