Summer of Song, 2011

After taking last summer off to get a new band off the ground, I’m going to try this again this summer.  Slightly modified “rules” I’m considering:

1)  I start towards the end of June (once I get my computer back from the shop, and myself back from a camping trip).

2)  I do 3 songs a week.

3)  I go until school starts again in the fall.

4)  I bend/break the rules to suit my feelings.

Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 1:26 am  Comments (1)  

One More Shot

Typical drinking song, with some fun wordplay in it.  I’ve had the chorus for this for ages, and finally got started with the verses when I heard Elvis Costello’s “Down Among the Wine and Spirits” on Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane.  The melody borrows heavily from the bridge of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”…

Click on the title to link to the mp3.

One More Shot

I could soak my soul in spirits, I could drown my mind with wine,
and I bet I’ll still be lonely when it comes to closing time
Keep on pouring, partner, c’mon, let the liquor flow
It probably won’t bring her back, but hey, you never know,

Chorus:
I don’t think that I can drink away this heartache that I’ve got
But tonite I’m going to give it one more shot.

Don’t it sound so easy when you hear the people say
They’re headed for the barroom to drink their cares away.
I hope that it’ll happen every time I come in here
But tho the glass is empty, my eyes are filled with tears

Chorus

Bridge:
I’ll take one more shot of anything you’ve got behind the bar
I’ll wish on empty bottles just like they were falling stars
And every wish I make will be just like the one before
I’ll be wishing that the next one is the last one I need poured.

Published in: on March 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , ,

Songwriting Motivation for the Day…

From The Everything Songwriting Book, by C.J. Watson:

“Why write when you’re not inspired?  Ask an Olympic medalist if he or she competes and trains only when inspired.  It’s usually an inspired performance that earned the medal, but that performance wouldn’t have been possible without years of training every day and competing in hundreds of events.”

My job/lifestyle doesn’t really permit me to have regularly scheduled writing sessions, but I make sure I make the most of the time I get to write.  One way I overcome an inspiration deficiency is to have  few “projects” going at a time.  At the moment, I’m putting together some educational children’s songs, and I can always work on submissions to my friend’s annual Christmas compilation.  Having these back-burner projects allows me, on the days when I’m not in the mood to bare my soul, to keep my songwriting chops in shape by writing about the life cycle of a sunflower or something.  I’m still brainstorming, I’m still coming up with rhymes, I’m still refining my sense of meter, but it relieves the pressure of having to create.

On a side note, the Everything Songwriting Book (link above) is a pretty good resource, especially for beginning songwriters.

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 3:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

“Step Right Up”: my second choice for a title on this one…

I was reading an article on the Guiness Book of World Records and the first line of this song popped into my head:  There’s a man who wore a beard of bees that weighed 100 pounds.  I’m not sure what the weight record is for a beard of bees, but the line has perfect meter and the alliteration in “beard of bees” caught my ear.  Even though an opening line like that precludes this one making it on country radio, I still wanted to take it in a country direction.  I’m working on the title; my first choice is the last line in the chorus, but that kind of gives of the central gimmick of the song, which I’d rather be a surprise.  I’m a little phlegmy on the recording–getting over something.

(click song title to hear the song)

Step Right Up

There’s a man who wore a beard of bees that weighed 100 lbs.
There’s a ball of yarn somewhere that’s over 30 ft around
I’ve got something here with me that puts them all to shame
It holds it’s own place of honor in the Hall of Fame

Chorus:
Step right up if you want to take a look
It’s number one in the record book
Gather round to see that it’s completely torn apart
Step right up to see the world’s most broken heart

It’s not hard to find a heart that’s tattered, bent, or bruised
A heart is subject to some damage any time it’s used.
But even though most every one has seen some wear and tear
When it comes to brokenness, no other heart compares

Br:
It’s been kicked around, and left for dead
It’s more black & blue than red
Treated with the utmost disregard
It’s been abused and knocked about
It’s been turned inside out
It’s been beaten, traumatized and scarred.

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 8:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Working Title: “Seasonal Affective Disorder”

I wrote this one a few months ago, but the incoming storm reminded me of it, and also gave me the time to record it, as my office was shut down.  I don’t know what to title it, and there are a few lines that really need the red pen, but I’ll stand by it as a work in progress.

(click song title to hear the song)

Seasonal Affective Disorder

You must have left me in the winter
I recall it was so cold that day
There was an icicle hanging in my left ventricle
Cause it was winter when you went away

On second thought, it may have been the springtime
Oh, I remember how it rained
There was not a place left dry on my face
Cause it was springtime when you went away

Br:
Oh the days were so long, each an eternity
So maybe it was summer on the day that you left me
It’s possible that it was autumn when you set me free,
it seems to me that all the leaves hung dead upon the trees

Was it summer, was it autumn
Was it in the winter or the spring?
No matter what the season, this pain is just not easin’
I’ve seen all the sorrow that a year can bring.

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 1:45 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“Blind Spot”

I was given this title as a challenge, and so (within the challenge’s deadline), this is what I came up with.  I’m nursing a cold, and a little hoarse, but there’s nothing I can do about that.  I was aiming for a late-period Supremes type song, but due to my throat it sounds more like John Hiatt.  Having listened to Let It Bleed just before recording it probably didn’t help.  This was the first take, just going in through the computer mic.

(click song title to hear the song)

Blind Spot

heck your gauges, check your dials,
Check yourself because you’ve seen some miles.
You’re looking for someone to take you in,
But I’m right where I’ve I’ve always been.

Chorus:
You must have me in your blind spot (x2)
You’re looking for something you’ve already got
You must have me in your blind spot.

Take me for granted, that ain’t no surprise,
But when you’re finished, open up your eyes.
Check your mirrors now before you go.
Double-check because you never know.

Ch: You just might have me in your blind spot, etc.

Bridge:
You come here after you’ve been hurt
You let your tears soak into my shirt
I couldn’t be wetter, but you could do better
Why can’t you see what you’re looking for in me

Chorus

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 1:42 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

A December Song: Our Last Round

I finally blocked out some time to finish up a song or two.  This one is called “Our Last Round”, and is an attempt at an extended metaphor-type song.  I don’t know a whole lot about boxing, so I wrote this with the Wikipedia page on boxing pulled up.

(click song title to hear the song)

Our Last Round

How could I underestimate the power of a featherweight?
You got me when I let my guard down
I held out for a while, but you came in with an uppercut
and I think we just finished out last round

Chorus:   I think we just finished out last round
You’re the champion, here’s your belt and crown
I finally decided that I’m better off here on the mat
and I think we just finished out last round.

Darling, you took your first swing when you heard the churchbell ring
How could I know I’d grow to dread that sound?
I wondered what’d the preacher mean, when he said “Alright, let’s keep it clean”
Back then when we started our first round.

Chorus

Bridge: In this corner, the contender, see the fear there in his eyes
In this corner, the defender, hungry for the prize

Every time I’d try to leave, you’d come in with the bob and weave
Doin’ your best to drop me to the ground.
But I’ve finally had enough–enough of all your fisticuffs
And I think that we’ve finished our last round.

Chorus

Published in: on December 6, 2009 at 1:52 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , ,

Nathan James announced as a finalist in A Winter’s Song contest!

Vote for my song (“Ms. Claus”) at the A Winter’s Tune website!

You can vote every day, so bookmark the page…

Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 11:48 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

August Song: The Worst Part

I’m going to figure out how to change my short-sighted title so that I can use this weblog as a clearinghouse for any new song I’ve written.  Should anybody be reading this chronologically, note that all of the songs below were written as a part of a song-a-day excercise through the month of July, 2009.  Since completing the Month of Songs, I’ve had time to go back through some old notebooks and apply my newly-honed songwriting technique to some long-unfinished lines, verses, or choruses.  I’ve hit a few that are not quite ready yet, but today I sat down with one that turned out in the acceptable range.  It’s still a rough draft, but it’s presentable.

It’s a one-take (one for guitar, one for vocals) which explains the muck-up after the bridge.

(click song title to hear the song)

The Worst Part

The worst part is the waking up alone
I reach over for you and I realize you’re gone
This misery, it clings to me, it lingers like cologne
But the worst part is the waking up alone.

I can make it through my dreary day
As long as I keep busy I can go along my way.
With enough distractions, the pain can be postponed,
and the worst part it the waking up alone.

It’s hard to get to sleep at night
Knowing that the morning light
Is going to pull me from your loving arms
So when the sun begins to rise
I squeeze tight my tired eyes
Thinking I can sleep through the alarms.

Repeat vs. 1

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 1:14 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

7.30.09 (Song Twenty-One): Falling Again

Still a day behind on getting these recorded and posted, but you’ll have to take my word that I’m getting them done on time.  Needless to say, I’ll be glad to put this to bed and go back and do some editing and working on older songs.  Today’s song is upright acoustic piano and voice, both through the built-in Mac mic.  I looped the piano parts and cut-and-pasted, since I’m no piano player.

Falling Again

Fallin’ again
I can’t believe
That I let this
happen to me
It happened before,
and back then I swore
It would not happen again.

I was not prepared
for when you walked by
But you should’ve know better than to
Catch my eye
You went ’round catching
and I got caught
Now I’m stuck and
can’t get out

Chorus

Why must this always
happen to me
How did I earn
all of this misery
I thought I was happy
But oh, I was wrong
Cause if I can’t have you
I just can’t go on

Published in: on July 31, 2009 at 7:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.