Knockin’ On Heaven​’​s Door

by Tanya Donelly

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Hello, and welcome to Sunday Series No. 5!
I’ve been reading a lot of Wallace Stevens in the past few days, and I keep coming back to a poem called The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm (opposite to current experience) and this bit in particular:

“The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.”

I love this image of leaning into something that you know will lead to growth, something true. I won’t wax on about Bob Dylan’s impact on my love for lyrics — endless others have expressed what he’s given to us far more eloquently than I ever could — but the leaning reader in this poem pretty well describes how I have always listened to him. Like reading a great book — that rush of receiving a perfect string of words. I always lean in.

This week’s song, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, was suggested by our guest artist this week, Lilia Halpern. Lil and I go way back (decades, in fact), and I’ve been a big fan of her band Incinerator, and of her beautiful voice, for many years. (See here: )
Dylan played a large role in both of our childhoods and on, and this is a very natural one for us to sing together.

Also, there’s a bonus vid of me and Dean playing a song we wrote together, Making Light (noir version).

This weeks donations will go to Rosie’s Place (, and the Boston-Cambridge Musicians Relief Fund.
Thank you for supporting our causes, with love,
Tanya, Russell, Joe, Dean, and this week’s guest, Lilia Halpern


released May 17, 2020

Knockin‘ On Heaven’s Door (Dylan)

Tanya: vocal, guitar
Russell Chudnofsky: acoustic guitar
Joe McMahon: piano
Dean Fisher: snare, tambourine
Lilia Halpern: vocals, guitar ( )

Album photo: “salt” by Hattie Fisher


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