Keep Your Eyes Open

April 18, 2018 § Leave a comment

I’ve written on several occasions how I am inspired lyrically by things I hear and by things I see. That requires being open to receiving the sights and sounds with an inspired mind, as it were.

Even when I am driving and thinking about other things, I try to keep a portion of my mind clear and open to the possibility of inspiration. Sometimes, that requires being able to notice little things.

Case in point: I was driving with my son after a shopping trip, and he was talking about video games, as he often does. Between that and paying attention to the road, I could have been excused for thinking I had my hands full.

As we were driving, I happened to notice a man with a portable sprayer in front of his house, working on his yard. Because I was open to possibility of inspiration, I was able to see more than that and was able to fill in some imaginary gaps.

After I finished the lyrics, I was reminded of a song recorded 50 years ago by Glen Campbell, “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife.” I won’t claim it is as good a song, and I’m not sure (again) about the title, but I’m pretty happy with it. I hope you like it.

In Suburban Land

He’s out in his yard every afternoon
The pride of the neighborhood
Working his fingers to the bone
Trying to keep it looking good
Keeping it trim and keeping it neat
He keeps the grass green and the flowers smelling sweet
He does all the things
That he’s thinking that everyone should

She’s there in the kitchen most every day
Dreaming of some far-off land
But she knows they’ll never leave this house
As she looks at the ring on her hand
Cooking the meals that they eat every night
She listens as he tells her it’s never right
He’s never happy
Though she’s doing all that she can

Another day, another couple in suburban land

So many dreams, so many plans
So many seconds slipped through their hands
There in the mirror someone they don’t recognize
No longer see the dreamer in each other’s eyes

They sit and they wait for the hours to pass
Nothing ever seems to change
When they were young, inseparable
These days, they live estranged
They go through the motions and say the right things
Remembering the promises tied to their rings
They live their lives with everything neatly arranged

Another day, another couple in suburban land

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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Channeling John Hartford

April 12, 2018 § Leave a comment

People who are knowledgeable about music, especially country, folk, and bluegrass music, know who John Hartford was. He is best known for writing Glen Campbell’s first big hit “Gentle On My Mind,” for which he won two Grammy awards. (The song itself won two other Grammys for Glen Campbell’s recording.)

“Gentle On My Mind” is a song my wife and added a while back into our catalog of cover songs. It’s a song that can be a little tough to sing if you don’t know how to properly breathe when singing because of its longer phrases. However, I like the way the phrases roll into one another, almost like the current of a river.

The rhythm of that song popped into my head as I began writing today’s lyrical entry. The mood of the lyrics themselves are filtered through the memory of the Bob Dylan song “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” As soon as I had written the first couplet, a rhythm similar to “Gentle On My Mind” began to develop.

Despite the number of words (it is a bit on the wordy side, much like “Gentle On My Mind”), this song should clock in at around three and a half minutes. I hope you like it. (I’m not sure about the title, though. So please feel free to suggest alternate titles.)

I Wish

I wish that I could tell you
Just exactly what it is that’s on my mind
Maybe then you’d understand
Just why it is I’m leaving you behind
It wasn’t something that you said
And no, it isn’t something you did wrong
It’s only when I look at you
I get the sense that I just don’t belong

So, I guess the time has come
For one of us to stop and say we’re done
And since you won’t admit we’re through
I guess I’ll have to say those words to you

I wish that I could make you see
That we don’t fit together anymore
But you can’t hear that word goodbye
And won’t until I walk out through that door
It isn’t that you didn’t love me
And not that you ever loved too much
It’s simply that we grew dependent
And we learned to use love as a crutch

So, I guess the time has come
For one of us to stop and say we’re done
And since you won’t admit we’re through
I guess I’ll have to say those words to you

Sometimes love has an expiration date
But we don’t find out until it gets too late
When love sours, it can leave a bitter taste
– That is not soon erased

I wish that you could realize
That my leaving you is for the best
We’ve been through the wars together
And I think our hearts could use a rest
Does there have to be a winner
And a loser in this lover’s game
But I’ll take full responsibility
If you need someone to blame

So, I guess the time has come
For one of us to stop and say we’re done
And since you won’t admit we’re through
I guess I’ll have to say those words to you

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Staying In A Blues Mood

April 8, 2018 § Leave a comment

It’s spring here, but the weather of the last few days has been anything but consistent. Yesterday, It was sunny, windy, cold, stormy, sunny, and mild – all in the space of a few hours.

One thing that is consistent, though, is that, much like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, I will occasionally return to the blues and attempt to write a blues song or several.

I’d like to say I wrote this on a Monday as that would seem fitting. However, I wrote this on a Wednesday. Seems like it could be a Monday song, though. Enjoy!

Early Morning Blues

I woke up this morning
Felt the same as yesterday
I woke up this morning
Couldn’t keep the clouds at bay
So long since I’ve seen the sunshine
I’m in the dark most every day

Found myself a dollar
Then I watched it blow away
Found myself a dollar
Like all good things, it didn’t stay
If it weren’t for bad luck
I’d have no luck coming my way

Waited on the bus
Watched it drive right by
Lately, things have gone so wrong
Have to cheer up just to cry

I woke up this morning
Felt the same as yesterday
Time was I was happy
Now good times just don’t come my way

(12-bar instrumental)

I woke up this morning
Dragged myself up out of bed
I woke up this morning
One thought racing through my head
Morning got me feeling
Gonna be a long time dead

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Little Uptempo Blues

April 1, 2018 § Leave a comment

As I’ve mentioned a few times in these pages, I like to try my hand now and then at writing a blues tune.

Recently, I had the privilege of having a conversation with Johnny Boy Kunk, a young Delta blues artist, for a new podcast I’ve decided to try my hand at featuring songwriters from my area. (As a side, note, you can find the podcast here. My conversation with Johnny Boy goes online April 10.)

Now, I am not a blues guitarist by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m not sure where the blues tunes I try to write fall, Chicago or Delta blues. This effort, however, I think falls squarely into the Chicago blues spectrum, perhaps influenced by the fact that I had just watched the 1980 classic, The Blues Brothers. Anyway, I hope you like it.

This song is somewhat uptempo for a blues song and utilizes a slightly different rhyme scheme. Let me know what you think.

What To Do About You

Baby, don’t know what to do about you
You got me running ’round
Believing up is down, yes, it’s true
When I think I’ve seen the light
Something ’bout it isn’t right
And I get the sense you’re after something new

Baby, never sure just what’s on your mind
When it comes to you
I haven’t got a clue, I’m walking blind
When I think I’ve learned the truth
You demand to see the proof
Asking questions with answers I can’t find

I thought I understood
Not sure anybody could
Don’t know where this is going
But I know it isn’t good

Baby, don’t know what you want me to say
When I think I’ve found the words
It’s as if you haven’t heard
And I get the feeling I’m just in the way

(Instrumental)

I thought we had a shot
You looked at what we’ve got
And in the end decided
That you would rather not

Baby, don’t know what to do about you
When I look into your eyes
I can watch love as it dies
It’s time to face the fact that we’re through

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Spring In My Step

March 30, 2018 § Leave a comment

Yes, it’s spring, though until the last day or two you would not have known it in this part of Idaho. We recently had snow, followed by temperatures that barely got into the 40s.

Needless to say, I was feeling ready for spring and for hitting the open road. Since it didn’t seem ready for me and since the open road doesn’t seem to be so open this year, I thought I would try a little musical encouragement both for myself and for spring. Hope you like it!

Wide Open Spaces

Sunshine is what I need
Got to get out from beneath
The clouds hanging over me
Don’t know where it will lead
But I’ll take the road that lies ahead
And hope it sets me free

Heading for wide open spaces
Where I’ll find room to breathe
Maybe see some friendly faces
My bags are packed –
It’s time to leave

Looking for distraction
Relief from the voices
Hammering from every side
Time has come for action
I’ve got to try and feed the fire
That still burns deep inside

Heading for wide open spaces
Where I’ll find room to breathe
Maybe see some friendly faces
I’ve packed my bags –
It’s time to leave

Somewhere, there’s a place
A space where I can make my stand
All I know is it’s time for me to go
And listen to the rhythm of the land

Don’t know just where I’m bound
But the car is gassed, my bags are packed
It’s time for me to drive
Headed for open ground
Where the air can cleanse my soul
And make me feel alive

Heading for wide open spaces
Where I’ll find room to breathe
Maybe see some friendly faces
I’ve packed my bags –
It’s time to leave

I’ve packed my bags –
It’s time to leave
I’ve packed my bags . . .
It’s time to leave

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A Milestone & An Announcement

March 25, 2018 § Leave a comment

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post, not because I haven’t been writing lyrics (I have), but because this is a milestone post for me, and I wanted to save it until I could do a little something extra.

This is post 200 of this blog. (Imagine noisemakers and streamers here.) While I will post new lyrics in this post, I was waiting until I could announce a new venture.

That new venture is a podcast featuring songwriters from around SW Idaho. This area, while not as large as other parts of the country, does feature some incredible talent, talent that I hope to bring to a larger audience on roughly a monthly basis.

The podcast is titled “Measured Voices,” and the first episode is available now on Anchor and will also be available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Overcast, and Pocket Casts. I also hope to figure out a way to make it available through YouTube. If you can’t wait to hear it, simply listen below (eventually, I hope to embed a player within the blog post):

https://anchor.fm/measuredvoices/embed

Now for the lyrics I promised. I actually wrote this while sitting in a coffee shop, but I was trying to create something a bit more upbeat. I don’t know if I succeeded, but here it is.

Stepping Out And Letting Go

Puts on his finest outfit
Decides to his the street
He feels the rhythm of the weekend
There in the soles of his feet
The 9 to 5 left behind him
48 hours of possibility
It’s Friday night, and he feels alright
The music soon will set him free

Stepping out and letting go
Time to raise the roof
The music is his heartbeat
The rhythm is his truth
Stepping out and letting go
No fear and no regret
He’s gonna keep on dancing
The song’s not over yet

Sees her over in the corner
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
He hopes that she is also waiting
For passion to be unchained
In the late hours of the evening
There’s a different feeling in the air
The night gives way to another day
The moment’s now, the place is there

Will he lead, will she follow
Like steps within a dance
The music echoes in their hearts
It’s time to take the chance

Stepping out and letting go
Time to raise the roof
The music is his heartbeat
The rhythm is his truth
Stepping out and letting go
No fear and no regret
He’s gonna keep on dancing
The song’s not over yet

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved

Something He Said

March 11, 2018 § 2 Comments

The other night, my wife and I decided to check out one of the local open mics, have a beer, and listen to a little live music.

As we were leaving, we happen to come upon a couple of guys in the parking lot who were also, presumably, leaving. One of them raved to us about the hamburger he had eaten inside, patting his stomach, then saying “add it to my gluttony.”

I don’t know why he chose to share that with us, but I’m glad he did. The line stuck in my head, and as soon as I got home, I wrote it down.

At first, I wasn’t sure how I would use that line in a song. I knew I wanted to use it, but I also knew I did not want to write a song about food and overeating.

After giving it a little thought, I came up with a way to use that phrase, and the song took shape from there. The first two verses and refrain sections came together pretty seamlessly. The third verse took a little more work, and I’m not sure if I’m happy yet with it.

Please let me know what you think.

Live And Learn

I took all you gave and wanted more
Until there was no more left to give
Insecure or incomplete, it doesn’t matter now
Too many sins that you could not forgive

Add it to my gluttony
All I took with nothing in return
You live and learn

I could never give you what you need
Until what you needed was to go
Love or something else, what difference does it make
Would it help to say that I don’t know

Chalk it up, one more mistake
Another choice from which there’s no return
You live and learn

Live in search of answers
Learn no absolutes
Live to find a heart to share
Learn fear’s at the root
Of choices made

I don’t think I’m what you’re looking for
Feels as if you’ve known it all along
Nothing we could put our fingers on
From the start, it seemed it went all wrong

Close the books, the story told
Now there are no pages left to turn
You live and learn
You live and learn

© 2018 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.