April 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
Last night, Teresa and I had the privilege of performing once again at the Idaho Songwriters Association monthly forum. For those not familiar with this event, area songwriters sign up ahead of time (or day of the show) for the opportunity to perform an original work before an appreciative and attentive audience. This latter aspect makes the forum event unique, I believe, among live music events.
We’ve been lucky enough to perform at a number of these forums, and last night decided to do something a little different. Before I get to that, though, I guess I should lay out the back story.
One day, we were walking back to our car (parked a couple of blocks away) after meeting for lunch. As we were walking on the sidewalk along a busy street, a truck decided to try to pull out of a business parking lot into said busy street. This coincided almost perfectly with Teresa and I being in front of said truck.
Teresa managed to push away from the truck to avoid being hit, suffering only a bruise on her arm for her trouble. In the process, she crashed into me, sending me sprawling into said busy street. I looked up to see a car, about a block away, heading toward me. Figuring it would take to long to try to get up and out of the roadway, I simply rolled to the curb to avoid being hit. I don’t know whether it was a close call or not, nor do I want to know. (I don’t suppose it was too close a call, though, as nothing resembling my life flashed before my eyes.)
From that incident came the idea for a new song, along with the first line of that song. The rest of the lyrics followed quickly, and when I was done, I knew I wanted to keep the instrumentation sparse and nearly non-existent.
The song features a recurring three-note bass line, followed by a percussive beat (done with either a bass drum or by plucking a deadened string on the bass). Teresa was asked before our performance what genre this song fell into, and neither of us was sure. We still aren’t. The lyrics suggest a type of blues song, but combined with the sparse accompaniment, perhaps war chant is more appropriate.
State Of Mind
I’m bruised and battered; my heart’s been shattered
But you can’t keep a good man down
Yes, I’ve been cheated; I’ve been mistreated
But I picked myself up off the ground
When times got hard, I just worked harder
Doing all I could to get my share
I took the long way, maybe the wrong way
Some nights my soul felt like it’d been stripped bare
But I kept on trying; I didn’t stop
Always believed I could make it to the top
I’ve fallen down, fallen behind
But I learned failure is a state of mind
I’ve made mistakes, had some bad breaks
But I dusted myself off and tried again
I touched the fire, felt the desire
That nearly broke me ’til I learned to bend
Now I’m telling you this much is true
You only get out what you’re putting in
Instead of pleading, work ’til you’re bleeding
If you do that, then you’re bound to win
So just keep on trying; don’t ever stop
If you believe then you can make it to the top
You might fall down and fall behind
But you’ll learn winning is a state of mind
© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.
April 6, 2016 § Leave a comment
When I write my songs, I don’t actually write music. The whole process is somewhat organic; I come up with the first line, then I get a sense of the melody, and the rest proceeds from there.
Tonight, I was listening to my wife practice her guitar. While she played, the following line sprang forth from within. Unlike most of my songs, I have no melody already in mind for this effort, so I don’t know whether these are lyrics to a song or lines from a poem. I suspect they work either way.
I hear the guitar playing
To a crowd no one can see
But it doesn’t really matter
Because tonight, you’re feeling free
Escaping in the music
Riding high on every note
Lost within the melody
Like some forgotten quote
The music comes to life
With the band inside your head
Your fingers feel alive
Keep your heart from feeling dead
The strings bend to your will
Sounding off at your command
No tolerance for a stray note
If you’d keep the upper hand
You lose yourself in playing
To a room with no one there
The sound of melancholy
Echoing in the air
The music is your life
A cruel mistress just the same
And yet, denies your claim
You play until your fingers ache
Because you have a need
And it’s in the strings
That a part of you is freed
The song torments and comforts you
While begging for release
Though each mistake is agony
The playing brings you peace
The sounds you play are symbols
Of the dreams you never share
Taunting and reminding you
If only you had dared
© 2016 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.