Lullabies Till Dawn (book)

I am excited to share my newest project with you: a work over a year in the making and is personal, raw, and unadorned—unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Lullabies Till Dawn is an attempt to reflect on my experiences with the early years of fatherhood and produce something creative from it. It is an illustrated songbook featuring:

  • Illustration and design by my collaborative partner Benjamin Parks.
  • Musical scores for twelve lullabies. Some are based on favorite poems, some are new arrangements of other works, and some are wholly original.
  • Stories for each song that connect it to a larger narrative about fatherhood, music-making, and sleep-deprivation.

We will complete the book this summer and self-release a limited edition print run (with accompanying CD) this fall—I’ll let you know as it becomes available. But in the meantime, I want to start sharing parts of it with you and hear any thoughts or responses about your own experiences with lullabies, babies, and/or sleep deprivation.

Here is a short excerpt from the book’s introduction for a little taste of where the music is coming from:

Sleep was my biggest challenge as a new parent, constantly on my mind, dominating my conversations. And I was thorough in my accounting:

How’s it going?

“Alright. Kids haven’t slept much the last six days. Been up since four a.m. Got up nine times before that.”


“Fine. Finally got the baby to settle down around one-thirty and was able to close my eyes for fifteen minutes before the other one got up and started crying out every ten seconds.”

Yet there was something strangely alluring, hypnotic, and addictive about those long nights and early mornings. It was a heightened state. I was on the edge of a cliff, one single path forward. All my worldly problems were reduced to one: how to get off the sleepless precipice…

My most creative periods were no longer at the piano or studio desk, but in the late-night rocking chair. Sleep-deprived contemplation replaced fastidious orchestration.

There were three great forces at play in my life: Sleep, Fatherhood, and Music. At the nexus of these was the most humble of musical forms, the Lullaby: a simple sung melody inviting sleep as much for the parent as for the child…


31945277_1757757907636812_8368419605009399808_nBenjamin Parks (above) is my creative partner on this project. He’s an exceptionally talented and interesting artist based in Kansas City whose current work focuses on large scale portraiture. We met when we were both Artist INC Advance fellows last spring at the Mid America Arts Alliance and got to see each others’ projects develop over the course of that 8-week seminar. Ben is also a father and fabulous musician (see, Of Tree). Check out more of his work on his website, http://benjaminparks.info.


This project is sponsored in part by an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant and an Artist INC Advance Peer Award.

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