Saturday, October 24, 2009

Before It Began

BeforeItBegan.ogg BeforeItBegan.mp3 (live demo - piano)

A couple of things happened with this one... first, William wrote the lyrics on Mother's Day, 1989, and I'm sure I got them soon after, according to my notebook. At the time I couldn't think of a thing to go with them, and I don't think there's any particular story behind the lyrics themselves.

Then last night this song was just laying on top of the pile of unfinished songs. About the same time I'd gotten an email from Deston saying that she enjoyed Waves and Ways and no one had ever written a song for "a Deston". Knowing full well what she meant, I thought instead about a song for Deston to sing... I mean, what good is a song about Deston for her enjoyment when she's got this really awesome voice she could use for mine? (smile when you read that) And while she has a very powerful soprano, I like it better when she tones it down to a more controlled alto.

So marry that thought train with these lyrics that were sitting in front of me at the time, and I thought there would be nothing better for it than a classic smokey-nightclub torch song... but one that had some nice powerful parts to be belted out along with the sultry parts.

So that was my thought process as I was putting a tune to this. My wife, Lisa, likes it a lot, and has adopted it as "her song", which I don't mind in the slightest... Music is like love: it's worthless if it's not shared. At least I know this song doesn't completely suck. I'm singing on this file... hopefully we can correct that soon.



Before It Began
wmh - Mother's Day, 1989

I wish I had the chance to say I love you again
I wish you weren't content in just being my friend
And if we had it all to do all over again
I'd still just be this human child afraid to pretend

It's safe to say it's over, 'cause I don't know what that means
As I dangle un-animated by my worn-out puppet strings
I really thought we had it, but what is the use
When two people forfeit love and won't acknowledge the truth

(Because) It's over, really over before it began
Destined to become something neither one of us could stand
I remember walking hand in hand
Alone after midnight before it began

I fell in love again just yesterday
Then this morning came and took it all away
Strung out on a high wire for all to see
My heart the famous casualty

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Waves and Ways

WavesAndWays.ogg WavesAndWays.mp3 (live demo - piano)

This was on top of the pile at lunch today, and when I glanced at it, it just had a tune. Sometimes it happens that way... I read a lyric and the tune is already there in my head. The rolling little piano intro was first. It's intended to remind you of water, and the chorus to remind you of crashing waves. Anyway...

Today is my sister's birthday. I tweaked the lyrics a little bit to give an homage to the Beatles (she was a big fan in her teens) and to add a reminder that this is a birthday song. Having grown up in Charleston, SC, it seemed appropriate to me to dedicate this song of the sea...

To Carrie.



Waves and Ways
wmh - 28 May 2006, dfl - 22 Oct 2009

It's not the way your ways have bound me
It's the way your smile surrounds me
It's the sunsets and the view
And it's the way that I love you

Be it Spring, Winter, or Fall
In any clime at all
The sun rises in the Summer sky
It's in your heart your beauty lies

And if we travel to the ocean
To witness breaking waves
You will go with me
But the memory stays
We can Let It Be...
As in younger days
As we watch the Waves and Ways

Over the waves there are ways
Through a fog bank or a haze
You can't sink a sturdy ship
Without an anchor or loose lip

It's not the way your ways have bound me
It's the rescue since you found me
Afloat in a sea of indecision
You're my lighthouse and religion

And if we travel to the ocean
To witness breaking waves
You will go with me
But the memory stays
We can Let It Be...
As in younger days
As we watch the Waves and Ways

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Two Wills

TheTwoWills.ogg TheTwoWills.mp3 (live demo - piano)

As to what this one's about, your guess is as good as mine
. William told me, or tried too... but my head exploded.

Then he asked me what genre this is, and I didn't really know, but said "
something like Reggae." (If it doesn't sound like that to you, it's because there's no instrumentation. Just trust me... in my head it sounds like that). Actually, with proper instrumentation this would probably be in the neighborhood of Third Wave Ska. That's a fusion of Reggae, Punk, R&B, and Big Band. Yeah, I know... sounds like some kind of bastard love-child, but it's kind of appealing, like a mongrel puppy.

Just so you know how different the drafts I post here are from what I actually have in my head, here's an example of the sound, kind of close to what I have in mind. Keep in mind that the sound can vary wildly from band to band. These guys are fairly typical (I think), but it can sound anywhere from gritty punk to Smash Mouth... the Jamaican heavy off-beat is the key. Anyway, keep that in mind when imagining background instrumentals and rhythm. I imagine it as not being too polished... sort of a "trashcan band" sound, with unusual instrumentation. For instance, where a lot of Ska bands would use brass, I'm thinking accordion. So in this song you can yank out the punk and some of the Big Band influence and replace it with Zydeco.

No, really.


The Two Wills
wmh - 2o November 2006

In my tiny workshop
I manufacture many stories
None of which is of the important kind
It could be the satisfaction that I receive
When I read other peoples' minds

Call it a mirrored self-portrait
Of memories and time
A life played out in dreams I guess
Through guerrillas and pantomime

But i
n my tiny workshop
I manufacture many stories
None of which is of the important kind
It could be the satisfaction that I receive
When I read other peoples' minds

I know you can't fool everyone
But Lord knows how I've tried
And when it comes down to faith and truth
I worshiped, I've dodged and lied

But i
n my tiny workshop
I manufacture many stories
None of which is of the important kind
It could be the satisfaction that I receive
When I read other peoples' minds

The two wills tug at one another
One is day, the other is twilight
Hunting down the devil darkness
But looking forward to the morning light

And i
n my tiny workshop
I manufacture many stories
None of which is of the important kind
It could be the satisfaction that I receive
When I read other peoples' minds

I read their minds
I read your mind
I read your mind
I read your mind

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ovin, You, Gene & Me

OvinYouGene&Me.ogg OvinYouGene&Me.mp3 (live demo - piano)

This one's another about William's childhood; in this case, summers on the coast in Savannah and Tybee island. It's a nice, simple Country tune.

My friend Gene Monroe died of Lou Gehrig's disease shortly after this was written. This song has nothing to do with him, but it does have his first name in it, and mentioned a lot of the sorts of things he liked. He couldn't do much for himself at the end, but he could listen to music, and he enjoyed this. That alone made it worthwhile.

Ovin, You, Gene & Me
wmh - 2 March 2006, for Della

Waiting all Winter for that seagull summer
With Fall out too far to see
There's only the salt breeze
Amidst quail filled pine trees
On the sunny rock shores of Soap Creek

And I can still see the gas glow
For miles from my window
A beckoning and warm sight to see
Soon silhouette shadows
Give way to the night
Quickly becoming childhood memories

Then when the tourists are all gone
My thoughts simply slide along
Sideways but straight as can be
To a laughter long lost
Captured and lying in wait
For Ovin, You, Gene & Me.

I recall events on a little river
It's currents flow swift through my mind
Even ever verging tides crashing on Tybee
Can't was away starfish lit dreams
Or the ebbing hourglass sands to the sea

I truly hate what silence sounds like
It's deafening to me
Way beyond blue, yet under the shade tree
There's a place in the past
Prepaid first class
For Ovin, You, Gene & Me.

Then when the tourists are all gone
My thoughts simply slide along
Sideways but straight as can be
To a laughter long lost
Captured and lying in wait
For Ovin, You, Gene & me.

From the day we first met
The sun rose, the sun set
On Ovin, You, Gene & me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Summerlea

Summerlea.ogg Summerlea.mp3 (live demo - piano)

William tells me he wrote this about days gone by and his own childhood. When I read it, I think about it from a parent's perspective, about my own kids. So, when I got these lyrics from William I decided to import a grand old tradition from England and name my estate. My house is now called "Summerlea". If I had one song to leave for my kids, this would be it.

This recording isn't exactly as it should be. The song is written for guitar, and I will record it on guitar as soon as I fix both my capo and guitar pickup.

Summerlea
wmh - 6 April 1995

I've traveled so far to meet you
On a road that seemed forever
Never knowing where you are
Or where I'll be when I get there
Chasing phantoms in the nighttime
Spurred by lonely moments past
Guided by the stars in Heaven
To realize the dream at last.

Return me there
To Summerlea
Forever where the children play
We'll run and hide
And should it rain
We'll come back again some other day

Seasons of our lifetimes
Live within us all the while
Youth, you know, won't die away
It only lies somewhere inside

Summerlea
Return me there
To pass the chance would be a sin
And if you leave
It behind completely
You can never go back again

Return me there
To Summerlea
Forever where the children play
We'll run and hide
And should it rain
We'll come back again some other day

We'll run and hide
And should it rain
We'll come back again some other day

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mary, I Want Her

MaryIWantHer.ogg MaryIWantHer.mp3 (live demo)

Once again, lyrics from 1990, music from today. Unlike the last one, I know exactly what this is about. The title is a fairly obvious pun, and I'm sure you're smart enough to get it on your own.

Mary, I Want Her
wmh - 25 March 1990

Twisted bits of cellophane
Wrapped around my brain
Blistered lips and fingertips
As Mary calls my name

Waiting but impatient
Another day slips by
I climb the walls inside myself
In fear she won't arrive

And Mary, I want her
She shields me from the night
She allows my soul
To sink below
The realities of life
She'll come and she'll go
A dream in smoke
She'll change the wrongs to right
She will drown me in
Oblivion
And make my bed tonight

Thinking of how I'll run to her
A glaze forms on my eyes
To taste her kiss so bittersweet
And listen to her lies

Forced in part by habit
The need reveals dark corners
Of the mind's desire to satisfy
In ways I've never shown her

And Mary, I want her
She shields me from the night
She allows my soul
To sink below
The realities of life
She'll come and she'll go
A dream in smoke
She'll change the wrongs to right
She will drown me in
Oblivion
And make my bed tonight