Placing The Blame

February 20, 2019 § Leave a comment

I’m told that one of the hardest things in life for a person to go through is to have to bury your own child. I’m thankful I have not had to go through that, but I know people who have.

When something happens that is not part of the normal order of things, I think it is natural to look for explanations that don’t exist, to look for someone or something to blame. Sometimes, there are no answers.

All of that was swirling around in my head when I got the idea for this song. The first draft of the lyrics came together pretty quickly, and I only changed a few words to end up with what you see below

The melody and arrangement are yet to be finalized, but I hear it in my head as a folk-country tune. Let me know what you think.

Someone To Blame

She looks down at the faded flowers
She put there just last week
Hard to believe it’s been a year
Still can’t come to grips
With the fact her boy is gone
Seems like yesterday that he was here

Went into the Army, he said, to become a man
Left a piece of his soul over in Afghanistan
When he came back home, her baby boy was not the same
She’s still looking for someone to blame

He couldn’t seem to hold a job
Always getting into fights
Though she knows just how hard he tried
Hoped that he’d find something
Or someone to help him through
Though she could see a part of him hard died

When he left the Army, he was no more than a shell
Not hard to see the changes when you’ve lived through Hell
When he came back home, he had nothing but his name
And a need to find someone to blame

She got the call at two-oh-five
It still seems like some bad dream
Every moment etched there in her head
The words were all mixed up
As if taken from a hat
Except those life-changing words, “your son is dead”

The note he left behind said, “I can’t take it anymore”
“Mama, please don’t cry for me, I’m not worth crying for”
“I died long ago, though my body still remained”
“Mama, you’re not the one to blame”

She looks down at the faded flowers
She put there just last week
Hard to believe it’s been a year

© 2019 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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Feeling Soulful

February 17, 2019 § Leave a comment

Most of what I write these days falls into the folk or folk-pop category. For ease of classification, I usually refer to my songs as Americana.

Occasionally, though, I like to branch out a bit. I’ve written a few tunes that are more jazz-like in nature, along with a few country and blues tunes.

Every once in a while, I like to try my hand at something closer to R&B. Not the stuff that passes for R&B these days, but songs that are a little closer (I hope) to what constituted R&B in the 1960s and 70s.

I don’t write those kinds of songs often because I usually envision them with keyboards and/or horns, and neither my wife nor I play a horn. Our approach to piano is a little like my approach to typing – seek and ye shall find, although I will say my wife is better on piano than I am.

However, I wrote this song and shared it with my wife, and she was able to figure out the chords and a way to play the song son that it works on acoustic guitar. (I wasn’t sure it would.) It is something I could almost hear Anderson East (fabulous singer) doing.

This song is a little different from most of what I write in that it starts cold with the refrain. No intro or anything like that. It then has a short break between the refrain and each verse, though not between the refrain and the bridge.

It is also different in that the song, for all practical purposes, is a two-chord song. A third chord does appear in the refrain, but the verses and bridge only use two chords.

The bridge also utilizes a muted strum on parts of the bridge. (Basically, you strum the chord but deaden the strings.) It all seems to work, and it seems to sound pretty good. Hope you like it.

Tell My Dreams Goodbye

REFRAIN
I can’t get the picture of your face
To tell my dreams goodbye
It seems that all that I can do is cry

I got your note, the coward’s way out
Couldn’t tell me to my face
That you were leaving, left no doubt
Not a single trace
I knew that you weren’t happy
Though you never told me why
Now you’re gone, your leaving’s like
A message written ‘cross the sky

REFRAIN

We never argued, never fought
Never said an angry word
We were forever, so I thought
But the warnings went unheard
I still can’t believe it
It all seems like some bad dream
That wakes me in the middle of the night
But I can’t scream

REFRAIN

BRIDGE
You don’t love me (love me)
That much is crystal clear
You don’t want me (want me)
Or you would still be here
But I need you (need you)
You are the air I breathe
Won’t you at least tell me
What it was that made you leave

REFRAIN (repeat)

© 2019 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Double-Header Day

February 4, 2019 § Leave a comment

The other day, I was driving south to meet some friends and interview another songwriter for the music podcast I produce and host, Measured Voices. As I thought about the drive, I knew I was have a good view of the Owyhee Mountains of southern Idaho for much of the drive.

Thinking about the drive and about the view, I anticipated the inspiration I might gather from the drive and the possible lyrics that might ensue. All of that thinking and anticipating caused the inspiration to come before I even got into the car to start the drive.

The result of that “premature” inspiration, if you will, led to today’s first entry. However, as the title of this post implies, there was a second song that came out of the trip and visit.

After finishing the interview with solo piano artist Michele McLaughlin, my friends took all of us for a little hike around their property. While we were walking, there was a pretty stiff breeze, and I suddenly began to think about what it would say if the wind could speak, which led to the second lyric in this post.

Please let me know what you think about either or both songs shared here. I’d love to hear from you.

On My Way

Looking out over the plains
Up to the sky
I feel just like a bird
That’s learning how to fly
I’m on my way
I’m on my way
Don’t know when I’ll get where I am bound
But I’m on my way

Headed toward the sun
Chasing down a dream
Feels my life is flowing
Like a clear, cool mountain stream
And I’m on my way
Yes, I’m on my way
I’ll keep my feet on solid ground
But I’m on my way

BRIDGE
Spirits watching over me
Gently surrounding
Though their faces I can’t see
Lift my voice up to the sky
My dreams take flight
And the feeling sets me free

Staring at the mountains
Each a giant stair
Don’t know where I’m headed
But I know that I’ll get there
‘Cause I’m on my way
Yes, I’m on my way
I’ll find joy by listening for the sound
And I’m on my way

Happiness is everywhere around
Now, I’m on my way

© 2019 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

And, now, the second song.

If The Wind Could Speak

If the wind could speak
What do you think it’d say
Would it talk about the things it’s seen
The dreams it’s swept away
Would it take away past sins
Would it cover up the past
Sometimes in the wind
There are things that just don’t last

If the wind could speak
What do you think you’d hear
What hidden little secrets
Would be whispered in your ear
A glimpse into the future
Or memories from your youth
Sometimes in the wind
You can stumble on the truth

BRIDGE
If, somehow, the wind could find a voice
What do you think that you would hear
Would it be a window to the truth
And would it be heard loud and clear

If the wind could speak
What do you think you’d learn
What do you think that you’d be asked
To give back in return
Would it teach you to forgive
Would it help you to let go
Sometimes in the wind
Things are brought up from below

Since the wind can’t speak
There are things we’ll never know

© 2019 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

When Things Change

February 2, 2019 § Leave a comment

We recently returned from a trip to see family in the South. While we there, we met up with a childhood friend of my wife’s for a few beers and to listen to some live music.

As is usually the case whenever I go out, I had a pen and notebook with me. While I was listening to the music and the conversation around me and enjoying the beer from Big Beach Brewing Company in Gulf Shores, I jotted down a few lines here and there.

The one I finished was originally intended to have a more syncopated rhythm and feel, a bit along the lines of “Stand By Me.” That changed  the next day, however. I was practicing and came up with a simple chord progression I liked, so I changed and re-worked the lyrics a bit to make them fit what I had come up with.

The following lyric is what I ended up with. Hope you like it.

Alone Into The Night

When you walk into the room
Their heads all turn to look at you
Up and down, they check you out
Then watch to see what you will do

In their heads, you can tell
They imagine what might be
Watch the wheels starting to turn
They’re thinking of what they can’t see

REFRAIN
And you know what they want
What they see but they can’t touch
They can’t tell that tonight
You will leave the way you came –
Alone into the night – alone into the night

BRIDGE
In your eyes, they won’t find
What goes on there in your mind
Might be true that love is blind
Will they see you leaving them behind?

In your heels, your silky dress
You got the look that’s meant to kill
And they’re sure that just one drink
Could win your heart, it never will

On your face, they never see
The contempt you always feel
Not the time and not the place
To show them all what you conceal

REFRAIN

Alone into the night – alone into the night

© 2019 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Another Flying Song

January 30, 2019 § Leave a comment

In my last post (has it really been nine days?), I shared the lyrics of a song I wrote on the plane as the family and I were flying into Dallas on our way to Alabama to visit family. It seems fitting to follow that post up with another lyric written while flying back home from that visit.

It also seemed appropriate that since I wrote the first lyric while flying into Dallas I should write the second after flying out of Dallas. For the flight home, I had a window seat, and I have no doubt that helped with the inspiration.

I looked out the window as we were flying high above the snow-covered ground below. The skies were crystal clear and bright blue. The combination gave me my first line and inspired what followed. I hope you like it.

Headed Home

Looking out my window from more than six miles high
I’m soaring like an eagle who just learned how to fly
High above the clouds and high above the land
Gently lifted up by God’s almighty hand

REFRAIN
Headed home on a wing and a prayer
To the life and love I left behind
Still waiting for me there
Won’t be long till I am not alone
I’m headed home

Out there in the distance, the place that I call home
A life and a warm bed that I can call my own
Streaking past the miles and places down below
Headed to the place my heart tells me to go

REFRAIN

BRIDGE
Though I can’t see her below
She’s down there waiting for me
This I know

Touching down, this metal bird is safely on the ground
I’m back where I belong, in the life that I have found
Back below the clouds where I am meant to be
Surrounded by the love that finally set me free

REFRAIN

Won’t be long till I am not alone
I’m headed home

© 2019 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Flying High

January 21, 2019 § Leave a comment

The other day, I was on an airplane, flying to visit family. While I was flying on the first leg of my trip, I watched a film I had downloaded about nat King Cole (a great musician and singer, by the way).

When the film was over, I still had a little time before the plane landed. So I thought I would try to write some lyrics related to flying.

I wasn’t very happy with the first few phrases that came into my head, but eventually, I came up with something I liked. From there, the rest came together quickly.

The final lyric may end up slightly different from this, but I was pretty happy with what I came up with. I hope you like it. Please let me know what you think.

30,000 Feet

30,000 feet up in the air, and it’s a long way down
30,000 feet up in the air; not close enough to touch the ground
Floating like an angel over saints and sinners, too
I’ve still got some miles to go before my journey’s through
30,000 feet up in the air and it’s a long way down

30,000 feet up in the air, floating through time and space
30,000 feet up in the air; I’m searching for a touch of grace
Like a bat out of hell, heaven close enough to touch
Gravity’s no longer mine to use like it’s a crutch
30,000 feet up in the air, floating through time and space

BRIDGE
Many miles above me, many feet below
Whether up or down, I’ve still a long, long way to go
My hopes and dreams have taken wing
Here in the moment, everything

30,000 feet up in the air, a long, long way to fall
30,000 feet up in the air; up here, I’m standing tall
Here at this altitude, I know that I can fly
Almost can touch the hand of God here in the sky
30,000 feet up in the air, a long, long way to fall

Some Bubble Gum, Perhaps?

January 18, 2019 § Leave a comment

Over the last several months, my songwriting has tended to gravitate toward a more folk-like sound. Not because I necessarily want to pin myself down to one music genre, but because it seems that is where my voice and my writing style seems most comfortable.

Having said that, I do like to branch into other genres, most commonly blues and country-folk. Styles I don’t tend to write much in are pop and rock.

Part of that is no doubt due to the fact that when my wife and I perform we are a vocalist and an acoustic guitarist. That doesn’t necessarily exclude pop and rock songs, but it does create more of a presentation challenge.

On occasion, though, I still like to try to write something a bit more uptempo. Today’s entry is a case in point.

I approached this song from the standpoint of wanting to write something with more of a 50s or 60s feel and sensibility. I guess you could say it’s a boy sees girl, boy wants girl, boy gets girl kind of song (typical of the times, I suppose), but the girl is in control throughout the song and makes the decision.

Like several recent efforts, the song started with a basic four-chord progression and strum pattern (down-down-up-up-down) and grew from there. The song does not have a chorus as such, but the second, fourth, and sixth verses serve that function and contain the song title to help reinforce that.

I hope you like it. Let me know what you think.

Love Takes Flight

She is standing on the corner
Watching the boys as they walk by
Dressed up in their best clothes
They’re all giving her the eye

Each one of them hoping
That tonight will be the night
Their dreams become real
And love takes flight

You just stand there and you watch her
Watching the boys as they all pass
Wishing you could walk up to her
Knowing she’s out of your class

You can’t help but imagine
How it feels to hold her tight
That’s when inside your heart
Your love takes flight

BRIDGE
You’re wondering what it’s like
To kiss those ruby lips
But every time you’re close to her
Your composure starts to slip

All the boys, they try to win her
But she just turns and walks away
When they try to get her talking
They can’t get the time of day

You see her walking towards you
Could this be your lucky night
She takes your hand in hers
And love takes flight

You see her walking towards you
Could this be your lucky night
She takes your hand in hers
And love takes flight

© 2019 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.