Songwriter’s Showcase – March 26

Mark will be featured at a special songwriter’s day at the Chit Chat Cafe in Pacifica this Sunday, March 26. Shelley will be doing the vocals on most of the songs, to give it a Stray Muse feel. Some of these songs are being debuted, and will find their way into the Stray Muse repertoire soon, so come get a preview.

The Chit Chat is at Manor & Esplanade in Pacifica. The show starts at 12:30 – come early and get a table and a sandwich!

The Story Behind a Song

“Maria’s Cards from Heaven” is a song inspired by a human rights activist from El Salvador, and by a mysterious card from the sky. Here’s the story:

We sat sharing coffee, my friend Barbara and I, as a white card fluttered from the sky into my back yard. It didn’t seem like litter…it was solitary and looked pristine. Barbara retrieved it.

Written on this index card, scrawled in pencil, began a story: “My name is Maria Julia Hernandez.” Maria wrote that she was from El Salvador, where she led the fight for human rights amid the wars that claimed so many lives. And the story ended In mid sentence.

We searched the internet, and found that Maria was a real person, a beloved Salvadoran activist. She was beside Archbishop Romero when the soldiers murdered him. She founded an important rights group, and she died a decade ago. Amazingly, when Barbara asked her niece in El Salvador, she replied that she had raised money for Maria’s organization.

It’s possible that the index card from the sky was written by a student for a history project. I choose to think otherwise. While I’m not very religious, I think that in retrieving the falling card, we may have entered the mythology of a fallen hero. So I wrote her song for her.

Maria’s Cards from Heaven on Soundcloud.

– Mark

Join us at the Chit Chat in November

The band will be back at the Chit Chat on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 27) with a full show, starting at 12:30pm. We’ll be introducing our new bassist, Spike Conner, and playing some favorites and a few new songs. Hope to see you there!

PS: Our SF Free Folk Festival show has been viewed almost 1000 times. If you haven’t seen it, check it out on YouTube.

Stray Muse delivers…via the SF Free Folk Festival

We’re coming to a computer, phone or TV near you! Starting all day on July 16, you can see a 40-minute Stray Muse concert, recorded specially for the San Francisco Free Folk Festival.

We had a blast recording this in Nevada City, at the recording studio of our buddy and former Stray Muse bassist Brandon Buttrick. (Brandon is known to fans as Django Mack – check out his music). We think you’ll enjoy the results.

To check out the video (on or after July 16), go to

Stray Muse and Richard Thompson

Songwriter, guitarist and singer Richard Thompson has been a major inspiration to all of us at Stray Muse. As founder of Fairport Convention, he and singer/songwriter Sandy Denny invented a genre – rock based on traditional English and Scottish music. Since those days, he has written and recorded countless great songs, some of which we perform.

Thompson recently published a memoir called Beeswing (highly recommended), and he was just interviewed on Fresh Air by Terry Gross. The interview is definitely worth a listen.

If you’d like to hear our rendition of Richard Thompson’s songs Night Comes In, Dimming of the Day, and Walking on a Wire, click the links. Enjoy!

Richard Thompson

February (and March) at the Farmer’s Market

After another Covid break, Stray Muse is back in action!

When we played at the Outer Sunset Farmer’s Market last fall, we had a fun show in spite of drizzling rain. The Market folks agreed, and invited us back to play on Sunday, February 20 (noon to 1pm) and Sunday, March 6 (11am to 1pm).

This is a wonderful market. They close two blocks of 37th Avenue – we’ll be between Pacheco and Ortega Streets. There’s plenty of great food for lunch, a park along 37th Ave for picnics, and, of course, crafts and farmers’ stands.

Hope you can make it!

Sunday at the Holiday Market

The Outer Sunset Farmers Market is known for its live music – always something new and exciting. This week is the special Holiday Market. They’ll be featuring Stray Muse, playing from 1pm to 2pm. There’ll be plenty of other live acts before we play, and one band after, so come on out and do some holiday shopping!

…weather permitting, of course! The forecast is dicey, but we’ll be out there on the covered stage if there’s a bit of a drizzle. (But if it’s a rain storm, probably not.)

We’re hoping for good weather and a great turnout! (It’s at 37th Ave and Pacheco. Leave some time to park…)

November shows!

Stray Muse will be back at the Chit Chat Cafe in Pacifica on Sunday, November 7. Show starts at 1:30pm. Location: 5 West Manor Drive, Pacifica, CA. Good eats and a great seaside location!

We’ll also be playing at The New Farm in SF’s Bayview on Sunday, November 14 at 2pm. This one should be big fun – if you haven’t been to The New Farm, you’re in for a treat. You can read about them at

A memorable afternoon!

Stray Muse played an energetic show to an enthusiastic crowd outside the Chit Chat Cafe in Pacifica. From the “stage” – a raised sidewalk – you could see the Pacific a few hundred feet away, complete with dancing dolphins (I’m not making that up!).

Several folks requested our setlist…so here are the songs we played:

Carpet of the Sun
Across the Great Divide
I’ve Got a Feeling
Eyes of the World
Take Me With You
I’ll Be Gone
Walking on a Wire
One More Cup of Coffee
Sneakin’ Up On You
Bird Song
Wayfaring Stranger
Sunny Goodge Street
Mother Earth’s Revenge
Hesitation Blues
Long Long Long
Blood Stained Banders
Night Comes In
Who Knows Where the Time Goes