A Touch Of Nostalgia

May 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

As much as it pains me to admit this, I suspect that in some ways I am much like others at my stage of life. If you read or watch the news or listen to the conversations of Baby Boomers around you, you will occasionally hear or at least sense a bit of nostalgia and a long for a return to a “simpler time.”

Not that such a Utopian time actually existed, of course. Yes, I suppose things were simpler in the sense that technology had not yet given us, personal computers, cell phones, or even the Internet, without which I could not share my thoughts and lyrics with the world.

At the same time, the contributions of women were devalued and even ignored, minorities were treated as second-class citizens, other groups were ostracized altogether. (I guess it is true. The more things change, the more they remain the same.) We did not have air bags or some of the other safety features that allow us to survive accidents that would have been fatal in that “simpler time.”

Still, I suppose it is human nature to occasionally look back at what we had and perhaps what we gave up or left behind in order to get to wherever it is we now find ourselves. Many of us, I’m sure, have had at least one “what if” moment in our lives.

Perhaps we wistfully recall the promise of youth and all that our unknown futures seemed to offer. It is in the spirit of such “woulda, coulda, shoulda” thinking and the whole idea of “what if” that I wrote these lyrics. I was also trying to channel a little of my inner John Hiatt. (I’m thinking specifically of his 2001 song, “My Old Friend.”)

When We Were Young

Remember summer days down at the park
And cruisin’ Main Street well after dark
Promise of love was everywhere
Back when we were young

Our futures stretched out like the open road
Livin’ life to our unwritten code
It seemed adventure was in the air
Back when we were young

When we were young
We had it all right in front of us
When we were young
Like musketeers, we knew who we could trust
When we were young
It seemed that life had only just begun
Those were the days
Back when we were young

So many changes in direction
We could never see
A course in need of correction
Always tryin’ to break free

Remember back to graduation day
And how we couldn’t wait to break away
Didn’t know how good we had it then
Back when we were young

When we were young
We had it all right in front of us
When we were young
Like musketeers, we knew who we could trust
When we were young
It seemed that life had only just begun
Those were the days
Back when we were young

Oh, those were the days
Back when we were young

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Dreamers and Doers

May 12, 2017 § Leave a comment

I suppose I’ve always been a dreamer. Growing up, my dreams were my escape from the less than pleasant reality around me. Those dreams, fantasies really, served as a coping mechanism to help me survive. I won’t go into detail except to say that, while I learned to dream, I never really learned to dare or to do.

That realization came to mind whilst reading a story about musician Paul Weller. At 59, Weller has basically already crammed three musical careers into one lifetime. First, as leader of the influential band The Jam. Later, as leader of The Style Council. Finally, his solo music career, which sees about to release his 13th solo album.

The difference between us (not accounting for possibly subjective factors such as talent)? He may have had others who believed in him, but he certainly believed in his own ability and possessed the will to pursue and act on that ability. Until recently, I haven’t.

Growing up, I moved from dream to dream more often than I moved from one address to another. I had the dreams but not the drive, determination, or self-confidence to act on any of them. Friends will say that I’m acting on my dreams now, and that’s what matters. I’m sure they’re right, but I often find myself thinking about what might have been, as they say, if I had possessed a stronger work ethic or greater self-confidence or had been given more encouragement. Or all of the above.

Reading the story about Paul Weller, I got to thinking about all of that, which led to today’s lyrical entry.

Flow Like Days

Dreams I failed to nurture
Seeds planted in unfertile ground
It’s hard to reap what doesn’t grow
Time I let slip by me
Thought I always had tomorrow
But then it passed, where did it go?

Years flow like days
Each one faster than the last
I can’t count the ways
I let my future slip into my past

Things that I chased after
The peace I never seemed to find
It always seemed in front of me
There on the horizon
I hear a whisper, soft and low
Promising something I can’t see

Dreams flow like days
One dies, another takes its place
Each left where it lays
While I take up another fruitless chase

I’ve never been sure, did I chase the dream
Or was it chasing me?
Guess it doesn’t matter ’cause either way
It wasn’t meant to be

Time was once an ally
Stretched out like an open road
But now, the clock is running down
Looking at the ledger
Seems I brought less than I owe
Insecure, the man behind the clown

Years flow like days
Each one faster than the last
I can’t count the ways
I let my future slip into my past
Dreams flow like days
One dies, another takes its place
Each left where it lays
While I take up another fruitless chase

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Exploring The Depths

May 9, 2017 § Leave a comment

As most of us know, life is not always sunshine and roses (or milk and honey or whichever trite cliché you want to insert). Sometimes, things get rough, go badly, take a wrong turn, often because of our own stubbornness, foolishness, or false pride.

Sometimes when that happens, I wallow for an hour or two or even a day or two. Sometimes, though, I get a song idea from it. Such is the case in this instance. While I don’t have the final arrangement figured out, I envision a simple three or four-chord structure, finger-picked in a variation on traditional Travis style, where the chord is picked up the scale the first time (1, 3, 4, 5 or 2, 3, 4, 5 depending on the chord) and then picked in a normal Travis pattern as it has been explained to me (1, 5, 3, 4 or 2, 5, 3, 4, again depending on the chord).

This song reflects on my own shortcomings and my own questions about faith and my seeming inability at times when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

Road To Forgiveness

Seems I’ve lost my way
Not sure where to turn
Memories come rushing back
Of lessons never learned

Darkness all around
I still can’t see the light
Every step I take seems wrong
I’ve lost sight of what’s right

God, if you’re there, won’t you hear me
Don’t leave me in the wilderness
God, if you care, please stay near me
Help me find the road to forgiveness

So many altars I have thrown myself before
And still no comfort have I found
I stumble blindly through the wasteland
Frustrated in my search for holy ground

Looking up, I find
My soul can’t reach the sky
Drowning in a sea of sorrow
But I’ve no tears left to cry

God, if you’re there, won’t you hear me
Don’t leave me in the wilderness
God, if you care, please stay near me
Help me find the road to forgiveness

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

From The Mouths Of Babes?

May 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

Inspiration comes in many forms and travels many different paths. As I’ve mentioned before, I sometimes find it in things I see, places I go, and, in this case, things I hear.

One day at breakfast, my son was talking (and talking) about Pokemon and Pokemon Go. It seemed at the time there was nothing else he could talk about. There certainly was nothing else he wanted to talk about (unless it was the Nintendo Switch – sense a theme here?).

While I’m not sure the world is ready for a song about Pokemon or Pokemon Go (I know I’m not), I did get any idea from my son’s singular topic of discussion. This is intended to be a slow blues number.

One Track Mind

You’ve got a one-track mind
I can’t seem to break through
You’ve got a one-track mind
Don’t know what I’m s’posed to do
Every time I try to reach you
I can feel you holding back
You’ve got a one-track mind
But one track for who?

You’ve got your mind made up
I don’t think it’s gonna change
You’ve got your mind made up
See no way to rearrange
Every time I raise the subject
You go on the attack
You’ve got your mind made up
It just seems a little strange

There’s only one thing
You ever want to talk about
But that conversation’s something
I think I can do without

You’ve got a one-track mind
Guess that’s how it’s gonna be
You’ve got a one-track mind
There’s no room in it for me
I can’t keep playing your game
Sooner or later, I’m gonna crack
You’ve got a one-track mind
Guess I’ll have to set you free

You’ve got a one-track mind
Guess I’ll have to see you free

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Busy With Little To Show?

April 24, 2017 § Leave a comment

It has been a while since my last post on these virtual pages. (Too long or not long enough? You decide.) There are any number of reasons and excuses for that. The first and most general reason is life.

My wife and I have been pretty busy the last few weeks performing around town or preparing to perform. We’ve also done a bit of work on songs for our next CD. A few others things have been going on as well, all of them combining to keep me away from writing at the same pace I normally do.

Since my last post on March 29, I have started lyrics for eleven songs. Sounds prolific enough. Of those eleven, three are completed, one is close to complete, and the remaining seven will likely never be finished.

I suppose that is still pretty prolific, though not my usual writing pace. The writing pace has also slowed, in part, because I also want to be able to chord and arrange at least some of my songs. In the past, I relied on my wife to do that, which meant I wrote lots and lots of lyrics, many of which never became complete songs simply because she was unable to keep up with that pace.

So far, I have managed to chord one song and have started trying to figure out chords for one other song. Even that limited progress, though, has reduced my writing output simply because my creativity is being stretched and divided in multiple directions.

Being an impatient person at times, I first thought I was suffering from some sort of writers block, but I’m not sure now that’s actually the case. I’m hopeful that the slightly reduced writing output will result in even better songs. I guess you’ll be the judge.

Today’s entry is a slightly uptempo blues number. While a great many of my songs get their seed from something I hear or see or experience, this particular song is based on nothing but my imagination. Let me know what you think.

Nothing Left Inside

I saw her standing on the corner
Looking lost as she could be
I walked over to her
And she turned and looked at me

I could see it in her eyes
She was looking for a place to run
But she had nowhere else to run
And she had nothing left inside

I watched her turn to walk away
But then, she stopped right in her tracks
When she looked back at me
I began to see the cracks

She was balanced on the edge
All her tears were long since cried
Everything had been poured out
And she had nothing left inside

(Instrumental)

She’d been through the wars
And surrendered long ago
Nothing left to feel and nothing left to show
Time had done its worst
Left her with nothing left to give
Said she had no reason left to live

I left her standing on the corner
A far away look in her eyes
Trying hard to keep it all together
But I could see through her disguise

All the times she fooled herself
And all the times she lied
Left her with no one else to trust
And she had nothing left inside

She had no one else to trust
And she had nothing left inside

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All Rights Reserved.

Carpe Lyric! Seize the Song!

March 29, 2017 § Leave a comment

I suspect it is safe to say that no two writers (whether they be novelists, poets, songwriters, etc.) take exactly the same approach to writing. Heck, even I don’t always take the same approach.

There are times when I will sit down, pen and pad in hand, and deliberately set out to write a song. Sometimes, that approach is successful. Often, it is not.

At other times, I just open myself up to the opportunity and wait for a line or two (sometimes more) to come to me. Then I am able to enter into that writing space, and the words flow.

The other day, one of my Facebook friends, a fellow songwriter (even though I’ve been writing for years, it seems strange to call myself that somehow) was talking about getting a melody and lyrics while he was in the shower.

I replied that things like that often happen to me. I’ll get a line or two while I’m in the shower. I’ve also had songs come to me while in the act of washing dishes.

Perhaps with tongue-in-cheek, he suggested that next time I try writing with dish soap on a paper towel. I haven’t tried that (yet), but the suggestion brought forth an image of words disappearing from the page, washing away, if you will.

That gave me the first line, and the rest followed from there.

When The Words

When the words all wash away
All that’s left is what we feel
When the words no longer matter
It’s the feelings that are real

When the words have all dried up
We can still speak with our eyes
Though our words may sound sincere
We can still see through the lies

Love isn’t found within a phrase
Sometimes what we hear is what we hope
Love is found in how we spend our days
Sight can show us both ends of the rope

(Instrumental)

Sometimes what we say and what we think
Are different things
But I believe that feelings never die
Nothing rings as true
As the heart that beats in you
That’s what feeds the feelings till we die

When the words all go to dust
Who’ll remember what was said
Better, then, to share a touch
And make sure the heart is fed

Love isn’t found within a phrase
Sometimes what we hear is what we hope
Love is found in how we spend our days
Sight can show us both ends of the rope

When the words all wash away
All that’s left is what we feel

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Writing My Truth

March 25, 2017 § Leave a comment

My sister and I grew up with a single mother. She worked as a cocktail waitress, which meant that she wasn’t home most nights.

When our mother was working, my sister and I would stay with an older couple at their home well outside of town. He was roughly twenty years older, but she seemed to me to have the older soul. They were about 180-degrees opposite in terms of their personality.

All these years later they still hold a place in my memory, especially him. I’ve tried to write about him before. This time, I succeeded.

Old Jack Penguilley

Old Jack Penguilley
Was older than dirt when I met him
He kept to himself and he never said much
But I know that I’ll never forget him

He took a boy who was scared in his bones
And made him feel that he wasn’t alone
Showed him some kindness
When kindness seemed hard to find

He must have been 80
The first time we came face to face
He had a gentleness there in his soul
Time nor hardship could ever erase

He made me feel I had something to give
When I wasn’t sure that I wanted to live
Helped me to still all the demons
Loose in my mind

His wife was younger
With a hardness that he never had
Unforgiving, the desert dried up her heart
Took the good, leaving only the bad

Short with her love but quick with the rod
Puritan-like with the fear of her god
In her eyes, I wasn’t young
I simply was blind

So many years have passed by
Water gone under the bridge
Yet I can see them as if it was still yesterday

Old Jack Penguilley
Found joy in being alive
He had an old Studebaker he loved
But his wife would not let him drive

I think that he would take trips in his mind
Leaving the frailties of his age behind
Imagination sometimes
Can be much more kind

Old Jack Penguilley
Was older that dirt when I met him

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.