Change Of Pace

January 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

Normally on this blog I post song lyrics I’ve written. And I will continue to do so, but today I want to post something a little different.

The lines below (I hesitate to actually call them a poem) came to me whilst sitting at the local Meineke Car Care center waiting for an oil change that turned into something more (and more expensive). First, it was the brake fluid that needed replacing. Then, it was an axle seal that was seeping. Several hundred dollars later, I had our Jeep back. And the following:

It Started With An Oil Change

Just a routine visit
Something that needed to be done
Put off long enough; shouldn’t take long
Keys handed over, nothing to do but wait
Sitting, listening to the endless chatter
From the TV high up on the wall
Not meant for comfortable viewing,
Meant simply to what, annoy, distract, sedate
From the business at hand?

But wait.
It seems there’s something more
A little seepage; nothing too serious
But best to fix it now
Make myself comfortable in the lounge
Waiting, reading, drinking coffee
Trying not to, and yet
Anticipating the next find
As they dig deeper, look further

Meanwhile, the chatter continues
Recipe this, movie review that
Analyzing, dishing the dirt,
Some other story of disinterest
Invading thoughts, disrupting silence
Competing with the man watching
Videos on his phone
Then, mercifully, “We’re finished”
Followed by the sticker shock

I thought it would be less
But never really sure
Confused by the onslaught
Of numbers on the computer screen
Bill paid, plastic, still scarred and warm,
I leave
Thankful I can drive away.

© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Thanks, Elvis!

January 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

No, I’m not talking about the other Elvis, Elvis Presley. I’m referring to Elvis Costello, to my mind one of the great songwriters and under appreciated musical artists of the 20th and 21st century.

I was listening this morning to Beyond Belief: A Tribute to Elvis Costello, a three-CD compilation of Costello songs as performed by other independent musicians. One of his best songs, Brilliant Mistake, came on, and my wife said I can learn to play that.

While she went into her office with her guitar to get down the lyrics and the chords for that song, I went into my office, inspired by the song, to see if I could write something of the same tenor. I don’t know whether I succeeded, but I’m pretty happy with the result.

Life’s Simple Stage

Somewhere, it seems you’ve lost the plot
Not sure how the story goes
Can’t seem to recall your lines
I guess that only shows
There comes a time in every life
To choose between the pen and knife
Before you take that final bow
Here on life’s simple stage

There’s no time to rewrite the script
Simply for the sake of art
Rehearsals have all ended now
It’s time to play your part
No sense for you to be afraid
Your cues come from your choices made
It’s the role that you were born to play
Here on life’s simple stage

They say no part’s too small
And yet you feel so minuscule
A minor actor in a major world
Cast out of the talent pool

You worry that you might end up
Left there on the cutting floor
Every day’s audition leaves you
Heading for the door
You’ve been worn down, now feeling small
But you’ve still one last curtain call
Before your scene comes to an end
Here on life’s simple stage

© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Goodbye, Major Tom

January 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

I read today of the death of David Bowie. Many of his songs helped formed the soundtrack of my adolescence and early adulthood – Changes; Space Oddity; Rebel, Rebel; 1984; Diamond Dogs; Fame; Young Americans; and so many more.

Later, Bowie proved his ability as a musical chameleon, adapting to and even elevating above changes in the music scene. Let’s Dance and China Girl resonated with many older fans and brought in new ones.

His last album, Blackstar, released on his 69th birthday and just two days before his death seems, based on the songs I’ve heard, both an exploration of and an elevation above death. I’ve no doubt Bowie will be as much a musical pioneer and chameleon on the other side of life as he was on this side.

These lyrics were hastily scribbled this morning after learning the news. More and better tributes will no doubt flow from other sources, and these lyrics may be changed in time, but they stand for now as my tribute to the man and his music. R.I.P. David Robert Jones, aka David Bowie.

R.I.P. (Eternally)

Your spirit soars above me now
A shooting star across the sky
Through the shock and disbelief
I ask myself why

You showed the world what could be done
With a life fully imagined
It seems so strange to find myself
Saying goodbye

You seemed so infinite
Like some eternal flame
Forever burning bright
Death came for you
Just as it will come for me
All I can say is R.I.P.
Rest in peace, eternally

It seems you have your final orders
Headed to some unknown beyond
A new frontier to encounter
How will you respond?

The palette seems much duller now
The saturation level dimmed
Never one to be constrained
You broke the final bond

Now truly infinite
A torch to light the way
Through that unending night
You may be gone
But you’ll live through your legacy
One thing left to say – R.I.P.
Rest in peace, eternally

© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

You Say It’s Your Birthday

January 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

Today is my wife’s birthday. She has put up with a lot from me through the years. Occasionally, I count myself lucky that she hasn’t killed me or at least smacked me upside the head.

Although I’ve given her one birthday gift, I figured it was also high time I wrote her a song. So here it is.

Found Myself An Angel (for Teresa)

I believe in kindness magic
I believe in dreams
I believe that everything’s
Not always as it seems
I’ve made mistakes in my life
But I know this much is true
I found myself an angel
The day that I found you

I know there are some days
We don’t see eye to eye
When words we say cause pain
And make the other cry
If you were to leave me
I don’t know what I’d do
‘Cos I found myself an angel
The day that When I found you

If I had the chance to go back in time
I know I wouldn’t go too far I’d stay right where you are
Can’t imagine life without you here with me
You were born beneath my lucky star

If I had the chance
And could change anything
Wouldn’t change being with you
You cause my heart to sing
God smiled down on me
And He made sure that I knew
That I found myself an angel –
Found myself an angel –
Yes, I found myself an angel –
The day that I found you

© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Inspiration in the Little Things

January 7, 2016 § 1 Comment

2015 was a pretty eventful year for me and my family. My wife and I got to perform some of my songs live for the first in 20-plus years and for the first time outside of a church wedding. We also put together a CD of some of my songs for friends and family.

One of the biggest events of our year, though, had nothing to do with me but with our son. He was recognized by a program of the Kennedy Center as one of eight young playwright winners of a national competition for their work dealing with disability.

The trip was a whirlwind Labor Day weekend visit to Washington, DC, a visit that provided material for at least a couple of songs, one of which I shared earlier dealing with one of the Watergate co-conspirators.

Another song came out of my daily observations of the eight winners as we walked from our hotel to the Kennedy Center. My son was particularly enamored of one of the female winners, and I have to say, she was very nice to him.

That short weekend “crush” or infatuation gave me the initial inspiration for this song. I finished the first version on Labor Day. I later revised it slightly to change the sequence of verses and the bridge.

What Can You Do?

I see the way she gets to you
You’re hoping that she sees it, too
She looks your way – then turns away
What can you do?

You’re hoping that the fates are kind
But they have something else in mind
You smile and then – she’s gone again
What can you do?

What can you do to make her see you?
What would it mean if she should free you?
But if she should remain
You’d gladly wear the chain
If it meant that she’d choose to be with you

(Instrumental:)

What can you do to make her see you?
What would it mean if she should free you?
But if she should remain
You’d gladly wear the chain
If it meant that she’d choose to be with you

She has a way to touch your heart
You hope she won’t tear it apart
To find romance – you’ll take the chance
What can you do?
What can you do?
What can you do?

© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Mining The Past

January 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

I think, perhaps wrongly, that at some level songwriting (much like fiction and poetry) is biographical or even autobiographical. Songs, at least those with good and powerful lyrics drawn on the writer’s experience or life to some extent.

It could be something the songwriter lived through or experienced personally or simply something the writer saw or witnessed or even simply the time that he lived through. I’ve always found songwriting to be to some degree therapeutic.

That is not to say that some songs aren’t complete works of fiction. They are, but even those begin in the mind of writer as a seed pollinated by something she thought or dreamed or saw or heard.

I’ve had song ideas come to me on the basis of something my son said, even though the song itself ended up having little if anything to with him. I’ve also used episodes from my own life to create songs that end up being a mixture of a boy’s truth and an adult’s fiction (some more truth than fiction, some the other way around).

The seeds for these lyrics were the half-forgotten, time-obscured memories of a ten-year old boy. Those memories fermented in my imagination over time and were then finally committed to the page in the song below.

Three People, One Roof

A small boy, growing up in the desert
A single mother, trying to make ends meet
A young girl, already wild and reckless
And no steady hand, making the scene incomplete
The young boy finds refuge within his illusions
The mother find solace in the arms of a man
The young girl can’t wit to shake off the chains
Three people, one roof, each one with a different plan

Late at night, the boy dreams of salvation
And hopes someone will come to take his hand
The young girl dreams of shaking the dust of the desert
The mother longs for someone who’ll understand

The young boy hides what he really is feeling
The mother does her best to make it alone
The young girl tries to break free from this prison
Three people, one roof, their hearts slowly turning to stone

(instrumental:)

Late at night, the boy cries in desperation
And wonders if he’ll ever know happiness
The young girl knows she’ll die if she can’t break away
The mother wonders how she got in this mess

The young boy lives on in the heart of the grown man
The young girl still struggles to find her own way
The mother went to her grave with the knowledge
Three people, one roof, did what they could every day

© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Five Days and Counting

January 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

I’m not sure I can keep this pace up, but I have been writing a lot of lyrics lately. Since I know most of them will never be committed to vinyl, as it were, it seems appropriate to share as many as I can in this space.

Today’s entry was actually finished toward the very end of 2015, although the first half of it was written several months earlier. When I started writing this song, I think I had been trying to write more in a couple of styles I enjoy but don’t often write in – blues and jazz. This particular tune was an attempt to marry something of those two styles together.

This song is sung from the point of view of the person at fault, although it’s not clear what exactly happened or was done, creating a slight shade of gray.

Up To No Good

I know where I’ve been and just where I am
But where I’m going to I just can’t pretend
The future’s unclear; the past holds no clue
‘Cos for the first time, I have to face a world without you

Don’t know what I did; not sure what I said
But letting you go must mean I’m not quite right in the head
Can’t turn back the clock; can’t take back the pain
So now you’re gone and it’s just your ghost that remains

It’s clear to me I didn’t do the things that I should
You’d have to say my heart was up to no good

I know I’m a fool for letting you go
Still not sure what happened; guess I’ll never know
The past is a blur; the future’s in doubt
It seems I took one step too far and now can’t find my way out

Don’t know what I said; not sure what I’ve done
Your walking away told me that I was no longer the one
Can’t go back in time; no starting again
Our chances are zero on a scale of one to ten

It’s clear to me I didn’t do the things that I should
You’d have to say my heart was up to no good

You’d have to say my heart was up to no good

© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for January, 2016 at My Wordsmithing.