Yesterday’s Music

I may be ancient and I certainly am a boomer (youngest cohort thereof, I’ll have you know, young whippersnapper!), but I didn’t go to Woodstock. I was eight.

Still, the soundtrack of my childhood, thanks to my older siblings, is the foundation to all the music in my brain: the Beatles, Carole King, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Cat Stevens, and Janis Joplin. Bach and Beethoven came later. It’s a mess up there.

Words and Music

I’m a writer; I listen to books in the car. I write lists of things to do on Sunday. Most of them are writing. Or reading. Or chores. Some are writing or reading chores. It can get a little old, week after week, and then I don’t write as well. Words get wound around all the brick-a-brack in my mental attic: maps with dragons, busts of famous composers, flying car diagrams, lists of solutions to the age-old faster-than-light problem, and a steam-powered gramophone scratching out “Me and Bobby McGee.”


A Change of Plans

Around noon this past Sunday, a friend posted that she would be sitting in that afternoon with Lojo Russo, an energetic Midwest musician I hadn’t heard since 2010. (Venues and dates never seemed to match up, and then I would lose track of the attempt. I had books to read, you know.)

I dropped my to-do list and we went. A guitar well-played, a powerful and adaptable voice, good company, and a glass of refreshment broke up my weekend routine and unwound some of the words in my attic.

Covers That Aren’t

Lojo described her play list as “songs you know, songs you don’t know, and songs you don’t know you know.” The last refers to her ability to rework covers into original and compelling pieces, including some from the Woodstock era that I would have thought were burned permanently into my mental grooves.


This morning, as I turned my brain back to the job of helping colleges and universities tell their stories, I realized that’s often our challenge: reworking known stories into something new and compelling.

Drawing a New Crowd

And a step up from the storytelling, those who plan for the academic and financial future of an institution also face their own cover challenge: How do we engage a new crowd or a bigger class with the same old programs or same old formats?

Whatever your planning routine, you may need a break. A new arrangement. An outside perspective. Talk to us about changing your plans; we know how to build on your strengths and turn your oldest cover into a song you didn’t know you knew.

*Photos from


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