Strawberry Fields

The extroverted sister

I was going to create a “greatest hits” album  with my own songs that I’ve re-recorded. That idea sort of stalled out and I felt that I wanted to exploit my dream-team a bit more (Kevin Cerovich-drums + horns/Kenneth Coleman-guitars/Leon Gruenbaum-keys/Emilia Cataldo-backing vocals) before I had to shut down the assembly line for a period of time to address some credit card debt. I kept writing and writing and tapped a set of songs that I’d done live a few years back to make what I thought would be a cohesive package. Visiting Rio this Spring, Patricia had painted two nice images that I thought captured the feel of the two albums I would be releasing (the second being ‘one last shot’). In fact, I wound up using the titles of her paintings for the titles of the two albums. Earlier I wrote about “One Last Shot”; so here is “Strawberry Fields”. 

Bob Gaulke 


June 7, 2023 

One Last Shot

Streaming June 6th-now on Bandcamp


I don’t remember writing these songs- where I was; what the feelings were.  General fears and anxiety with an outsized hope of redemption through intimacy. That’s what I hear listening back. 

The arrangements are done by Matt Carrillo, one of a set of Kansas City-bred jazz musicians met through meeting the great bassist Adam Kabak (Kevin Cerovich merits his own write-up). 

Matt is a disciplined student of seventies funk/jazz/soul and garnered a certain amount of attention in the contemporary hip-hop scene. I’m from a neighboring planet in the post-punk/bossa solar system-the sky turns interesting colors when we get close.  

The tracks were mixed by Alex Nahas, with whom I share certain stylistic preferences and generational outlook, “I like the songs because they’re short.” High praise, indeed. 

Cover painting is “Strawberry Fields” by Patricia Chueke. Nice title-I kept it.

Listening back after not hearing these songs for a few years, I feel pretty proud with my poetry. I could always sing things better and study more theory, but I generally feel pretty good about how these came out. Matt always surprises and the arrangements sound very sharp to me. Enjoy! B

Where I go from here-

Feeling the Spring




I just spent a year releasing short albums or long e.p.’s.- one a month. It might seem crazy, but as I write poems daily, it feels like a reasonable pace to me. My credit cards are now screaming for relief as, even as my musical friends give me rock-bottom rates, the invoices add up. I’ve got 35-40 more releases plan. As soon as I can dig mostly out of debt, I’ll get back on schedule. In the meantime, there’s a question on my mind: are you f*ucking nuts? 


I’m way past the sell-by date to be a hot young artist. My reference points are mostly a few decades in the past. However, I’ve lived my life in a way that many things provoke/stimulate/interest/bother me and writing and recording feels deeply therapeutic. Perhaps it’s the fate of artistically-inclined folks without offspring to want to prove they’ve existed in some way, but there’s something else going on in my mind, motivation-wise. 


As a musician, I crave dialogue with the public. I want to entertain people. I want to negotiate between the things on my mind and the desires in their hips. I live in a diverse working-class community. Is there any way to be “useful” with my art? Can I crunch all my desires into a funky little band that can during a summer season at a zoo or in a park and put a smile on people’s faces?


I think of Louis Jordan’s desire to “play for the working man” or Silvio Rodriguez playing for free at lunch-time concerts all over Cuba or Sergio Sampaio’s famous couplet about the place of poetry being the streets, not the drawer. The introvert goes through a second birth to become an artist, to meet the public in a negotiation that feels like a beautiful dance. 


I’m writing a 24-song repertoire for my trio. Myself on bass and vocals, Leon Gruenbaum on keys, and whoever we can seduce/fool/threaten on drums. Then I’ll get back to work and put out the other 40 albums. 





The Humanities

Capping a year of monthly releases with a double-album

There’s what you hear and what you feel and think and sometimes these three lines cross and songs are made that aspire to be more than sweet murmurings of love or inarticulate musings of atomized modern existence. 

Bob Gaulke aligns himself with the troubadour tradition- he wants to bring you the emotional truth of today and break it to you gently.  Gaulke hopes there’s something therapeutic in addressing the endangered elephant in the room or using the dub blueprints of post-punk, post-jazz, beatnik spoken word or tropicalia to keep the conversation going.  

“The Humanities” is his latest release- a double album that touches on the state of the world and imagination in a time overrun with normalcy bias and cognitive dissonance masquerading as progress. Like Mark A. Stewart after sex with an electric fan, Gaulke croons, whispers, and screams his poetic musings over rubber bass lines,  jazz trombones, Verlaine guitars, and hippy-chick backing vocals. 

The material covered include AI conversations with uber eats (“Your Order”), death in the american health care system (“Hospital”), sex with hedge funders (“You and your body”), sex with social workers (“Heat Sink”), prison escapes (“Plastic Spoon”), and the value of art at the end of the world (“Useless but Necessary”).   

Co-Conspirators on the album include Kevin Cerovich (drums and trombones), Leon Gruenbaum (keyboards), Kenny Coleman (guitars), and Emilia Cataldo (backing vocals). The album was mixed and mastered by Martin Scian.  

Artwork by Adam Hunter Caldwell

“The Humanities” (Parts 1+ 2)

Streaming  on all platforms  on January 6th. 

2022 Year in Review

How did it feel to you?

Martin Scian was kind enough to indulge me with volume pricing on mixing as I knocked out an "extended play" record montly in 2022. I just sort of write and record compulsively- it's probably some sort of therapy for my public school career and existential angst. Pacing-wise, it felt fine for me and gave me a sense of purpose, although it did the streaming alogrithms no favors. Sadly, I still have about 36 albums to go, but i'll be slowing down in 2023 as my credit cards are absolutely maxed out. In the new year, I hope to be playing solo and with a trio and perhaps just release a song a month instead of a whole project. There's also this rock musical I've been kicking around. Have a safe holiday. B


Now Streaming

“Inappropriate” is now streaming. I’m particularly proud of the way this rocks; Greg Odell and Marco Raaphorst bring the kerrang on drums and guitar. Soft, inner jazzy parts courtesy of Leon Gruenbaum (keys), Kevin Cerovich (trombones), and Emilia Cataldo (backing vocals). We’re running eight tunes reflecting on a sense of emotional claustrophobia courtesy of the then current national political climate as filtered through my role as a public school teacher in a poor neighborhood. Or something like that. I remember writing these tunes on the bass somewhat rapidly. I feel they came out pretty well. I bow down to the musicians and Martin Scian on the knobs. Bob November 2, 2022

The Vertical World 

I’ve been working on and off for the NYC DOE for seven years and as with any large organization, there’s a lot to contend with for someone with an artistic bent. I was straight out fired ten years ago; I don’t think I’ve mellowed that much since then, but at 55 years of age, one’s looking over a high cliff at times, employment-wise. 

What has always worked for me has been the kids. I’m constantly inspired by them. Although I’m working in one of the poorest neighborhoods in NYC with a difficult age (Does anybody like the 7th grade?), the students keep me going with their energy, interests, and passion. 

My biggest challenge, which I feel capable of on days when I’ve had enough sleep, is reconciling their brilliance the dull thud of the demands of a large bureacratic organization.  I feel up to this as well, as I’m no careerist and look to them like an artist in front of their public. Inspire. Provoke. Amuse. Challenge. To the sounds of silence from the organization. That’s when I go home and do my art. 

A public service announcement from your friendly neighborhood introvert.

O Rio de Janeiro

fica sempre lindo

I keep going and I keep coming back and altough I could never make Brazilian music, it inspires the hell out of me. Three weeks this summer and even as a super gringo extraterrestrial, I've got the hope that some part of the experience sticks with me. Until I can come back. I sacrificed a lot of tanning time to do some writing in Cinelândia and came back with a bounty of new ideas. It was wonderful to see old friends, make new ones, and apparently take my Portuguese up a notch, if my friends are to be believed. Click the button below to check out the art of Patricia Chueke, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with. 

The world at my place

Andrew McLennan in the Bronx

I took a songwriting workshop with Martin Briley, a man who knows his way around a tune (“Salt in My Tears”). He stressed the importance of the vocal melody, citing I recall, a figure of 90% as a quantifiable amount of importance it has to the success of a tune. I wouldn’t really argue with that, thinking of all the earworms that have borrowed through my skull over the decades (If there’s a heaven, do we get that time back?).

I come from another planet; “Troubadour” where sense often takes precedence over sound in their eternal struggle. Things build up in me like static and can discharge at any time, often not even waiting for the killer melody to strike.

I got to write it out. When I’m feeling lonely, I post it. A bit of a focus group exercise on FaceCrack. For the last two years, Kiwi musician Andrew McLennan has been stalking my verse, sending me audio clips of him putting them to chords with …really strong melodies.

He knows how to work his voice. He knows how to work a melody. My words come back to me in new clothes, shaved, cologned, and ready to hit the town. I mostly don’t recognize them; they become ex-girlfriends after makeovers or cousins on my mom’s side of the family. 

Anyways, Andrew has a dream to come to see NYC. Hard to believe this thing I put on when I open the door has his attention, but I guess his place holds the same attraction for me. I meet the guy at the airport. I take him to my place. The night begins. He with guitar. Me with pen. It’s awkward to start. I feel at times he’s normalizing my stuff too much, but that’s the difference between youth and decades of failure. One learns to keep it in the holster.

An approach/process is created. He rounds out the rough edges. He shines. He cuts. He adds. He buffs. He polishes. Is it plastic surgery or engineering-it changes from case to case, but when he’s done, they sound like they’re his. He assures me they’re also mine. I squint and I see a resemblance. It’s nothing he would write. It’s nothing I would write.

Does it work? He sings in full head voice. He strums confidently. Almost everything is mid to fast tempo, reflecting the urgency and transience of two middle aged dudes in a Bronx night. Will it blend? F#ck around and Find out. 

"Obviously" Streams April 1st