Michael G. Bausch

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You Can’t Stop The Music:

Many years ago my friend and musical mentor, Tom Hunter, and I were playing after hours music at a clergy event at Asilomar in Northern California, when a leader of the group rather harshly yelled at us, “stop the music, stop the music!” She wanted to make an announcement to the whole group, and as she did, Tom and I looked at each other and simultaneously said, “you can’t stop the music!”  A couple of years later, Tom included the phrase in one of his songs, and years after that I thought I’d dedicate an entire song to the concept.  Because of our long friendship, and all that I learned from Tom, I thought it fitting to use this as the title song for this CD project.


The Hoot ‘n Annies had just completed 8 gigs in one day for “Make Music Madison” in 2016, and we played around songs without repeating any that day, from our alphabetical list.  We had another gig the next night and it seemed cool to put together a set list of songs we hadn’t played during MMM.  Since we needed only 26 for two sets, I suggested we use one song we hadn’t played that had a title reflecting one letter from the alphabet.  Around noon that day we realized we didn’t have a song starting with X. I thought, “how hard can it be to write a song that starts with “X” and gave it a try, and had it ready to go that evening.  For an X- title I did an Internet search and found “xenoblast” which is “a crystal that forms in metamorphic rock and gets its outline from neighboring crystals.” Since musicians deal with metaphors all the time, and fashion our music as others play around us, making something new and fresh, it seemed an apt term to use for a title.  It starts with “x” and we always have a “blast” when we play together, willing to try anything, even what is foreign (“xeno”). Thanks to Prentice Berge for suggesting we add a Bm chord to the chorus.

Souflee With Onions:

I like playing the blues, and really like it when I get to add a harmonica part! Using chords and melody that have been used thousands of times, I added some simple lyrics with common bluesy sentiment.  During a campfire performance, I learned the phrase “soufflé with onions” was a happy surprise for a few listeners, a touch of originality. While in the recording studio, it was Maureen Leytem and Prentice Berge who suggested adding the harmonies and “ooo’s” to the song, which really help make it what it is!

On That Final Day:

For some 27 years my friend Tom Hunter and I exchanged weekly letters telling about our work, our family, what we were reading, the films we were watching, the projects we were developing, and our personal joys and struggles.  Early in that correspondence I was serving a village church and was called upon to visit a dying woman, and to begin planning her funeral.  I described what was going on to Tom in a letter, and some weeks later he sent me this song, “On That Final Day.”  Over the years he gave me permission to freely use his music, but this one is extra special to me because it was something we developed together. Tom never published the song in his own work (although he did copyright it in 1984, and gave someone permission to add it to a songbook).  He did, however, put it down on a cassette tape that he sent to me so I’d have it. Many thanks to his wife, Gwen Hunter, for giving permission and her full blessing to this recording!  We “keep it going!” as Tom famously said towards the end of his life.

The Evangelical Song:

This song was written as my response to a local clergy association who kicked out two Wisconsin prison chaplains who were members of the group, one a Muslim and the other a Wiccan, and who said they would not even welcome a Jewish rabbi even though Jesus was a Jew! This move, led by so called “evangelicals,” divided the community.  As the chair of that clergy group, I left, along with a Catholic priest, an ELCA Lutheran pastor, and a United Methodist pastor, and we formed an interfaith group and continued to break bread with our Muslim brother and Wiccan sister.

Love’s Liquidity:

Tears flow in times of great sorrow, in times of laughter and joy, and in moments where there are deep feelings. Have you ever watched your tears fall upon the ground, or the floor, or even into the sea, water to water, salt to salt? The release brings relief, sometimes immediately, and usually after the passage of time.  It is when the relief is felt that sometimes we become aware of something new happening, a way forward, something new growing within us, a door to a different world than the one we’ve been in.

Psalm 72 (2008):  

During my ministry I did not shy away from addressing political subjects, simply because that’s what the Bible covers, lots of politics, albeit in ancient settings.  Starting with President Reagan’s election in 1980, I began to occasionally preach on Psalm 72, which is a coronation Psalm probably sung when a new Judean king was crowned. It was a song of hope, that the king would be righteous and just, would care for the poor and oppressed, and would enjoy the respect of the other nations of the world because he was so good.  When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, our country was reeling from two wars and a financial collapse.  I wrote this song, applying the language and hope from Psalm 72 to his election, and sang it to a congregation who didn’t quite know how to respond (since I’m pretty sure most of them hadn’t voted for him!). In practicing this for our recording session, Tim Haub suggested the chords at the beginning and end and sprinkled throughout the song.


The word, I find, comes from a Latin term meaning “foolish,” and came to describe  “a foolish romantic passion.” How human is this? This song is an early attempt at songwriting, and what better subject to start with, involving foolish romantic passion? Thanks to Jim Murray for his liking this song the first time he heard it (he said he thought it was hidden inside something like a Tom Petty album, a song that only the cool kids would have known!) and for his encouraging me to record it.  There are two versions of the song on this CD, one involving the Hoot ‘n’ Annie String Band who have adopted it, and the other my first recorded solo version (with guitar overdub via Garage Band) and posted on Myspace some years ago!

Minnows In The Bucket:

For several years our daughter and son-in-law have invited us to join with them and his family and friends at a week-long fishing vacation at Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota.  Each year there is a fish fry where the different families who attend gather for a potluck with the day’s catch of perch, northern pike, and walleye, and fry up the fillets for all to enjoy in a big extended family meal.  One year I thought it’d be fun to come up with a song for the fish fry, based on my experiences on that lake.  

Pelicans On The Take:

After recording one of our takes on "Minnows In the Bucket" our sound engineer, Mark Haines, said "you guys sound like you've just come from a funeral."  Of course, he knew we had, having just come into the studio after playing a dozen songs at a local funeral home as part of the memorial service for a good friend.  Prentice tried to change our energy and lighten things up with a different version of "Minnows." When he finished, we then recorded our last take of "Minnows."  When that was done I asked him if he'd play his version of the song that he played to loosen us up, and he did.  You can hear the way both Cindy on banjo and Jim on bass kicked right in to give us this version, which Prentice named from a phrase in the second line of "Minnows In The Bucket."