Wishbone Harp Prayer

The latest album of The Rubenoff Project is now available at CD Baby and Bandcamp, $2.99 American at either place. I hope you’ll give a listen. If you would like to give additional support to future Rubenoff Project endeavors, you can elect to give more than the (cheap!) asking price at Bandcamp.  Also at Bandcamp you can hear the entire song at least once free of charge.

This album is entirely instrumental.  Soft modern jazz with a little gospel feel in a couple of the pieces.  So far most listeners like the tune, “Hymn”, the best.



On the album:

Colescott Rubin, Bass on ‘Azurance,’ ‘Hymn’ and ‘Yesterday Morning.’
Dan Fox, Bass on ‘Stone Cold Stones’
David Patrick on Guitar
David Sparr on Keyboards
Jeremiah Klarman, Percussion on ‘Stone Cold Stones’
Thorleifur G. Davidsson, Harmonica on ‘Azurance,’ ‘Hymn’ and ‘Yesterday Morning.’
Tom Rubenoff (that’s me) on Trombone

Music composed by Tom Rubenoff (me). Recorded at Little Dog Studio in Malden, Massachusetts. Mastered by David Sparr, Engineer.

Everybody Waits

March 26, 2017 2 comments

(for Everyone to Die)
… in irreverent tribute to “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin 

As blue shadows of evening gathered between the snow drifts, Sar Kevlar Bananister swaggered a circuitous route to the tavern, glancing often over his shoulder to make sure he was not followed.  After several months the snows had abated for a fortnight and a few street folk had emerged, shuffling here and there, looking for someone to eat.  The only meat animals left in Kings Doormat were rats and the supply was quickly dwindling.

The snow was piled high against the buildings on either side, up to and sometimes over the second story windows and leaving only a narrow, icy path in the middle of the street.  Kevlar squeezed past a gaggle of giggling, hungry-looking sluts at one intersection, shouldered his way through a thicket of withering thieves at another, and in Arsewipe Square maneuvered around a melange of mercenaries making merry.  Must have caught a rat.  One of the men made as if to trouble him, but looked quickly away when Sar Kevlar placed his hand on his sword hilt.

The Leaky Dick was by reputation a a dark, moist hole filled with distasteful whores, and dispirited folk too small to mention, name or care about, and redolent with bodily fluids, wood smoke, stale ale and free mashed turnip hors d’oeuvres during happy hour.  Sar Kevlar wore a plain short coat of ring mail over a jerkin of parboiled leather, his longsword sheathed in a plain black lacquered sword condom devoid of device or arms so as not to declare his identity.  I wouldn’t be caught dead there …  It was nevertheless where he was bound.

Arriving at the Tavern, he grabbed the dirty knot of hempen rope that served as the door handle and pulled it open.  His ears were immediately sodomized by a sudden tumult of conversation.  What in the name of the seven bloody hells?  His heart faltered, as just inside about two dozen teenagers stood near the door with daggers encrusted with dried blood in their hands.  His blood, he realized.

“Druthers take you Little bastards!” whispered Kevlar.  “What in the name of The Strange One are you doing here?”

“We don’t know, Sar,” piped a pimple-faced boy of about fifteen years – almost a man grown.  “We’ve just been wandering around for six years, trying to stay out of the cold.”

“Aye, boy, haven’t we all, haven’t we all.  Now pipe down and don’t call me ‘Sar.’  I’m pretending to be in incognito.”

The young man rolled his eyes.  “As you wish, sar.”

Kevlar headed toward the back of the tavern where there was a curtained-off room for private rendezvous.

“Uncle, you old broom-up-the-arse!” said a voice that turned out to be his nephew, Haimy.  “Back from the dead, are you?  Well met and welcome!”

“Yes, right,” said Kevlar, glancing ruefully at the many eyes that were now turned upon him.   Haimy brought back unwelcome memories of Shurethayn, Kevlar’s niece, being paraded naked and shaved through the streets of Kings Doormat.  A sight burned into my brain forever.  “You, too, I see. Seems we’re popping out of the ground almost as fast as they put us in.”

“I confess I didn’t expect to see you,” said Haimy.  “Most of the time its the flawed and haunted characters that get raised, not the wholesome, well-adjusted sort like you.”

“Yes, I myself expected to stay dead,” said Kevlar.  “Would have preferred it, truth be told.  I’m only a bit player, after all, and I have morals.  I have no business in this filthy story.  Your resurrection is no surprise, though, wot?   An incestuous swordsman deprived his sword hand who continues to dream of flogging his sister with the flesh noodle.  You are the deadbeat dad of kings.  They don’t come much more twisted than you.“

“Not so twisted anymore,” said Haimy, sadly.  “Since I was hanged my sister-noodling days are over.  It’s all part of my continuing very unlikely yet compelling transformation.”  He grabbed the arm of what Kevlar had thought was a man who was facing the bar and spun her around to reveal a tall, muscular woman with broken teeth and one ear.  She wore a shirt of mail and a longsword with a beautifully jeweled hilt at her belt.  “This is my girl, Braindedda.  Isn’t she the best?”

“I’m very happy for you both, I’m sure,” said Kevlar, shaking Haimy’s stump.  “Pleased to meet you, my lady.  But if you’ll excuse me I’m late for -“

“-Your ‘secret meeting.’  Yes, of course, go ahead.  Thank you, uncle.  Perhaps we’ll get together later.”

Kevlar smiled, nodded and turned away.  Don’t count on it. 

“Sar Kevlar Bananister!” rang out as he made his way to the back room, destroying whatever illusion of secrecy may have still remained.  Kevlar nodded to Grand Maestro Payless, also newly resurrected and looking worse than ever.  He had always been ugly, and the fresh scar where his throat had been slit was no improvement.  The degree to which his eyes had sunk back into his head didn’t help either.

In the corner behind Payless stood two figures that seemed to be men, except their eyes were luminous blue and their hands were black.  Also they were clearly dead, and not recently so.  Rotting skin hung from their faces and hands, and there was exposed bone here and there as well.  One raised a glass as if toasting Kevlar and drank.  Wine ran out of a hole in his belly that looked like it came from a lance or spear.  Kevlar shook his head and continued on.

They had seemed disturbingly familiar.  Why am I reminded of Edderd Stork?  Poor Edderd had been the King’s Foot briefly before he was beheaded on the steps of the Great Septic Tank for telling the truth.  He should have known better.  It’s lie or die in the Game of Balls.  Kevlar had learned that first hand, yet he maintained a grudging admiration for Edderd, whose balls had certainly been among the biggest.  With all the dead people walking around, perhaps the wights were a couple of the many dead sons of Stork.

A middle aged woman, fair of face with auburn hair collided with him.  “Excuse me, Sar,” she said, and curtsied. “I beg your pardon.”

“Mensa Stork!” he said.  “Why do you look so sad?”

“Because, sar, I’m thirty-nine years old and still a virgin,” she said.  “Oh, great virtue and all that rot, but the only chance I’ve had at sex in my miserable life was with your dwarf nephew, who thank the gods was not up to the task.  Since then I’ve just been stuck in limbo while-“ her voice dropped to a whisper “-the Forgetful One works ‘on other projects’.”

“Your unlikely continued maidenhood is a mystery to be sure, my lady Mensa, even as is your very life,” nodded Kevlar, sagely.  “You had more likely been raped or beheaded or both a dozen times – not necessarily in that order – rather than continuing on as you have in your quintessentially blithe terror and stupidity.  Indeed, you might be the least likely person I have ever known.”

“I do feel rather like a cartoon character, sar,” she replied, sighing.  She whispered, “Perhaps when the Forgetful One remembers us, if he ever does remember us, he’ll either give me a bit more realistic life or a least an abrupt and violent end.”

“I wish you the best of outcomes, my lady.”

“Thank you, Sar Kevlar, my husband is waiting inside for you.”

“Thank you, My lady.”

Kevlar opened the curtain just wide enough to slip through.  The darkness of the room relieved but dimly by the wavering light of a few earwax candles smoldering in sconces made of human bone.  There were windows, but they were covered by the deep snow piled outside against the side of the building.  The room felt close and airless.

“Welcome, oh mediocre one,” said Tyrsome Bananister, from the head of the long table.  The table was polished where-wood, pale as milk, the candles reflected in its surface as in a still pond. Arrayed before him were steaming plates of the gods knew what kind of meat, with cheeses and oaten biscuit. “Please join us in our meal.”

To Tyrsome’s right sat another dwarf, a female one, dressed in scratched and battered armor that had been repainted with the Bananister Liar sigil.  “Let me introduce the newest member of the family, Badpenny Bananister.”

“You can’t marry!  You have a wife!”

“That’s true,” replied Tyrsome, and paused to scratch what was left of his nose, most of which had been lost to friendly fire during the defense of Kings Doormat against Stainless Barathonanonanon  (Are we confused yet?) “But Badpenny is not my wife.  She’s my adopted daughter.  But enough about me.  We have much to discuss, Uncle.”

“I can’t imagine what you mean,” replied Kevlar, looking away.

“That’s not surprising given your legendary lack of imagination,”  said Tyrsome.  “I am of course speaking of the Forgetful One.”

“Keep your voice down!” said Kevlar.

“Gods why?” said Tyrsome.  “Every one of the characters in this accursed world will soon starve to death in this endless winter he’s left us in.  All his toys will be gone.  Not that he cares.  He’s clearly tired of the Game of Balls.”

“I believe in the Seven,” whispered Kevlar.

“Why are you whispering, then?  We all know by now that The Forgetful Asshole is the only god for the likes of us.  It’s his twisted imagination that made me as I am, gave me my horrible back story and led me through my various painful and humiliating adventures.  I’d be happy to shoot him through the eye with my trusty crossbow given half a chance.  And it’s his so-called ‘creativity’ that caused you to be assassinated by a fat castrati and a kindergarten class.”

Suddenly the wind began to howl outside.   The walls creaked.  Blended with the howling of the wind were the howls of wolves, and as if from far away, a deeper, much more terrifying roar that could only come from dragons.

“Now you’ve done it,” said Kevlar.  “You woke him up and now he’s going to kill us all.”

“Relax, uncle,” replied Tyrsome.  “That’s not the way things work here.  Only the folk too small to have names are killed wholesale.  Characters like us are dragged around Festeros or across the Cesspool Sea to Bloody Fluxville and roasted to death over a slow fire while serenaded by odiously long descriptions of clothing and food.  You’re right, he will kill us all in the end, but with long and painstaking hideousness and words beyond count.  In fact, perhaps he’ll just use the words and we’ll all just expire of old age.”

During Tyrsome’s soliloquy the wind had gained strength.  The walls of the tavern were visibly shaking.  A window shattered and in popped the head of a dragon, black as night, smoke drifting from its nostrils.  It opened its mouth and a gout of fire enveloped Badpenny.  She screamed briefly in agony as she was cooked to perfection in an instant.

“My daughter smells delicious,” remarked Tyrsome, as Kevlar simultaneously vomited on the table and soiled himself.

Tyrsome turned to the Forgetful One as the dragon bit off one of Badpenny’s arms.  “They compare you to Tolkien, but there is one important difference.  Tolkien could finish a story.” 

The dragon turned toward him, heatwaves rippling from its jaws. Tyrsome squinted against the heat.

“Oh yes, please do,” said Tyrsome.  “Please, please, please end this.”

Unclaimed Klezmer Project

March 16, 2017 Leave a comment

MeTKFC1I love to make music.

I am making a lot of it (comparatively speaking) over the next few days, playing rock and blues covers at a private party with my friends in Unclaimed Freight on Saturday night, then on Monday night collaborating with Too Klez For Comfort to play some Klezmer music and a couple of my originals at Thunder Road, a rock and music bistro in Somerville, Massachusetts.

The vitals:

Monday, March 20
Thunder Road
379 Somerville Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143

Doors open at 7:30.  TKFC and I go on at 10:30 to close the show.  Hope to see you there.



Categories: Uncategorized

Group Energy

November 19, 2016 Leave a comment

frost04Whenever people get together and align their intentions, their personal energies combine to create a communal energy that is greater than the sum of its parts.  When I meditate with a group with my eyes closed I can feel connectedness between my life essence and that of the other meditators.  Empowered by this connection, I feel I attain a greater depth of relaxation in the group setting as opposed to meditating on my own.

Feeling shared essential energy is not limited to group meditation.  You can feel it at sports events, where it might be called ‘team spirit’; at religious services, where it’s called ‘religious fervor’; or during political campaigns wherein like-minded people witness a leader who expresses views that resonate with their own experience.  This communal energy produces strong and pleasant feelings of belonging.

However, whereas communal energy in group meditation can create a feeling of universal connectedness, not just with the other humans in the room but with all manifestations of the physical existence, communal energy in sporting events, religious services or in support of a political candidate may create a feeling of connectedness only with others who share enthusiasm for their particular sports team, chosen religion or candidate.

We have all seen or heard about violence at sporting events between the fans of opposing teams, and violence between members of different religious faiths has occurred frequently in human history.  Violence between people with opposing political views is also common.  Just as one can begin to identify themselves as belonging to the group, one can begin to recognize those outside the group as inferior, wrong, or perhaps evil, or to to feel that outsiders may deserve misfortune, or punishment, or death.

Of course the other people do not really usually deserve misfortune, or punishment, or death.  Other people usually deserve the same things we do:  happiness, freedom and justice.

I believe a very powerful response to group energy that has been poisoned by anger, blaming, hatred and other negative emotions is to cultivate openness within the self through a daily practice of meditation.  When one learns to find their own inner light it becomes easier to find that light in others.

If you don’t meditate, try it out.  If you already meditate, invite someone to join you.   If you can open your mind and help one other person open theirs you will have made a profound improvement to our world.


It’s Out

September 10, 2016 Leave a comment


“Songs of Love, Despair and Regret” is now available in a CD or by download from CD Baby and will soon be available from many streaming and downloading sources, including iTunes.  The Rubenoff Project may not have hit the big time, but at least we’re on the map.  🙂

I am happy, grateful and relieved to have reached this point.  Many thanks to my friends who gave generously to help fund the project and to my fellow musicians who made it possible.

Members of the Project have already expressed a desire to do it again, so I think we will, if the universe permits, sometime next year.  Our next work will probably focus more on instrumental music, but there will be some of my so-called vocals in there too, no doubt.  I very much enjoyed the adventure and would love to do it again.




August 27, 2016 Leave a comment

light03While CD Baby inspects the EP for digital and physical distribution, I am making ready to send copies of the CD and thank-yous to the wonderful people who supported this effort.  I belong to a remarkable, generous community and I am very grateful.  If you gave your support and are reading this now, THANK YOU.  I look forward to sending you your CD.

While I am waiting for the release of the EP I am thinking of the next Rubenoff Project endeavor to come, choosing music and playing with art, writing some new stuff and practicing my instruments.  As it is taking shape in my mind it will be more instrumental and less vocal, with more of a Latin feel.  In any case it will be fun.  🙂

Of course I will let you all know when and where “Songs of Love, Despair and Regret” becomes available for purchase.  I’m sure that will be soon.

Eve of the Eve

July 30, 2016 2 comments

David Patrick

Today I enjoyed a light rehearsal with my friend David Patrick, an excellent guitarist who will be a featured artist on my upcoming EP, “Songs of Love, Despair and Regret.”  He adds so much to my composition with his great musical ideas, taste, and ear for advanced harmonies.   His solo on the ballad, “Jack”, will certainly be one of the high points of this recording.  After our rehearsal today I am even more excited about the project.


David Sparr

My friend, David Sparr, will be on keyboards and at the engineering controls.  David is an amazing musician and musical director, as well as a great friend.  His ears and eyes have been of vital importance in advance of the session to help make sure my charts are accurate, and it will be his ears and musical sense that will make our recordings the best that they can be.


Dan Fox

Joining us on bass guitar and trombone will be Dan Fox, excellent on both instruments.  Out of kindness and his natural good nature Dan has helped me in many ways on my own musical journey.  It is very fortunate to have his talent, taste and great ears on board.


Jeremiah Klarman

On cajon and percussion, my friend Jeremiah Klarman adds surprising dimension to my music with his rhythmic interpretations.  He is a great listener, and brings my musical dreams to an eclectic and memorable reality.   Jeremiah is also a musical composer and excellent pianist.

I will be going into the the studio to record music for this EP recording together with David Patrick, David Sparr, Dan Fox and Jeremiah Klarman along with special guest soloist John Clark on August 1 and 2.   I hope to release this first EP sometime this fall.  I’ll keep you posted.