Hey folks! My friend Deanna recently asked me if I could help her record a song as a gift for her husband. I’m always sharing my own projects on here, so I asked her if she’d mind me sharing this one. This is her cover of ‘Stick with Me Baby’ by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. Thanks for sharing your voice, Deanna!

Source: SoundCloud / TheClifton

Check out my cover of this classic folk song on SoundCloud and YouTube!!

Source: SoundCloud / TheClifton

Five Hundred Miles is a 1961 folk song written by Hedy West and performed by The Journeymen. The song has been performed, recorded, and rewritten by dozens of artists in the past 50 years including, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bobby Bare, Sonny and Cher, Nick Cave, Elvis Presley, and most recently by Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan in the Coen Brothers film, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’. It is thought to be related to an older folk song titled, ‘900 miles’, which itself may be related to the traditional american songs, “Reuben’s Train” and “Train 45”.


Hey folks! I wasn’t playing shows for a little while there, but I’m coming back! Here is a brand new song I recorded called ‘Verbose (A Word in Edgewise)’. Enjoy!

Source: SoundCloud / TheClifton

Here is a spankin’ new tune I wrote last night at 2am. It’s a bit of a somber sounding tune, but I think you’ll like it. This song came to me while thinking about my musical aspirations. Recently I have been looking for a day job, which as a musician can sometimes feel discouraging. You hear all these rock stars on the radio singing about how they quit their nine to five and are living their dream, just as I am putting my dreams on the back burner. But the more I thought about it, I realized, that’s bullshit. I didn’t learn to sing and play the guitar to be on the radio, play stadiums, or sign a major record deal. I did it, simply, cause I love to do it. I’ve been singing since I was child because I love music.

I still (and probably always will) have these dreams and aspirations, but it doesn’t mean I stop doing what I love. I am fortunate to live in one of the wealthiest places in the world, where I have the luxury of even owning a guitar to write songs with. I have the ability to record and share my melodies on a worldwide platform and I will continue to do so as long I’m here. I’m already living the dream. So, I will continue to sing for the sake of singing. 

For the Sake of Singing

I will never stop singing

even if I’m never heard

as long as I’m breathing

as long as my feet walk this earth

And you may never know my name

and I may never see your face

cause we all have our roles to play

a single strand inside the braid

I may never stop dreaming

even if they don’t come true

as long as I’m bleeding

as long as my heart beats with…

you may never know my name

and I may never see your face

cause we all have our roles to play

This song’s for you

This song’s for me

A song to sing

A melody

Source: SoundCloud / TheClifton

'Light Up The Dark' EP


**25% of all tips will be donated to The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Toledo** 
*remaining 75% will be used to finish a full length album with Rewire Media*

DSAGT is an organization in the Greater Toledo area that helps support families with children with down syndrome like my awesome little lady, Evangeline, who you may have seen in the youtube video ‘Good News Evangeline’.

Rise & Shine is the second track off of the ‘Light Up The Dark’ EP. This is a song I wrote a few years back with my long time friend Micheal Abalos. Actually, I have to give him most of the credit. This song was his brainchild, but I was there as he was writing it and I sat down with him and we hammered out all of the details together.

As I listened to the lyrics of the song it had a real effect on me, as I was going through a divorce at the time. Most people have or will go through a rough break up so, I think this is a very relatable song. You wake up alone in a bed you used to share realizing it’s over and you start to analyze how and where it went wrong. In hindsight you can see the slightest nuances; even their facial expressions changing over time. It’s a very dark place to be, but there is no avoiding it. I remember suggesting the title to Mike and we both loved the irony of the title paired with the first line of the song sung over that heavy E minor key. Having to wake up in such a dark place is very difficult, but I also think that break up songs like this can help people cope and work through that inevitably dark time. 


You were all the way gone this morning

I tried to be strong this morning

It’s not about how 

my life was run

Right about now 

I’m wishing I had one…reason to live

You caught me by surprise today

The look in your eyes…gone away

There was no expression on your face

It’s not about how 

my life was run

Right about now 

I’m wishing I had one…reason to live

Wish you were here holding my hand

Right about then you’d understand

Just how I feel when I cry all alone


Some of you may already recognize the Dexter reference in the title ‘The Dark Passenger’. For those who aren’t familiar, Dexter is a television/book series that follows a serial killer who only kills other serial killers and also happens to work for a police department . He is not a vigilante though, he actually has a strong urge to kill and is obsessed with blood. Throughout the series he describes this “urge” as an entity that he refers to as, “The Dark Passenger”.

I found the The Dark Passenger fitting as the opening track of the ‘Light Up The Dark’ EP, because it addresses the darker side of our nature and how we battle with it. I think we all have this metaphoric “Dark Passenger”. I believe that we let it tell us lies that ultimately defy our own humanity. We often allow this dark passenger steer us toward our prideful, selfish and fearful instincts, but I believe we have an even greater potential for altruism and love which conquers that darkness. 

The Dark Passenger:

There’s a killer in all of us

He tells us that we are alone in the world

There’s a  killer in all of us

He tells us all lies til his plans have unfurled

There’s a killer in all of us

He fills us with hate then tells us it’s right

There’s a killer in all of us

He leads us through black then tells us its white

There’s a killer in all of us

He tells us humanity is undignified

The killer in all of us

He feeds on our fear and fills us with pride…

…and he’s never satisfied

There’s a killer in all of us.



Keep up on all the musical ventures of “Clifton & Other Such Rebels” at:


          New music is coming in November! I will be releasing a 5 track EP including the title track, ‘Light Up The Dark’ as well as, ‘Good News Evangeline’, which can both now be heard on YouTube.  The EP will be released exclusively on as a digital download. Noisetrade allows anyone to download any album absolutely free with the option to tip the artists any amount of money. I will be donating 25% of all tips to the Down Syndrome Association to help people like my little girl, Evangeline. The other 75% will go to finish recording a full length album featuring a full band. 


          Light Up The Dark is a love song inspired by the best gift I’ve ever been given. Before we were dating, my wife came to my apartment to try and write some songs with me. At the time, I did not have much. In fact, every piece of furniture in my room belonged to my roommates. I commented to her at one point that I didn’t even have a light in my room. The next week she came to a show to see me perform and afterword we were chatting by my car and she told me she that she got me something. She opened her trunk and pulled out an ugly dollar store lamp as she said, “Everyone needs light in their life.” About two and a half years later I wrote this song for her as a surprise for our first anniversary and a just over a year later we had our first child, for whom we both wrote the song, ‘Good News Evangeline’.

          I had the idea for ‘Good News Evangeline’ when we chose the name Evangeline for our girl and discovered that the name Evangeline means “good news”, but I never knew quite how to write it until after we got to meet her. When we learned that she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, it became much clearer the direction the song would go. We read that 92% of babies diagnosed with DS are aborted. That is a truly staggering statistic and sad statistic considering that we live in a day and age where people with DS can live a long and normal life. We feel blessed to have this unique experience to raise a child and spread the message that Down Syndrome does not have to be bad news, but that it can be good news.

“You were born to be good news, Evangeline…good news, Evangeline.

Light Up The Dark:

When I was left with nothing

You came and gave me light

And when I sat in darkness

It pierced the dark of night

When I was lacking vision

It gave way to my sight

And in the darkness weak and worn

You were my will to fight

As I sit and think 

of all the light I’ve found in you

I’m more taken by the fact

 that you have found light in me to

You listened to my sad songs

I couldn’t take my eyes off you

And week after week you sat right there

Til I wrote a song for you

You broke right through my darkness

And found the light inside

I broke right through my fear and doubt

And then I asked you to be mine

As I sit and think

of all the light I’ve found in you

I’m more taken by the fact

that you have found light in me too 

As I sit and think

Of all the darkness we’ve been through

I know we’ll stand there hand in hand

And I’ll light up the dark with you 


Good News Evangeline

About a year ago we shared the news with everyone that we were expecting our first child. About 4 months ago we shared then news that she had arrived! A couple weeks later we received the news that she had Down syndrome. At first that last but of news scared us a little, but as it turns out it was as good of news as the rest. We weren’t sure what to expect, but every day this little girl exceeds all of our expectations and truly lives up to her name. 

Fun Facts: My wife, Sarah, and I both wrote this song and I wrote most of the melody by singing out loud to myself while mowing the lawn.


Selfish Acts of Kindness 

One night, after a show, a man came up and started talking to me. He told me he liked my music and that he was a singer, himself, and continued to sing me a song that he was writing. This went on for several minutes before he finally got to the point that he needed bus fare in order to get back home. I immediately assumed that his story was  b.s., but I was tired and I wanted to end the conversation so I reached in my wallet and gave him a five dollar bill and we went our separate ways. 

The next day that exchange really sunk in and stuck with me. All I could think about is how I masked my judgment behind my generosity. A truly selfish act of kindness. For all I know, this guy left the bar and hopped on the bus, but he also may have gone to the bar next door for another drink. Either way, that man is living and surviving the best way he knows how, just like me and just like you. We all have our stories we sell and we all have something to offer. We give and we take. There is no one better than the other. We are all one, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers….and we need each other.  

Selfish Acts of Kindness

Like a homeless man

Trying to sell a story

I’ll lend you a dollar

for moment of my glory, you see…

Like a salesman

Trying to make me feel important

I’ll sign away my soul

even though I can’t afford it, I know…

What do you want from me?

If I could then I would do it for free.

What do you want from me?

Everybody has their minimum fee…don’t we?

Like a pick up truck

I’ll do your heavy lifting 

If you fill me up

Part of the taken is the givin’, you see…

Like a parasite

We’re feeding off each other

It ain’t wrong or right

It’s just how we work together, you see…

What do you wan’t from me?

I know we see the world differently.

What do you want from me?

We can never own the world for free…can we?

There’s no one. 

No, not one…Better than the other

We’re all one…

Daughters and sons, sisters and brothers.

Source: SoundCloud / TheClifton