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)  
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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  
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“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  
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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)  
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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  
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7.28.09 (Song Nineteen): Part of You

I’m pleased enough with today’s song, “Part of You”.  It’s syrupy and barely over a minute long, and my self-harmony is not quite there, but with some practice, a bridge, and maybe some keyboards I think this one might turn out.

Part of You

If I should ever leave you
I want you to know
I take a piece of you with me
anywhere I go

I take a piece of you with me
I thought you wouldn’t mind
‘Cause when I go I always leave
a piece of me behind.

Chorus:
If I could,
I would stay
But you and I both know that soon
I’ll have to go away
But be sure
When I do
You’ll always be a part of me,
And I, a part of you.

Now, I hardly remember
The man I used to be
I bore a hole that was the shape
of what you gave to me

It’s odd that it worked out like this,
these things so rarely do
but you were missing something,
Something that I brought to you.

Chorus

Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 10:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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7.27.09 (Song 18): NyQuil-Headed Baby

It looks like I took Friday off–some life came up and I didn’t get it done.  I’m hoping to catch up by the end of the week.

For today, I was hoping to capture the spirit of Whiskey Headed Woman and Canned Heat Blues, two classic blues songs, and I think I’ve done the form justice.  I’m not in love with the chorus, but for a one-day project, it’s not bad.

NyQuil-Headed Baby
She don’t drink liquor and she don’t take dope
She don’t use cocaine and she won’t smoke rope
There’s only one thing for when she needs a little something
She ain’t satisfied until she’s had some Robitussin

She’s my NyQuil headed baby
She’ll drink Dimetapp, too
and if she’s feeling fancy she could go for
the Theraflu

Her eyes may be bloodshot, her hair may be a mess
But you can be for certain that her cough is supressed

Chorus

Don’t bring her any eucalyptus cough drops
Don’t you rub no camphor oil on to her chest
Just bring her a bottle of that syrup, boy
And she’ll take care of the rest.

Published in: on July 27, 2009 at 10:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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7.23.09 (Song Seventeen): I’ll Be There

I actually wrote three separate lyrics today, and this one is the only one with any chance of seeing the light of day.  I thought I’d wind up doing more genre excercises over the course of the month, but this one might be my first, with the possible exception of Psychedelic Santa, which didn’t really wind up being much of a genre excercise after all.

Piano and bass are played on the Yamaha MM-6 keyboard, harmonica played for real.

I’ll Be There

When it’s late at night
and there’s no one around
and silence surrounds you
and the lonely gets loud

Chorus:
You can call on me
When you get scared
Call on my darling
I’ll be there.

Look up in the sky
Look up at that moon
Sometimes don’t it feel
Like it’s looking down on you?

Chorus

When it’s late at night
and there’s no one around
and silence surrounds you
and the lonely gets loud

Chorus

Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 12:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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7.21.09 (Song Fifteen): Cans

This one was not very fun to write.  A good song about Michigan’s bottle return remains my white whale.

(Bring Back the) Cans

The fridge was empty and the cupboard was bare
I checked my wallet, there was nothing there
I flipped the cushions and I checked the couch
Not a penny or a nickel, and so now,

Chorus:
I’ve got to bring back the cans
Bring back the cans
Have you ever been there, when the times demand
That you bring back the cans?

I got ’em all together in some big garbage bags
Loaded up the car til the suspension sagged
I got the soda syrup on me, and I can’t say I was pleased
When I was attacked by a swarm of honey bees

Chorus:
I’ve got to bring back the cans
Bring back the cans
I’ve got the steering wheel sticking to my hand
As I bring back the cans

I filled up a shopping cart with clanking glass and tin
I pushed them to the register and turned them all in
The cashier finished counting, paid it out and off I went
With a pocket full of 4 dollars and 35 cents

Chorus:
I’m bringing back the cans
Bringing back the cans
Is there anything that’s more humiliating than
bringing back the cans.

Published in: on July 22, 2009 at 2:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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